Walcott Family Papers,
1720-1929, 1944, 1995

Summary
Collection ID:
Accession 16-103
Dates:
1720-1929, 1944, 1995
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
21.95 cu. ft. (17 record storage boxes) (3 12x17 boxes) (4 16x20 boxes) (6 3x5 boxes)
Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Descriptive Entry
Descriptive Entry
This accessions consists of the personal correspondence of Charles D. Walcott, his family, and his extended family, as well as genealogical materials, family Bibles, photographs, medals, and other materials related to the Walcott family. The correspondence documents the personal relationships between the immediate Walcott family, as well as the extended family, mostly relations and ancestors of Helena Stevens Walcott. Photographs consist of both personal photography, and photography from field research expeditions. Of note are eight boxes of lantern slides used by Mary Vaux Walcott to illustrate American wildflowers. The medals encompass awards presented to Charles D. Walcott, most notably the Mary Clark Thompson Medal, presented by the National Academy of Sciences. Materials include correspondence, images, negatives, albums, medals, school records, wedding registers, legal documents, family Bibles, articles, clippings, and ephemera.

Historical Note
Historical Note
Charles Doolittle Walcott (1850-1927) was born in New York Mills, New York. He attended Utica public schools and the Utica Academy, but never graduated or pursued further education. He had an early interest in natural history, and began his professional career in 1876 when he was appointed as an assistant to James Hall, New York's state geologist. In 1879, he joined the newly formed United States Geological Survey (USGS) as an assistant geologist. Shortly after his appointment, Walcott began to do field work in Utah. Field work would continue to define his life, and later sites included the Appalachians, New England, New York, several Mid-Atlantic states, western and southwestern United States, and eastern Canada. From 1882 to 1893 he worked with the Survey's invertebrate Paleozoic paleontological collections, and in 1893 he was appointed Geologist in charge of Geology and Paleontology. He also served as an honorary curator of invertebrate Paleozoic fossils at the United States National Museum (USNM) from 1892 to 1907, and as Acting Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in charge of the USNM from 1897 to 1898. In 1894 Walcott was appointed Director of the USGS and served until 1907 when he resigned from the USGS and was appointed Secretary of the Smithsonian, a position he would remain at until his death.
During Walcott's administration at the Smithsonian he oversaw the completion of the National Museum Building (now the National Museum of Natural History) in 1911. He also convinced Detroit industrialist Charles Lang Freer to donate his extensive Asian art collection and money for a building during his lifetime rather than after Freer's death, as was originally intended. He also set up the National Gallery of Art (predecessor to the Smithsonian American Art Museum) as a separate administrative entity in 1920.
Despite his responsibilities as Secretary, Walcott found time to continue his research and collecting of fossils from the Cambrian and Ordovician periods, with primary focus on the Canadian Rockies. In 1909 he located Cambrian fossils near Burgess Pass above Field, British Columbia. The following season he discovered the Burgess shale fauna, which proved to be his greatest paleontological discovery.
In 1872, Walcott married Lura Ann Rust. Their marriage was relatively short, as Rust died in 1876 from an undiagnosed illness. In 1888, he married Helena Stevens. Charles and Helena had three children: Charles Doolittle (born 1889), Sidney Stevens (born 1892), Helen Breese (born 1894), and Benjamin Stuart (born 1896). Helena and the children often accompanied Charles on fieldwork excursions. Unfortunately, in 1911 Helena was killed in a train accident in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Charles Doolittle Walcott Jr. (often referred to as "Charlie") died in 1913 while a student at Yale University, after suffering from multiple severe ear infections. In 1917, Benjamin Stuart (often referred to as Stuart), was killed in action while serving as a pilot in the l'Escadrille de Lafayette in France during World War I. In 1914, Walcott married Mary Morris Vaux, an accomplished naturalist. In 1925, the Smithsonian published her illustrations of American wildflowers in five volumes. Also in 1925, Helen Breese Walcott married Cole Younger. On February 9, 1927, Charles D. Walcott passed away.
For a more detailed history of Charles D. Walcott, please see Record Unit 7004: Charles D. Walcott Collection 1851-1940 and undated.

Administration
Oversize
This collection contains oversize material.
Author
Finding aid prepared by Smithsonian Institution Archives

Notes
Personal Papers

Using the Collection
Prefered Citation
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 16-103, Walcott Family Papers

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Walcott, Charles D. (Charles Doolittle), 1850-1927 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Walcott, Mary Vaux, 1860-1940 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Walcott, Helena Stevens Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Walcott, Charles Doolittle Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Walcott, Sidney Stevens Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Walcott, Helen Breese Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Younger, Cole Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stevens Family Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Walcott Family Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Younger Family Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian Institution Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Geological Survey (U.S.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Academy of Sciences (U.S.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Genealogy Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fieldwork Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scientific expeditions Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wild flowers -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Legal documents Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
British Columbia Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Canadian Rockies (B.C. and Alta.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Books Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clippings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manuscripts Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ephemera Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Black-and-white negatives Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Black-and-white photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Color photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artifacts Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Washington, D.C.
Contact us at osiaref@si.edu