Dr. Frederick W. True

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Dr. Frederick W. True, Mammalogist at the United States National Museum, sits with hands crossed. True first came to the Smithsonian as a clerk for the U.S. Fish Commission from 1878 to 1881, where he was responsible for the Commission's exhibit at the Berlin Fisheries Exposition of 1880. True was hired as librarian and acting curator of mammals in the National Museum in 1881and advanced to Head Curator of Biology, from July 1, 1897, to May 30, 1911. He served as Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution from June 1, 1911, until his death on June 25, 1914. He was the first person who could be termed a curator of marine mammals at the Smithsonian. True studied both living and fossil marine mammals and is best known for his contributions on mysticetes and the beaked whales.


  • True, Frederick William 1858-1914
  • United States National Museum
  • Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.)


Historic Images of the Smithsonian

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 22A, Folder: 77

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu


Unknown, c. 1900

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Personnel management
  • Mammalogists
  • Employees
  • Museums
  • Management
  • Museum curators
  • Management--Museums
  • Smithsonian Institution--Employees


  • Photographic print
  • Person, candid

ID Number

11716 or MAH-11716

Physical description

Color: Black and White; Size: 4w x 6h; Type of Image: Person, candid; Medium: Photographic print

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