Samuel Langley Elected Third Secretary

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Samuel P. Langley is elected the third Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution at a special meeting of the Board of Regents. His term lasts 19 years, until his death in 1906. Prior to his appointment, Langley was the Assistant Secretary in charge of exchanges, publications, and the library. Prior to that he was director of the Allegheny Observatory and professor of astronomy and physics at the Western University of Pennsylvania (now the University of Pittsburgh). His pioneering research explored and located completely new portions of the infrared spectrum.


  • Langley, S. P (Samuel Pierpont) 1834-1906
  • Allegheny Observatory
  • Board of Regents
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Western University of Pennsylvania


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Goode, George Brown, ed. The Smithsonian Institution, 1846-1896, The History of Its First Half Century. Washington, D.C.: De Vinne Press, 1897, p. 203, 840.
  • Oehser, Paul H. The Smithsonian Institution. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970, p. 49.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1888. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1890, p. 4.

Contact information

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


November 18, 1887


  • Assistant Secretaries
  • Astrophysics
  • Secretaries
  • Management
  • Astronomy
  • Major Events in Smithsonian History

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