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.