Plans to Curtail Library Function of SI




Date: May 20, 1854


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A special committee of the Board of Regents presents a report affirming the power of the Secretary, Joseph Henry, to employ assistants, but does not "require" him to employ assistants. The committee criticizes a suggested plan that would organize the Institution into several departments on the grounds that it would encourage rivalry, collision, hostility, and impaired efficiency and usefulness. It also supports repeal of the resolution of January 1847, requiring equal division of income between active operations and the museum and library, when the buildings are completed. J. Meacham, a member of the committee, submits a minority report dissenting from the conclusions of the report submitted by the committee.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Meacham, James C
  • Board of Regents
  • Smithsonian Institution Libraries (SIL)


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Engraving shows Regents Room in the Smithsonian Institution Building, 1856. Smithsonian Institution Archives, negative number 2005-10436.
  • Goode, George Brown, ed. The Smithsonian Institution, 1846-1896, The History of Its First Half Century. Washington, D.C.: De Vinne Press, 1897., p. 835
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1853, p. 79-97, 247-296

Contact information

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


May 20, 1854


  • Assistant Secretaries
  • Policies
  • Controversies
  • Finance
  • Secretaries
  • Libraries

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