In 1882 a provisional classification of the departments within the United States National Museum (USNM) was adopted. The newly created Division of Administration contained several departments, three of which - the departments of Direction, Registry and Storage, and Archives - dealt with correspondence. The latter two dealt mostly with correspondence relating to loans and accessions, and were under the direction of Stephen C. Brown. The Department of Direction (under the Assistant Director, George Brown Goode), as part of its function, maintained the central correspondence files of the administration of the U.S. National Museum. Randolph Iltyd Geare (1854-1917), an executive clerk in the department, was placed in charge of correspondence. In 1886 the Department of Correspondence and Reports was established with Geare in charge. In 1898 the title was changed to Department of Correspondence and Documents. Geare remained in charge of the department until his death in 1917. In 1892 the Department also assumed the task of distributing museum publications.
The Division of Correspondence and Documents was in charge of the distribution and filing of correspondence of the United States National Museum. Maintaining the correspondence of the Museum (including the acknowledgment of gifts, loans and exchanges, the preparation of reports upon material sent for examination, and replies to requests for technical information of all kinds), and the preparation, editing, and proofreading of the Annual Report of the Museum constituted the principal work of the office. The Division of Correspondence and Documents maintained the files of the central administration of the Museum.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 201, Smithsonian Institution. Assistant Secretary in charge of the United States National Museum, Correspondence and Memoranda
Smithsonian Institution Archives
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