Robert J. Terry began collecting human skeletal remains in the area of St. Louis, Missouri for research and educational purposes in 1898. He continued collecting skeletal specimens in the Anatomy Department at Washington University until his retirement in 1941. Mildred Trotter succeeded Terry as anatomy professor and continued his collecting, and strove to balance the demographic distribution of the collection. In 1967, after her retirement, the collection was moved to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. As with several other well-documented collections, the Terry Collection is widely used for a diverse range of anthropological and medical research. Despite its extensive use, there has been limited discussion of the collection's history and incomplete description of holdings and associated materials of this collection. In this paper, the historical background of the collection and the collection process is described; the demographic composition of the collection, and a description of the documentary and supporting data are presented; and the quality and of these data are assessed. The Terry Collection consists of 1,728 individuals. Age at death ranges from 14–102 years, with the majority of the individuals ranging from 20–80 years. Year of birth ranges from 1828–1943; the mean year of birth for males is 1880, and for females it is 1884. The mean age at death for males is 53 years, and for females it is 58 years. Terry's strict protocols for the processing of cadavers and the recording of documentary data make the Terry Collection a valuable resource for anthropological and medical research. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.