Number of Images: 1 ; Color: Black and White ; Size: 6w x 4h ; Type of Image: Group, candid ; Medium: Photographic print
Historic Images of the Smithsonian
From The Smithsonian Scientific Series, edited by Charles Greeley Abbot, 1949 edition, plate 108.
Rehearsal of one of 'The World Is Yours' radio programs at the NBC studios in New York City. This series was a depression era project at the Smithsonian created in conjunction with the Works Progress Administration and the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Education, 1936-1942.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Smithsonian Scientific Series Vol. 1
United States Dept. of Interior Office of Education
United States Office of Education
June 7, 1936
Chronology of Smithsonian History
Charles Greeley Abbot, The Smithsonian Institution, Volume 1 of The Smithsonian Scientific Series (New York: Series Publishers, Inc., 1949), p. 331-337.
The first "The World Is Yours" radio program is aired over the National Broadcasting Company network. A joint project of the Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Education and Works Progress Administration, the half-hour programs air once a week on topics ranging from mammals to insects to geology to ethnology to art history to aeronautics, etc. Scripts are prepared by Smithsonian staff and presentations are done by out-of-work actors and musicians. The program is suspended in May of 1942 because of the war effort.
Abbot, Charles Greeley, ed. Smithsonian Scientific Series, vol. 1. New York: Smithsonian Institution Series, Inc., 1938, p. 331-337.
Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1942. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1943, p. 10-11.
"The World Is Yours" radio program, a joint effort of the Smithsonian Institution, Works Progress Administration, U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Education and National Broadcasting Company, is suspended because of the demands of the war effort. It is never resumed.
Smithsonian Institution Secretary Charles G. Abbot's statement to the Board of Regents briefly describes some of the operational details and major initiatives undertaken by the Smithsonian Institution during the ten year period between 1927 and 1936. Presented on January 14, 1937, Abbot's summary is divided into eleven sections and cover various areas within the Smithsonian's jurisdiction. They are as follows, with a highlight for each topic.
1. Financial: the Smithsonian received almost $12.4 million from Federal government appropriations. 2. Collections increased: almost 5 million specimens were added to the Smithsonian's collections. 3. Buildings improved permanently: the Zoological Park added new reptile, bird, small mammal, and pachyderm houses. 4. Principal new features: publication of the 12-book Smithsonian Scientific Series. 5. Principal researches (includes five widely varied areas, such as the Division of Radiation and Organisms and the Astrophysical Observatory): work from the National Museum resulted in the discovery of hundreds of new genera and over 5,000 new species of marine and land animals and plants.
6. Correspondence: the Smithsonian and its branches responded to approximately 520,000 inquiries. 7. Publication: collectively, a total of 980 titles were published by the Institution and its museums. 8. Exchanges: 6.5 million packages of scientific and parliamentary publications were transmitted. 9. Exhibits: the number of visitors at Smithsonian museums totaled almost 16.4 million, and the National Zoo had well over 24 million visitors over the 10-year period. 10. Expeditions: the Smithsonian and its branches engaged in 267 expeditions to collect specimens or do research in nearly every state in the U. S., and over 30 foreign countries. 11. Library: the addition of 173,500 items brought the total collection to 860,000 items.
Smithsonian Institution Editorial and Publications Division
Smithsonian Institution Administration
Smithsonian Institution Press
18 cu. ft. (18 record storage boxes)
For many years, the Editorial and Publications Division administered public relations activities as well as publications. In 1966 a major reorganization established the Smithsonian Institution Press, concerned with publications, and created other offices for public relations, radio programs, and the like.
These records represent most of the activities of the Editorial and Publications Division. Included are a range of fiscal and administrative records pertaining to Smithsonian publications, especially correspondence with National Museum publications authors and background records for Annual Reports, news releases and news clippings, materials pertaining to Smithsonian house publications, Smithsonian radio programs, and correspondence pertaining to Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections. Also includes records documenting "The World is Yours" radio program; they include radio scripts and related promotional literature and a file of collected information on other contemporary educational radio programs.
Production Records, 1937-1942, 1980-1981, 2002-2003
National Broadcasting Company, Inc
Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology
National Archives (U.S.)
