SIA Acc. 05-112, Weiss, Helena M, Helena M. Weiss Papers, 1923-2001

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Summary

Creator:
Weiss, Helena M
Title:
Helena M. Weiss Papers, 1923-2001
Dates:
1923, 1923-2001
Summary:
Raised in Shipman, Illinois, Helena M. Weiss attended the Butler Business College in Butler, Pennsylvania as well as graduated from the Wheeler Business College in Birmingham, Alabama before she began her career as a museum registrar and administrator. Her work began as a stenographer for the Veterans Administration in 1930. A year later she was appointed Junior Clerk-Stenographer in the Office of Correspondence and Documents (renamed the Office of Correspondence and Records in 1947) of the United States National Museum (USNM) and in 1935 Weiss transferred to the Department of Geology. By 1948 Weiss returned to the Office of Correspondence and Records as an Administrative Assistant and later that year would advance to Chief after the retirement of Herbert S. Bryant. In 1956 her title was changed to Registrar and she remained in that position until her retirement in 1971. As one of the first women managers at the Smithsonian, Weiss was responsible for the central filing system of the USNM, public inquiry mail, mail service, accession reports, loans and exchanges, shipping, foreign travel, customs regulations, insurance, and workman's compensation. During her tenure, Weiss was involved in the acquisition of such museum specimens as the Wright Brothers' plane, "Kitty Hawk," the Hope Diamond, and the Fenykovi elephant. The materials in this accession document Weiss' work in the Office of Correspondence and Documents, the Department of Geology, and as Registrar for the USNM. Among those represented in the collection are Ray S. Bassler, Alexander Wetmore, Herbert S. Bryant, and Leonard Carmichael. Of interest are two diaries of Bassler which cover the time period from 1942-1947 and passport photographs of administrators, scientists, curators, and other individuals within the Smithsonian. The collection is organized into the following subseries: 1) Helena Weiss; 2) Ray S. Bassler; 3) Smithsonian Institution. Materials include correspondence, memoranda, a scrapbook, notebooks, record books, diaries, black-and-white photographs, postcards, certificates, awards, and ephemera
Topics:
Museum registrars, Museums--Administration, Museums--Collection management
Subjects:
Bassler, Ray S (Ray Smith) b. 1878, Carmichael, Leonard 1898-, Wetmore, Alexander 1886-1978, Bryant, Herbert S, Weiss, Helena M
Form/Genre:
Diaries, Collection descriptions, Manuscripts, Picture postcards, Scrapbooks, Ephemera, Black-and-white photographs
Local Number:
SIA Acc. 05-112
Physical Description:
1 cu. ft. (1 record storage box)

Finding Aids to Personal Papers and Special Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Archives

Accession 05-112

Weiss, Helena M

Helena M. Weiss Papers, 1923-2001

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at osiaref@si.edu.
Creator: Weiss, Helena M
Title: Helena M. Weiss Papers
Dates: 1923-2001
Quantity: 1 cu. ft. (1 record storage box)
Collection: Accession 05-112
Language of Materials: English

Historical Note

Raised in Shipman, Illinois, Helena M. Weiss attended the Butler Business College in Butler, Pennsylvania as well as graduated from the Wheeler Business College in Birmingham, Alabama before she began her career as a museum registrar and administrator. Her work began as a stenographer for the Veterans Administration in 1930. A year later she was appointed Junior Clerk-Stenographer in the Office of Correspondence and Documents (renamed the Office of Correspondence and Records in 1947) of the United States National Museum (USNM) and in 1935 Weiss transferred to the Department of Geology. By 1948 Weiss returned to the Office of Correspondence and Records as an Administrative Assistant and later that year would advance to Chief after the retirement of Herbert S. Bryant. In 1956 her title was changed to Registrar and she remained in that position until her retirement in 1971.

As one of the first women managers at the Smithsonian, Weiss was responsible for the central filing system of the USNM, public inquiry mail, mail service, accession reports, loans and exchanges, shipping, foreign travel, customs regulations, insurance, and workman's compensation. During her tenure, Weiss was involved in the acquisition of such museum specimens as the Wright Brothers' plane, "Kitty Hawk," the Hope Diamond, and the Fenykovi elephant.

