Smithsonian Institution Archives

Smithsonian Institution Archives The Smithsonian Institution Archives, part of the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives, collects, preserves, and makes available the history of the Smithsonian Institution.

Legal: s.si.edu/Legal
Website: siarchives.si.edu Welcome to the Smithsonian Institution Archives' (SIA) page. We hope you'll join us here on Facebook and check out our profiles on Flickr and SIA's official blog, THE BIGGER PICTURE: http://siarchives.si.edu/blog. We hope you’ll contribute to this interactive forum and to our ongoing conversation about the work we do to further the Smithson

Legal: s.si.edu/Legal
Website: siarchives.si.edu Welcome to the Smithsonian Institution Archives' (SIA) page. We hope you'll join us here on Facebook and check out our profiles on Flickr and SIA's official blog, THE BIGGER PICTURE: http://siarchives.si.edu/blog. We hope you’ll contribute to this interactive forum and to our ongoing conversation about the work we do to further the Smithson

Operating as usual

Today's MuseumWeek theme is #CaptionThisMW, so take your best stab at captioning this portrait of Oscar Loew, who manage...
06/11/2021

Today's MuseumWeek theme is #CaptionThisMW, so take your best stab at captioning this portrait of Oscar Loew, who managed the Smithsonian Chemical Laboratory.

We'll start 👉 "When he insists on rolling down the windows, even though it's picture day."

Today's MuseumWeek theme is #CaptionThisMW, so take your best stab at captioning this portrait of Oscar Loew, who managed the Smithsonian Chemical Laboratory.

We'll start 👉 "When he insists on rolling down the windows, even though it's picture day."

It’s #NationalCampingMonth! Camping And to help celebrate, we’ve pulled together some images of Smithsonian scientists o...
06/10/2021

It’s #NationalCampingMonth! Camping And to help celebrate, we’ve pulled together some images of Smithsonian scientists out in the field—from roughing it in rural Mexico to "glamping" around a dining table in the Canadian Rockies.

→ s.si.edu/3iADeP8

It’s #NationalCampingMonth! Camping And to help celebrate, we’ve pulled together some images of Smithsonian scientists out in the field—from roughing it in rural Mexico to "glamping" around a dining table in the Canadian Rockies.

→ s.si.edu/3iADeP8

Do you remember a time when children could climb on Uncle Beazley, the popular, life-size triceratops model?Although he ...
06/09/2021

Do you remember a time when children could climb on Uncle Beazley, the popular, life-size triceratops model?

Although he has lived at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute for nearly 30 years, he made many dino detours during his time at the Smithsonian. On the blog this week → s.si.edu/3xcAxXZ

When you dig into the history of the Smithsonian Pride Alliance, one name is pretty much everywhere: Len Hirsch.In 1991,...
06/04/2021

When you dig into the history of the Smithsonian Pride Alliance, one name is pretty much everywhere: Len Hirsch.

In 1991, Hirsch, a specialist in the Smithsonian’s Office of International Relations, and Eric Keller, assistant editor at Smithsonian Magazine, challenged the Institution to formally recognize the Smithsonian Lesbian and Gay Issues Committee, which became Smithsonian GLOBE.

In seeking recognition, the group asked “to have a formal voice in the Institution”—a formal, visible, and active voice.

Hirsch was among those advocating for the inclusion of LGBTQ+ content in public programs. When Smithsonian wasn’t planning for 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, he co-organized the exhibition, “Fragments of Our History.” For the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, he lobbied for @amhistorymuseum to present a small display on the topic.

(📷: Torch, March '92) #Pride #PrideMonth #SmithsonianPride

When you dig into the history of the Smithsonian Pride Alliance, one name is pretty much everywhere: Len Hirsch.

In 1991, Hirsch, a specialist in the Smithsonian’s Office of International Relations, and Eric Keller, assistant editor at Smithsonian Magazine, challenged the Institution to formally recognize the Smithsonian Lesbian and Gay Issues Committee, which became Smithsonian GLOBE.

In seeking recognition, the group asked “to have a formal voice in the Institution”—a formal, visible, and active voice.

Hirsch was among those advocating for the inclusion of LGBTQ+ content in public programs. When Smithsonian wasn’t planning for 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, he co-organized the exhibition, “Fragments of Our History.” For the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, he lobbied for @amhistorymuseum to present a small display on the topic.

