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Finding Aids to Records of Professional Societies in the Smithsonian Institution Archives

Record Unit 7079

Philosophical Society of Washington (Washington, D.C.)

Records, 1871-1968, 1972 and undated

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at osiaref@si.edu.
Creator: Philosophical Society of Washington (Washington, D.C.)
Title: Records
Dates: 1871-1968, 1972 and undated
Quantity: 23.19 cu. ft. (1 record storage box) (43 document boxes) (1 16x20 box)
Collection: Record Unit 7079
Language of Materials: English
Summary:

This record unit includes correspondence (1871-1968), minutes (1871-1965), records of investments and other fiscal records (1871-1968), publications (1871-1962), newspaper clippings, and photographs. Documentation is full before 1950, with some significant gaps. Most of the records deal with administration of the Society: nomination and election of officers, adoption of and changes in the constitution and by-laws, plans for weekly meetings, and special lectures before the Society. The fiscal records are of particular interest for study of the financing of learned societies in America. Included is information regarding Charles G. Abbot, Spencer Fullerton Baird, Leonard Carmichael, George Gamow, Charles B. Goode, Joseph Henry, Samuel P. Langley, Albert James Myer, Simon Newcomb, and Harold Clayton Urey.

Historical Note

The Philosophical Society of Washington (PSW) was organized on March 13, 1871, by forty-seven men who wished to establish, in the District of Columbia, a society dedicated solely to the advancement of science. It was subsequently incorporated in 1915. The Society's stated goals are the promotion of science, the advancement of learning, and the free exchange of views among its members on scientific subjects. It has pursued these goals through regular and special lectures on scientific topics and through the publication of the Philosophical Society of Washington Bulletin.

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Descriptive Entry

This record unit includes correspondence (1871-1968), minutes (1871-1965), records of investments and other fiscal records (1871-1968), publications (1871-1962), newspaper clippings, and photographs. Documentation is full before 1950, with some significant gaps.

Most of the records deal with administration of the Society: nomination and election of officers, adoption of and changes in the constitution and by-laws, plans for weekly meetings, and special lectures before the Society. The fiscal records are of particular interest for study of the financing of learned societies in America. Included is information regarding Charles G. Abbot, Spencer Fullerton Baird, Leonard Carmichael, George Gamow, Charles B. Goode, Joseph Henry, Samuel P. Langley, Albert James Myer, Simon Newcomb, and Harold Clayton Urey.

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Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7079, Philosophical Society of Washington (Washington, D.C.), Records

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Container List

Series 1

MINUTES OF GENERAL MEETINGS, 1871-1952.

Box 1

1871-1882, handwritten drafts and abstracts of meetings

Folder 1 December 2, 1871-November 16, 1872

Box 1 of 46

Folder 2 December 11, 1872-November 1, 1873

Box 1 of 46

Folder 3 November 15, 1873-January 2, 1875

Box 1 of 46

Folder 4 January 30, 1875-May 8, 1875

Box 1 of 46

Folder 5 May 22, 1875-December 4, 1875

Box 1 of 46

Folder 6 December 18, 1875-December 16, 1876

Box 1 of 46

Folder 7 January 13, 1877-April 7, 1877

Box 1 of 46

Folder 8 January 30, 1878-January 17, 1880

Box 1 of 46

Folder 9 February 14, 1880-December 16, 1882

Box 1 of 46

Box 2

1884-1900, handwritten and typewritten drafts and abstracts of meetings; some final reports (printed) included

Folder 1 December 20, 1884-December 21, 1887

Box 2 of 46

Folder 2 January 7, 1888-March 3, 1888

Box 2 of 46

Folder 3 March 17, 1888-April 14, 1888

Box 2 of 46

Folder 4 April 28, 1888-December 22, 1888

Box 2 of 46

Folder 5 January 5, 1889-April 13,1889

Box 2 of 46

Folder 6 April 27, 1889-May 11, 1889

Box 2 of 46

Folder 7 May 25, 1889-November 22, 1890

Box 2 of 46

Folder 8 December 20, 1890-December 19, 1891

Box 2 of 46

Folder 9 November 12, 1898-April 28, 1900

Box 2 of 46

Folder 10 December 5, 1874 and undated

Box 2 of 46

Box 3

1889-1926

Folder 1 January 5, 1889-December 10, 1898 (bound volume)

Box 3 of 46

Folder 2 December 22, 1898-January 7, 1905 (bound volume; dates written on front are January 1899-December 1904)

Box 3 of 46

Folder 3 December 24, 1904-December 9, 1911 (bound volume; dates written on front are January 1905-December 1911)

Box 3 of 46

Folder 4 December 9, 1911-May 22, 1915 (bound volume; January 1912-May 1915)

Box 3 of 46

Folder 5 October 2, 1915-November 27, 1926 (unbound meeting notes)

Box 3 of 46

Box 4

1926-1952

Folder 1 December 11, 1926-January 28, 1933 (Printed with the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)

Box 4 of 46

Folder 2 January 4, 1930-December 3, 1938

Box 4 of 46

Folder 3 December 17, 1938-December 7, 1940

Box 4 of 46

Folder 4 October 10, 1942-May 26, 1945

Box 4 of 46

Folder 5 October 13, 1945-December 4, 1948

Box 4 of 46

Folder 6 October 11, 1947-May 23, 1952

Box 4 of 46

Series 2

MINUTES OF THE GENERAL COMMITTEE MEETINGS, 1883-1965.

Box 5

Minutes of the General Committee Meetings, 1883-1914

Folder 1 January 27, 1883-October 7, 1888

Box 5 of 46

Folder 2 November 10, 1888-May 21, 1892

Box 5 of 46

Folder 3 October 15, 1892-December 22, 1898

Box 5 of 46

Folder 4 January 7, 1899-December 9, 1911

Box 5 of 46

Folder 5 December 15, 1911-December 19, 1914

Box 5 of 46

Box 6

Minutes of the General Committee Meetings, 1919-1965

Folder 1 January 4, 1919-May 6, 1922

Box 6 of 46

Folder 2 December 7, 1940-December 1, 1952 (binder)

Box 6 of 46

Folder 3 December 5, 1952-December 1, 1962

Box 6 of 46

Folder 4 December 1, 1957-October 26, 1962 (includes brief history of Society)

Box 6 of 46

Folder 5 December 7, 1962-December 17, 1965

Box 6 of 46

Series 3

CORRESPONDENCE, 1871-1968, 1972.

This series consists of correspondence on membership (including address changes, acceptances and rejections of membership), letters regarding publication of Society's bulletin, and some early speeches at meetings. Of special interest is a draft of a letter asking Joseph Henry to preside at a meeting to form the Society. Some correspondence deals with negotiations with speakers and lecturers, discussion of other Society business, and correspondence with other learned societies.

Box 7

Correspondence, 1871-1883

Folder 1 1871

Box 7 of 46

Folder 2 1872

Box 7 of 46

Folder 3 1873 (January-March)

Box 7 of 46

Folder 4 1873 (April-December)

Box 7 of 46

Folder 5 1874 (January-February)

Box 7 of 46

Folder 6 1874 (April-December)

Box 7 of 46

Folder 7 1875

Box 7 of 46

Folder 8 1876

Box 7 of 46

Folder 9 1877

Box 7 of 46

Folder 10 1878

Box 7 of 46