SIA RU000094, Smithsonian Institution Office of Smithsonian Institution Archives, Research Records, 1930-

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This record unit consists of records of significant research undertaken in the Archives holdings by Smithsonian staff or outside scholars. Each record includes the reference form, any correspondence, and notes on sources.


  • DeGurse, John Jr
  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Rhees, William Jones 1830-1907
  • Jameson, John F
  • Suratt, Samuel T
  • Lytle, Richard H
  • Henson, Pamela M
  • Hedlin, Ethel W
  • Soapes, Thomas F
  • Van Camp, Anne
  • Smithsonian Institution Archives
  • Smithsonian Institution Chief Clerk
  • Smithsonian Institution Office of the Secretary


  • Although the first Secretary, Joseph Henry, had seen the need for an archives to preserve the records of the Institution, the Smithsonian Institution Archives had its real origins in 1891, when William Jones Rhees, who had been Chief Clerk since 1855, was given the title Keeper of the Archives. Rhees served until his death in 1907.
  • For the first half of the twentieth century, the administrative staff of the Office of the Secretary cared for the historical records while maintaining the current files. In 1958 John F. Jameson III was hired by the Secretary's Office to care for the archives of the Institution while also working with the current files. In 1960 Jameson was succeeded as Archivist by John DeGurse, Jr., who remained until 1964.
  • The mission of the Archives changed to a more research-oriented operation in 1965, when Samuel T. Suratt was appointed Smithsonian Archivist. His hiring was accompanied by the charge to engage in the development of the archives as a facility for historicaL research in American science by making the Archives' resources more readily accessible to historians through better identification, preservation, and cataloging of Smithsonian documents. Within two years the Smithsonian Institution Archives was no longer funded by the Office of the Secretary and became a separate line item in the Institution's budget. Suratt served until 1969 and was followed by Richard H. Lytle. Lytle held the position until 1981, when William A. Deiss was named Acting Archivist. In 1983 William W. Moss was appointed Director of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
  • In 1992 a reorganization resulted in the creation of the Office of Smithsonian Institution Archives with Moss as Director. The new Office consisted of an Archives Division, and an Institutional History Division. Also included in the new office was the National Collections Program, which had taken over some of the duties of the former Office of the Registrar. In 1993 Moss retired and was succeeded by Pamela M. Henson as Acting Director, 1993, and John F. Jameson III, who served as Acting Director in 1994. Ethel W. Hedlin served as Director, 1995-2005. Thomas F. Soapes served as Acting Director 2005-2007 and Anne Van Camp was appointed Director in 2007.
  • None.


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Repository Loc.

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520


  • 1930
  • 1930-


Museum archives


  • Mixed archival materials
  • Collection descriptions

Local number

SIA RU000094

Physical description

20 cu. ft. (8 file cabinet drawers)

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