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Finding Aids to Official Records of the Smithsonian Institution Archives

Record Unit 297

United States National Museum. Division of Engineering

Records, 1886-1956

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at osiaref@si.edu.
Creator: United States National Museum. Division of Engineering
Title: Records
Dates: 1886-1956
Quantity: 4.5 cu. ft. (9 document boxes)
Collection: Record Unit 297
Language of Materials: English
Summary:

This record unit documents the activities of the Division of Engineering (USNM) and its predecessors. Included is early correspondence between curators J. Elfreth Watkins and William Crawford Winlock and administrators of the USNM and the Smithsonian; an incomplete general correspondence file, R-Z, of Carl Weaver Mitman and Chester G. Gilbert, circa 1904-1919; annual and quarterly reports of the divisions; histories of the Division of Technology, 1906; administrative files including budgets, plans of operations, object inventories, and lists of objects packed for evacuation during World War II; postcards and photographs of museums and exhibits from Mitman's study of European engineering, industrial, and science museums in 1932; files, including minutes of an organizing committee and correspondence between Mitman and Holbrook Fitz John Porter, concerning an effort to establish a National Museum of Engineering and Industry under the auspices of the Smithsonian; and files, including correspondence and biographical information, documenting the Divisions of Mineral and Mechanical Technology's efforts to establish a biographical file on American inventors, engineers, and industrialists.

Historical Note

The Section of Steam Transportation was the first curatorial division in the United States National Museum (USNM) responsible for mechanical, technical, and scientific objects in the collection. The Section was established in 1886, with J. Elfreth Watkins as Honorary Curator. Two years later the Section was renamed the Section of Transportation and Engineering with Watkins as Curator. William Crawford Winlock succeeded Watkins and was named Honorary Curator of Apparatus in 1891; he served until 1895. Watkins rejoined the Smithsonian in 1895 as Curator of the Section of Technological Collections; later he was Custodian of the Electrical Collections in 1896 and Curator of the Technological Collections in 1897.

In 1898 a major reorganization occurred in the USNM. That year the Division of Technology (Mechanical Phases) became part of the Department of Anthropology, with Watkins as Curator of the Division, serving until his death in 1903. George C. Maynard, who originally served as Aid and Custodian in the Division, was appointed Assistant Curator in 1901. In 1904 the Division was renamed the Division of Technology. In 1912 its name was changed to the Division of Mechanical Technology with Maynard as Curator until 1918.

From 1904 to 1913 the Department of Mineral Technology with Charles D. Walcott as Honorary Curator had only nominal recognition, but was given full curatorial status as the Division of Mineral Technology in 1913 with Chester G. Gilbert as Curator. Carl W. Mitman joined the Division as Assistant Curator in 1916. In 1918 Joseph E. Pogue was appointed Assistant Curator.

In 1919 the Department of Arts and Industries was established with the Division of Mineral Technology reporting to that Department while the Division of Mechanical Technology was still under Anthropology. Gilbert and Pogue were each Curator and Mitman was Assistant Curator in Mineral Technology. In 1920 both divisions were placed under Arts and Industries; Gilbert was named Honorary Curator, staying until 1935. Mitman was promoted to Curator of Mechanical Technology in 1920 and Curator of Mineral and Mechanical Technology from 1921 to 1931.Other curators included Paul M. Frank, Assistant Curator of Mineral Technology, 1922; Paul E. Garber, Assistant Curator, 1925-1931; and Frank A. Taylor, Assistant Curator, 1929-1931.

A major reorganization in the USNM occurred in 1932, with the Division of Engineering and Industries under the Department of Arts and Industries. Engineering had sections of Mechanical Technology, Aeronautics, and Mineral Technology. Staff included Mitman, Curator of the Division, 1932, and in Charge of Mineral Technology, 1932-1938; Taylor, Assistant Curator of Mechanical Technology, 1932, Curator of the Division and in Charge of Mechanical Technology,1933-1938; and Garber, Assistant Curator of Aeronautics.

Another reorganization occurred in 1939 when the Division was placed under the Department of Engineering and Industries. The Division, with Taylor as Curator, included sections of Transportation and Civil Engineering, Aeronautics, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Communications, Mining and Metallurgical Engineering, Tools, and Physical Sciences and Measurement. Garber continued as Assistant Curator and Associate Curator of Aeronautics, 1942-1946; Fred C. Reed, Acting Associate Curator of Aeronautics,1943-1946; Mitman, Curator of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering; and Taylor in charge of the last Section.

