This collection is primarily the work of one individual, Donald Harvey Sultner, known professionally as Donald Sultner-Welles (1914-1981). The collection forms a written and visual record of Sultner's family, life, and career from 1913-1980. Its major strength is Sultner's photographic documentation of the world during his travels, ca. 1950-1980. Work by other photographers and artists, correspondence, greeting cards, and contemporary memorabilia and ephemera are included, along with fewer than fifty examples of earlier materials, ca. 1790-1900, collected by Sultner.
The entire collection reflects Sultner's lifework and interests. Housed in @ boxes (.W cubic feet), the collection is organized into eleven
series: Personal Papers; Professional Papers; Lecture Materials; Biographical Materials; Transparencies; Photoprints; Photonegatives; Prints, Drawings, Mixed Media; Audio Tapes; Miscellaneous; and Restricted Materials. The arrangement within each series is based as closely as possi-ble on Sultner's own organization of the materials. However, in several instances similar materials were found separated and have been placed together. In addition, obvious filing mistakes and spelling errors have been corrected. The spelling of geographic place names is based on Offi-cial Standard Names prepared by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, Of-fice of Geography, U.S. Department of the Interior. Not all names given by Sultner were found in the gazetteers, so there may be errors.
The bulk of the collection consists of 2-1/4-inch by 2-1/4-inch color transparencies (Series 5). However, the manuscript materials (Series 1-4) provide a detailed complement to the transparencies. For example, from the mid-1950s until the late 1970s, Sultner kept a travel diary (Se-ries 1). Written on the backs of postcards, this stream-of-consciousness journal reflects not only his daily trips, but his impressions of the countries and thoughts on his photography. A juxtaposition of cards with images is especially useful in understanding what Sultner photographed as well as why and how he photographed it. Sultner's professional corre-spondence (Series 2) documents the various types of groups before which he performed and equipment manufacturers dealt with for cameras, projectors, and so on. Notes, drafts, and final lectures (Series 3) present the performance side of Sultner. This material, when viewed with tapes of concerts and slides, begins to recreate the photo-concert as Sultner presented it. Scrapbooks (Series 4), kept by Sultner from the 1940s to the 1980s, present Sultner's life and career in chronological fashion.
The transparency portion of the collection (Series 5), containing over 87,000 images, is especially rich because of its documentation of the countries of the world. People are seen at their daily tasks, such as washing clothes, marketing, shopping, and eating. Cities are documented as they changed over the years. Two areas in particular will be of spe-cial interest to European and Asian researchers. The first is Sultner's USIS Asian tour in 1959. He visited Japan, Java, India, Korea, the Phil-ippines, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The serene, prewar cities and coun-tryside of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam evince nothing of the devastation to come in the 1960a and 70s.
The second area of interest is Sultner's passion for documenting archi-tecture. As a guest of the German government in 1954, Sultner documented the devastation of World War II and photographed both the reconstruction of bombed buildings and the construction of buildings reflecting "new" postwar architectural styles. In addition to photographing post-WW II styles, throughout his career Sultner documented Palladian, baroque and Rococo architecture. This interest manifested itself in several of his lectures.
A third subject area of interest to Sultner was gardens. Among his first lectures following his USIS tour was "Gardens of the World." Sultner de-veloped this theme into an ongoing commitment to ecology, culminating in a filmstrip, "The Time is Now" (Series 10), prepared for the Hudson River Conservation Society in the 1960s. Carl Carmer, a noted author, wrote the text for the filmstrip. Sultner's taped interviews, lectures, and program music (Series 9) complement the transparencies. During his USIS-sponsored Asian tour in 1959, Sultner recorded impressions of his trip on tape. Interviews with people living in the countries he visited, radio interviews, and his own personal reflections are included. Of particular interest are his "No Harm Asking" interviews in Manila (tape #2), his interview of two French hotel managers in Saigon discussing post-French control conditions (tape #9), and--perhaps the most unusual--his discussion with Erna Hanfstaengl about her personal relationship with Adolf Hitler (tape #107). Scripts for lectures (Series 3) round out the documentation of Sultner's profes-sional work.
Because of the arrangement of the transparencies, it is necessary to check several areas for the same subject. For example, Vietnam images are in the "World" section alphabetically under Vietnam (box 81). Sult-ner also lectured on Vietnam, so there are Vietnamese images in the "framed subjects" (Boxes 137-138). Another example, perhaps more compli-cated, but more common to Sultner, was his distinguishing between images of unidentified "People" and identified "Portraits." Transparency stud ies of human beings will be found under the subseries "People." "Subjects --Portraits," various countries in the subseries "World," and "Lectures." There are also individuals in the black-and-white photoprints (Series 6), and photonegatives (Series 8). The painter and print-maker Charles Shee-ler appears in a number of locations, as does tenor Roland Hayes. Another area of complexity with regard to people concerns the transparencies and negatives. Sultner interfiled his transparencies and negatives of iden-tified individuals. For appropriate storage, these two different formats have been arranged in separate series. Therefore, instead of container lists for the two series, there is a combined alphabetical index to both (pp. 166-206).
