United States National Museum. Division of Engineering Search this
4.5 cu. ft. (9 document boxes)
These records document the activities of the Division of Engineering and its predecessors. Included is early correspondence between curators and administrators of the
USNM and the Smithsonian; an incomplete general correspondence file, R-Z, circa 1904-1919; annual and quarterly reports of the Division; histories of the Division of Technology,
1906; administrative files including budgets, plans of operations, object inventories, and list of objects packed for evacuation during World War II; postcards and photographs
of museums and exhibits from Mitman's study of European engineering, industrial, and science museums in 1932; files, including minutes of an organizing committee and correspondence
between Mitman and Holbrook Fitz John Porter and Frederick A. Waldron, concerning an effort to establish a national museum of engineering and industry under the direction
of the Smithsonian; and files including correspondence and biographical information, documenting the Division of Mineral and Mechanical Technology's effort to establish a
biographical file of American inventors, engineers, and industrialists.
The Section of Steam Transportation was the first curatorial division in the United States National Museum (USNM) responsible for mechanical, technical, and scientific
objects in the collection. The Section was established in 1886, with J. Elfreth Watkins as Honorary Curator. Two years later the Section was renamed the Section of Transportation
and Engineering with Watkins as Curator. William Crawford Winlock succeeded Watkins and was named Honorary Curator of Apparatus in 1891; he served until 1895. Watkins rejoined
the Smithsonian in 1895 as Curator of the Section of Technological Collections; later he was Custodian of the Electrical Collections in 1896 and Curator of the Technological
Collections in 1897.
In 1898 a major reorganization occurred in the USNM. That year the Division of Technology (Mechanical Phases) became part of the Department of Anthropology, with Watkins
as Curator of the Division, serving until his death in 1903. George C. Maynard, who originally served as Aid and Custodian in the Division, was appointed Assistant Curator
in 1901. In 1904 the Division was renamed the Division of Technology. In 1912 its name was changed to the Division of Mechanical Technology with Maynard as Curator until 1918.
From 1904 to 1913 the Department of Mineral Technology with Charles D. Walcott as Honorary Curator had only nominal recognition, but was given full curatorial status as
the Division of Mineral Technology in 1913 with Chester G. Gilbert as Curator. Carl W. Mitman joined the Division as Assistant Curator in 1916. In 1918 Joseph E. Pogue was
appointed Assistant Curator.
In 1919 the Department of Arts and Industries was established with the Division of Mineral Technology reporting to that Department while the Division of Mechanical Technology
was still under Anthropology. Gilbert and Pogue were each Curator and Mitman was Assistant Curator in Mineral Technology. In 1920 both divisions were placed under Arts and
Industries; Gilbert was named Honorary Curator, staying until 1935. Mitman was promoted to Curator of Mechanical Technology in 1920 and Curator of Mineral and Mechanical Technology
from 1921 to 1931.Other curators included Paul M. Frank, Assistant Curator of Mineral Technology, 1922; Paul E. Garber, Assistant Curator, 1925-1931; and Frank A. Taylor,
Assistant Curator, 1929-1931.
A major reorganization in the USNM occurred in 1932, with the Division of Engineering and Industries under the Department of Arts and Industries. Engineering had sections
of Mechanical Technology, Aeronautics, and Mineral Technology. Staff included Mitman, Curator of the Division, 1932, and in Charge of Mineral Technology, 1932-1938; Taylor,
Assistant Curator of Mechanical Technology, 1932, Curator of the Division and in Charge of Mechanical Technology,1933-1938; and Garber, Assistant Curator of Aeronautics.
Another reorganization occurred in 1939 when the Division was placed under the Department of Engineering and Industries. The Division, with Taylor as Curator, included
sections of Transportation and Civil Engineering, Aeronautics, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Communications, Mining and Metallurgical Engineering, Tools,
and Physical Sciences and Measurement. Garber continued as Assistant Curator and Associate Curator of Aeronautics, 1942-1946; Fred C. Reed, Acting Associate Curator of Aeronautics,1943-1946;
Mitman, Curator of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering; and Taylor in charge of the last Section.
In 1947 a reorganization occurred at the section level with Engineering responsible for Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Marine Transportation, Land Transportation, Electricity,
and Physical Science and Measurement. Taylor continued as Curator of the Division until 1948 when he was named Acting Curator. Smith Hempstone Oliver was appointed Associate
Curator of Land Transportation in 1947 and in 1948, Kenneth M. Parry as Associate Curator of Electricity. In 1954 Robert P. Multauf was appointed Associate Curator of the
Division and Curator in 1955.He was also in charge of the sections of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Tools, and Physical Science and Measurement; Parry was Associate Curator
of Marine Transportation and Electricity; and Oliver, Associate Curator of Land Transportation and Horology, a new Section in 1955.
National Museum of History and Technology, Office of the Director Search this
0.8 linear meter.
