Finding Aids to Oral Histories in the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 9500
Abbot, C. G. (Charles Greeley), 1872-1973, interviewee
C. G. Abbot Oral History Interviews, 1973
Charles Greeley Abbot graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1894 and came to work as an assistant to Samuel P. Langley at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory on June 19, 1895. The following year he was placed in charge of the Observatory and in 1907 was made director of the Observatory, a position he held until 1944. He served as Assistant Secretary from 1918 to 1928 and as Secretary of the Smithsonian from 1928 to 1944. He continued as a Research Associate of the Institution until his death in 1973. Abbot pioneered solar observation and meteorological prediction and refined the bolometer.
The Smithsonian Institution Archives began its Oral History Program in 1973. The purpose of the program is to supplement the written documentation of the Archives' record and manuscript collections with an Oral History Collection, focusing on the history of the Institution, research by its scholars, and contributions of its staff. Program staff conduct interviews with current and retired Smithsonian staff and others who have made significant contributions to the Institution. There are also interviews conducted by researchers or students on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
Dr. Abbot was interviewed for the Oral History Program because he made significant scholarly and administrative contributions to the Smithsonian during 78 years of service.
Abbot was interviewed on October 5 and 12 and November 16, 1973, by Miriam S. Freilicher, shortly before his death at 101 years of age. The interviews consist of reminiscences of Samuel P. Langley and the Astrophysical Observatory, Robert H. Goddard's early work in rocketry, and Joseph G. Cannon of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee. Abbot discussed his philosophy of life and his work in solar observations, meteorological predictions and inventions.
For additional Charles Greeley Abbot interview, see Record Unit 7005, Charles G. Abbot Papers, Box 209.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Abbot, C. G. (Charles Greeley), 1872-1973
- Goddard, Robert Hutchings, 1882-1945
- Cannon, Joseph Gurney, 1836-1926
- Langley, S. P. (Samuel Pierpont), 1834-1906
- Freilicher, Miriam S., interviewer
- Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
- Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9500, C. G. Abbot Oral History Interviews