These records comprise the official correspondence of the Department of Entomology. Because a close relationship existed between the Department of Entomology of the National Museum and the Bureau of Entomology of the Agriculture Department, there is considerable correspondence of Agriculture Department staff, notably August Busck and Carl Heinrich. Some papers of John Frederick Gates Clarke predating his tenure at the Smithsonian are also included.
The greater part of the records concern donation or other receipt of specimens in the National Museum; distribution or loan of specimens from the Museum; requests for determination of specimens by other entomologists and the general public (a considerable proportion of the determinations were made for state departments of entomology); and general research questions from the public. The Department corresponded with institutions all over the world, including most major United States and Canadian natural history institutions, state entomology departments, and institutions in Latin America, Great Britain, Continental Europe, Australia, and India.
Less prevalent is correspondence between entomologists concerning their research; correspondence concerning manuscripts submitted for publication in the National Museum series or submitted by Department staff to other journals; applications for research grants, mostly by Departmental staff to outside agencies; occasional copies of itineraries for research trips; and a few manuscripts of articles. Details of administering the Department may be found throughout the records, especially under the following names: W. H. Anderson, John L. Keddy, Arthur Remington Kellogg, Harold Morrison (1928-1934), Carl Frederick William Muesebeck (1936-1950), S. A. Rohwer, and Waldo LaSalle Schmitt.
Some correspondence of individuals is rich, especially correspondence between John Hartley Durrant, August Busck, and Thomas de Grey Walsingham (1909-1919); correspondence of Carl Heinrich (1914-1958); correspondence of the English entomologist Edward Meyrick (1909-1916), correspondence between several staff members and James Halliday McDunnough of the entomology branch of the Canadian government; and correspondence of staff members Ralph E. Crabill and John Frederick Gates Clarke. Subjects of special interest include the cotton pest infestation from Mexico (1918); Edwin A. Chapin's evaluation of manuscripts for The American Midland Naturalist; work of August Busck on the Smithsonian Biological Survey of Panama, 1912 (filed Frederick William True); and Busck's report on the pink Bollworm in Mexico, 1918 (filed Pastor Rouaix); opinion of the Commissioners of the International Zoological Code on Huber's Tentamen, 1806 (1925-1926, filed Charles W. Stiles); and the Smithsonian-Bredin Caribbean Expedition, notes of Carl N. Shuster, 1958 (filed Shuster).
These records are arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent.