Disloyalty, Dismissal, and a Deal: The Development of the National Museum at the Smithsonian Institution, 1846-1855

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Summary

This article addresses the 1855 controversy sparked by Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry's dismissal of Assistant Secretary/Librarian Charles Coffin Jewett. Henry saw the library as demanding too large a portion of the Smithsonian's funds and its continued growth was not in keeping with his vision for the Institution. The author contends that Henry reached an agreement with Spencer Baird, Assistant Secretary in charge of the United States National Museum, allowing Baird to develop a National Museum in return for his loyalty during the Jewett crisis.

Subject

  • Ripley, Sidney Dillon 1913-2001
  • Baird, Spencer Fullerton 1823-1887
  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Jewett, Charles C (Charles Coffin) 1816-1868
  • Washburn, Wilcomb E
  • United States National Museum
  • Smithsonian Institution Libraries (SIL)
  • Assistant Secretary in charge of the United States National Museum

Category

Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography

Notes

The author's conclusions are challenged in S. Dillon Ripley and Wilcomb E. Washburn, "The Development of the National Museum at the Smithsonian Institution, 1846-1855: A Response to Joel J. Orosz's Article," Museum Studies Journal 2 (March 1987): 6- 11; Orosz responds to this critique in "In Defense of the Deal: A Rebuttal to S. Dillon Ripley's and Wilcomb Washburn's 'Response'," Museum Studies Journal 3 (1987): 7-12.

Contained within

Museum Studies Journal Vol. 2 (Journal)

Contact information

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

Date

1986

Topic

  • Assistant Secretaries
  • Controversies
  • Secretaries
  • SI, Early History
  • Museums
  • Libraries
  • Management
  • Management--Museums

Physical description

pp. 22-33

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