United States Office of Education
1 cu. ft. (2 document boxes)
1937-1942, 1980-1981, 2002-2003
This accession consists of scripts for various "The World is Yours" radio shows broadcast by the National Broadcasting Company, Inc. radio network. A joint project of the Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Education, and the Works Progress Administration, the half-hour programs aired once a week on topics ranging from mammals to insects to geology to ethnology to art history to aeronautics, etc. The educational series featured the "Oldtimer" as the audience's guide to "the wonders of that unique establishment, the Smithsonian Institution -- dedicated to the increase and diffusion of knowledge." Scripts were prepared by Smithsonian staff and presentations were done by out-of-work actors and musicians. The program, which began in June 1936, was suspended in May of 1942 because of the war effort. Materials include scripts, regulations for using the scripts, and, in some cases, cast lists. Scripts are not available for all shows. Also included is information about the 1942 transfer of 6 audio recordings related to the Chumash Indian language from the Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology to the National Archives; 9 pages of Chumash to English translations, and "The Story of Candalaria, the Old Indian Basket-Maker." Also included are data sheets and component data sheets for duplicate film in Record Group 106 of the National Archives and Records Administration. Data sheets are not available for all of the film from this record group and some data sheets document copies that were not part of the transfer to the Smithsonian Institution Archives and are assumed to no longer exist. These records were transferred to the National Archives prior to the establishment of the Smithsonian Institution Archives, where they became part of Record Group 106. On March 18, 2005, they were returned to the Smithsonian Institution and were added to the Archives collections.
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Radiation and Organisms Division
Smithsonian Institution Administration
Ethnogeographic Board (Washington, D.C.)
Carnegie Institution of Washington
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission
National Gallery of Art (U.S.)
National Collection of Fine Arts (U.S.)
National Geographic Society (U.S.)
River Basin Surveys
United States Office of Scientific Research and Development
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Tamblyn and Brown Conferences
National Air and Space Museum (U.S.)
Smithsonian American Art Museum
National Zoological Park (U.S.)
National Air Museum (U.S.)
United States Canal Zone Biological Area, Barro Colorado Island
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
United States Works Progress Administration
National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
United States National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
National Research Council (U.S.)
Johnson-Smithsonian Deep-Sea Expedition to the Puerto Rican Trench, 1933
Conference on the Future of Smithsonian (1927)
Eighth American Scientific Congress (1940 : Washington, D. C.)
78.75 cu. ft. (65 record storage boxes) (1 half document box) (90 3x5 boxes) (oversize materials)
Mixed archival materials
These records chiefly document the policy and administration of the Smithsonian under Charles G. Abbot, 1928-1944, though they overlap parts of the administrations of Secretaries Charles D. Walcott and Alexander Wetmore.
Smithsonian bureaus which were founded, enlarged, or significantly changed during these years, and which are represented here, include the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; the National Gallery of Art, now the Smithsonian American Art Museum; the National Gallery of Art, founded by Andrew Mellon; the National Zoological Park; the National Air Museum, now the National Air and Space Museum; and the Canal Zone Biological Area, now the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Abbot's tenure was complicated by the Depression and World War II, which restricted many of the developments which seemed so promising under his predecessor. The principal event of his administration was Andrew Mellon's gift of a national art museum. Abbot created a Division of Radiation and Organisms within the Astrophysical Observatory, always his personal interest. With the use of Works Progress Administration funds he was also able to produce major improvements for the National Zoological Park. The Smithsonian continued its ties with the National Academy of Sciences, the Carnegie Institution, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the National Research Council, the National Geographic Society and similar organizations. During the war, the Smithsonian was instrumental in operating the Ethnogeographic Board and co-operated with the Office of Scientific Research and Development. Its co-operation with such bodies, and new ones like the Atomic Energy Commission, continued in the postwar years. Miscellaneous topics in the records include: the Johnson-Smithsonian Deep-Sea Expedition to the Puerto Rico Trench, 1933; the Eighth American Scientific Conference, Washington, 1940; the Smithsonian Scientific Series; North American Wildflowers; the Langley-Wright controversy; the River Basin Surveys; the abortive design competition for a museum of modern art, won by Eliel Saarinen; "The World is Yours" radio broadcasts; Robert H. Goddard's rocket research; awarding of the Langley Medal; private funding of the Smithsonian, especially the Tamblyn and Brown conferences and the 1927 conference on the future of the Smithsonian; and Charles G. Abbot's research in solar radiation and climatic studies.