Canal Zone Biological Area Records,
1912-1965

Summary
Collection ID:
Record Unit 135
Creators:
Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary
Dates:
1912-1965
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
5.71 linear meters.
Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Descriptive Entry
Descriptive Entry
Because the Smithsonian's relations to STRI have been both longstanding and various, STRI files are scattered through the records of the Secretary's office. The earliest STRI files in this unit have been interfiled with newer records or pulled forward, where they dealt with ongoing problems at the facility, so that no original order remains. The unit also includes office files of Thomas Barbour, long IRTA's strongest supporter, which were given to the Smithsonian on Barbour's death in 1946, likewise interfiled, and dating from IRTA's earliest days. Thus, the researcher will find three general types of records in this unit: (1) the official records of IRTA and CZBA before 1946, some of which were created by the Smithsonian in its role as a sponsor of the organization and some because they were interfiled at a later date; (2) office files of Thomas Barbour, which often duplicate or complement other records; and (3) official records generated by the Smithsonian in its operation of CZBA/STRI since 1946.
These records document the creation and development of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, chiefly from 1923 to 1965, and cover all phases of its operations as a private and a federal facility during that period. Correspondents include Thomas Barbour, John Enos Graf, Frank A. Taylor, Alexander Wetmore, James Zetek, and others. Records include correspondence, administrative records, and publications. Researchers should also consult record unit 134 for related material, 1918-1960.

Historical Note
Historical Note
From 1918 to 1923 various groups interested in tropical American research discussed the desirability of creating a research institute in Central or South America. Finally, in 1923, the Institute for Research in Tropical America was formed by a number of private foundations and universities, under the aegis of the National Research Council. The Smithsonian Institution was one of these early sponsors, and its ties with the Institute grew stronger still when the federal government took over the IRTA in 1940, calling it the Canal Zone Biological Area and placing the Smithsonian's Secretary on its governing board. In 1946 entire control of CZBA was vested in the Smithsonian, which renamed it the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in 1966.

Notes
SI Records

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 135, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Canal Zone Biological Area Records

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Barbour, Thomas, 1884-1946. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Canal Zone Biological Area. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Institute for Research in Tropical America. National Research Council Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Institute for Research in Tropical America Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Research Council. Institute for Research in Tropical America Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rain forest ecology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

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