(📷: Torch, March '92) #Pride #PrideMonth #SmithsonianPride

55 years ago today, the Smithsonian adopted its sunburst seal. Last year, two of our colleagues identified Crimilda Pont...
06/03/2021

55 years ago today, the Smithsonian adopted its sunburst seal.

Last year, two of our colleagues identified Crimilda Pontes as the original designer behind the Sun with rays seal. Learn more about the Smithsonian’s official graphic designer on our blog. → s.si.edu/2R0l9eS

Local newspapers referred to her as the “first lady in the world of stamps.” 📬Catherine Lemmon Manning managed the Natio...
06/02/2021

Local newspapers referred to her as the “first lady in the world of stamps.” 📬

Catherine Lemmon Manning managed the National Philatelic Collection at the Smithsonian’s United States National Museum between 1922 and 1951. Following her retirement, Manning continued to work with the collection, now at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, until her death in 1957.

Read more about Manning’s career on today’s blog → s.si.edu/3vJWzBh

Local newspapers referred to her as the “first lady in the world of stamps.” 📬

Catherine Lemmon Manning managed the National Philatelic Collection at the Smithsonian’s United States National Museum between 1922 and 1951. Following her retirement, Manning continued to work with the collection, now at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, until her death in 1957.

Read more about Manning’s career on today’s blog → s.si.edu/3vJWzBh

06/01/2021

100 years ago today, white mobs attacked and murdered hundreds of African Americans and destroyed businesses and homes in the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Learn more about the deadliest racial massacre in U.S. history from Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. #Tulsa100

Timeline Photos
05/31/2021

Timeline Photos

Before Memorial Day, there was Decoration Day. The first observances were organized by women and African Americans to commemorate fallen Civil War soldiers.

During the war, some women began decorating soldiers' graves with flowers, a custom which may have been borrowed from German Catholic observances on All Saints' Day. Dozens of cities in the North and South claim to have been the birthplace of Decoration Day, but it had become an annual spring tradition in many cities by the end of the war.

This postcard is in our National Museum of American History's collection.

Two years ago, on May 28, 2019, the Board of Regents announced that it unanimously elected Lonnie G. Bunch III as the 14...
05/28/2021

Two years ago, on May 28, 2019, the Board of Regents announced that it unanimously elected Lonnie G. Bunch III as the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian.

Read about his long career at the Institution and his personal papers in our collections → s.si.edu/2OlrZdG

Two years ago, on May 28, 2019, the Board of Regents announced that it unanimously elected Lonnie G. Bunch III as the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian.

Read about his long career at the Institution and his personal papers in our collections → s.si.edu/2OlrZdG

05/27/2021

Would you try cricket nachos? 🦗

From 1995 to 2005, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History hosted BugFest, an interactive event to teach visitors about insects. Attendees sampled food made with bugs, kids explored scientific illustration, and staff dressed in costumes.

Catch a clip of the first BugFest in all of its 1990s glory on our blog today → s.si.edu/2QXdJw9

While Smithsonian museums are reopening, the Smithsonian Institution Archives will remain closed to visitors. Fortunatel...
05/26/2021
Visiting the Smithsonian

While Smithsonian museums are reopening, the Smithsonian Institution Archives will remain closed to visitors.

Fortunately, research in the Archives collections is by no means on hold. Our reference team is ready to answer your questions → s.si.edu/3uog0hx

Learn about visiting our museums and zoo.

“Remembering George Floyd and so many others whose lives were cut short reminds us of our history, the need for insight ...
05/25/2021
Remembering George Floyd and the Movement He Sparked, One Year Later

“Remembering George Floyd and so many others whose lives were cut short reminds us of our history, the need for insight and change, and the Museum’s mission in telling the story of a people and a nation.”

Read Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture Director Kevin Young's full statement: s.si.edu/3bU480h

One year ago today, the world watched while George Floyd was murdered at the hands of a policeman on an American street corner. His death resonated deeply in America’s consciousness, joining a distressing if familiar chorus of names, from Breonna Taylor to Ahmaud Arbery, killed by police or extraj...

We love celebrating #BikeToWorkDay, but we recommend you don’t try it on this thing. The "monocycle" was donated to the ...
05/21/2021

We love celebrating #BikeToWorkDay, but we recommend you don’t try it on this thing.

The "monocycle" was donated to the Smithsonian in 1944 and patented in 1869. It allegedly “crashed badly” on its first run and was likely never completed.

Learn more about the object in National Museum of American History's collections → s.si.edu/3uhnuD7
(📷: MAH-41054)

We love celebrating #BikeToWorkDay, but we recommend you don’t try it on this thing.

