Finding Aids to Official Records of the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 138
United States National Museum. Division of Insects
The Division of Insects of the United States National Museum, reorganized in 1963 as the Department of Entomology, had its origin in the deposit of personal collections in 1881 by Charles Valentine Riley, entomologist of the Department of Agriculture. The Museum became the depository for the national collection of insects. The chief entomologist of the Department of Agriculture became honorary curator of insects in the National Museum, aided by an assistant curator on the museum staff. Many staff members of the Department of Agriculture served as custodians, and thus the national collection of insects has become a joint enterprise of the Department and the Museum. Honorary curators were as follows: Charles Valentine Riley, 1881-1894; Leland Ossian Howard, 1895-1927. Assistant curators (museum employees) were as follows: John Bernhard Smith, 1886-1889; Martin L. Linell (aid), 1889-1896; William Harris Ashmeade, 1897-1908.
These records are the official incoming correspondence of the Division of Insects (outgoing correspondence for part of the period is included in record unit 139). Included is correspondence from entomologists and others requesting determinations, loans of specimens, or regarding purchase or gift of specimens for the museum; and correspondence between entomologists regarding determinations or other scientific matters, and publications of findings.
Fairly extensive correspondence exists for the following entomologists: Charles Fuller Baker, Elmer Darwin Ball, William Beutenmuller, Frederick Blanchard, J. Chester Bradley, Frank Hurlburt Chittenden, John Henry Comstock, Charles Dury, Harrison Gray Dyer, Henry Edwards, Ephraim Porter Felt, Charles Henry Fernald, Henry Torsey Fernald, James Fletcher, William Hague Harrison, Charles A. Hart, Samuel Henshaw, William W. Hill, William Jacob Holland, Leland Ossian Howard, Henry Herbert Lyman, Alexander Dyar MacGillivray, James Abram Garfield Rehn, Charles Valentine Riley, Samuel H. Scudder, David Sharp, Henry Skinner, Annie Trumball Slosson, John Bernhard Smith, W. N. Tallant, and Lucien M. Underwood. Important items are indicated by a asterisk. Some letters are filed by the name of the person referred to rather than by correspondent.
Information regarding administration of the Division of Insects is found in the folders of W. V. Cox, R. I. Geare, George Brown Goode. F. W. Hodge, Richard Rathbun, William de C. Ravenel, Charles Valentine Riley, John Bernhard Smith, and Frederick William True. Riley's reports for 1886-1888 are filed under "Reports."
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Riley, Charles V. (Charles Valentine), 1843-1895
- Howard, L. O. (Leland Ossian), 1857-1950
- Smith, John Bernhard, 1858-1912
- Ashmead, William H. (William Harris), 1855-1908
- United States. Department of Agriculture
- United States National Museum
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 138, United States National Museum. Division of Insects, Correspondence