Record Unit 51, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Research Corporation Records, 1912-1959
The Research Corporation was created under the laws of New York in 1912, having as its chief asset certain patents assigned to it by Frederic G. Cottrell. Cottrell, a chemist, had invented devices used in the electrostatic precipitation of pollutants. He wished to support the research of promising young scientists in various fields and approached the Smithsonian, asking it to act as administrator of his proposal. For various reasons the Smithsonian declined, and a non-profit corporation was created in its place. The Secretary of the Smithsonian has been an ex officio member of its board of directors from the corporation's inception.