The "monocycle" was donated to the Smithsonian in 1944 and patented in 1869. It allegedly “crashed badly” on its first run and was likely never completed.

Learn more about the object in National Museum of American History's collections → s.si.edu/3uhnuD7
(📷: MAH-41054)

Our web developer 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 loves otters. Whenever he demonstrates a new feature on our website, you can bet he’s using a c...
05/20/2021

Our web developer 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 loves otters. Whenever he demonstrates a new feature on our website, you can bet he’s using a collection item that features the furry mammals. 🦦

For #WorldOtterDay next week, he wrote an otterly delightful blog post highlighting Archives collections that feature the otter. → s.si.edu/3ozujyu

Our web developer 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 loves otters. Whenever he demonstrates a new feature on our website, you can bet he’s using a collection item that features the furry mammals. 🦦

For #WorldOtterDay next week, he wrote an otterly delightful blog post highlighting Archives collections that feature the otter. → s.si.edu/3ozujyu

As a child, Smithsonian Libraries and Archives technician Hayaldree Just-Buddy lost a close friend to a house fire.After...
05/19/2021

As a child, Smithsonian Libraries and Archives technician Hayaldree Just-Buddy lost a close friend to a house fire.

After putting his research skills to the test, Just-Buddy earned a patent for the Terra Firma Exterior-Mount Fire/Rescue Elevator on July 7, 1992. His invention relied on long cables that would lower people trapped inside of burning skyscrapers to the ground from the outside of the building.

In a 1993 issue of Smithsonian’s newsletter, The Torch, he reflected on his childhood friend and his vow to make buildings safer. “I knew I had to think of something, because I kept thinking about Billy. I had to do something that would make me an enemy of fire.”

(📷:93-13975) #NationalInventorsMonth

As a child, Smithsonian Libraries and Archives technician Hayaldree Just-Buddy lost a close friend to a house fire.

After putting his research skills to the test, Just-Buddy earned a patent for the Terra Firma Exterior-Mount Fire/Rescue Elevator on July 7, 1992. His invention relied on long cables that would lower people trapped inside of burning skyscrapers to the ground from the outside of the building.

In a 1993 issue of Smithsonian’s newsletter, The Torch, he reflected on his childhood friend and his vow to make buildings safer. “I knew I had to think of something, because I kept thinking about Billy. I had to do something that would make me an enemy of fire.”

(📷:93-13975) #NationalInventorsMonth

After examining the Smithsonian's progress in covering the nation's diverse Asian Pacific American communities, an advis...
05/18/2021

After examining the Smithsonian's progress in covering the nation's diverse Asian Pacific American communities, an advisory group recommended the Institution establish the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center in 1998. #APAHM

Learn about the history of the Center on today’s blog → s.si.edu/2S1EjUX

If you follow us, you probably already know a bit about Spencer F. Baird, Smithsonian's second Secretary, elected unanim...
05/17/2021

If you follow us, you probably already know a bit about Spencer F. Baird, Smithsonian's second Secretary, elected unanimously on this day in 1878.

But did you know that his daughter, Lucy Baird, was also a talented naturalist? Read about her 14-year career with the American Ornithologist’s Union and connections with leading scientists → s.si.edu/LucyBaird #BecauseOfHerStory

If you follow us, you probably already know a bit about Spencer F. Baird, Smithsonian's second Secretary, elected unanimously on this day in 1878.

But did you know that his daughter, Lucy Baird, was also a talented naturalist? Read about her 14-year career with the American Ornithologist’s Union and connections with leading scientists → s.si.edu/LucyBaird #BecauseOfHerStory

Did you know that Smithsonian employees used to be able to get their passport photos taken at the National Museum of Ame...
05/14/2021

Did you know that Smithsonian employees used to be able to get their passport photos taken at the National Museum of American History?

While working from home, photo archivist Heidi Stover has been describing and researching our collection of passport photos. More about her work on the blog this week → s.si.edu/33GyGhC

One day the Smithsonian as an organization      Wished to increase their visitors’ digital participation        And afte...
05/12/2021

One day the Smithsonian as an organization
Wished to increase their visitors’ digital participation
And after some scanning,
(•_•) and much project planning

One day the Smithsonian as an organization
Wished to increase their visitors’ digital participation
And after some scanning,
(•_•) and much project planning

Zoom in. Why, yes, that 𝘪𝘴 a necklace of beetles. Virginia Beets began her career at the Smithsonian as a secretary at t...
05/07/2021

Zoom in. Why, yes, that 𝘪𝘴 a necklace of beetles.

