"Fifty Years To-day" Poem, 4 pages

ID: SIA2011-1120 (Title page), SIA2011-1121 (Poem-Page 1), SIA2011-1122 (Poem-Page 2), SIA2011-1123 (Poem-Page 3)

Creator: Brown, Solomon Galleon c. 1829-1906

Form/Genre: Document

Date: June 1903

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Reference File Room, Folder: Brown, Solomon G

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"Fifty Years To-day" is a poem written by Solomon G. Brown, the first African American employee of the Smithsonian, commemorating his 50 years of continual service at the Smithsonian Institution. A ceremony was held on February 15th, 1902, honoring Brown. Samuel P. Langley was Secretary. It was published in a pamphlet made possible by "contributions of his friends at the Smithsonian Institution" in 1903. 4 pages.


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Smithsonian Institution Archives, Reference File Room, Folder: Brown, Solomon G

Contact information

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


June 1903

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  • Rites and ceremonies
  • Anniversaries
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Personnel management
  • Employees
  • Poetry
  • Smithsonian Institution--Employees
  • African Americans
  • Ceremonies
  • Event


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2011-1120 (Title page), SIA2011-1121 (Poem-Page 1), SIA2011-1122 (Poem-Page 2), SIA2011-1123 (Poem-Page 3)

Physical description

Number of Images: 4 Color: Color ; Size: 4 7/8w x 8h ; Type of Image: Document ; Medium: Paper

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^[[42]] [[stamped]] F B JUN22 1903[[/stamped]] 1852 1903 CONGRATULATIONS TO SOLOMON G. BROWN A VERSE FIFTY YEARS TO-DAY This verse written at request of several friends commemorative of AN OFFICIAL VISIT -MADE TO- Solomon G. Brown on the Morning of February 15th, 1902, by the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, accompanied by MR. F. W. HODGE, Assistant in charge of office, MR. W. I. ADAMS, Chief Clerk of the Exchange, MR. JAMES G. TRAYLOR, MR. H. W. DORSEY, Special Assistant to the Secretary. Each in turn (after the Secretary) offered their congratulations to Solomon G. Brown upon his reaching fifty years continual service in the Institution. Solomon G. Brown, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 1902. Published by contributions of his friends at the Smithsonian Institution June, 1903.
FIFTY YEARS TODAY. 'Mid all the changes I have seen Since fifty years have rolled between, My eyes can rest on only few - Whose faces once could daily view, And kindly greet on passing. My mind goes back to hallowed spots Fraught by memories by some forgot; Which bring up friends most dear to me Who've long since gone beyond the sea.- It seems I'll not forget them. Many I've known are dead and gone Many are here who've since been born; Some's resigned and changed their home Others through foreign countries roam, And these are- -Sending gems to you and me They've gathered from the land and sea These, too, were young, now growing old; But many facts are yet untold, To be revealed by others. Every year since here I'd stay, Some much loved friend's been called away; Younger men in every case- Have come right up an filled their place. And suggesting some improvements. We'll now call up our first main chief Whose history may be told in brief; A pleasant man so meek and mild Was great, yet gentle as a child, A man whom all regarded
A man of pious, Godly fear Affording all his friendly care; 'T was he who first appointed me Since then he's gone beyond the sea- We never can forget him. Since then new generations born, Take his research and move them on; Are treasured by great men of thought, Receive the credit such research ought, Thus adding much to knowledge. By Henry the electric plans were laid, His mind this grand conception made; By him was launched out on the sea- Which now brings news to you and me, In the shortest space of time. I've been impressed o'er fifty years By Henry's brain and patient cares; The honors given F. B. Morse Were wholly done at Henry's cause Which all his friends regretted. By Henry, I always will believe The telegraph was first conceived. The part he played upon the staff- Made complete the telegraph, Which is our greatest blessing. Our second chief who filled his placed Was one of justice, truth and grace; A scientist of great renown No greater naturalist could be found, In this, or other countries. My highest tribute to these names My comrades here will do the same; To Henry, Baird and G. Brown Goode- Each in his place wherein they stood- Long may their fame be honored.
Wisdom from these minds would flow Increasing knowledge more and more; Now younger men can easily learn Just how these great men were concerned In diffusing usefull knowledge. From precious seeds these men have sown; Gigantic plants and trees have grown; The Weather Bureau was planted here From observations made each year, And studied out by Henry- The nation's museum had its growth; The Fish Commission was brought forth; The exchange of books began to breathe- By Baird and Henry these were conceived And carried into practice. I've lived to hail the third learned chief. Whose election brought us much relief; While we greatly missed the two then gone Yet every branch moves smoothly on, With many great improvements. With our present chief the Zoo did start And other additions for his part; He also gained that splendid park A place once dangerous, wet and dark, Is now a splendid country. Improvements seen on every hand The costly, desirable, stretch of land; See how grand since he begun The work our honored chief has done- To beautify this city. Since eighteen hundred and fifty-two, This may seem far back to you; But much has passed I have not told- Then I was young but now I'm old, But still I am observing.