Agency history, 1897-1947

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  • Benedict, James E (James Everard) 1854-1940
  • Schmitt, Waldo L (Waldo Lasalle) 1887-1977
  • Stejneger, Leonhard 1851-1943
  • True, Frederick William 1858-1914
  • United States National Museum Department of Zoology
  • United States National Museum Department of Botany


Agency History


  • This is an agency history. It does not describe actual records. The Smithsonian Institution Archives uses these histories as brief accounts of the origin, development, and functions of an office or administrative unit to set that unit in its historical context. To find information on record holdings, please double-click the highlighted field "Creator/Author", which will open on a brief view of relevant records.
  • Guide to the Smithsonian Archives
  • The Department of Biology was formed during the reorganization of the United States National Museum (USNM) in 1897. At that time, the various departments in the biological sciences became divisions and the Department of Biology was set up as the organizational unit controlling those divisions. The Department remained an administrative entity of the USNM until 1947 when it was divided into the Departments of Zoology and Botany.
  • Head Curators of the Department of Biology included Frederick William True, 1897-1911; Leonhard Stejneger, 1911-1943; and Waldo L. Schmitt, 1943-1947. James E. Benedict was appointed Chief of Exhibits in the Department of Biology in 1909. His title was changed to Assistant Curator in 1918, and he continued in that position until his retirement in 1930.
  • For a history of the larger creating unit, refer to "Forms part of" above.

Repository Loc.

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520


  • 1897
  • 1897-1947




Mixed archival materials

Local number

SIA AH00037

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