Helena Weiss Is Appointed Registrar




Date: 1956


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  • Helena M. Weiss (1909-2004), museum registrar and administrator, began her career as a stenographer for the Veterans Administration in 1930. In 1931, she was appointed Junior Clerk-Stenographer in the Office of Correspondence and Documents (renamed the Office of Correspondence and Records in 1947) of the United States National Museum (USNM) and in 1935 transferred to the Department of Geology. She returned to the Office of Correspondence and Records in 1948 as an Administrative Assistant and later that year advanced to Chief, after the retirement of Herbert S. Bryant. In 1956, her title was changed to Registrar and she remained in that position until her retirement in 1971.
  • As one of the first women managers at the Smithsonian, Weiss was responsible for the central filing system of the USNM, public inquiry mail, mail service, accession reports, loans and exchanges, shipping, foreign travel, customs regulations, insurance, and workman's compensation. She was involved in the acquisition of such famous museum specimens as the Wright Brothers' plane, Kitty Hawk, the Hope Diamond, and the Fenykovi elephant.


  • Weiss, Helena M. 1909-2004
  • Office of the Registrar
  • United States National Museum
  • Correspondence and Documents, Division of


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Image is of Helena Weiss at her retirement party with Francine Berkowitz and Under Secretary James C. Bradley, on December 30, 1971. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 371, Office of Public Affairs, Torch Records, Box 1, Folder: March 1972. There was a March 1972 Torch article about Weiss's retirement. Negative number is SIA-92-3570.
  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9587, Helena M. Weiss Interviews, 1987.

Contact information

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




  • Women
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Personnel management
  • Employees
  • Museum registrars
  • History
  • Women--History
  • Smithsonian Institution--Employees

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