SAO Moves to Harvard College Observatory

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

Narrow Your Results


Filter Your Results

Smithsonian Secretaries Information

Close Browse records and papers of the Smithsonian Secretaries, from 1846 until today. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by individuals who have held that office.

Expeditions Information

Close Browse records and papers documenting scientific and collecting expeditions either affiliated with the Smithsonian, or with which Smithsonian researchers participated. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by geographic regions predominantly represented in expedition records.

Professional Societies Information

Close Browse records of professional societies closely associated with the Smithsonian, that focus on areas of scientific research and museum studies. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by major topics and disciplines.


Under an agreement with Harvard University, the headquarters of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts. Fred Lawrence Whipple, chair of the Department of Astronomy, Harvard University, is appointed director. The agreement is signed by Smithsonian Secretary Leonard Carmichael and Donald H. Menzel, Director of the Harvard College Observatory.


  • Whipple, Fred Lawrence 1906-
  • Carmichael, Leonard 1898-1973
  • Menzel, Donald Howard 1901-
  • Harvard College Observatory
  • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
  • Harvard University


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • See Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 50, Box 15, Folder: APO Future, for a copy of the signed 1955 agreement between the Smithsonian Institution and Harvard College Observatory.
  • Guide to Smithsonian Archives. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1983. Archives and Special Collections of the Smithsonian Institution Number 4, p. 125.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1955, pp. 11, 60.
  • Oehser, Paul H. The Smithsonian Institution. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970, p. 119.
  • The Torch, May 1981, p. 2.

Contact information

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


July 1, 1955


  • Observatories
  • Cambridge, MA
  • Astrophysics
  • Directors
  • Cooperation
  • Reorganizations
  • Astronomy

Full Record

View Full Record