Portrait of Spencer Fullerton Baird, by Bell, William, January 10, 1867, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, 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..