Virginia Beets began her career at the Smithsonian as a secretary at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History's Division of Insects in 1949, but, by the time she retired in 1983, she had worked her way up to the position of registrar of the National Museum of American History.

In 1954, Beets wore this necklace of Brazilian beetles set in gold. The beetles have such beautifully colored, hard-shelled coats that they are sometimes set in pins and necklaces like stones.

(📷:SIA_000095_B44_F10_005) #ArchivesBugs #ArchivesHashtagParty

Zoom in. Why, yes, that 𝘪𝘴 a necklace of beetles.

Virginia Beets began her career at the Smithsonian as a secretary at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History's Division of Insects in 1949, but, by the time she retired in 1983, she had worked her way up to the position of registrar of the National Museum of American History.

In 1954, Beets wore this necklace of Brazilian beetles set in gold. The beetles have such beautifully colored, hard-shelled coats that they are sometimes set in pins and necklaces like stones.

(📷:SIA_000095_B44_F10_005) #ArchivesBugs #ArchivesHashtagParty

Card mounted photographs got back(mark)For #NationalPhotographyMonth, we're exploring the graphics photographers used to...
05/06/2021
Baby Got Backmark: A Closer Look at Card Photograph Mounts

Card mounted photographs got back(mark)

For #NationalPhotographyMonth, we're exploring the graphics photographers used to advertise their businesses on the backs of cartes-de-visite and cabinet cards and how they add descriptive value to our records. → s.si.edu/3b8eHfJ

We recently made available a series of portraits from Record Unit 95, largely featuring 19th and early 20th century scientists, politicians, educators, Smithsonian employees, and general correspondents and contemporaries of Smithsonian staff. The majority of these are cartes-de-visite and cabinet ca...

On May 5, 1997, Smithsonian Latino Center was born. To examine the inadequacy of Latinx representation at the Smithsonia...
05/05/2021

On May 5, 1997, Smithsonian Latino Center was born.

To examine the inadequacy of Latinx representation at the Smithsonian, the Institution established the Task Force on Latino Issues in May 1993. Read about their findings and the history of the Center on our blog → s.si.edu/2pheuNf

On May 5, 1997, Smithsonian Latino Center was born.

To examine the inadequacy of Latinx representation at the Smithsonian, the Institution established the Task Force on Latino Issues in May 1993. Read about their findings and the history of the Center on our blog → s.si.edu/2pheuNf

Women were the first to lose their jobs in the federal government as part of the “married workers clause” of the 1932 Ec...
05/04/2021

Women were the first to lose their jobs in the federal government as part of the “married workers clause” of the 1932 Economy Act. Section 213 of the law required that in instances of staff reductions in the federal government, employees with spouses who also worked for the government should be terminated first. Because wives almost always earned less than their husbands in this period, the law mostly cost women their positions.

This Depression-era history of gender discrimination is part of Smithsonian history. In 1933, Smithsonian entomologist Doris Holmes Blake wrote to the Secretary of Agriculture protesting her own recent termination under Section 213.

In the letter, she wrote: “I am one of the married women in your Department who has to-day received notice of dismissal. I am 41 years old, am college trained with a Master’s Degree from Radcliffe College, am Phi Beta Kappa, and all the other fixings, and have been in the Bureau of Entomology since 1919 (14 years). I am one of the few women who has ever been able to work up to being an Assistant Entomologist in this Bureau.”

Despite protest, the “married workers clause” stayed in effect for 5 years until it was repealed in 1937. However, the repeal did not provide for the reinstatement of married women’s positions. As reported by the New York Times in 1937, only 154 out of about 1,600 government workers who lost their jobs got them back.

Blake went on to work unpaid for most of her career. In a 1977 article in The Washington Star, Blake described some of the sexism she faced at the Smithsonian. From a member of the entomology department hiding the beetle specimens she wished to work with to being denied workspace in the department, the author detailed how Blake was treated as a “female outcast” in a “man’s scientific world.”

https://siarchives.si.edu/blog/doris-holmes-blake-and-fight-women%E2%80%99s-right-paid-employment

📷: Record Unit 7310, Box 5, Folder 14
#BecauseOfHerStory #WomenInScience #WomensHistory #SmithsonianHistory #AmericanHistory

Women were the first to lose their jobs in the federal government as part of the “married workers clause” of the 1932 Economy Act. Section 213 of the law required that in instances of staff reductions in the federal government, employees with spouses who also worked for the government should be terminated first. Because wives almost always earned less than their husbands in this period, the law mostly cost women their positions.

