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 student on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
Rehder was interviewed for the Oral History Collection because of his long and notable research career at the USNM. On May 13, 1982, Rehder was honored by his colleagues for fifty years of service to the Institution.
Rehder was interviewed by Pamela M. Henson on five occasions between June 1976 and March 1977. The interviews cover his youth, early interests in natural history, education, career in the Division of Mollusks of the USNM, reminiscences of Paul Bartsch, Austin Hobart Clark, Waldo LaSalle Schmitt, and other colleagues, field work, and research in the systematics and geographic distribution of mollusks, especially marine mollusks of the Indo-Pacific region.
Harald Alfred Rehder (1907-1996), was an invertebrate zoologist specializing in systematic malacology. The son of a botanist, Rehder developed an interest in natural history early in his youth. These interests were fostered through shell clubs and the Boston Society of Natural History, especially by Charles W. Johnson. Rehder received the B.A. from Bowdoin College in 1929, M.A. from Harvard University in 1933, and Ph.D. in zoology from the George Washington University in 1934. During his Harvard years, Rehder studied fresh water land snails and Caribbean non-marine mollusks under the malacologist William James Clench. His career at the United States National Museum (USNM) began in 1932 as Senior Scientific Aid to Paul Bartsch, Curator of the Division of Mollusks. Rehder advanced to Assistant Curator in 1934 and Associate Curator in 1942. After assuming the Curatorship in 1946, Rehder focused his research program on the systematics and geographic distribution of Indo-Pacific marine mollusks, and has been on many expeditions to that region. In 1965 he was appointed Senior Zoologist in the division, and after his retirement in 1980 continued his research as Zoologist Emeritus.
Smithsonian Institution Archives
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