The international exchange program was established in 1849 to provide communication between scientific and literary societies through exchange of publications. Also, by publishing lists of correspondents, participating learned societies, and periodicals received, libraries were given valuable information to assist their collection building. Beginning officially in 1867, the Smithsonian distributed United States government publications to foreign countries. In the 1880's several international agreements were made for exchange of official publications, in which the Smithsonian directed the program for the United States government. In 1881 the Smithsonian received its first federal appropriation for international exchanges. From the outset, the Smithsonian's primary purpose was to increase knowledge by exchange of publications, rather than to build its own library; nevertheless, exchanges have contributed greatly to the development of the Smithsonian Library.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 61, Smithsonian Institution, International Exchange Service, Records
Smithsonian Institution Archives
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