The Smithsonian Institution Archives began its Oral History Program in 1973. The purpose of the program is to supplement the written documentation of the Archives' record and manuscript collections with an Oral History Collection, focusing on the history of the Institution, research by its scholars, and contributions of its staff. Program staff conduct interviews with current and retired Smithsonian staff and others who have made significant contributions to the Institution. There are also interviews conducted by researchers or students on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
Cowan was interviewed for the Oral History Project because he has made significant scholarly and administrative contributions to the Smithsonian Institution during 17 years of service.
Cowan was interviewed by Miriam Freilicher on March 26 and April 2 and 25, 1974. The interviews include his reminiscences of his early career, the Department of Botany when he joined the staff, his work in administration, and changes within the National Museum of Natural History and the Institution in the 1960's.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9501, Cowan, Richard S., 1921-1997 interviewee, Richard S. Cowan Interviews
Smithsonian Institution Archives
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