Legislation to Appoint Acting Secretaries

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United States Congress passes an act enabling the Chancellor of the Smithsonian Institution to appoint a suitable person as acting Secretary in the event that a vacancy occurs in the office of Secretary. This supplements the act passed on January 24, 1879. The appointment, in writing, is to be kept filed in the office of Secretary. The Chancellor may change the designation as required. This appointment ensures that should a vacancy occur while the Chancellor is unavailable there will be no lapse in the office. On July 2, 1884, William Jones Rhees is appointed the first Acting Secretary by Chancellor Morrison R. Waite.


  • Rhees, William Jones 1830-1907
  • Waite, Morrison R (Morrison Remick) 1816-1888
  • Chancellor of the Smithsonian Board of Regents
  • United States Congress


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Vol. 42. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1901, p. 9, 53.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1885. Washingotn, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1886, p. xii-xiii.
  • Rhees, William Jones. The Smithsonian Institution: Documents Relative to Its Origin and History: 1835-1899, Vol. 1, 1835-1887. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1901, p. 952-953.

Contact information

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


May 13, 1884


  • Law
  • Secretaries
  • Acting Secretaries
  • Legislation

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