The View From the Castle: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, off to a shaky start 47 years ago, adds a vital dimension to ecological studies

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Smithsonian Secretary S. Dillon Ripley recounts the history of the first U.S. government supported tropical study center in the world, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Originally founded in the Panama Canal Zone on the island of Barro Colorado in Gatun Lake, former Smithsonian Secretary, Alexander Wetmore, obtained the research area from President Harry Truman. Pioneer work in tropical American ecology started on the island, and the Institute presently studies marine and terrestrial ecology.


  • Truman, Harry S. 1884-1972
  • Wetmore, Alexander 1886-
  • Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)
  • United States Congress


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography

Contained within

Smithsonian Vol. 1, no. 5 (Journal)

Contact information

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


August 1970


  • Rain forest ecology
  • Law
  • Field Stations
  • Castle View
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Ecology
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Legislation
  • Research


  • Barro Colorado Nature Monument (Panama)
  • Panama
  • Barro Colorado Island (Panama)

Physical description

p. 64

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