Of tangential interest are the photoprints (Series 6), etchings, wood-cuts, and other prints (Series 8) collected by Sultner. One particular subseries of interest contains photographs presented to Sultner by Asian photographers during his 1959 tour. Over 45 images were given to Sultner and represent the standards of camera-club photography in the 1950s. Thesecond subseries consists of over 25 prints by the Italian-American art-ist Luigi Lucioni (1900- ). For further information on this artist,see The Etchings of Luigi Lucioni, -A Catalogue Raisonne', by Stuart P.Embury (Washington, 1984). Lucioni also painted Sultner's portrait in1952 and the "People" section of the transparencies contains a number of images of Lucioni at work. Another significant category is the Japanese prints, including two by a major nineteenth-century artist, Ando Hiro-shige (1797-1858).
Series 11 contains restricted letters to Sultner from friends. These materials will become available to the public in the year 2031.
Twenty-three document boxes of clippings and magazine articles found in standard magazines and newspapers (e.g., Time, Life, Look, Modern Ma-turity, etc.) were destroyed. These materials represented general arti--cles being published on a number of topics during Sultner's lifetime. A list of subject file headings Sultner used is with the manuscript mate-rials.
A second grouping of materials destroyed were nine filing cabinet drawers of travel material--maps, guide books, and other tourist pamphlets used by Sultner on his travels. This material, as with the first group of ma-terial, was of the common variety easily found. Any books or pamphlets found with the clippings were sorted out and sent to Smithsonian Institu-tion Libraries. Other library material that came in with the estate was sent immediately to the library and disposed of through their channels. Any office equipment, such as filing cabinets and supplies, etc., has been put to use in the National Museum of American History.
Series 1: Personal Papers, 1923-1981
Series 2: Professional Papers, 1954-1980
Series 3: Lecture Materials, 1952-1980
Series 4: Biographical Materials, 1954-1980
Series 5: Transparencies, 1947-1980
Series 6: Photoprints, 1913-ca. 1980
Series 7: Photonegatives, 1929-1981
Series 8: Prints, Drawings, Mixed Media, ca. 1790-1979
Series 9: Audio Tapes, 1947-1980
Series 10: Miscellaneous, 1947-1980
Biographical / Historical:
Donald Harvey Sultner was bom in York, Pennsylvania, on April 13, 1914, the son of Lillian May Arnold Sultner and Harvey A. Sultner. In 1923 Sultner attended the Lewis Institute in Detroit, Michigan, to overcome a speech impediment. He entered the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1932 and graduated in 1936. Sultner studied merchandising and sang in the glee club, then under the direction of composer Harl MacDonald. Sultner, a baritone, continued his interest in music and studied voice with Reinald Werrenrath and with Florence Benedict and Bruce Benjamin in New York City. In the late 1940s and early 1950s he appeared in concert with accompanists at schools, clubs, and resort hotels along the East Coast.
It appears that photography was always an important part of Sultner's life. Using a small format (120) camera, he recorded his vacation travels around the United States and Canada, parties, and his family. While living in New York, Sultner continued photographing friends and family and began photographing the famous people he encountered on his concert tours. In the early 1950s he began taking 2-1/4-inch by 2-1/4-inch color transparencies (slides) of landscapes and architecture as he traveled giving concerts.
Sultner, who had taken the stage name of "Sultner-Welles," began what was to be his lifework as a professional "photo-lecturer" in 1952. He illustrated his talks on nature, art, architecture, and the environment with his color slides. In 1954 Sultner toured West Germany as a guest of the Bonn government, and in 1959 he lectured in Asia under the auspices of the U.S. State Department. He was dubbed the "camera ambassador." Constantly adding new material to his collection of slides, Sultner traveled extensively throughout the United States, speaking before garden clubs, cultural organi-zations, and schools. He also appeared aboard various ships of the Holland-America line during a number of cruises abroad.
Sultner had established his performance style by the early 1960s. He expanded his lectures to include a combination of art, words, and music. The expanded presentation resulted in the "photo-concert," a unique synthesis of light and sound that Sultner frequently per-formed with a symphony orchestra. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra commissioned "Concertino for Camera and Orchestra" by Eric Knight with Sultner in mind. The world premiere was in Baltimore in March 1979. While he spoke on many art, garden, and architectural topics, Sultner specialized in subjects relating to the baroque and rococo periods and Palladian architecture.
Sultner died of cancer in York, Pennsylvania, on March 25, 1981, at the age of 67.
1914 -- April 13, born York, Pennsylvania.
1929 -- In Detroit at Lewis Institute to overcome a speech impediment.
1932 -- To University of Pennsylvania.
1935 -- Summer trip to Roanoke (VA), Picketts, Hershey (PA); fall trip to New England for fraternity (AXP) convention.
1936 -- Spring glee club trip; graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; summer trips to Newport News (VA), northern trip to Canada, Picketts (PA).
1937 -- Fall trip to Williamsburg (VA), Duke University (NC); Sultner family begins building "Glen Hill" (Dover, PA).
1938 -- Summer at home, and Picketts (PA), Camp Pratt.
1939 -- Spring trip to Washington, D.C.; September trip to The Homestead (WV), Hot Springs (WV), Virginia; Lake Mohonk (NY).
1940 -- Summer trip to New Orleans, Blowing Rock (NC); winter trip to Skytop Club (NY); fall trip to Atlantic City (NJ), Philadelphia (PA), Annapolis (MD).
