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Finding Aids to Official Records of the Smithsonian Institution Archives

Record Unit 217

Smithsonian Institution. Libraries

Records, 1865-1951

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at osiaref@si.edu.
Creator: Smithsonian Institution. Libraries
Title: Records
Dates: 1865-1951
Quantity: 9.43 cu. ft. (18 document boxes) (1 12x17 box)
Collection: Record Unit 217
Language of Materials: English
Summary:

These records contain material concerning both the Smithsonian and United States National Museum libraries and consist mostly of incoming and outgoing correspondence. Most of the correspondence is routine and deals with requests for publications, acknowledgements of publications received, the exchange of publications, employment inquiries, staff matters, and administrative policy.

Correspondents include Smithsonian and Museum administrative officers and staff, libraries, scientific institutions and societies, and the general public. Of special interest is correspondence regarding the evacuation of rare books, manuscripts, and archival material from the library during World War II. Other material includes ledgers, logbooks, and other records relating to books borrowed and lent, publications deposited in the Library of Congress, and the exchange of publications with other institutions; and records relating to the construction of book stacks in the main hall of the Smithsonian Institution Building, 1914-1915.

Historical Note

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; Frederick William 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- .

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Descriptive Entry

These records contain material concerning both the Smithsonian and United States National Museum (USNM) libraries and consist mostly of incoming and outgoing correspondence. Most of the correspondence is routine and deals with requests for publications, acknowledgments of publications received, the exchange of publications, employment inquiries, staff matters, and administrative policy.

Correspondents include Smithsonian and Museum administrative officers and staff, libraries, scientific institutions and societies, and the general public. Of special interest is correspondence regarding the evacuation of rare books, manuscripts, and archival material from the library during World War II. Other material includes ledgers, logbooks, and other records relating to books borrowed and lent, publications deposited in the Library of Congress, and the exchange of publications with other institutions; and records relating to the construction of book stacks in the main hall of the Smithsonian Institution Building, 1914-1915.

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Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 217, Smithsonian Institution, Libraries, Records

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Container List

Box 1

General Correspondence, 1878-1889 (8 folders)

Box 1 of 19

Box 2

General Correspondence, 1882-1909 (5 folders)

Box 2 of 19

Box 3

General Correspondence, 1902-1909 (2 folders)

Box 3 of 19

G. E. Stechert & Company Correspondence, 1905-1913 (3 folders)

Box 3 of 19

William Wesley & Son Correspondence, 1911-1917 (2 folders)

Box 3 of 19

Box 4

General Correspondence, 1913, 1920-1926 (6 folders)

Box 4 of 19

Box 5

General Correspondence, 1926-1927 (6 folders)

Box 5 of 19

Box 6

General Correspondence, 1927-February 1929 (11 folders)

Box 6 of 19

Box 7

General Correspondence, March 1929-December 1929 (9 folders)

Box 7 of 19

Box 8

General Correspondence, 1930 (11 folders)

Box 8 of 19

Box 9

General Correspondence, January-June 1931 (7 folders)

Box 9 of 19

Box 10

General Correspondence, July 1931-September 1932 (15 folders)

Box 10 of 19

Box 11

General Correspondence, October 1932-May 1936 (10 folders)

Box 11 of 19

Box 12

General Correspondence, June-October 1936 (3 folders)

Box 12 of 19

What is the Man on the Street to Believe These Days Regarding the "Riddle of the Universe" in Light of Things as They are and Related Manuscripts

Box 12 of 19

Rules and Regulations for the General Library of the Smithsonian Institution

Box 12 of 19

General Correspondence, November-December 1936

Box 12 of 19

Correspondence, 1925-1942

Box 12 of 19

Box 13

General Correspondence, 1925-1944 (6 folders)

Box 13 of 19

Logbook, c. 1886-1891

Box 13 of 19

Box 14

Logbooks, 1882-1885, 1914-1940

Box 14 of 19

Box 15

Receipts for Books Returned to Congress Library, 1879-1885

Box 15 of 19

List of Books Returned to Library of Congress

Box 15 of 19

Box 16

List of Books Ordered for the Secretary

Box 16 of 19

USNM Library Memo Copy Book I

Box 16 of 19

Records of Periodicals Entered (2 volumes)

Box 16 of 19

Invoices

Box 16 of 19

Communications from Library of Congress

Box 16 of 19

Library - Exchanges with Other Institutions

Box 16 of 19

Box 17

Construction of Book Shelves in Smithsonian Institution Building, 1914-1915

Box 17 of 19

Box 18

Cataloging Reports, 1922-1955 (5 folders)

Box 18 of 19

Box 19

Publications Lent to Curators, etc., 1862-1889

Box 19 of 19