Alexander Wetmore Elected Secretary




Date: January 12, 1945


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Alexander Wetmore (1886-1978) is elected the sixth Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution on 12 January 1945 by the Board of Regents. A noted ornithologist, he had been associated with the Institution since 1924, when he served for a short time as director of the National Zoological Park. He had also served as Assistant Secretary in charge of the United States National Museum from 1925 through 1948, and had served as Acting Secretary since July 1, 1944, when Secretary Charles Greeley Abbot retired. Wetmore served a seven year term as Secretary, from 12 January 1945 to 31 December 1952.


  • Wetmore, Alexander 1886-
  • National Zoological Park (U.S.)
  • United States National Museum


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Oehser book says the date of election occurred in 1944, but Wetmore was elected at the January 12, 1945, meeting of the Board of Regents according to the Annual Report and minutes of the Board of Regents.
  • Image of Alexander Wetmore, 1944, Negative Number: 82-3138.
  • Audio Clip of Alexander Wetmore's second Oral History Interview describing how he hired new staff, Record Unit 9504.
  • Transcript of Interview two of the Alexander Wetmore Oral History Interview, Record Unit 9504.
  • Oehser, Paul H. The Smithsonian Institution. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970, p. 63.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1945. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1946, p. 7.

Contact information

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


January 12, 1945


  • Assistant Secretaries
  • Secretariats
  • Animals
  • Appointments
  • Secretaries
  • Birds
  • Acting Secretaries
  • Major Events in Smithsonian History
  • Ornithology


  • District of Columbia
  • United States of America
  • Washington

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