Summary
Collection ID:
Record Unit 217
Creators:
Smithsonian Institution, Libraries
Dates:
1865-1951
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
2.7 linear meters.
Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Descriptive Entry
Descriptive Entry
These records contain material concerning both the Smithsonian and United States National Museum (USNM) libraries and consist mostly of incoming and outgoing correspondence. Most of the correspondence is routine and deals with requests for publications, acknowledgments of publications received, the exchange of publications, employment inquiries, staff matters, and administrative policy.
Correspondents include Smithsonian and Museum administrative officers and staff, libraries, scientific institutions and societies, and the general public. Of special interest is correspondence regarding the evacuation of rare books, manuscripts, and archival material from the library during World War II. Other material includes ledgers, logbooks, and other records relating to books borrowed and lent, publications deposited in the Library of Congress, and the exchange of publications with other institutions; and records relating to the construction of book stacks in the main hall of the Smithsonian Institution Building, 1914-1915.

Historical Note
Historical Note
The Act organizing the Smithsonian Institution in 1846 provided for the "...gradual formation of a library, composed of valuable works pertaining to all departments of human knowledge." Charles C. Jewett became the first administrator of the Smithsonian Library in 1847. After Jewett's resignation in 1854, the position of Librarian remained vacant until the appointment of Frederick William True in 1881. During the interim, library affairs were administered by Secretary Joseph Henry and Assistant Secretary Spencer F. Baird. Administrative officers of the Smithsonian Library included True, 1881-1887; John Murdoch, 1887-1892; J. Elfreth Watkins, July-October, 1892; Cyrus Adler, 1892-1909, including the years 1905-1909 when he held the title of Assistant Secretary in charge of Library and Exchanges; F. W. True, 1911-1914, with the title Assistant Secretary in charge of Library and Exchanges; Paul Brockett, 1914-1924, with the title Assistant Librarian; William L. Corbin, 1925-1942; and Leila F. Clark, 1943- .

Notes
SI Records

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 217, Smithsonian Institution, Libraries, Records

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Baird, Spencer Fullerton, 1823-1887 Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Adler, Cyrus, 1863-1940 Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brockett, Paul, 1872-1946 Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clark, Leila F. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Corbin, William L. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Henry, Joseph, 1797-1878 Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Murdoch, John, 1852- Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
True, Frederick William, 1858-1914 Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Watkins, J. Elfreth (John Elfreth), 1852-1903 Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian Institution. Libraries. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum libraries Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

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