In 1947 a reorganization occurred at the section level with Engineering responsible for Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Marine Transportation, Land Transportation, Electricity, and Physical Science and Measurement. Taylor continued as Curator of the Division until 1948 when he was named Acting Curator. Smith Hempstone Oliver was appointed Associate Curator of Land Transportation in 1947 and in 1948, Kenneth M. Parry as Associate Curator of Electricity. In 1954 Robert P. Multauf was appointed Associate Curator of the Division and Curator in 1955.He was also in charge of the sections of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Tools, and Physical Science and Measurement; Parry was Associate Curator of Marine Transportation and Electricity; and Oliver, Associate Curator of Land Transportation and Horology, a new Section in 1955.

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Descriptive Entry

These records document the activities of the Division of Engineering and its predecessors. Included is early correspondence between curators and administrators of the USNM and the Smithsonian; an incomplete general correspondence file, R-Z, circa 1904-1919; annual and quarterly reports of the Division; histories of the Division of Technology, 1906; administrative files including budgets, plans of operations, object inventories, and list of objects packed for evacuation during World War II; postcards and photographs of museums and exhibits from Mitman's study of European engineering, industrial, and science museums in 1932; files, including minutes of an organizing committee and correspondence between Mitman and Holbrook Fitz John Porter and Frederick A. Waldron, concerning an effort to establish a national museum of engineering and industry under the direction of the Smithsonian; and files including correspondence and biographical information, documenting the Division of Mineral and Mechanical Technology's effort to establish a biographical file of American inventors, engineers, and industrialists.

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This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.

Name

Subject

Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection

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Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 297, United States National Museum. Division of Engineering, Records

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Container List

Series 1

GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE, 1886-1896

Box 1

Folder 1 William V. Cox, 1886-1892

Box 1 of 9

Folder 3 Samuel P. Langley, 1887-1891

Box 1 of 9

Folder 4 G. E. Stebbins, 1889

Box 1 of 9

Folder 5 William Crawford Winlock, 1895-1896

Box 1 of 9

Folder 6 Miscellany, 1887-1890

Box 1 of 9

Series 2

OUTGOING CORRESPONDENCE, 1886, 1891-1903

Box 1

Folder 7 1886, July 9, 1891-September 15, 1894

Box 1 of 9

Folder 8 January 6, 1891-March 21, 1891. Correspondence of Watkins as Secretary of the USNM.

