This is an agency history. It does not describe actual records. The Smithsonian Institution Archives uses these histories as brief accounts of the origin, development, and functions of an office or administrative unit to set that unit in its historical context. To find information on record holdings, please double-click the highlighted field "Creator/Author", which will open on a brief view of relevant records.
Guide to the Smithsonian Archives
Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution
Annual Report of the United States National Museum
A Section of Grasses was established in the Division of Plants, United States National Museum, in 1912, when the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grass herbarium was transferred to the Museum. A.S. Hitchcock, Principal Biologist in charge of Systematic Agrostology,(USDA), was appointed Custodian of the new Section. Hitchcock continued in the position until his death in 1935 and was succeeded by Agnes Chase, another USDA agrostologist.
When the Department of Botany was established in 1947, the Section of Grasses became a Division of the new Department. At that time, Chase became a Research Associate in the Department of Botany and retained her honorary custodianship of the grass herbarium until her death in 1963. Around 1991,the Division of Grasses ceased to be an administrative entity within the Department of Botany.
Curators and research staff of the Division of Grasses included Jason Richard Swallen, Curator, 1947-1966; Ernest R. Sohn, Associate Curator, 1951-1956; Thomas R. Soderstrom, Assistant Curator, Associate Curator, and Curator, 1960-1987; and Paul M. Peterson, Associate Curator, 1988-1991.
For a history of the larger creating unit, refer to "Forms part of" above.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520