1941 -- Winter 1941-42 appearance in "Hit the Deck." Lake Mohonk (NY) with Ted Walstrum (Sept. 22-23); Skytop Club (NY) (February); summer trip to Canada, Lake Chazy (NY) (Aug. 17-23).
1942 -- Spring in Atlantic City (NJ); summer to Buck Hill Falls, Lakes Chazy and Mohonk.
1943 -- Summer trip to Mohonk (NY).
1944 -- Summer: To Toronto (Ontario), Muskoka Lake, Bigwin Island, Montreal (Quebec), Mohonk (NY).
1946 -- To Mohonk (NY), Ogunquit (ME), Old Saybrook (CT), Nantucket (RI).
1947 -- Singing tour of Canada and New England; winter-spring tour to Georgia and Florida.
1948 -- To Florida and Nassau, Feb.-Mar., Vermont, July-Aug.; Nassau-Havana-Miami-Bermuda, October.
1949 -- Singing tour of North and South Carolina.
1950 -- Summer trip to South.
1951 -- To District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, [New Jersey?], New York, Vermont.
1952 -- January 9: first public photo-concert, Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts, Philadelphia; trips to Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont.
1953 -- To Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont.
1954 -- Guest of German government for a study tour in the fall. To District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia.
1955 -- To Holland; Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia.
1956 -- To California, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia.
1957 -- Holland-America Cruise to Germany, Austria, Italy. To Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia.
1958 -- Holland-America Cruises to Germany, Austria, Holland, Italy, Switzerland. To Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota., Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin.
1959 -- United States Information Service (USIS)-sponsored tour of Asia: Burma, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaya, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam. Also visited Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Greece, Iran, Italy, Spain; Alaska, California, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania.
1960 -- Holland-America Cruise to Austria, Belgium, Caribbean, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Morocco. To Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin.
1961 -- To Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland; Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode.Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin.
1962 -- Portfolio, "Autumn in Vermont," with introduction by Carl Carmer, published in Autumn issue of Vermont Life. Holland-America Cruise to Denmark, England, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Sweden. To Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia.
1963 -- Holland-America Cruise to Caribbean, Canada, Sweden, Thailand. To Alabama, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, N;w York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington.
1964 -- Holland-America Cruise to Germany, Canada, England, Holland, Wales. To Delaware, District of Columbia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia.
1965 -- Holland-America Cruise to Austria, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Holland, Portugal, Wales. To Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Indiana, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia.
1966 -- Holland-America Cruise to Caribbean, Germany, France, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland. To New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia.
1967 -- Holland-America Cruise to Caribbean, Austria, Denmark, England, Germany, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Wales. To Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia.
1968 -- To Germany; Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia.
1969 -- To England, France, Germany, Holland, Switzerland; Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia.
1970 -- Holland-America Cruise to Caribbean, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden. To Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia.
1971 -- Holland-America Cruise to Caribbean, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Portugal, Sweden. To Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania.
1972 -- Holland-America Cruise to Asia, Pacific, Caribbean, Africa, Austria, Italy, Japan, Thailand, Turkey. To California, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia.
1973 -- Holland-America Cruise to Austria, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Iceland, Sweden. To California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont.
1974 -- To Germany, Switzerland; California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia.
1975 -- To Austria; California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia.
1976 -- To Canada; Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah.
1977 -- To Canada, Germany; New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia.
1978 -- To Scotland; Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina.
1979 -- To England; Florida.
1980 -- To Florida.
1981 -- March 25: Sultner dies of cancer, York, Pennsylania.
The Donald H. Sultner-Welles Collection, ca. 1790-1981, came to the National Museum of American History in 1982 from the estate of Mr. Sultner. The collection was created by Sultner over his adult life and represents one of the most extensive collections of color transparencies created by one individual and held in a public repository. Sultner's emphasis was on world culture. He took the majority of his photographs in the eastern United States, western Europe, and Asia. Gardens, architecture, and people are the three major subject areas represented in the collection. Of additional interest are Sultner's taped impressions of his 1959 United States Information Service (USIS)-sponsored Asian tour. The collection occupies 309 boxes and covers more than 83 cubic feet.
The Donald H. Sultner-Welles Collection is open to researchers in the Archives Center, third floor east, of the National Museum of American History, between 12th and 14th Streets, on Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20560. The Archives Center is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Written and telephone (202/357-3270) inquiries are welcome and researchers are encouraged to contact the Archives Center before their arrival. The FAX number is 202/786-2453.
This is the eleventh in a series of occasional guides to collections in the Archives Center. Finding aids to other collections are available. The Guide to Manuscript Collections in the National Museum of History and Technology (1978) and an updated compilation contain brief descriptions of all archival holdings in the Museum. All current Archives Center holdings are available for search on the Smithsonian Institution Bibliographic Information System (SIBIS), an online database.
References in notebook to tapes not located:
5/1960 Laddsl--Pasadena, CA (Thornton Ladd, Helen Peabody, me, Mrs. Ladd
Frontispiece: Portrait of Donald Harvey Sultner-Welles by Ludwig Harren, Nuremberg, Germany, May, 1957. Series 6: Photo¬prints, box 6; Series 7: Photonegatives, 700.1.
vii Donald Sultner-Welles inspecting slides at his 2101 E. Market Street apartment. Photograph by Gretchen H. Goughnour, York, Pennsylvania, December 1958. Series 6: Photoprints, box 6, folder 5; Series 7: Photonegatives, Box 11, 696.1.