Box 1 of 9

Folder 9 September 14, 1892-October 18, 1899

Box 1 of 9

Box 2

Folder 1 October 23, 1899-June 25, 1903

Box 2 of 9

Series 3

GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE, 1904-1905, 1913-1919

Box 2

Folder 2 Robert Rauson, 1918

Box 2 of 9

Folder 3 Richard Rathbun, 1918

Box 2 of 9

Folders 4-9 William deC. Ravenel, 1913-1914, 1916-1919

Box 2 of 9

Folder 10 Raymond ? Rock Products and Building Materials, 1913-1918

Box 2 of 9

Folder 11 Red Cross Institute for the Blind, 1918

Box 2 of 9

Folder 12 St. Louis Exposition, circa 1904

Box 2 of 9

Folder 13 Salsbury-Symms, 1913-1914

Box 2 of 9

Folder 14 Secretary, c. 1910-1919

Box 2 of 9

Folder 15 Sherwin-Williams Company, 1917, 1919

Box 2 of 9

Folder 16 T. L . Smith Company, 1913-1914

Box 2 of 9

Folder 17 Solvay Process Company, 1905, 1914-1916

Box 2 of 9

Folder 18 Standard Oil Company, 1915

Box 2 of 9

Folder 19 Stone and Webster, 1916

Box 2 of 9

Box 3

Folder 1 Tablet and Ticket Company-Turnbull, 1913-1919

Box 3 of 9

Folder 2 Arthur S. Thomas Company, 1913, 1915-1917

Box 3 of 9

Folder 3 Union Iron Works Company-United States Fuel Administration, 1913-1918

Box 3 of 9

Folder 4 United Gas Improvement Company, 1916

Box 3 of 9

Folder 5 United States Bureau of Mines, 1913-1915

Box 3 of 9

Folder 6 United States Geological Survey, 1910, 1913-1918

Box 3 of 9

Folder 7 United States Gypsum Company, 1913-1916

Box 3 of 9

Folder 8 United States Steel Corporation, 1914-1916

Box 3 of 9

Folder 9 Utah Copper Company, 1914, 1916-1918

Box 3 of 9

Folder 10 Van Etten-Vroon, 1914-1919

Box 3 of 9

Folder 11 Wadleigh-Worcester Pressed Steel Company, 1913-1919

Box 3 of 9

Folder 12 Ward's Natural Science Establishment, 1915-1917, 1919

Box 3 of 9

Folder 13 West Coast Art Company, 1916-1917

Box 3 of 9

Folder 14 Western Precipitation Company, 1916

Box 3 of 9

Folder 15 Samuel S. Wyer, 1919

Box 3 of 9

Folder 16 Yuba Construction Company, 1915

Box 3 of 9

Folder 17 George F. Zimmer, 1916

Box 3 of 9

Series 4

ANNUAL AND QUARTERLY REPORTS AND DIVISION HISTORIES, 1895-1956

Box 4

Folder 1 Section of Technological Collections, 1895

Box 4 of 9

Folder 2 Division of Technology, 1900

Box 4 of 9

Folders 3-10 Division of Technology, 1903-1904 - 1910-1911

Box 4 of 9

Folder 11 Division of Technology, Extracts from Annual Report, 1896-1906

Box 4 of 9

Folder 12 Report on the Department of Anthropology for the Year 1906-1907 by Otis T. Mason, Head Curator, 1907

Box 4 of 9

Folders 13-16 Division of Mechanical Technology, 1911-1912 - 1914-1915

Box 4 of 9

Box 5

Folders 1-5 Division of Mechanical Technology, 1915-1916 - 1919-1920

Box 5 of 9

Folders 6-19 Division of Mineral and Mechanical Technology, 1920-1921 - 1933-1934

Box 5 of 9

Folders 20-32 Division of Engineering, 1934-1935 - 1946-1947

Box 5 of 9

Box 6

Folders 1-9 Division of Engineering, 1947-1948 - 1955-1956

Box 6 of 9

Folder 10 Quarterly Report, Division of Technology, 1908-1911

Box 6 of 9

Folder 11 Quarterly Report, Division of Mechanical Technology, 1912-1921

Box 6 of 9

Folder 12 Quarterly Report, Divisions of Mineral and Mechanical Technology, 1921-1931

Box 6 of 9

Folder 13 Quarterly Report, Division of Engineering, 1931-1933

Box 6 of 9

Folders 14-15 Division Doings, 1921-1933. Includes clipping from the Smithsonian"Local Notes"

Box 6 of 9

Folder 16 Growth of the Division of Engineering, 1926-1936, 1937

Box 6 of 9

Folder 17 History of the Division of Technology, c. 1906

Box 6 of 9

Box 7

Folders 1-2 History of the Division of Technology, c. 1906

Box 7 of 9

Folder 3 History of the Division of Technology by George C. Maynard, September1906

Box 7 of 9

Folder 4 Organization of the Division of Technology, 1900-1905

Box 7 of 9
SPECIAL REPORTS, EXHIBIT RECORDS, AND RELATED MATERIAL, 1898-1946

Box 7

Folder 5 Bordeaux Exposition Report, 1907

Box 7 of 9

Folder 6 Budgets, Plans of Operations, and Furniture and Fixtures Schedules, 1935-1944

Box 7 of 9

Folder 7 Division of Engineering backlogs, March 1946

Box 7 of 9

Folders 8-9 European Technical Museums, 1932. Includes postcards and photographs of European museums and exhibits collected by Carl W. Mitman

Box 7 of 9

Folder 10 Notes from Carl W. Mitman's Tour of European Technical Museums, 1932 (Accession 03-073)

Box 7 of 9

Folder 11 Filing Scheme for Division of Technology records, 1898

Box 7 of 9

Folder 12 Key to diagram of Exhibits of Division of Technology, 1900

Box 7 of 9

Box 8

Folder 1 Material packed for Evacuation, 1942

Box 8 of 9

Folder 2 Memorandum of Work to be Done, April 12, 1911

Box 8 of 9

Folder 3 Miscellaneous Papers: "Gypsum in the National Museum" and "Genesis of the National Museum" by George Brown Goode, and a summary of "A Popular Catalogue of the Extraordinary Curiosities in the National Institute..."

