Finding Aids to Official Records of the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 252
National Museum of History and Technology. Division of Political History
Records, circa 1950-1969
Some of the earliest objects in the Smithsonian documenting American political history came to the United States National Museum (USNM) from the United States Patent Office in 1883. These objects consisted of a collection of George Washington relics originally purchased by the United States Congress as well as Washingtoniana exhibited at and transferred from the Patent Office.
These objects were the responsibility of various divisions in the USNM until 1949 when the Division of Civil History, Department of History, assumed curatorial responsibility. When the Museum of History and Technology (MHT) was set up in 1957, the Division of Political History, Department of Civil History, became responsible for the objects. In 1969 MHT was renamed the National Museum of History and Technology, and the Division of Political History became part of the Department of National and Military History.
From 1950 to 1969, curators in the Division of Political History and its predecessor, the Division of Civil History, included Margaret B. Klapthor, assistant curator, 1949-1951, and associate curator, 1952- ; Charles G. Dorman, assistant curator, 1957-1960; Anne W. Murray, assistant curator, 1957-1964, and associate curator, 1965-1967; Herbert R. Collins, assistant curator, 1961- ; Wilcomb E. Washburn, curator, 1965; Keith E. Melder, associate curator, 1965- ; and Claudia B. Kidwell, assistant curator, 1965-1967.
These records consist of general correspondence, primarily public inquiries, particularly concerning the First Ladies' Hall and objects associated with presidents and other prominent figures; administrative files pertaining to exhibits and the operation of the Department of Civil History and MHT; annual reports of the Divisions of Civil History and Political History; curators' research reports; and examinations and reports concerning objects submitted to the Division for historical authentication.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Clark, A. Howard
- Belote, Theodore T.
- Klapthor, Margaret Brown
- Murray, Anne Wood
- Dorman, Charles G.
- Washburn, Wilcomb E.
- Collins, Herbert Ridgeway, 1932-
- Melder, Keith E.
- Kidwell, Claudia Brush
- National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.). First Ladies Hall
- Museum of History and Technology (U.S.). Department of Civil History
- National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.). Division of Civil History
- United States National Museum. Section of Historical Relics
- National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.). Section of American Costume
- National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.). Division of Cultural History
- National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.). Hall of American Costume
- Growth of the United States (Exhibition)
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 252, National Museum of History and Technology. Division of Political History, Records