Sultner-Welles with Rollei, Kobe, Japan, April 1959. Press photograph, photographer unknown. Series 7: Photonegatives, 687.1.
10 Americana by the Roadside" (boy with soda, Beech Creek, North Carolina). Series 5, Subseries 5: Subjects, Box 102: 6.3.
20 "Americana in Europe" (sign: "To the Elephant Kraal," South Africa). Series 5, Subseries 5: Subjects, Box 102: 6.33.
39 North Miami Beach Motel, Florida, February 1960. Series 5, Subseries 1: United States, Box 8: 9.11. SI Neg. 87-326, Videodisc Frame 2942.
40 Beech Creek, North Carolina (portrait of elderly woman), June 1956. Series 5, Subseries 1: United States, Box 28: 12.10. SI Neg. 87-327, Videodisc Frame 10156.
97 Brookgreen Sculpture Garden, South Carolina, ca. 1963. Series 5, Subseries 1: United States, Box 35.35.11. SI Neg. 87-328; Videodisc Frame 12747.
98 "Six Irrigation Paddlers Outside Hue," South Vietnam, 1959. Series 5, Subseries 2: World, Box 81: 35.11; also Series 7: Photonegatives, 658.1 (copy neg.). Videodisc Frame 27960.
151 Alkmaar Cheese Market, The Netherlands, September 1969. Series 5, Subseries 2: World, Box 70: 17.9. SI Neg. 87-329; not shown on videodisc.
152 African Cruise: Victoria Falls, Rhodesia, February 1972. Series 5, Subseries 3: Cruises, Box 83: 9.12. SI Neg. 87-330, Videodisc Frame 28344.
166 Il Galero, Italy, July 1966. Series 5, Subseries 4: European Architectural Styles, Box 99: 48.4. SI neg. 87-331.
179 "Baroque--Germany: Alterding," July 1965. Series 5, Subseries 4: European Architectural Styles, Box 94: 1.8. SI Neg. 87-332, Videodisc Frame 31310.
180 Design Elements, Hotel Fontainebleau, New Orleans,, Louisiana, April, 1961. Series 5, Subseries 5: Subjects, Box 106: 23.2. SI Neg. 87-333, Videodisc Frame 34912.
192 Charles Sheeler, ca. 1957-1965. Series 5, Subseries 9: Lectures, Box 169: 49.2. SI Neg. 87-334. Videodisc Frame 52713.
276 Villa Barbaro, Maser, Treviso, Italy. Series 7. Photonegatives, 715.1. SI Neg. 87-335.
281 "Water--Economics," Storm-Damaged Beach House. Series 5, Subseries 8: Notecard Transparencies, Box 155: 22.12. SI Neg. 87-336.
282 Market in Madeira. Series 5, Subseries 9: Lectures, Box 161: 48.12. SI Neg. 87-337, Videodisc Frame 48435.
298 Children (South Carolina?). Series 5, Subseries 9: Lectures, Box 104: 17.2. SI Neg. 87-338.
311 Goethe Statue, Chicago, Illinois. Series 7: Photonegatives, 678.1.
316 Feeding Gulls, Florida. Series 7. Photonegatives, 684.1.
331 Montage for Sultner's concerts. Series 8: Prints, Drawings, Mixed Media, filing case. Series 7: Photonegatives, 740.1.
332 Sultner Showing Slides to Garden Club, Caterpillar Tractor Co. Auditorium, Dec. 1958. Photograph by Gretchen H. Goughnour, York, Penn. Series 7: Photonegatives, 690.1.
340 Montage for Sultner's concerts. Series 8: Prints, Drawings, Mixed Media, filing case. Series 7: Photonegatives, 742.1.
341 Children, Ohio (boy in box in wagon) Series 5, Subseries 9: Lectures, Box 165: 13.2; Series 7: Photonegatives, 667.4 (copy neg.)
352 Publicity/brochure photograph. Drinking cup and water, Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania. Series 7: Photonegatives, 651.1.
353 Publicity/brochure photograph, Milles Gardens, Stockholm, Sweden. Series 7: Photonegatives, 659.1.
Collection is open for research.
A small number of letters and photographs are restricted until the year 2031. Identification list in box.
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.
The records of the American Federation of Arts (AFA) provide researchers with a complete set of documentation focusing on the founding and history of the organization from its inception through the 1960s. The collection measures 79.8 linear feet, and dates from 1895 through 1993, although the bulk of the material falls between 1909 and 1969. Valuable for its coverage of twentieth-century American art history, the collection also provides researchers with fairly comprehensive documentation of the many exhibitions and programs supported and implemented by the AFA to promote and study contemporary American art, both nationally and abroad.
Scope and Content Note:
The records of the American Federation of Arts (AFA) provide researchers with a complete set of documentation focusing on the founding and history of the organization from its inception through the 1960s. The collection measures 79.8 linear feet, and dates from 1895 through 1993, although the bulk of the material falls between 1909 and 1969. Valuable for its coverage of twentieth-century American art history, the collection also provides researchers with fairly comprehensive documentation of the many exhibitions and programs supported and implemented by the AFA to promote and study contemporary American art, both nationally and abroad.
