A Renaissance Man: From Finance to Feathers, Secretary Lawrence M. Small Brings Diverse Talents to the Smithsonian

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  • Article concerns the background, interests and talents of Lawrence M. Small, who became the eleventh Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in January 2000. Small was educated at Brown University and, before his recent position as president and chief operating officer at Fannie Mae, had been posted in various places around the world during twenty-seven years with the financial firm Citicorp/Citibank. During that time he collected art from travels to Africa, New Guinea and the Amazon area; he gave the author a guided tour of his private collection of Amazonian tribal art, displayed as a gallery within an apartment complex near his Washington, D.C. residence.
  • During his conversation with the author, Small spoke of his wife, Sandra Roche Small, and other family members, and described his 40-year quest to become an accomplished flamenco guitar player. Fluent in a number of languages and a member of more than a dozen boards, committees and organizations, Small was planning to retire from Fannie Mae in two years to devote his life to music, art and languages; however, he readily accepted appointment as Smithsonian Secretary instead, telling the author he regarded it as an assignment of total enjoyment, not work. Small shared with the author his vision of creating greater accessibility to the Smithsonian's treasures for millions more people, and praised the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service program and work performed by the Smithsonian's Astrophysical Observatory.


  • Small, Lawrence M
  • Small, Sandra Roche
  • Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service
  • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Two photographs accompany the article.

Contained within

Smithsonian Vol. 30, No. 10 (Journal)

Contact information

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


2000 (January)


  • Secretaries
  • Collectors and collecting
  • Museums
  • Management
  • Biography
  • Management--Museums


Amazon River Region

Physical description

Number of pages : 3 ; Page numbers : 22-24

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