Box 8 of 9

Folder 4 Objects Removed from the New Building to the Old Building, April 9,1910

Box 8 of 9

Folder 5 Regents' meeting report, 1946

Box 8 of 9

Folder 6 Requisitions, 1909-1912

Box 8 of 9

Folder 7 Storage Inventory, 1933

Box 8 of 9

Folder 8 War Damage Precautions, Division of Engineering, 1941-1942

Box 8 of 9
FILES RELATED TO NATIONAL MUSEUM OF ENGINEERING AND INDUSTRIES,1920-1932

Box 8

Folder 9 Correspondence, 1922-1925, 1927-1928

Box 8 of 9

Folder 10 Photograph of National Museum of Engineering and Industry

Box 8 of 9

Box 9

Folder 1 Articles and clippings, 1920-1931

Box 9 of 9

Folder 2 Background and history, 1922-1932

Box 9 of 9

Folder 3 Drawings

Box 9 of 9

Folder 4 Legislation, 1929-1932

Box 9 of 9

Folder 5 Minutes, 1923-1925. Minutes of the Organizing Committee of the Museum

Box 9 of 9

Folder 6 Miscellany

Box 9 of 9

Series 7

BIOGRAPHICAL FILE

Box 9

Folder 7 Amateis, Louis (1855-1913)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 8 Baldwin, Matthias William (1795-1866)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 9 Battin, Joseph and S.

Box 9 of 9

Folder 10 Bond, George Meade (1852-1935)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 11 Boynton, E. Moody (1840-1927)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 12 Brayton, George B. (1830-1892)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 13 Brown, Alexander E. (1852-1911)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 14 Burgess, Hugh

Box 9 of 9

Folder 15 Campbell, Henry R.

Box 9 of 9

Folder 16 Carre, Ferdinand P. E.

Box 9 of 9

Folder 17 Chandler, Charles F. (1836-1925)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 18 Craske, Charles (1822- ? )

Box 9 of 9

Folder 19 Cummings, Benjamin

Box 9 of 9

Folder 20 Daggett, Ezra and Kensett, Thomas

Box 9 of 9

Folder 21 Duncan, Ellison C. (1817- ? )

Box 9 of 9

Folder 22 Fitzgerald, Daniel

Box 9 of 9

Folder 23 Gilmore, John

Box 9 of 9

Folder 24 Gold, Edgar Habberton (1868-1928) and Gold, Edward E. (1847- ? )

Box 9 of 9

Folder 25 Gwaltney, Pembroke Decatur (1836-1914)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 26 Hapgood, Asa ( ? -1885)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 27 Kellogg, George (1815- ? )

Box 9 of 9

Folder 28 Kelly, William H. (1864?-1930)

Box 9 of 9
Kensett, Thomas. See under Daggett, Ezra.

Folder 29 Kyan, John Howard (1774-1850)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 30 Lombard, Alvin O. (1856- ? )

Box 9 of 9

Folder 31 McMurray, Louis (1823-1888)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 32 Manny, John H. (1825-1856)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 33 Manville, Charles (1834-1927)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 34 Mayall, Thomas Jefferson (1826-1888)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 35 Merrill, George P. (1854-1929)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 36 Newbold, Charles (1797- ? )

Box 9 of 9

Folder 37 Northrop, James H.

Box 9 of 9

Folder 38 Paige, James W.

Box 9 of 9

Folder 39 Paret, Thomas Dunkin (1837- ? )

Box 9 of 9

Folder 40 Perkins, Charles Gove (1837- ? )

Box 9 of 9

Folder 41 Perlman, Louis H. (1861-1932)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 42 Phelan, Michael (1816-1871)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 43 Ries, Elias Elkan (1862-1928)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 44 Rillieux, Norbert

Box 9 of 9

Folder 45 Roberts, E. A. L.

Box 9 of 9

Folder 46 Robinson, Enoch

Box 9 of 9

Folder 47 Root, John B.

Box 9 of 9

Folder 48 Sawyer, William E. ( ? -1883)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 49 Shaffner, Taliaferoo Preston (1818-1881)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 50 Sharps, Christian

Box 9 of 9

Folder 51 Smith, Oberlin (1840-1926)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 52 Spaulding, Nathan Weston (1829- ? )

Box 9 of 9

Folder 53 Spear, James (1827- 1903)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 54 Sponsel, Charles William (1861-1931)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 55 Starr, John E. (1860-1931)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 56 Stearns, Joseph Barker (1831- ? )

Box 9 of 9

Folder 57 Such, George (1828-1895)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 58 Sullivan, John Langdon (1777-1865)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 59 Tripler, Charles Eastman (1849-1906)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 60 Tuck, Joseph Henry (1812-1875)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 61 Wadsworth, Arthur (1822-1888)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 62 Wells, Darius (1800-1875)

Box 9 of 9

Folder 63 Whipple, John Adams (1822- ? )

Box 9 of 9

Folder 64 Miscellany

Box 9 of 9