Agency history, 1881-1963

Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact


  • Ashmead, William H (William Harris) 1855-1908
  • Blackwelder, Richard E
  • Cartwright, Oscar Ling
  • Chapin, Edward Albert 1894-
  • Clarke, J. F. Gates (John Frederick Gates) 1905-1990
  • Crabill, Ralph E
  • Davis, Donald R (Donald Ray)
  • Duckworth, W. Donald
  • Dyar, Harrison G (Harrison Gray) 1866-1929
  • Field, William D. 1914-1992
  • Flint, Oliver S
  • Hoffmann, William Edwin 1896-
  • Smith, John Bernhard 1858-1912
  • Spangler, Paul J
  • Linell, Martin L
  • Crawford, James Chamberlain
  • Glance, Grace E
  • Parfin, Sophy
  • Riley, Charles V (Charles Valentine) 1843-1895
  • Howard, L. O (Leland Ossian) 1857-1950
  • Aldrich, John Merton 1866-1934
  • United States National Museum Department of Insects
  • United States Department of Agriculture
  • United States National Museum Department of Biology
  • United States National Museum Department of Zoology
  • Museum of Natural History (U.S.) Department of Entomology


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
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution
  • Annual Report of the United States National Museum
  • The Division of Insects of the United States National Museum (USNM) had its origins in the deposit of personal collections in 1881 by Charles V. Riley, entomologist of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). A Department of Insects was created in the USNM at that time, with Riley as Honorary Curator. The USNM became the depository for the national collection of insects, and the chief entomologist of the USDA became Honorary Curator of Insects. He was aided by an assistant curator on the USNM staff, and by additional USDA entomologists who served as custodians of various parts of the collection. Riley served as Honorary Curator until his death in 1895 and was succeeded by L. O. Howard who served in the position until his own death in 1950.
  • As a result of an administrative reorganization of the USNM in 1897, the Division of Insects was created as part of the newly established Department of Biology. In 1947, the division came under the administrative control of the Department of Zoology, and in 1963 it was reorganized as the Department of Entomology, Museum of Natural History.
  • Curators and research staff of the Division of Insects included John Bernhard Smith, Assistant Curator, 1886-1889; Martin L. Linell, Aid, 1889-1896; William Harris Ashmead, Assistant Curator, 1897-1908; Harrison G. Dyar, Acting Assistant Curator, 1907-1908; James Chamberlain Crawford, Assistant Curator and Associate Curator, 1908-1919; John Merton Aldrich, Associate Curator, 1919-1934; Edward Albert Chapin, Curator, 1934-1954; Richard E. Blackwelder, Assistant Curator and Associate Curator, 1940-1954; William Edwin Hoffmann, Associate Curator, 1944-1948; William D. Field, Associate Curator, 1948-1963; Grace E. Glance, Associate Curator, 1948-1957; Oscar Ling Cartwright, Associate Curator, 1948-1963; Sophy Parfin, Assistant Curator, 1951-1959; J. F. Gates Clarke, Curator, 1954-1963; Ralph E. Crabill, Associate Curator, 1956-1963; Oliver S. Flint, Associate Curator, 1961-1963; Donald R. Davis, Associate Curator, 1961-1963; Paul J. Spangler, Associate Curator, 1962-1963; and W. Donald Duckworth, 1962-1963.
  • 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


  • 1881
  • 1881-1963


  • Entomology
  • Entomologists


Mixed archival materials

Local number

SIA AH00051

Full Record

View Full Record