Helena M. Weiss (1909-2004), was born on February 6, 1909, in Shipman, Illinois. She earned her clerical degree from Wheeler Business College in Birmingham, Alabama, before moving to Washington, D.C., in 1930, where she began her career as a stenographer for the Veterans Administration. In 1931, she was appointed Junior Clerk-Stenographer in the Office of Correspondence and Documents (renamed the Office of Correspondence and Records in 1947) of the United States National Museum (USNM) and in 1935 transferred to the Department of Geology. She returned to the Office of Correspondence and Records in 1948 as an Administrative Assistant and later that year advanced to Chief, after the retirement of Herbert S. Bryant. In 1956, her title was changed to Registrar and she remained in that position until her retirement in 1971.
As one of the first women managers at the Smithsonian, Weiss was responsible for the central filing system of the USNM, public inquiry mail, mail service, accession reports, loans and exchanges, shipping, foreign travel, customs regulations, insurance, and workman's compensation. She was involved in the acquisition of such famous museum artifacts and specimens as the Wright Brothers' plane, Kitty Hawk, the Hope Diamond, and the Fenykovi elephant. She was also a recipient of the Secretary's Exceptional Gold Service Award.