Crossing the Platte Mouth of Deer Creek, 1852, by James Ackerman, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Image no. SIA_000095_B83_F10_007.

Collection Highlights: New Additions to the Archives Website

See new collection highlights posted to the Smithsonian Institution Archives website.

The Smithsonian Institution Archives continually strives to add more collection information to its website. This is a periodic post highlighting new acquisitions and individual collection items. Staff are continuing very productive work, despite being in extended telework mode. 

Portrait of a man wearing a suit with a beard.

719 New Historical Images [mostly from Record Unit 95]

Record Unit 95 is a collection of photographs documenting a wide range of photographic images that capture Smithsonian history. The 719 new images include portraits of nineteenth-century prominent figures, Smithsonian staff, and images taken on location to document field work and other travels. Most of these images are in the public domain. And, there is still more to come from this collection that we hope to post in the near future. 

Portrait of Secretary S. Dillon Ripley with a woman in an office. Ripley is seated at a desk.

Since 2015, the Archives has taken on a project to improve all of our finding aids. We have completed this project given opportunities and time allowed by extended telework. Enormous thanks go Ginger Yowell and Mitch Toda for taking on the bulk of this project. That’s a wrap on 6,177 finding aids. Now to get back to the office and start taking in new accessions that will recieve the EAD (Encoded Archival Description) treatment!

93 Revised or New Finding Aids Online, including 64 updated finding aids for oral histories:

  • Record Unit 9587 – Helena M. Weiss Oral History Interviews, 1987. In these interviews by Pamela M. Henson, of Weiss discussed her work at the Veterans Administration and career at the Smithsonian, including her positions as a stenographer for the Office of Correspondence and Documents and secretary for the Department of Geology, tenure as registrar for the USNM, and role as one of the first women managers at the Smithsonian. Also included are reminiscences of many colleagues, notably Ray S. Bassler, Herbert S. Bryant, Louise M. Pearson, and Alexander Wetmore, and stories about her responsibilities for important artifacts and specimens.
  • Record Unit 9571 – Dorothy Graham Edson Oral History Interviews, 1993.
    In these interviews by Pamela M. Henson and William W. Moss III, Edson discussed travel and the daily routine in China; David Crockett Graham's work at the University of Chicago, including his work for the Museum of Art, Archeology, and Ethnology; Graham's collecting trips for the Smithsonian; the community of missionaries at the university; missionary duties; Graham's involvement with tribal cultures outside of city areas and his work recording Chinese stories and music of the Miao; the West China Border Research Society; and return to the United States after many years in the field, including his contact with the Smithsonian while residing in Washington, D.C. Additional interviews were recorded by Edson with family and friends between 1982 and 1987.

An electormagnet is held in a rectangular contraption.

  • Record Unit 9599 – David Challinor Oral History Interviews, 1999. In these interviews conducted by Pamela M. Henson, Challinor covered his childhood, education, research career, and administrative career at the Peabody Museum at Yale University and the Smithsonian Institution.
  • Record Unit 9624 – Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Oral History Interviews, 2010, 2013.
    For the 100th anniversary of Smithsonian Institution involvement in Panama, historian Pamela M. Henson visited the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama in 2010 and recorded oral history interviews with administrative and scientific staff, some of whom had arrived in the early 1960s. She later recorded additional interviews with former STRI staff in Washington, D.C. Interviewees include Annette Aiello, Mercedes Arroyo, Richard G. Cooke, Georgina A. de Alba, Olga F. Linares, Elena Lombardo, Gloria Maggiori, and Roberta W. Rubinoff.
  • Record Unit 9626 – Smithsonian Gardens Oral History Interviews, 2011. American University graduate student Caitlin Miller conducted a series of oral history interviews with early staff of the Smithsonian Office of Horticulture, later renamed Smithsonian Gardens. Barbara Faust, Paul H. Lindell and John Monday discussed their careers at the Smithsonian and the development of the horticultural program at the Institution.

Close-up portrait of a man seated outdoors.

15 Finding Aids with New Links to Digitized Material, including:

6 new finding aids to websites accessioned in 2020, and links to interviews and transcripts for oral histories. One example is Record Unit 9513, an oral history with Lucile Quarry Mann, who had a long association with the Smithsonian Institution and National Zoological Park spanning 58 years.

Engraving of a scene of people crossing a creek on a ship. The colors are mostly blue and a dark bei

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