The earliest documentation from 1895 to 1909 concerns the organization's history and founding and is located in Series 1: Board of Trustees. Also found in this series are meeting minutes, 1909-1963 and 1968. Interfiled with the board meeting minutes are minutes of the executive committee and other special and ad hoc committees, reports to the board, financial statements and reports, and lists of committee appointments and board membership. This series also contains the scattered correspondence and subject files of various officers. Although not a complete set of officers' files, Presidents' Frederick Allen. Whiting (1931-1936), Lawrence M.C. Smith (1948-1952), Thomas Brown Rudd (1952-1954), Daniel Longwell (1954-1956), James S. Schramm (1956-1958), and Roy R. Neuberger (1958-1961) are represented. Leila Mechlin served on AFA's board as secretary from its founding to 1929, and her files are a particularly rich resource for AFA's activities during its early years. Lawrence M.C. Smith's files documenting his years as board treasurer are also arranged in this series. Additional officers' correspondence is interspersed throughout the Alphabetical Files and other series.
General information about the scope of AFA's programs, affiliations, founding, functions, and proceedings are arranged in Series 2: Administrative Records. The first subseries, Alphabetical Files, houses a wide variety of subject files that contain memoranda, correspondence, printed materials, lists, reports, and other papers. These files document the AFA's general history and founding, organizational affiliations, buildings and moves, grants, federal and state government art programs, auctions and other fund-raising efforts, publicity and public relations, publications, and fiftieth anniversary celebration. The subject headings by which these files are arranged are, for the most part, the ones designated by the AFA. The second subseries, Staff Records, houses the scattered files of AFA's director, assistant director, registrar, and special state representative, Robert Luck.
During its most active period, the AFA sponsored or participated in several special programs and Series 3: Special Programs houses the files that document many of them. The first subseries consists of the files for the Artists in Residence program that was funded by the Ford Foundation. Awarded in 1963, the grant sponsored short-term teaching residencies for artists in museums throughout the United States. The host museums were encouraged to hold exhibitions of the artists' works. This subseries contains both the general files of the program, as well as individual files on the participating artists. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, the AFA and the Ford Foundation also sponsored additional programs for artists, including Grants in Aid, Purchase Awards, and the Retrospective Exhibitions Program. The files documenting these three programs are also arranged in Series 3, under the subseries Ford Foundation Program for Visual Artists. In the late 1950s, the AFA implemented the Museum Donor Program with benefactors and philanthropists Audrey Bruce Currier and Stephen Richard Currier. Through the administration of the AFA, the Curriers donated funds to selected institutions specifically for the purchase of contemporary American art. The Curriers preferred to remain anonymous throughout the program. Files documenting this program include correspondence, applications from the accepted institutions, rejections, a summary report, and clippings about the untimely deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Currier in 1967.
Also found in Series 3 are the files documenting AFAs working relationship with the first state arts council, the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). In 1961, AFA and NYSCA implemented a traveling exhibition program in New York State. Found here are files for possible itineraries, proposals, publicity, loans, budgets, and the actual exhibition files. Additional AFA special programs documented in Series 3 include the Picture of the Month program of the mid-1950s and the Jean Tennyson Foundation Color Slide Lecture Program.
AFA Annual Convention files constitute Series 4. Beginning with the Third Annual Convention in 1912 and continuing through the 1963 Annual Convention, the files contain official proceedings, speeches, programs, clippings, correspondence, and press releases. Files are missing for 1913, 1915, 1918, 1922, 1923, 1925, 1926, 1931, 1936-1949, 1952, 1956, 1958, 1960, and 1962. There are also audio recordings in the form of reel-to-reel tapes for the 1951 Annual Convention.
Series 5: Exhibition Files forms the bulk of the collection at circa 62 linear feet and is arranged into twenty subseries. The first subseries, Exhibitions, General, houses primarily the records of the Board of Trustees Exhibition Committee and documents the AFA's earliest involvement with traveling exhibitions. These files contain reports, budgets, correspondence, memoranda, scattered exhibition catalogs, and photographs. They are primarily the files of the chair of the Exhibition Committee and include the files of Juliana R. Force, Eloise Spaeth, and Mrs. John Pope. Also found in this series is a subseries of Mrs. John Pope's records documenting circulating exhibitions from 1934 to 1955, arranged by state.
The remaining nineteen subseries of the Exhibition Files reflect either specific exhibition programs, many of which have unique numbers assigned by AFA to individual exhibitions, or other exhibition-related files, such rejected, canceled, and suggested exhibitions and miscellaneous installation photographs. The Annual Exhibitions files constitute the largest of the subseries and are numbered according to the system assigned by AFA, following a typical chronological order. Although the documentation for each exhibition varies widely by both type and amount, most of the files contain contracts and legal agreements, correspondence, memoranda, itinerary information, condition reports, publicity materials, catalogs, announcements, price lists, and other such information arranged into one or more files. The files were labeled "documentation files," "dispersal files," "report form files," "loan agreement files," and "publicity files" according to the filing system devised by AFA. Many of the files also house a significant amount of correspondence with museum officials, lenders, and artists.