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Descriptive Entry

The materials in this accession document Weiss' work in the Office of Correspondence and Documents, the Department of Geology, and as Registrar for the USNM. Among those represented in the collection are Ray S. Bassler, Alexander Wetmore, Herbert S. Bryant, and Leonard Carmichael. Of interest are two diaries of Bassler which cover the time period from 1942-1947 and passport photographs of administrators, scientists, curators, and other individuals within the Smithsonian.

The collection is organized into the following subseries: 1) Helena Weiss; 2) Ray S. Bassler; 3) Smithsonian Institution. Materials include correspondence, memoranda, a scrapbook, notebooks, record books, diaries, black-and-white photographs, postcards, certificates, awards, and ephemera.

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This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.

Name

Subject

Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection

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Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 05-112, Weiss, Helena M, Helena M. Weiss Papers

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Container List

Series 1

Helena Weiss

Box 1

Correspondence, 1932-1981

Box 1 of 2

Education materials, 1923-1929

Box 1 of 2

Job descriptions, appointments, and testing results, 1929-1944

Box 1 of 2

Record book, 1937-1942

Box 1 of 2

Notebook, 1948-1965

Box 1 of 2

General science problems notebook

Box 1 of 2

Letter of Introduction by Leonard Carmichael, 1963

Box 1 of 2

Hand-illustrated birthday card from Edward A. Chapin, Ray S. Bassler, J.F. Gates Clarke, Clyde E. Bauman, and David H. Dunkle

Box 1 of 2

Smithsonian Institution - Certificate of Award, 1960

Box 1 of 2

Certificates and awards, 1961-1965

Box 1 of 2

Photographs, 1955-2001

Box 1 of 2

Retirement scrapbook, 1971

Box 1 of 2

Retirement materials, 1971-1973

Box 1 of 2

Smithsonian presentation materials, 1972-1989

Box 1 of 2

Box 2

Memoranda, 1953-1971

Box 2 of 2

Postcards, 1934-1970 (2 folders)

Box 2 of 2

Alexander Wetmore holiday cards, 1944-1969

Box 2 of 2

Series 2

Ray S. Bassler

Box 2

Photographs

Box 2 of 2

Diary, 1942-1946

Box 2 of 2

Diary, 1947

Box 2 of 2

"A Geologist's Paradise" by Ray. S. Bassler, 1933

Box 2 of 2

"Geologic Exhibits in the National Zoological Park" by Ray S. Bassler, 1939

Box 2 of 2

"Memorial to Ray S. Bassler" by Kenneth, E. Caster, 1965

Box 2 of 2

Series 3

Smithsonian Institution

Box 2

Smithsonian Institution Bowling League, 1948-1968 (3 folders)

Box 2 of 2

Photographs - Hebert S. Bryant

Box 2 of 2

Photographs - Mrs. Hanako Kobayashi, 1947

Box 2 of 2

Photographs - Smithsonian staff event for Alfred Hewitt and Lucil McCain

Box 2 of 2

Photographs - Smithsonian, general, 1948-1976

Box 2 of 2

Photographs - The 20th Century Club presentation of the "Happy Frog" statue to the National Zoological Park

Box 2 of 2

Passport photographs, A-L

Box 2 of 2

Passport photographs, M-Z

Box 2 of 2

20th Century Club - Centennial Gift to the National Zoological Park, 1987-1991

Box 2 of 2

Smithsonian Institution - Bicentennial Celebration Commemorating the Birth of James Smithson, 1965

Box 2 of 2

Programs and invitations, 1948-1988

Box 2 of 2

"Narrative of the 1958 Smithsonian-Bredin Caribbean Expedition" by Waldo L. Schmitt, 1959

Box 2 of 2

"The 1968 Collapse of Fernandina Caldera, Galapagos Islands" by Tom Simkin, 1968

Box 2 of 2

Smithsonian Information Leaflet 357, "Blue Whale," 1963

Box 2 of 2

Ephemera, 1965-1985

Box 2 of 2

Miscellaneous materials, 1932-1988

Box 2 of 2

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