The Department of Direction was created during the initial organization of the United States National Museum (USNM) in 1880. Its name was changed to the Division of Correspondence and Documents in 1886. The Division was in charge of the distribution and filing of correspondence of the Museum, including the acknowledgment of gifts, loans, and exchanges; the preparation of reports upon material sent for examination; replies to requests for technical information of all kinds; distribution of Museum publications; and the preparation, editing, and proofreading of the Annual Report of the United States National Museum. After the position of Registrar was abolished in 1919, functions relating to accessions, examination and reports on specimens, and the distribution of specimens were assigned to the Division. In 1956 the Division was renamed the Office of the Registrar. Chiefs of the Division of Correspondence and Documents (before 1886, the Department of Direction) included Randolph Iltyd Geare, 1882-1917; Herbert S. Bryant, 1917-1948; and Helena M. Weiss, 1948-1956.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 133, United States National Museum. Division of Correspondence and Documents, Publication Distribution Records
Smithsonian Institution Archives
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