This record unit documents the administration of the Department of Biology under Head Curators True, 1897-1911, and Stejneger, 1911-1943. Records include correspondence of the Department, 1897-1943; quarterly reports, 1910-1940; annual reports, 1901, 1911-1941; and plans of operation, 1911-1940.
For other material relating to the Department of Biology see Record Units 143, 7074, and 7181.
The Department of Biology was created during the reorganization of the United States National Museum (USNM) in 1897. At that time, the various departments in the biological sciences became divisions, and the Department of Biology was formed as the administrative unit controlling those divisions. Frederick William True (1858-1914) became the first head curator of biology and held the position until 1911. In 1911, Leonhard Stejneger (1851-1943) was appointed head curator and remained in that capacity until his death in 1943. A small amount of correspondence in this record unit is directed to James E. Benedict (1854-1930), who was appointed chief of exhibits in the Department of Biology in 1909. His title was changed to assistant curator in 1918, and he continued in that position until his retirement in 1930.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 242, United States National Museum. Department of Biology, Records
Smithsonian Institution Archives
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