Records,
1930-1932, 1937-1984 and undated, with related records from 1882

Summary
Collection ID:
Record Unit 328
Creators:
National Museum of Natural History. Department of Paleobiology
Dates:
1930-1932, 1937-1984 and undated, with related records from 1882
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
17.56 cu. ft. (35 document boxes) (1 folder oversize material)
Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Introduction
Introduction
The Archives would like to thank Frederick J. Collier and Martin A. Buzas for their assistance in the transfer of these records to the Archives.

Descriptive Entry
Descriptive Entry
The Chairman's Files, Department of Paleobiology, Records, represent the administrative history of both the last fifteen years of the Department of Geology and the first ten years of the Department of Paleobiology after the Department of Geology was divided into two separate departments. This collection provides strong documentation of research, reviews of the departments, the Exhibits Modernization Program, and the construction of the East Wing of the Natural History Building and the Museum Support Center. Although the records primarily document the activities of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), documentation relating to the close relationship with scientists in the United States Geological Survey (USGS) is also included.
Series 1, 2, and 3 contain administrative documents for the Departments of Geology and Paleobiology, including annual reports (1963-1982), budget requests and plans of operation (1963-1984), and research progress reports written by staff members (1963-1980). Memoranda and management reports are also included in these series, providing more detailed information on certain requests and reports. In addition, series 8 contains administrative correspondence for the Department of Paleobiology between various institutional officers and department personnel. It is worthy to note that the quantity of material documenting the Department of Geology is substantially less than for the Department of Paleobiology and documentation of daily activity is much more sparse.
The chairman's administrative files for the Department of Paleobiology contained in series 5 provide a more detailed view of the department. This division includes administrative memoranda, incoming and outgoing correspondence, and general records. Although these documents span the twenty year period of the departmental records, a separate set of administrative and institutional files was maintained that represents administrative and institutional activities only during the tenure of Martin A. Buzas as chairman between 1977 and 1982. These files can be found in series 6.
Series 4 consists of research proposals and grant allotments for the staff of both departments. The files document proposals both within the Smithsonian and to outside funding agencies. These files also provide documentation of the types of research undertaken by the scientists during a twenty year time period.
Subject files from the Departments of Geology and Paleobiology are found in series 7. These files contain information about specific aspects and activities of the departments as well as institutional activities relevant to the departments. Significant affiliations between the departments and the Paleontology and Stratigraphy Branch of the USGS are represented in these files, as well as detailed documentation of the construction of the East Wing of the National History Building and the Museum Support Center. Also included is documentation of the symposium between the Department of Paleobiology and the Institute of Paleozoology of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Paleontology Department of the University of Warsaw, held in Poland during August and September of 1968.
All divisions within the Departments of Geology and Paleobiology are represented in annual reports, research progress reports, and budget requests. However, series 9 and 10 contain the correspondence and subject files for the Division of Invertebrate Paleontology and Paleobotany (Department of Geology) and therefore, provide detailed documentation of this division's activities. The correspondence includes both public and professional inquiries; however, only correspondence files for correspondents beginning with letters between K and Z have survived. Of special interest are the nineteenth century correspondence between David Starr Jordan and Gardiner Greene Hubbard and the substantial amount of correspondence documenting the early career of G. Arthur Cooper. Records for the Division of Vertebrate Paleontology can be found in Record Units 156 and 248. Field notes, manuscripts, and photographs for the Divisions of Vertebrate and Invertebrate Paleontology and Paleobotany can be found in Record Unit 7264.
Series 11 contains museum exhibition scripts and provides extensive documentation of the development of the new paleontology halls as part of the Exhibits Modernization Program during the early 1960s. Committee reports and plans documenting another exhibit renovation plan undertaken in the 1970s can also be found in this series.
Series 12 contains blueprints and mechanical drawings for items constructed for the Departments of Geology and Paleontology. Of special interest are drawings of a sink constructed for G. Arthur Cooper for the acid-etching program he began at the museum. Please note that the documents contained in this series are housed off-site, and it is recommended that researchers make prior arrangements with the reference staff when requesting this material.
Additional information about the Department of Paleobiology can be found in Record Unit 7318, the G. Arthur Cooper Papers, 1904-1987, 1993, with related material from 1865-1892 and Record Unit 84, Department of Geology, Biographical File.

Chronology
Chronology
1930
Ray S. Bassler appointed head curator, Department of Geology
1938
C. W. Gilmore, curator of Vertebrate Paleontology, discovers skeleton of a large sauropod dinosaur of the family Titanosauridae, the first of its kind found in North America
1948
William F. Foshag appointed head curator, Department of Geology
1954
Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology begun
1956
William F. Foshag dies; G. Arthur Cooper appointed head curator, Department of Geology
1957
United States National Museum divided into National Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of History and Technology
June 3, 1961
Hall of Fossil Plants and Invertebrate Animals; Hall of Fossil Fishes, Amphibians, and Primitive Reptiles; and Hall of Age of Mammals in North America opened
1962
Oceanography Program begun
1962-1963
Moved to office space in East Wing of the Natural History Building
October 15, 1963
Department of Geology divided into Departments of Mineral Science and Paleobiology. G. Arthur Cooper appointed chairman of Department of Paleobiology
June 25, 1963
Hall of Dinosaurs and Other Reptiles opened
1963
Program of International Paleobiology (PIP) formulated
1966
Scanning Electron Microscope installed in department
1967
Advisory Committee Review of Department of Paleobiology
1967
Porter M. Kier appointed chairman, Department of Paleobiology
1968
Conference between staff of the Department of Paleobiology and both the Institute of Paleozoology of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Paleontology Department at the University of Warsaw
1972
Richard E. Grant appointed chairman, Department of Paleobiology
1977
Martin A. Buzas appointed chairman, Department of Paleobiology
1982
Advisory Committee Review of Department of Paleobiology
1982
Ian G. Macintyre appointed chairman, Department of Paleobiology
May 16, 1983
Museum Support Center opened