This Depression-era history of gender discrimination is part of Smithsonian history. In 1933, Smithsonian entomologist Doris Holmes Blake wrote to the Secretary of Agriculture protesting her own recent termination under Section 213.

In the letter, she wrote: “I am one of the married women in your Department who has to-day received notice of dismissal. I am 41 years old, am college trained with a Master’s Degree from Radcliffe College, am Phi Beta Kappa, and all the other fixings, and have been in the Bureau of Entomology since 1919 (14 years). I am one of the few women who has ever been able to work up to being an Assistant Entomologist in this Bureau.”

Despite protest, the “married workers clause” stayed in effect for 5 years until it was repealed in 1937. However, the repeal did not provide for the reinstatement of married women’s positions. As reported by the New York Times in 1937, only 154 out of about 1,600 government workers who lost their jobs got them back.

Blake went on to work unpaid for most of her career. In a 1977 article in The Washington Star, Blake described some of the sexism she faced at the Smithsonian. From a member of the entomology department hiding the beetle specimens she wished to work with to being denied workspace in the department, the author detailed how Blake was treated as a “female outcast” in a “man’s scientific world.”

https://siarchives.si.edu/blog/doris-holmes-blake-and-fight-women%E2%80%99s-right-paid-employment

📷: Record Unit 7310, Box 5, Folder 14
#BecauseOfHerStory #WomenInScience #WomensHistory #SmithsonianHistory #AmericanHistory

Address

Capital Gallery, 600 Maryland Ave SW, Suite 3000
Washington D.C., DC
20024

The Smithsonian Institution Archives is located in the Capital Gallery Building, Suite 3000 located at 600 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC, 20024. Capital Gallery is one block south of the National Mall on the corner of Maryland Avenue and 7th Street, Southwest. There is an entrance to L'Enfant Plaza Metro Station just outside the building, and the Archives is on the third floor. Metro: The best way to get to the Archives is by taking Metrorail, Washington, DC’s subway system. Use L’Enfant Plaza station, on Metrorail's Blue, Orange, Yellow, and Green lines, and take the Maryland Avenue and 7th Street, SW exit. This will place you directly in front of the Capital Gallery Building. Simply take the elevator to the third floor to reach the Archives. For a Metrorail map and more information, visit the Metro Website www.wmata.com. Bus: Metrobus links Washington with nearby communities in Maryland and Virginia, and has stops near the Archives. The D.C. Circulator bus also offers a quick and convenient service to the Archives via the Circulator’s Convention Center - SW Waterfront line. More information is here: http://siarchives.si.edu/about/contact-us

General information

The Archives is open to all researchers (except children under twelve). Business hours are Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., except for Federal holidays. Prior to your visit, we ask that you review the Collections Access Policies (http://siarchives.si.edu/services/collections-access-policies) and contact us to ensure that pertinent records are available during your visit.

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(202) 633-5870

Alerts

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Comments

June 9: International Archives Day… Archives are a Heritage and a Sun. https://www.facebook.com/gerardo.bendecido/posts/10158314169866325
FYI: SUMMER 2021 Get Ready for a Mind-Expanding Adventure! “GOD TALKS TO ME: A Working Definition of God” This book answers Albert Einstein’s most profound question, ” I want to know God's thoughts; the rest are details." Albert Einstein https://www.facebook.com/GodTalkstoMeBook
Hey Smithsonian Institution Archives, I wish you should upload "Conquest Of The Land" and "For Want Of Plankton The Mosasaur Was Lost" on YouTube.
Que voulez-vous dire ?tt.pe
President John F. Kennedy By Artist Chester Davis
Good morning, I am looking for pictures of the soldiers during the First and Second World War of Andernach during the occupation were made! Can you help me with this ?! Thanks Andreas Heissbach
A Civil War era letter that appears to describe the January 1865 Smithsonian fire is up for auction on eBay:
Secrets of Physical Radiesthesia /The Roman Rod/
Thought you guys might enjoy this rendition of America's oldest murder ballad, Omie Wise. Happy Halloween from Banjo Earth!
I should think that, with digital technology as good as it is and widely available and easy to use, the Smithsonian could digitally catalog everything in its vast warehouses and make it all available for free online viewing. If it's just a matter of photographing it all and scanning it, I'm sure you could find hundreds of people who would volunteer to do it--including me!