Additional subseries document AFA's exhibition venues and partnerships with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the New York State Council on the [UNK] Life magazine, and Addison Gallery. A complete list of all of the subseries, including specific exhibition programs, follows in the Series Outline.
The final three series of the collection are small: Printed Material, Miscellaneous Files, and Oversized Material. The printed material was donated much later to the Archives and dates from 1990 to 1993. Found here are scattered press releases, annual reports, and an exhibition program. Miscellaneous Files contain scattered records, 1926-1962, of the Architectural League of New York relating to national award programs. It is not clear why this small group of Architectural League records was found mixed with the AFA records but perhaps the collaboration between the two organizations on several special projects provides an explanation. Also found in Miscellaneous Files is a group of black and white lantern slides from a lecture series, "New Horizons in America." Oversized Material includes a portfolio, a work of art, and posters.
See Appendix for a list of artists exhibiting with the American Federation of Arts
The collection is arranged into eight primary series based primarily on administrative units or program areas. Several of the series are further subdivided into subseries. While processing, it became clear that the two filing systems were redundant and overlapped in both subject area and type of material. Most of these files were subsequently merged into the now broader Alphabetical Files or into separate series. Oversized material may be found at the end of the collection arranged in a separate series.
In most cases, files related to one another by subseries or subject areas (in the case of the Alphabetical Files) or by individual name (in the case of officers and staff files) are arranged in chronological order. The entire subseries of Alphabetical Files in Series 2 is arranged by subject heading, as assigned by the AFA, or individual name. The Alphabetical Files originally formed two broad filing systems as established by the AFA: one for general correspondence arranged by subject; and one for director's and other staff correspondence, also arranged by subject.
Series 1: Board of Trustees, circa 1895-1968 (Boxes 1-3)
Series 2: Administrative Records, 1910-1966 (Boxes 4-8)
Series 3: Special Programs, 1950-1967 (Boxes 9-13)
Series 4: Annual Conventions, 1912-1963 (Boxes 14-16)
Series 5: Exhibition Files, 1934-1969 (Boxes 17-78)
Series 6: Printed Material, 1990-1993 (Box 78)
Series 7: Miscellaneous Files, 1926-1962, undated (Box 79)
Series 8: Oversized Materials, 1890, undated (Boxes 80-85)
Founded in 1909 by Elihu Root, the American Federation of Arts (AFA) exists today as a national nonprofit museum service organization striving to unite American art institutions, collectors, artists, and museums. Elihu Root, then secretary of state in the administration of Theodore Roosevelt, spoke of his idea at the first meeting of the AFA held in New York at the National Academy of Arts. He envisioned an organization that would promote American art most often seen only by the elite in the major cities of the East and upper Midwest by sending "exhibitions of original works of art on tour through the hinterlands across the United States."
The American Academy in Rome, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and Metropolitan Museum of Art were influential organizing member institutions. Individual members included such notables as William Merritt Chase, Charles L. Freer, Daniel C. French, Charles L. Hutchinson, Henry Cabot Lodge, J.P. Morgan, and Henry Walters. The founding of the AFA provided the American art world with a forum for communication and participation among artists, cultural institutions, patrons of the arts, and the public.
To accomplish its mission, the AFA established volunteer committees for membership, exhibitions, and publications. During its first year, the AFA began publishing Art and Progress (later changed to Magazine of Art) and the American Art Annual (now the American Art Directory). In 1909, the AFA also organized its first traveling exhibition, Paintings by Prominent American Artists, which was shown at museums in Fort Worth, New Orleans, Minneapolis, and New Ulm, Minnesota.
By the end of the first year, the headquarters of the organization moved to Washington, D.C., to facilitate lobbying the federal government for favorable art legislation. In 1913, the AFA lobbied successfully for the removal of the tariff on foreign art entering the United States. In 1916, the Federation met with the Interstate Commerce Commission to protest prohibitively high interstate taxes on traveling art exhibitions.
Throughout the next fifteen years, the AFA continued to grow in membership and influence. By 1919, membership included 438 institutions and 2,900 individuals. The AFA's annual conventions were held in major national art centers and were attended by members, chapter delegates, and the public. At the conventions, scholars, patrons, and curators lectured on and discussed subjects of national interest, thereby fostering an exchange of ideas. The AFA also sponsored periodic regional conferences to promote institutional cooperation and to discuss mutual problems and needs. To facilitate exhibition venues west of the Mississippi River, in 1921 the AFA opened regional offices at the University of Nebraska and at Stanford University. The AFA produced and circulated slide programs and lecture series to museums and educational institutions that fostered art education. By 1929, the Federation had developed forty-six slide-lecture programs that covered American mural painting, European and American contemporary art, and textiles.
During the 1930s, the Federation expanded its services by providing schools with teaching guides, student workbooks, slides, and films about art. In 1935, the AFA began publishing Who's Who in American Art, later publishing The Official Directory of Illustrators and Advertising Artists and Films on Art reference guides. To reach an even larger audience, the AFA began collaborating with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to organize national circulating exhibitions to "bring the museum to the people."