Historical Note
Historical Note
The paleontological collections of the United States National Museum (USNM) were located in the Department of Geology, from its creation in 1880 until its dissolution in 1963. The Department of Geology had three divisions devoted to paleontology: Vertebrate Paleontology, Invertebrate Paleontology, and Paleobotany. The Department of Geology was led by Ray S. Bassler as head curator between 1930-1948. He was succeeded by William H. Foshag, 1948-1956, and G. Arthur Cooper, 1957-1963.
The Department of Paleobiology was created in the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) on October 15, 1963, with the division of the former Department of Geology into two departments: Paleobiology and Mineral Sciences. The Department of Paleobiology was organized into three divisions: Paleobotany, Invertebrate Paleontology, and Vertebrate Paleontology. G. Arthur Cooper assumed the chairmanship for the department with Francis M. Hueber, Richard S. Boardman, and Charles Lewis Gazin appointed as division heads, respectively. Cooper was succeeded as chairman by Porter M. Kier, 1967-1972, Richard E. Grant, 1972-1977, Martin A. Buzas, 1977-1982, and Ian G. Macintyre, 1982- .
The annual report for 1964 noted two reasons for the division. First, the character and administrative needs of departmental practitioners of mineral sciences and paleobiology were recognized as obstructions to productive research. With their divergent activities, difficulties arose regarding the fair allocation of resources and administrative responsibilities. In addition, the emphasis in the field of paleontology began shifting away from the use of fossils for stratigraphic and geological applications to a study of the biological aspects of fossils. Zoological or botanical training became a significant addition to geological training. By using the term "paleobiology" to denote departmental activities, the institution recognized this shift toward reconstructing and interpreting paleoenvironments.
The establishment of a separate Department of Paleobiology provided the necessary impetus for further growth in the field of paleontology at the Smithsonian. In 1933, five curatorial positions were devoted to paleontological collections: Ray S. Bassler (invertebrates), G. Arthur Cooper (invertebrates), Charles Lewis Gazin (vertebrates), Charles W. Gilmore (vertebrates), and Charles E. Resser (invertebrates). In 1948, following the end of the Second World War, the staff numbered six including: Ray S. Bassler, Arthur L. Bowsher, G. Arthur Cooper, David H. Dunkle, Charles Lewis Gazin, and Alfred R. Loeblich, Jr. The department continued to grow, numbering nine in 1963 (R. S. Boardman, Porter M. Kier, Richard Cifelli, E. G. Kauffman, Francis M. Hueber, Martin A. Buzas, Charles Lewis Gazin, David H. Dunkle, and Nicholas Hotton III) and nineteen in 1984 (Walter H. Adey, Anna K. Behrensmeyer, Richard H. Benson, Richard S. Boardman, Martin A. Buzas, Alan H. Cheetam, Richard Cifelli, Robert J. Emry, Richard E. Grant, Nicholas Hotton III, Francis M. Hueber, Porter M. Kier, Kenneth M. Towe, Ian G. Macintyre, James F. Mello, Jack W. Pierce, Clayton E. Ray, Daniel J. Stanley, and Thomas R. Waller).
Research on the national paleontological collections is also conducted by paleontologists from the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Researchers from both organizations have always maintained close working relationships, and this is documented in the files.
The growth of both the staff and the collections placed a strain on museum facilities. This problem was temporarily relieved with the opening of the East Wing of the Natural History Building in 1962, and the Museum Support Center in 1983. Even with these additions, space allocation and staff positions always fell short of what was needed. Outside reviews of its programs in both 1967 and 1982 also emphasized these problems.
In the 1960s, the paleontological exhibit halls underwent extensive renovation as part of the museum Exhibits Modernization Program. In 1966, modern research was facilitated by the acquisition of a Scanning Electron Microscope.

Notes
SI Records

Using the Collection
Prefered Citation
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 328, National Museum of Natural History. Department of Paleobiology, Records
Access Restriction
Correspondence A-J in series 10 is missing.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Buzas, Martin A. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cooper, G. Arthur (Gustav Arthur), 1902-2000 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kier, Porter M. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Grant, Richard E., 1927-1994 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Macintyre, Ian G. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Boardman, Richard S. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States National Museum. Division of Invertebrate Paleontology and Paleobotany Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States National Museum. Department of Geology Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian Institution. Museum Support Center Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Geological Survey (U.S.). Branch of Paleontology and Stratigraphy Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
A. Remington Kellogg Memorial Fund Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States National Museum. Exhibits Modernization Program Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States National Museum. Division of Vertebrate Paleontology Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States National Museum. Division of Mineralogy and Petrology Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of Natural History (U.S.). Department of Mineral Sciences Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum exhibits Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museums -- Collection management Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Paleobiology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Paleontologists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Architectural drawings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Floor plans Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Illustrations Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manuscripts Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

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