William J. Rhees in His Office, by Unknown, November 22, 1892, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, William J. Rhees (1830-1907) was hired in 1853 as a "general assistant" and private secretary to Joseph Henry, the Smithsonian Institution's first Secretary, and by 1855 held the position of chief clerk. He left the Institution in 1870 to pursue the stationery business in Springfield (state unspecified) but was only gone less than a year. He continued as chief clerk under Spencer F. Baird, the Smithsonian Institution's second Secretary, and by a special act of Congress served as acting secretary of the Institution when Baird was absent. After Baird's death and Samuel P. Langley's appointment as secretary, Rhees was asked to take the position of the first keeper of the Archives in 1891, which is when the Smithsonian Institution Archives had its real origins. Rhees served in that post until his death in 1907. He was also a member of the National Museum Building Committee. Rhees is sitting at his desk which holds an open book and a tiered basket. Big ledgers are visible in a slotted bookcase to his left..