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Finding Aids to Official Records of the Smithsonian Institution Archives

Record Unit 396

National Museum of American History. Division of Military History

Records, circa 1968-1981

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at osiaref@si.edu.
Creator: National Museum of American History. Division of Military History
Title: Records
Dates: circa 1968-1981
Quantity: 5 cu. ft. (5 record storage boxes)
Collection: Record Unit 396
Language of Materials: English
Summary:

These records consist of public inquiries from museums, universities, historical societies, and private collectors regarding gun models, saber types, military heraldry, uniform insignia, history of the United States Army, the preservation of artifacts, and paintings illustrating scenes from American military history. Also included are copies of responses to public inquiries by the two curators; photographs, scripts, and correspondence concerning the exhibitions "By Sea and By Land: Independence with the Help of France," "Steuben: Secret Aid for the Americans," and "Belgian Gunmaking and American History;" and memoranda from administrative offices, some of which pertain to planning for the Bicentennial of the American Revolution.

Historical Note

Beginning in the 1880s, military collections were curated by the Section of Historical Relics, United States National Museum, and its various successors through to the Division of History. In 1935, the Division established the Military and Naval Collection, and, in 1947, it formed a Section of Military History. The Section was given Division status in 1948 and was placed under the direction of Mendel L. Peterson. Additional details on the history of the Division are located in Record Unit 383, and in the introduction to the Department of Social and Cultural History, Guide to the Smithsonian Archives, 1996.

The Division of Military History was responsible for tracing the historical development of the United States Army from its inception as a colonial militia to its current role in the missile age. Research focused on United States Army firearms, artillery, ammunition, edged weapons, uniforms, medals, and flags. In addition to collecting military and foreign artifacts the Division published military histories and conducted studies of arms collections in other museums.

Staff members of the Division included Craddock R. Goins, Jr., Curator, 1959- , and Donald E. Kloster, Associate Curator, 1973- .

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Descriptive Entry

These records consist of public inquiries from museums, universities, historical societies, and private collectors regarding gun models, saber types, military heraldry, uniform insignia, history of the United States Army, the preservation of artifacts, and paintings illustrating scenes from American military history. Also included are copies of responses to public inquiries by the two curators; photographs, scripts, and correspondence concerning the exhibitions By Sea and By Land: Independence with the Help of France, Steuben: Secret Aid for the Americans, and Belgian Gunmaking and American History; and memoranda from administrative offices, some of which pertain to planning for the Bicentennial of the American Revolution.

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Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 396, National Museum of American History. Division of Military History, Records

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Container List

Box 1

Correspondence: A-Mc, 1976-1978

Box 1 of 5

Box 2

Correspondence: Mi-Y, 1976-1978

Box 2 of 5

Box 3

Correspondence: A-Z, 1979

Box 3 of 5

Proposed Center for History of Science and Technology, 1977

Box 3 of 5

Ault, Richard L.

Box 3 of 5

Bedini, Silvio A.

Box 3 of 5

Collins, Michael

Box 3 of 5

Klapthor, Margaret

Box 3 of 5

Middleton, Jean

Box 3 of 5

Memoranda, 1979

Box 3 of 5

Box 4

Correspondence: A-Q, 1980

Box 4 of 5

Reilly, R.M.

Box 4 of 5

Box 5

Correspondence: R-Z, 1980

Box 5 of 5

Summer Grants, 1980

Box 5 of 5

Yorktown Exhibition, 1980-1981 (3 folders; includes photographs)

Box 5 of 5

American Revolution Bicentennial Planning: Memoranda 1 1968-1973

Box 5 of 5

Exhibition: Belgian Gunmaking and American History, 1975-1976 (2 folders)

Box 5 of 5