Charles G. Abbot Elected Secretary

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Charles Greeley Abbot (1872-1973) is elected the fifth Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution by the Board of Regents. He serves a sixteen-year term, from 1928 to 1944, through the Great Depression and World War II. He first came to the Institution in 1895 as an aid at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory after receiving his master's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Upon Secretary Samuel P. Langley's death he had become director of the Astrophysical Observatory and in 1918 Assistant Secretary. After the death of Secretary Charles Doolittle Walcott on February 9, 1927, Assistant Secretary Abbot was appointed Acting Secretary on February 10, 1927 and served until his election as the fifth Secretary the following January.


  • Abbot, C. G (Charles Greeley) b. 1872
  • Walcott, Charles D (Charles Doolittle) 1850-1927
  • Board of Regents
  • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Oehser, Paul H. The Smithsonian Institution. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970, p. 59-60.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1928. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1929, p. 2.

Contact information

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


January 10, 1928


  • Assistant Secretaries
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  • Astrophysics
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  • Major Events in Smithsonian History

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