S. Dillon Ripley (1913- 2001), ornithologist and eighth Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, developed an interest in natural history in his youth. He received the B.A. from Harvard University in 1936 and the Ph.D. from Yale University in 1943. From 1946 to 1963, he was on the faculty of Yale University and served as Director of their Peabody Museum from 1959 to 1963. In 1964, he was appointed Secretary of the Smithsonian. During his twenty year tenure as Secretary, he oversaw the development of the Anacostia Museum, Cooper-Hewitt Museum, Festival of American Folklife, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of African Art, Renwick Gallery, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Associates, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and Smithsonian magazine. Ripley was also involved in numerous conservation organizations, including the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands, International Council for Bird Preservation, and International Union for the Conservation of Nature. His interests in international affairs also led him to play a role in the foundation of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
(1) Description in control file; (2) name index to transcript.
(1) Audiotapes, 38 hours; (2) transcript, circa 700 pages
These interviews of Ripley by Pamela M. Henson cover his youth, early interests in natural history, education, career on the faculty at Yale, field work and expeditions, tenure as Secretary of the Smithsonian, involvement in international conservation efforts, and reminiscences of individuals, including Salim Ali, August Heckscher, Joseph H. Hirshhorn, G. Evelyn Hutchinson, and Ralph Rinzler.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520