Portrait of Spencer Fullerton Baird

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Portrait of Spencer Fullerton Baird (1823-1887), second Secretary (1878-1887) of the Smithsonian Institution. Baird, an ornithologist, arrived in Washington in 1850 to become Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, a post he held for 28 years. Upon the death of Joseph Henry, the first Secretary of the Smithsonian (1847-1878), he became Secretary. This image shows Baird from above the waist, turned slightly looking off to his right. The vigorous Pennsylvanian was to launch and assist dozens of expeditions to the American West. In addition to advice, training and instructions for making scientific observations and collections in the various disciplines of natural history, the Smithsonian provided the explorers with all manner of supplies, such as shipping containers, alcohol, arsenic (a preservative), and scientific instruments.


Baird, Spencer Fullerton 1823-1887


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


Similar images, taken by Bell on the same day, are SA-61, 2004-60939 and 46853/oval.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 2, Folder: 6

Contact information

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


January 10, 1867

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ID Number

46853 or MAH-46853

Physical description

Color: Black and white; Size: 8w x 10h; Type of Image: Portrait; Medium: Photographic print

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