Finding Aids to Personal Papers and Special Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 7447
Dorothy Rosenberg Papers, 1963-1984
Dorothy Rosenberg was born on November 16, 1920. She began working after high school in the retail business from 1938 to 1944 before beginning a series of clerical jobs, one of which was part time for an accountant. In 1950, she began her federal career, working at the Department of Interior in a variety of offices, including the Office of the Secretary.
She came to the Smithsonian Institution in 1959 as the Administrative Officer to Assistant Secretary James Bradley. She remained in that position until 1970, when Bradley became Undersecretary. She remained with Bradley, working as his Administrative Officer until 1971, when she became the Administrative Officer to Assistant Secretary Robert A. Brooks. Her duties under both Bradley and Brooks included acting as liaison to the Board of Regents, a duty she brought with her into the position of Executive Assistant to Secretary S. Dillon Ripley in 1973. This job also included management of the Office of the Secretary. She remained in that position until her retirement on January 11, 1980.
She was awarded the Secretary's Gold Medal for Exceptional Service at the September 16, 1979, dinner of the Board of Regents. The next day, the Regents adopted a resolution regretting Rosenberg's decision to retire, citing her "exceptional soundness of judgment, resourcefulness, devotion to ideals of the Institution and, above all, unfailing graciousness."
After her retirement, she remained a part-time contract employee, as a consultant to Secretaries Ripley and Robert McCormick Adams. Her major project was preparing a history of the Board of Regents, which was to include a summary of Board of Regents' activities and a collection of biographical notes on the Regents. This research material forms the bulk of this collection of her papers. She was also engaged in other projects, mostly dealing with the history and administrative structure of the Institution. Although her work on the Board of Regents project formally ended in 1984, she remained a consultant to Secretary Adams until 1986 and a volunteer with the Smithsonian National Associates until the late 1980s.
The Dorothy Rosenberg Papers include materials collected by Rosenberg both as a consultant researching the history of the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents, 1826-1984, from 1980 to 1984; and also naturally during her tenure as Executive Assistant to Secretary S. Dillon Ripley from 1973 to 1980. The first portion of the papers consists of interviews with and information files on members of the Board of Regents which were collected during her time as a consultant. The information files vary greatly in detail, with some files containing just biographical information and some including a record of all Smithsonian actions as a regent. The second portion of the papers deals with a general history of the Board of Regents and with Secretary Ripley's tenure. These papers were collected by Rosenberg both as a consultant and during her time as Executive Assistant. These papers include copies of Regents' meeting minutes; attendance and membership records; records of the Regents' role in the Smithsonian's financial activities; records of Regents' resolutions; copies of legislation dealing with the Smithsonian; a record of the changing policy toward art collections and bequests; records of the founding of facilities; records of the changing structure of the Board of Regents and governance of the Smithsonian; records and reports concerning the benefits and compensation of Secretaries and other executive-level employees; and photographs of Smithsonian buildings, collections, and events. There are also records of other projects she participated in during her time as a consultant, including reports on the relationship of the Smithsonian to the Civil Service and James Bradley's report of Smithsonian events during Ripley's administration. Researchers must be aware that a large amount of notes are in shorthand.
Boxes 1-8, 17, and 18 contain materials which are restricted indefinitely, see finding aid; Contact reference staff for details.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Rosenberg, Dorothy
- Ripley, S. Dillon (Sidney Dillon), 1913-2001
- Bradley, James C., 1910-1984
- Brooks, Robert A. (Robert Angus), 1920-1976
- Adams, Robert McC. (Robert McCormick), 1926-
- Smithsonian Institution. Board of Regents
- Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary. Executive Assistant to the Secretary
- United States Civil Service Commission
- United States. Dept. of the Interior
- Smithsonian National Associates Program
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7447, Dorothy Rosenberg Papers