S. Dillon Ripley Becomes Secretary

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S. Dillon Ripley (Secretary from 1964 to 1984) takes office as the eighth Secretary. Before becoming Secretary, Ripley was a professor of biology at Yale University, and director of its Peabody Museum of Natural History. He was trained as a biologist with a particular interest in ornithology. On January 22, Ripley is welcomed at the opening ceremonies for the National Museum of History and Technology, now the National Museum of American History. Ripley is inducted as Secretary at the January 23, 1964, Board of Regents meeting, but does not take office until February 1, when a ceremony is held at 4 pm in the Great Hall of the Castle. Chief Justice Earl Warren transfers the key to the Castle to Ripley and all Smithsonian staff are invited to a reception. The seventh Secretary, Leonard Carmichael, who had served from 1953 to 1964, retired on January 31, 1964.


  • Ripley, Sidney Dillon 1913-2001
  • Carmichael, Leonard 1898-1973
  • Warren, Earl 1891-1974
  • Board of Regents
  • National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.)
  • Peabody Museum of Natural History
  • Yale University


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Oehser, Paul H. The Smithsonian Institution. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970, p. 68.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1964. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1965, p. 1.

Contact information

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


February 1, 1964


  • Secretariats
  • Animals
  • Appointments
  • Museum openings
  • Secretaries
  • Birds
  • Museums
  • Management
  • Major Events in Smithsonian History
  • Ornithology
  • Museums--Management

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