Richard Rathbun Papers,
1870-1918 and undated
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
Record Unit 7078
Creators:
Rathbun, Richard, 1852-1918
Dates:
1870-1918 and undated
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
7.9 cu. ft. (15 document boxes) (1 half document box) (1 3x5 box)
Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Descriptive Entry
Descriptive Entry
The papers of Richard Rathbun document his early investigations in geology and paleontology; his college career at Cornell University, 1871-1872; his work as geologist on the Geological Commission of Brazil, 1875-1878; and his scientific and administrative careers with the United States Fish Commission and United States National Museum. Of special interest is correspondence and other materials concerning Samuel P. Langley's aerodrome experiments of 1903. The papers consist of incoming and outgoing correspondence; notebooks; manuscripts and research material; notes and sketches; photographs and lantern slides; and a manuscript on architecture by Rathbun's son, Seward Hume Rathbun.

Historical Note
Historical Note
Richard Rathbun (1852-1918) was born in Buffalo, New York. He received his early education in the public schools of Buffalo and after graduation worked in his father's stone quarry business. Rathbun developed an early interest in the geology and paleontology of western New York, and by 1870 had deposited large collections of fossils in the Buffalo Society of Natural History. In 1871, Rathbun entered Cornell University on the advice of the distinguished Brazilian explorer, Charles F. Hartt. He left Cornell in 1873 to study the fossil collections at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. In 1874, he was appointed assistant in zoology in the Boston Society of Natural History. While serving in this position, Rathbun also worked as a volunteer assistant with the United States Fish Commission (USFC). In 1875, he became a geologist with the Geological Commission of Brazil, under the direction of Hartt. He remained in Brazil until 1878, when he returned to the United States to accept the position of scientific assistant with the USFC. Rathbun remained on the staff of the USFC until 1896. His association with the Smithsonian Institution and United States National Museum began in 1881, when he was made honorary curator of the Department of Marine Invertebrates, a position he held until 1914. In 1897, Rathbun accepted the position of assistant secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, in charge of Office and Exchanges. In 1898, Rathbun's duties were expanded to include certain aspects of museum administration, and in 1901 his title was changed to Assistant secretary, in charge of the National Museum, a position he held until his death in 1918.

Notes
Personal Papers

Using the Collection
Prefered Citation
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7078, Richard Rathbun Papers

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Rathbun, Richard, 1852-1918 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rathbun, Seward Hume, 1886- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Langley, S. P. (Samuel Pierpont), 1834-1906 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hartt, Charles Frederick, 1840-1878 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States National Museum Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Columbian Institute Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Institute Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cornell University Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Geological Commission of Brazil Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States Fish Commission Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Harvard University. Museum of Comparative Zoology Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Boston Society of Natural History Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States National Museum. Department of Marine Invertebrates Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian Institution. Assistant in charge of Office and Exchanges Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian Institution. Assistant Secretary in charge of the United States National Museum Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Geology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Aeronautics Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Architecture Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ichthyology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Invertebrate zoology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum techniques Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Paleontology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Zoology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Paleontologists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Geologists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scientific illustrations Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manuscripts Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Black-and-white photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lantern slides Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

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