Agency history, 1964-

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  • Vari, Richard P
  • Watson, George E (George Elder) 1931-
  • Humphrey, Philip S (Philip Strong) 1926-2009
  • Zug, George R. 1938-
  • Heyer, W. Ronald
  • Thorington, Richard W
  • Johnson, G. David
  • Parenti, Lynne R
  • Gibbs, Robert H. Jr
  • Wilson, Don E
  • Baldwin, Carole C
  • United States National Marine Fisheries Service
  • Geological Survey (U.S.)
  • b Museum of Natural History (U.S.) Department of Zoology


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
  • Smithsonian Year
  • Backbone: Newsletter of the Department of Vertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
  • National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution,"Vertebrate Zoology at the Smithsonian."[], August 20, 1999
  • National Museum of Natural History, Our Research, Vertebrate Zoology, Staff,, accessed August 3, 2021.
  • The Department of Vertebrate Zoology was created in 1964 by the separation of the Department of Zoology into vertebrate and invertebrate branches. Vertebrate Zoology is the study of animals with backbones. Research in the department covers fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The department holds the largest collection of vertebrate specimens in the world, including historically important collections from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Research in the department provides a solid foundation of understanding for government agencies, conservation organizations, and individuals involved in fish and wildlife management. Zoologists from two other federal agencies work so closely with colleagues and specimens at the Museum that they are permanently stationed in the building. Specialists from the National Marine Fisheries Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce focus primarily on commercially important fishes, while those from the Geological Survey of the U.S. Department of the Interior focus on amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.
  • Chairmen of the Department have included Philip S. Humphrey, 1964-1968; George E. Watson, 1968-1972; Robert H. Gibbs, Jr., 1972-1978; George R. Zug, 1978-1983; W. Ronald Heyer, 1984-1987; Richard W. Thorington, 1987-1992; G. David Johnson, 1992-1999; Lynne R. Parenti, 1999-2004; Richard P. Vari, 2005-2009; Don E. Wilson, 2009-2011; Richard P. Vari, 2011-2014; and Carole C. Baldwin, 2017- .
  • 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


  • 1964
  • 1964-


  • Reptiles
  • Vertebrates
  • Animals
  • Fishes
  • Birds
  • Vertebrate zoology
  • Mammals
  • Amphibians


Mixed archival materials

Local number

SIA AH00028

Full Record

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