Records,
1851-1982 and undated
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
Record Unit 73
Creators:
National Museum of Natural History. Division of Mollusks
Dates:
1851-1982 and undated
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
58.76 cu. ft. (39 record storage boxes) (9 document boxes) (26 tall document boxes) (9 microfilm reels)
Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Introduction
Introduction
The Archives would like to thank the staff of the Division of Mollusks for their cooperation in transferring the records to the Archives. We especially appreciate the help of Clyde Roper, Richard Houbrick, and Michael Sweeney.

Descriptive Entry
Descriptive Entry
This collection provides comprehensive documentation of the operation and activities of the Division of Mollusks from its establishment in 1880 until 1982. A small amount of records predate the formal creation of the Division. The collection is also a major source of information on the professional careers of William H. Dall, Paul Bartsch, Charles Torrey Simpson, Robert Edwards Carter Stearns, Harald A. Rehder, Joseph P. E. Morrison, Joseph Rosewater, and Clyde F. E. Roper.
The majority of the collection consists of a large file of incoming and outgoing correspondence (Series 1) that documents all aspects of the Division's work. The correspondence provides a wealth of information for researchers interested in the history of malacology during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Many of the foremost workers in the field corresponded with the staff of the Division. Henry A. Pilsbry, William J. Clench, S. Stillman Berry, William G. Binney, Edward S. Morse, Carlos de la Torre, Addison E. Verrill, and Joshua L. Bailey are just a few of the outstanding malacologists represented by letters. The correspondence is also helpful in illustrating the early history and activities of the American Malacological Union, the development of the Smithsonian collection of mollusks, and everyday activities of the Division. Divisional correspondence is also housed in two other series. Series 2 contains letters exchanged between the Division and the Smithsonian Institution, United States National Museum, and various United States government agencies. This correspondence documents the administration of the Division by its parent organizations, as well as cooperative efforts with other government bureaus to increase and care for the national collection of mollusks. Also included are many letters relating to William H. Dall's official duties as a paleontologist with the United States Geological Survey. Series 3 consists of bound letterpress books containing copies of outgoing letters, 1885-1937.
A large series of specimen related records includes catalogues of individual collections; report books in which specimen identifications were recorded; invoices; requisitions; and log books which contain notations on everyday activities of the Division. The remainder of the collection consists of annual reports, 1884-1969, and miscellaneous administrative records.
For additional records relating to the history of the Division of Mollusks, researchers should consult the William H. Dall Papers (Record Unit 7073), the Paul Bartsch Papers (Record Unit 7089), and the Harald A. Rehder Interviews (Record Unit 9519).

Historical Note
Historical Note
The origin of the mollusk collections under the care of the Smithsonian Institution predates the formal establishment of the Department of Mollusks in 1880. Collections of shells began arriving at the Institution from many of the early exploring expeditions conducted during the 1840s and 1850s. Voluntary assistance in arranging and describing the collections was provided by many eminent invertebrate zoologists including Augustus Addison Gould, Philip Pearsall Carpenter, Isaac Lea, William Greene Binney, William Stimpson, and Thomas Bland.
The Department of Mollusks was created as an administrative unit of the United States National Museum (USNM) in 1880. As a result of an administrative reorganization of the USNM in 1897, the name was changed to the Division of Mollusks. In 1914, the Division was merged with the Division of Marine Invertebrates under the latter title. In 1921, the Division of Mollusks regained independent status. At that time the coral and helminthological collections were turned over to the Division's care.
William H. Dall's association with the Smithsonian began in 1865 when he came under the influence of Spencer F. Baird while preparing for his role on the Western Union Telegraph Expedition. After he returned from Alaska in 1868, Dall was given space in the Smithsonian Building to arrange his collections and prepare his scientific reports. While Dall spent the majority of his career as a paleontologist with the United States Geological Survey, he also served as Honorary Curator of the Division of Mollusks from 1880 until his death in 1927. Dall was the author of over 1,600 scientific papers on both recent and fossil mollusks.
Paul Bartsch, an authority on West Indian land shells, was appointed Aid in 1896. He served as Assistant Curator, 1906-1916, and Curator, 1916-1946. After his retirement he was an Associate in Zoology until his death in 1960. Harald A. Rehder joined the staff in 1932 as Senior Scientific Aid. He was promoted to Assistant Curator, 1934-1942; Associate Curator, 1942-1946; Curator, 1946-1965; and Senior Zoologist, 1965-1980. Rehder specialized in the study of the marine mollusks of the Indo-Pacific region. He maintained the title of Zoologist Emeritus until his death in 1996.
Other staff members of the Division of Mollusks have included Robert Edwards Carter Stearns, Assistant Curator, 1884-1893, and Associate in Zoology, 1894-1909; Charles Torrey Simpson, Aid, 1889-1902; William B. Marshall, Aid, 1895-1896, 1903-1914, and Assistant Curator, 1914-1934; Horace G. Richards, Assistant Curator, 1932; Joseph P. E. Morrison, Senior Scientific Aid, 1934-1942, Assistant Curator, 1942-1946, and Associate Curator, 1946-1974; R. Tucker Abbott, Assistant Curator, 1946-1949, and Associate Curator, 1949-1954; Joseph Rosewater, Associate Curator, 1961-1969, and Curator, 1969-1985; Clyde F. E. Roper, Associate Curator, 1966-1972, and Curator, 1972 - ; Richard S. Houbrick, Associate Curator, 1977-1978, and Curator, 1978 - ; and Arthur H. Clarke, Associate Curator, 1977-1980.

Notes
SI Records

Using the Collection
Prefered Citation
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 73, National Museum of Natural History. Division of Mollusks, Records

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Dall, William Healey, 1845-1927 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bartsch, Paul, 1871-1960 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rehder, Harald Alfred, 1907- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Simpson, Charles Torrey, 1846-1932 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Abbott, R. Tucker (Robert Tucker), 1919-1995 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Richards, Horace Gardiner, 1906-1984 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Marshall, William Blanchard, 1865- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Morrison, Joseph Paul Eldred Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stearns, Robert E. C. (Robert Edwards Carter), 1827-1909 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Roper, Clyde F. E., 1937- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rosewater, Joseph, 1928-1985 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Houbrick, Richard S. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clarke, Arthur Haddleton, 1926- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States National Museum Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Malacological Union Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States National Museum. Division of Marine Invertebrates Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Geological Survey (U.S.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mollusks Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Marine invertebrates Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Invertebrates Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Zoologists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Zoology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Black-and-white photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clippings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Books Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manuscripts Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Letterpress copybooks Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

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