International Exchange Service Begins




Date: November 1849


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The system of international exchanges begins, with the Smithsonian providing a clearinghouse function for the exchange of literary and scientific works between societies and individuals in this country and abroad. In his fifth Annual Report, Secretary Joseph Henry describes the exchange system, under charge of Professor Spencer F. Baird, as an extension of one operated by American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.


  • Baird, Spencer Fullerton 1823-1887
  • International Exchange Service (IES)
  • American Philosophical Society
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Image shows Spencer Fullerton Baird's office and desk, by Thomas Smillie, 1878. Smithsonian Institution Archives, negative number 2002-10672.
  • A history of the Smithsonian Exchanges by George H. Boehmer appears as an appendix to the Annual Report for 1881, pp. 703-810.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1853. Washington, D.C.: A.O.P. Nicholson, 1854, p. 210-211, 224.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1881. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1883, p. 703-810.
  • Oehser, Paul H. The Smithsonian Institution. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970, p. 36.

Contact information

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


November 1849


  • Professional associations
  • New Programs
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • Exchanges, Literary and scientific
  • Major Events in Smithsonian History
  • Museum publications

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