One of AFA's priorities was to make American art more visible abroad. The Federation focused on encouraging the representation of American artists in foreign exhibitions, and in 1924 it lobbied successfully for additional American participation in the Venice Biennale. The AFA's focus on exhibiting American art abroad continued to expand, particularly following World War II. In 1950, recognizing that the AFA could assist in promoting American culture, the State Department awarded the AFA a grant for a German "re-orientation program" consisting of educational exhibitions shown in German museums. Additional government funding further enabled the AFA to organize American participation in exhibitions in India, Japan, Paris, Switzerland, and Rotterdam between 1950 and 1970. Later, the AFA collaborated with the United States Information Agency (USIA) to create the Overseas Museum Donor Program which permitted donations of American art to foreign institutions on a restriction-free, tax-deductible basis. During the 1950s, the AFA was a very active member of the Committee on Government and Art, a national committee with members from across the art and museum world concerned with government sponsorship of and legislation affecting art sales, commissions, and trade.
In 1952, the headquarters of the AFA returned to New York, sparking a period of innovation and expanded of programs. Throughout the 1950s, the AFA distributed films about art and co-sponsored the Films on Art Festival in Woodstock, New York. The AFA also introduced its Picture of the Month Program in 1954, renting original works of art to small American art and educational institutions. In 1956, the AFA organized the Art Collectors Club of America to provide fellowship for art collectors through meetings and activities. The club disbanded in the 1970s.
The Federation's exhibition programs continued to flourish during the 1950s and 1960s. Private and public financial support allowed the AFA to achieve many of its goals. In 1958, the Ford Foundation awarded an important grant to organize a series of traveling one-person shows and a series of monographs devoted to contemporary American artists. Milton Avery, Andrew Dasburg, José DeCreeft, Lee Gatch, Walter Quirt, Abraham Rattner, and others were among the artists who participated. Private foundation support for the AFA's Museum Donor Program provided an annual allowance that was distributed to regional museums for the pourchase of contemporary American art. Cooperative programs and joint venues also became popular during this period. For example, public support from the New York State Council on the Arts allowed the AFA to circulate exhibitions to small New York State communities, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts provided the AFA with five exhibitions for national tours.
Throughout its history, the American Federation of Arts has concentrated on its founding principle of broadening the audience for contemporary American art. Through its numerous exhibition and film programs, the AFA has succeeded in "breaking down barriers of distance and language to broaden the knowledge and appreciation of art." Annual exhibitions such as New Talent in the USA and Art Schools USA, organized by the AFA, brought before the public the most contemporary American artists and craftspeople, genres, and artistic forms of experimentation, exposing viewers to new ways of thinking and expression. In 1965, AFA produced The Curriculum in Visual Education, a series of films created to heighten the aesthetic awareness of children.
A vital part of American art history, the AFA was one of the first organizations to develop successfully the concept of traveling art exhibitions on a national and international level. The AFA was instrumental in assisting museums with circulating important juried exhibitions of contemporary art, such as the Whitney Annual and Corcoran Biennial. The AFA also recognized the importance of the exchange of cultural ideas, and it brought exhibitions of the European masters to the American public as well as exhibitions focusing on foreign contempoorary art, photography, and architecture. Many organizations and museums have followed the AFA's precedent, and traveling national and international venues are now commonplace.
Since 1909, women have served as officers and members of the Board of Trustees. Leila Mechlin was a founding participant and served as secretary from 1909 to 1933. Juliana R. Force and Eloise Spaeth both chaired the Exhibition Committee in the late 1940s. Women and artists of diverse backgrounds and nationalities were widely represented in the AFA's exhibition programs, most notably during the 1960s. In 1960, the AFA organized, with financial support from the Ford Foundation, a major Jacob Lawrence retrospective. Additional culturally diverse exhibitions included Contemporary Jewish Ceremonial Art (1961), The Heart of India (1962), 1,000 Years of American Indian Art (1963), and Ten Negro Artists from the United States (1966).
The AFA also had an impact on patronage in the arts. AFA exhibitions of contemporary art provided collectors with knowledge of new artists and avant-garde art forms, creating a broader demand and market for this type of work. Museums and collectors began purchasing work by new or obscure American artists whom they learned about through AFA exhibitions and programs.
The historical records of the American Federation of Arts offer the researcher a unique opportunity to study the development of American art and artists in the twentieth century as well as providing insight into trends in American culture.
1909 -- Founded in New York City. Began publishing Art and Progress (later retitled Magazine of Art) and the American Art Annual.
1910 -- Moved headquarters to Washington, D.C.
1913 -- Lobbied successfully for the removal of the tariff on art entering the United States.
1915-1916 -- Lobbied successfully against the Cummins Amendment and the Interstate Commerce Commission's prohibitively high interstate tax on traveling art.
1920 -- Organized a lobbying campaign for the development of a national gallery of art at its national convention.
1921 -- Opened two new offices at the University of Nebraska and at Stanford University.
1924 -- Arranged American participation in the Venice Biennale exhibition.
1927 -- Closed office at Stanford University.
1929 -- Organized American participation in exhibitions in France and Germany.
1933 -- Closed office at the University of Nebraska.
1935 -- Began publishing Who's Who in American Art.
1948 -- Published The Official Directory of Illustrators and Advertising Artists.
1949 -- Collaborated with the Metropolitan Museum of Art to circulate exhibitions from its collections.
