Record Unit 217, Smithsonian Institution, Libraries, Records, 1865-1951
The Act organizing the Smithsonian Institution in 1846 provided for the "...gradual formation of a library, composed of valuable works pertaining to all departments of human knowledge." Charles C. Jewett became the first administrator of the Smithsonian Library in 1847. After Jewett's resignation in 1854, the position of Librarian remained vacant until the appointment of Frederick William True in 1881. During the interim, library affairs were administered by Secretary Joseph Henry and Assistant Secretary Spencer F. Baird. Administrative officers of the Smithsonian Library included True, 1881-1887; John Murdoch, 1887-1892; J. Elfreth Watkins, July-October, 1892; Cyrus Adler, 1892-1909, including the years 1905-1909 when he held the title of Assistant Secretary in charge of Library and Exchanges; F. W. True, 1911-1914, with the title Assistant Secretary in charge of Library and Exchanges; Paul Brockett, 1914-1924, with the title Assistant Librarian; William L. Corbin, 1925-1942; and Leila F. Clark, 1943- .