Summary
Collection ID:
Record Unit 46
Creators:
Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary
Dates:
1925-1949
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
78.75 cu. ft.
Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Descriptive Entry
Descriptive Entry
This record unit traces the operation of the Smithsonian from 1925 to 1949. It contains records from the last years of Secretary Charles D. Walcott's administration, perhaps most notably the ambitious but abortive fund raising campaign to add $10,000,000.00 to the Smithsonian's endowment. The Depression and consequent cut-backs in government support are also present in the records, as well as Smithsonian contributions to World War II, which naturally had a significant impact on operations as well. Smithsonian bureaus that were created, enlarged, or significantly changed during these years, and which are represented here, include the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; the National Gallery of Art (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum); the National Gallery of Art created from the gift of Andrew Mellon; the National Zoological Park; the National Air and Space Museum; and the Canal Zone Biological Area (now the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute). Secretary Charles G. Abbot, whose tenure these records chiefly document, found his job complicated by the effects of the Depression and World War II. The principal event of his administration was Andrew Mellon's gift of a national art museum. Abbot created a Division of Radiation and Organisms within the Astrophysical Observatory, which he had directed and which remained his chief interest. He was also able to use Works Progress Administration funds to produce major improvements at the National Zoological Park. The Smithsonian maintained its ties with the National Academy of Sciences, the Carnegie Institution, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the National Research Council, the National Geographic Society, and similar organizations. During World War II the Smithsonian was instrumental in operating the Ethnogeographic Board, and co-operated with the Office of Scientific Research and Development. Topics in these records include: the Johnson-Smithsonian Expedition to the Puerto Rico Trench, 1932; the Eighth American Scientific Congress, Washington, 1940; the Smithsonian Scientific Series; North American Wildflowers; the Langley-Wright controversy; the River Basin Survey; the abortive design competition for a museum of modern art, won by Eliel and Eero Saarinen and Robert Swanson; "The World Is Yours" radio programs; Robert H. Goddard's rocket research; the Langley Medal; private funding for the Smithsonian, particularly the Tamblyn and Brown plans for a 1927 campaign and the associated 1927 Conference on the Future of the Smithsonian; and Abbot's research in solar radiation and climatic studies.

Historical Note
Historical Note
These records document the administrations of the Smithsonian Institution during the last years of Charles D. Walcott's administration, circa, 1925-1927; the tenure of Charles G. Abbot, his successor, 1927-1944; and a portion of the administration of Alexander Wetmore, circa 1944.

Notes
SI Records

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 46, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Records

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Walcott, Charles D. (Charles Doolittle), 1850-1927 Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Abbot, C. G. (Charles Greeley), 1872-1973 Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Goddard, Robert Hutchings, 1882-1945. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mellon, Andrew W. (Andrew William), 1855-1937. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wetmore, Alexander, 1886-1978 Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Saarinen, Eliel, 1873-1950 Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Langley, S. P. (Samuel Pierpont), 1834-1906 Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wright, Orville, 1871-1948 Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wright, Wilbur, 1867-1912 Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Radiation and Organisms Division. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian Institution -- Administration. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ethnogeographic Board (Washington, D.C.) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Carnegie Institution of Washington. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Gallery of Art (U.S.) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Collection of Fine Arts (U.S.) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Geographic Society (U.S.) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
River Basin Surveys Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. Office of Scientific Research and Development Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tamblyn and Brown Conferences Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Air and Space Museum (U.S.). Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian American Art Museum Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Zoological Park (U.S.). Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Air Museum (U.S.) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. Canal Zone Biological Area, Barro Colorado Island Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. Works Progress Administration Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Academy of Sciences (U.S.) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Research Council (U.S.) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Johnson-Smithsonian Deep-Sea Expedition to the Puerto Rican Trench, 1933 Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Conference on the Future of Smithsonian (1927) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Eighth American Scientific Congress. (1940 : Washington, D. C.) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
North American Wildflowers Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian scientific series Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
World is yours (Radio program) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museums -- Administration. Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
World War, 1939-1945 Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Depressions -- 1929 Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Langley Medal. Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Radiation Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Climatology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

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