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 conducts 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.
The Senate of Scientists Project was conducted at the suggestion of W. Donald Duckworth and with the support of then-chairman Erle G. Kauffman, to document the role of the Senate in the history of the National Museum of Natural History and the Institution.
In 1975-1976, at the suggestion of W. Donald Duckworth, and with the support of then-chairman Erle G. Kauffman, the Smithsonian historian Pamela M. Henson conducted a series of ten interviews of senate officers about the history of the Senate of Scientists. The interviews document the formation of the Senate, contributions of its leaders, its activities from 1963 to 1976, and they provide an overview of its role in the museum and the Institution. Interviewees were: Richard S. Boardman, Martin A. Buzas, W. Donald Duckworth, Clifford Evans, Jr., Gordon G. Gibson, W. Duane Hope, Erle G. Kauffman, Porter M. Kier, Saul H. Riesenberg, and Clyde F. E. Roper. Boxes 1-10 contain transcripts of the interviews and cassette and digital audio copies of the original reel-to-reel recordings, which are in security storage. The interview consists of approximately 16.5 hours of tape, 563 pages of transcript, 16 digital audio files, and occupies 0.5 cubic feet of shelf space.
The recording of the interview of Richard S. Boardman may not be used without the written permission of Richard S. Boardman, or his heirs or assigns. The Clyde F. E. Roper interview has not been deeded to Smithsonian Institution Archives and cannot be used with the written permission of Clyde F. E. Roper or his heirs or assigns.
The Clyde F. E. Roper interview has not yet been accessioned into the Smithsonian Oral History Collection. Permission to use the draft transcript or recording must be secured from Clyde F. E. Roper or his heirs or assigns.