These records of special projects in the National Museum of History and Technology (NMHT), as well as throughout the Smithsonian, focus on several major activities,
including the Computer History Project in cooperation with the American Federation of Information Processing Societies (AFIPS), the bicentennial celebration of James Smithson's
birth, acquisition of a flag from each of the fifty states, and a proposed historic studies center. Records include press releases; audit reports; minutes of the Advisory
Committee for the Computer History Project; memoranda and correspondence relating to the computer history exhibit, an oral history project on computer history; the role of
the principal investigators in the AFIPS project; newspaper and magazine articles; photographs; correspondence with speakers, foreign and domestic invitees, charitable foundations,
and the International Council of Museums for the Smithson bicentennial; correspondence with governors and other state executive officials concerning the states' flag project;
proposed budgets, correspondence, copies of federal legislation, and proposal for a historic studies center in NMHT; correspondence and memoranda concerning the "Atoms for
Peace" exhibit by the Atomic Energy Commission; correspondence, memoranda, magazine articles, and photographs relating to a McGraw-Hill publication editorial advocating a
proposed national museum of engineering and industry; speech by Leonard Carmichael, news releases, correspondence, and memoranda concerning a National Conference of Business
Paper Editors; and correspondence and teachers' guidebooks to various Smithsonian exhibit halls for the Washington Area School Study Council.
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
Records prior to 1907 consist mostly of incoming correspondence (outgoing correspondence can be found in record unit 112). After 1907 the records contain both incoming
and outgoing correspondence. Much of the material consists of routine public inquiries. In addition, these records document museum accessions and Smithsonian expeditions and
field trips. Other topics include Smithsonian participation in expositions, operation of certain museum divisions, and miscellaneous subjects. Accession records include: data
on the Herber R. Bishop jade collection; William Joseph Hammer collection of incandescent lamps, 1905; Robert Ward collection of ferns, 1905-1906; transfer of the United States
Patent Office collections to the United States National Museum, 1906-1909; Hubert G. Squires collection of Chinese porcelain; Hippisley collection of Chinese porcelain, 1909-1912;
collections from the Arizona fossil forest; E. A. Wakefield collection of Basuto pottery; James D. S. Chalmers collection of minerals; McIntire collection of historical objects;
Charles Fuller Baker collection from the Galapagos Islands; United States National Museum collection of postage stamps; Isaac Lea collection of gems and mollusks; George D.
Seymour collection of clocks; Joseph Priestley collection of scientific apparatus; Robert C. Hall ethnological collection; Dwight J. Partello bequest; John B. Bernadou bequest;
Bernard Rogan Ross ethnological collections; Mrs. James W. Pinchot collection of textiles; Richard Mansfield collection of theatrical costumes; B. F. Chandler herbarium; Morris
Loeb collection of chemical compounds; Donn collection of Lincoln relics; Frank S. Collins herbarium and library; Oldroyd collection of Lincoln relics; Thomas Jefferson writing
desk; Richard E. Byrd airplane "Josephine Ford"; Walter W. Holmes fossil bird bone collection; Brush-Swan electrical apparatus collection; collection of first ladies' gowns
in the United States National Museum; Virgil Michael Brand coin collection; Charles Russell Orcutt natural history collections; Isobel H. Lenman collection of Old World archaeology;
American period costume collection in the United States National Museum; Charles A. Lindbergh collection of personal memorabilia; Nordenskold Mesa Verde collection; Joseph
Nelson Rose collection of cacti; Osborne collection of Guatemalan textiles; United States National Museum collection of building stones; the Holt collection of birds from
South America, 1936-1940; the Annie H. Hegeman lace and textile collection; the United States National Museum's collection of Jean Leon Gerome Ferris paintings; James Townsend
Russell anthropological collection; the Harvey Harlow Nininger meteorite collection; the Hope diamond.
