These records document the Smithsonian budget process during the tenures of Secretaries Samuel Pierpont Langley, Charles Doolittle Walcott, Charles Greeley Abbot, and Alexander Wetmore. They consist of budget calls by the Secretary; submissions from the various divisions; correspondence with congressional budget committees and the Smithsonian's congressional Regents, and later with the Bureau of the Budget as well; and final submissions explaining and defending the Institution's requests. Some of the earlier records include transcripts of the Secretary's testimony before congressional committees, but this material becomes infrequent in later records.
The budget process at the Smithsonian Institution was fairly straightforward in its early years. The Institution's federal funding was modest and required scarcely more than pro forma justification. As federal appropriations increased, the process of preparing and justifying the Institution's requests took more effort. These records, collected from among the records of various secretarial administrations by persons unknown, begin during the tenure of Samuel P. Langley, who obtained added funds for the National Zoological Park and the Astrophysical Observatory, and extend to the administration of Alexander Wetmore. The records illustrate the comparatively simpler budget processes prior to World War I; the elaboration of the process in the 1920's as the Bureau of Budget developed within the Executive Office of the President; and the routinization of the new procedures during the 1930's and 1940's.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 49, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Budget Records
Smithsonian Institution Archives
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