Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.) Search this
Number of Images: 1; Color: Color; Size: 8w x 10h; Type of Image: Document; Medium: Paper
United States, District of Columbia, Washington
November 25, 1892
Historic Images of the Smithsonian
Solomon G. Brown was hired as the Smithsonian Institution's first African American employee, spending most of his career as a clerk to Spencer Fullerton Baird. Brown worked for 54 years at the Smithsonian (1850-1904), fulfilling many duties under secretaries Joseph Henry, Spencer Fullerton Baird, and Samuel P. Langley. Brown formed a very close bond with Baird, becoming his "eyes and ears" when Baird was out of town. He was also a naturalist, poet, illustrator, and lecturer. Although he had no formal education, Brown was known by many as Professor Brown.
Letter from Secretary Samuel P. Langley to Solomon G. Brown concerning employment and layoffs. Langley informed Brown that while there will be layoffs, Brown will not be a part of them. Brown had worked at the Smithsonian since 1850.3
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 34, Box 32, Vol. 11.1, p. 370