Smithsonian Institution, Board of Regents, Minutes, 1850

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  • Present: Millard F. Fillmore, William F. Colcock, Jefferson Davis, Graham N. Fitch, Walter Lenox. Also Present: Joseph Henry. The members not present were Roger B. Taney, James A. Pearce, James M. Mason, Henry W. Hilliard, Alexander Dallas Bache, Joseph G. Totten, Rufus Choate, Gideon Hawley, Richard Rush, and William C. Preston.
  • The Secretary stated that vacancies existed in two committees of the board due to the retirement of Mr. Seaton, after which the board resolved that General Totten be appointed a member of the Executive Committee and that Mr. Lenox be appointed a member of the Building Committee. The Secretary stated that in "order to the developmental of the plans of the institution, it was necessary" to appoint "additional assistants" and requested that he be able to appoint an "assistant in the department of natural history." The board then resolved that the Secretary be allowed to appoint an Assistant Secretary "to take charge of the museum, and to render such other assistance as the Secretary may require, at the salary of fifteen hundred" dollars per year. The Secretary then selected Professor Spencer F. Baird, after which the board approved the appointment.
  • The Secretary then stated that Dr. Edward Foremen had been working the last year as a "general assistant," and that he had been elected professor of chemistry at the National Medical College of Washington, the duties of which wouldn't interfere with those of the Institution; the Secretary then requested that Dr. Foremen be employed by the Institution on a "permanent basis," after which the board resolved to appoint a "general assistant" for the sum of $1200 dollars a year. The Secretary appointed Dr. Foreman, which the board approved. The board then resolved that up to $20,000 be appropriated for "the current expenses of this year; the objects of the expenditure to be those designated in the programme of the institution," to be determined by the Executive Committee.
  • The Secretary then presented the board with a plan from Professor Jewett for "stereotyping or electrotyping catalogues of libraries," after which he stated that he thought it "a proposition which appeared to him of great importance in carrying out the objects of the institution," and that he thought it should be referred to himself and the Executive Committee in order that they refer it to a "commission of literary gentlemen for examination." The board then adjourned to meet at the call of the Secretary.


  • Lenox, Walter 1817-1874
  • Colcock, William Ferguson
  • Fitch, Graham Newell
  • Davis, Jefferson 1808-1889
  • Fillmore, Millard 1800-1874
  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Foreman, Edward
  • Seaton, William Winston 1785-1866
  • Baird, Spencer Fullerton 1823-1887
  • Totten, Joseph Gilbert 1788-1864
  • Jewett, Charles C (Charles Coffin) 1816-1868
  • Mason, James Murray
  • Hawley, Gideon 1785-1870
  • Pearce, James Alfred
  • Bache, A. D (Alexander Dallas) 1806-1867
  • Hilliard, Henry W (Henry Washington) 1808-1892
  • Rush, Richard 1780-1859
  • Taney, Roger Brooke 1777-1864
  • Preston, William C. 1794-1860
  • Choate, Rufus, 1799-1859
  • Board of Regents Committee on Buildings
  • Board of Regents Executive Committee
  • Assistant Secretary in charge of the United States National Museum
  • Assistant Secretary in charge of the Library
  • Board of Regents
  • Regents Smithsonian Institution


Smithsonian Legal Documents

Legal document information

  • 1850/07/05 Regents Minutes
  • Board of Regents - Minutes of Meetings, 1846-


The board selects Spencer F. Baird as Assistant Secretary in charge of the Natural History museum.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 1, Board of Regents Vol. 1 (Bound volume)

Contact information

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


  • 1879
  • July 5, 1850


  • Library science
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Personnel management
  • Employees
  • Smithsonian Institution--Employees


Board of Regents

Physical description

Number of pages: 2; Page numbers: 67-68

Full Record

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