Letter S. D. Ripley to Lyndon Johnson, June 22, 1965

ID: SIA2011-1433 and SIA2011-1434

Creator: Ripley, Sidney Dillon 1913-2001

Form/Genre: Document

Date: June 22, 1965

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 99, Box 69, Folder 1

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  • A letter from S. Dillon Ripley, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson requesting that the U.S. Court of Claims Building be transferred to Smithsonian custody for use as a museum.
  • William Wilson Corcoran began construction on his gallery of art at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in 1859 and hired as the architect James Renwick, Jr., who had designed the Smithsonian Institution Building, or "Castle." The building was seized by the government in 1861 and used as a warehouse and office space for Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs during the Civil War. The building was eventually returned to Corcoran, and opened as his art gallery in 1872. When his collection outgrew the space, he built a new gallery nearby. The building was then used as the U.S. Court of Claims Building until 1965, when it was transferred to the Smithsonian, and renovated for use as the Renwick Gallery of Art devoted to American crafts and decorative arts.


  • Johnson, Lyndon B (Lyndon Baines) 1908-1973
  • Corcoran, W. W (William Wilson) 1798-1888
  • Renwick, James 1818-1895
  • Ripley, Sidney Dillon 1913-2001
  • Court of Claims Building
  • Corcoran Gallery of Art
  • United States President (1963-1969 : Johnson)
  • Renwick Gallery


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


SIA2011-1433 is page 1 and SIA2011-1434 is page 2.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 99, Box 69, Folder 1

Contact information

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


  • June 22, 1965
  • Civil War, 1861-1865
  • 1961-1970

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Art museums
  • Secretaries
  • Interagency Transfers
  • History


  • United States
  • Washington (D.C.)


  • Document
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2011-1433 and SIA2011-1434

Physical description

Number of Images: 2; Color: Color; Size: 8w x 10.5h; Type of Image: Document; Medium: Paper

Full Record

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