Spencer Baird Appointed Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian, July 5, 1850, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, The Board of Regents approves Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry's nomination of Spencer Fullerton Baird as Assistant Secretary in the Department of Natural History. As "Keeper of the Cabinet," Baird will take charge of the museum and assist with publications. After his hiring, Baird would also become responsible for managing the Smithsonian's international publications exchange program. Baird, a naturalist, had previously taught at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The initial salary for his position is $1,500 per annum. Baird would become the second Secretary of the Smithsonian upon Henry's death in 1878..