Records related to Smithsonian expeditions and field work include: Mexican-United States Boundary Commission; expeditions and collecting in the Philippine Islands, 1903-1905;
University of Pennsylvania expedition to Babylonia, 1887-1888; Metropolitan Museum of Art Expedition to Egypt, 1909; Arthur deC. Sowerby collecting trips to China, 1909-1936;
Owen Bryant-William Palmer expedition to Java, 1905-1910; Smithsonian-Roosevelt African expedition, 1909; Rainey African expedition, 1911; Smithsonian-Harvard expedition to
Altai Mountains, Siberia, 1912; National Geographic Society-Yale University expedition to Peru, 1915; Smithsonian-Universal Film Manufacturing Company African Expedition,
1920; David C. Graham collecting work in China, 1925-1940; Hugh McCormick Smith collecting work in Siam; Marsh-Darien expedition, 1924; Smithsonian biological survey of the
Panama Canal Zone, 1911-1912; Ellsworth Paine Killip collecting work in Europe, 1935, and Venezuela, 1943-1944; Henry Bascom Collins, Jr., field work in Mississippi and Louisiana,
1938; Herbert Girton Deignan's collecting work in Siam, 1936-1937; the Johnson-Smithsonian Deep Sea Expedition to the West Indies, 1933; Stanley John's collecting work in
the British West Indies, 1935-1938; Charles W. Gilmore and Frank H. H. Roberts collecting work in Arizona, 1937; the National Geographic Society-Smithsonian Institution Archeological
Expedition to Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1938-1939; Matthew William Stirling's field work in Mexico, 1940-1946; the National Geographic Society-University of Virginia Expedition to
the South Pacific Islands, 1939; Walter W. Taylor, Jr.'s, archeological field work in Mexico, 1940-1945; Floyd A. McClure's bamboo investigations in Mexico and Central and
South America, 1943-1944; Henri Pittier's botanical field work in Venezuela, 1944-1946; Philip Hershkovitz field work in Colombia, 1946-1950; the Finn Ronne Antarctic Research
Expedition, 1946-1948; Brina Kessel field work in Alaska, 1950; Clifford Evans, Jr., field work in Ecuador, 1954-1958; Marshall T. Newman field work in Peru, 1955-1957; James
Paul Chapin collecting work in Africa, 1957; Ralph S. Solecki field work in Iraq, 1954-1959.
Records that document Smithsonian involvement in expositions include: South Carolina and West Indian Exposition, Charleston, 1902; Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis,
1904; Jamestown (Virginia) Tercentenary Exposition, 1907; International Photographic Exposition, Dresden, 1909; World's Columbian Exposition, 1896; Panama-California Exposition,
San Diego, 1915; Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, 1915; International Silk Exposition, New York, 1921; Pageant of Progress Exposition, Chicago, 1922;
Sesquicentennial Exposition, Philadelphia, 1926; Progress Exposition, New Haven, 1926; International Exposition, Seville, Spain, 1927; Century of Progress Exposition, Chicago,
1931; Great Lakes Exposition, Cleveland, 1936; New York World's Fair, 1939; Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco, 1939; Texas Centennial Exposition, Dallas,
1936; Greater Texas and Pan American Exposition, 1937; Port-au-Prince Bicentennial Exposition, Haiti, 1949.
Records related to the origin or operation of subdivisions of the United States National Museum include: development of the Division of Textiles; history of the National
Herbarium, 1886-1908; development of the Division of Medicine; development of the Division of Mineral Technology, 1914; Traveling Exhibit Service; Division of Graphic Arts;
Division of Numismatics.
Miscellaneous topics covered by these records include: establishment of Bermuda Biological Station, 1900-1904; United States military operations against insurgents in the
Philippine Islands, 1904; the Lincoln Memorial Commission, 1913; proposed construction of a George Washington Memorial; National Museum involvement in search for the Port
Orford meteorite; exhibition of the "Spirit of St. Louis"; National Museum exhibition of objects from World War I; use of the National Museum Building by the Bureau of War
Risk Insurance in World War I; proposed creation of a National Museum of Engineering and Industry under Smithsonian control; Samuel P. Langley's aerodrome experiments; Smithsonian
activities during World War II, particularly the evacuation of United States National Museum collections from Washington; A. Remington Kellogg's work on the Governmental Advisory
Committee on Oceanography and the International Whaling Commission; United States National Museum correspondence with Phineas T. Barnum, 1882-1891; Washington A. Roebling's
Most of the correspondence is directed to the officer in immediate charge of the United States National Museum (Richard Rathbun, 1897-1918; William deC. Ravenel, 1918-1925;
Alexander Wetmore, 1925-1948; A. Remington Kellogg, 1948-1962) with lesser amounts to John Enos Graf, who was appointed Associate Director, United States National Museum,
in 1931. Also, a smaller amount of correspondence is addressed to the Secretary of the Smithsonian (Spencer F. Baird, 1878-1887; Samuel P. Langley, 1887-1906; Charles D. Walcott,
1907-1927; Charles G. Abbot, 1928-1944; Alexander Wetmore, 1944-1952; Leonard Carmichael, 1953-1964) and to various museum curators. This correspondence was usually referred
to the chief administrator of the United States National Museum for response.
In 1902 the Museum's Division of Correspondence and Documents instituted a numeric filing system for the general correspondence of the United States National Museum.
That correspondence, as found in this record unit, comprises most of the central administrative files of the Museum. Prior to 1902, museum correspondence had been filed alphabetically
by correspondent (see record unit 189). Beginning in 1862 the accession records of the National Museum had been filed using a numeric system similar to that later adopted
for correspondence. Finally in 1924 the two numbering systems were integrated.
Inquiries related to specimens should be directed to the appropriate museum registrar.
A National Museum of Engineering and Industry, Journal of the A. I. E. E., vol. 44
Electricity and Modern Physics, Division of, NMAH, SI. Search this
Hammer, William J. (Wiiliam Joseph), 1858-1934 ((electrical engineer)) Search this
Box 29, Folder 5
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
William J. Hammer Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History