1950 -- Participated in the U.S. government's German re-orientation program.
1951 -- Joined forces with the United States Information Agency (USIA) to create the Overseas Museum Donor Program. Published the reference guide Films on Art. Co-sponsored the Films on Art Festival in Woodstock, New York, through 1957.
1952 -- Moved headquarters to New York City.
1953 -- Magazine of Art liquidated.
1954 -- Introduced the Picture of the Month Program.
1956 -- Founded the Art Collectors Club of America.
1958 -- Received a Ford Foundation grant to finance a series of one-person shows of contemporary American artists.
1960 -- Created the Museum Donor Program.
1961 -- Received a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts to circulate exhibitions to small New York state communities.
1963 -- Received a grant from the Ford Foundation for the Artists in Residence program.
1964 -- Introduced the List Art Poster Program.
1965 -- Produced The Curriculum in Visual Education, a series of films that attempted to heighten the aesthetic awareness of children.
Appendix: List of Artists Exhibiting with American Federation of Arts:
The following is an alphabetical list of artists who exhibited with the American Federation of Arts; many are obscure. The alpha-numeric codes and numbers appearing with the artist's name represent specific AFA exhibition programs and, most often, AFA's exhibition numbering system. In cases where the AFA did not assign an exhibition number, Archives' staff have done so.
The primary reference source for the names and name variants is the American Federation of Arts Records. The names are documented in handwritten notes and lists, typed lists, and exhibition catalogs and announcements. The Archives of American Art name authority file was also consulted in questionable cases. The majority of names, however, were not found in either the AAA name authority file or standard bibliographic resources, and only in the AFA records.
55-1: AFA annual exhibitions program
AD-1: Addison Gallery exhibitions
L-1: Life Magazine Exhibitions
ME-1: Misceallaneous exhibitions (numbers assigned by AAA staff)
NMA-1: Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibitions
NE-96: Contemporary Color Lithography
NY-1: New York State Council on the Arts exhibitions
VA-1: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts exhibitions
A. Quincy Jones, Frederick E. Emmons & Assoc: 62-34
The records of the American Federation of Arts (AFA) were donated to the Archives of American Art (AAA) over a thirteen-year period, with the bulk of the material arriving between 1964 and 1966. In 1979, Preston Bolton donated his letters and those from John de Menil, Ann Drevet, Lee Malone, and others regarding planning for the 1957 AFA annual convention held in Houston, Texas; convention committee minutes from 1956; and AFA newsletters. This material, as well as a 1979 gift from Louise Ferrari of transcripts from a panel discussion from the 1957 AFA convention in Houston, was microfilmed on AAA Reel 1780. All material previously microfilmed on Reel 1780 has been fully integrated into the collection and arranged within proper series and subseries. The provenance of the 1990-1993 printed material is unknown.
Use requires an appointment.
The American Federation of Arts records are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Records of the Field Offices for the District of Columbia, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1870
20,421 digital files
The collection is comprised of digital surrogates previously available on the 21 rolls of microfilm described in NARA publication M1902. These digital surrogates reproduced the records of the District of Columbia field offices of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1870. Some pre-Bureau records dated 1863 and 1864 are included. These records consist of bound volumes and unbound records, containing materials that include letters and endorsements sent and received, monthly reports, registers of marriages, and employment registers.
The records reproduced in this microfilm publication consist of volumes and inbound records. The volumes were originally arranged by type of record and thereunder by volume number. No numbers were assigned to series consisting of single volumes. Years later, all volumes were arbitrarily assigned numbers by the Adjutant General's Office (AGO) of the War Department after the records came into its custody. In this microfilm publication, AGO numbers are shown in parentheses to aid in identifying the volumes. The National Archives assigned the volume numbers that do not appear in parentheses. In some volumes, particularly in indexes and alphabetical headings of registers, there are a number of blank numbered pages that have not been filmed.
The volumes consist of letters and endorsements sent and received, press copies of letters sent, registers of letters received, letters and orders received, employment registers, registers of contraband camps, marriage records, special orders and circulars issued, and monthly reports forwarded to the Assistant Commissioner. The unbound documents consist of letters and orders received, unregistered letters received, special orders and circulars received, labor contracts, monthly reports, transportation orders, employment rosters, and ministers' reports relating to marriages.
[The following is reproduced from the original NARA descriptive pamphlet for M1902.]
HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION
The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, also known as the Freedmen's Bureau, was established in the War Department by an act of Congress on March 3, 1865 (13 Stat. 507). The life of the Bureau was extended twice by acts of July 16, 1866 (14 Stat. 173), and July 6, 1868 (15 Stat. 83). The Bureau was responsible for the supervision and management of all matters relating to refugees and freedmen, and of lands abandoned or seized during the Civil War. In May 1865, President Andrew Johnson appointed Maj. Gen. Oliver Otis Howard as Commissioner of the Bureau, and served in that position until June 30, 1872, when activities of the Bureau were terminated in accordance with an act of June 10, 1872 (17 Stat. 366). While a major part of the Bureau's early activities involved the supervision of abandoned and confiscated property, its mission was to provide relief and help freedmen become self-sufficient. Bureau officials issued rations and clothing, operated hospitals and refugee camps, and supervised labor contracts. In addition, the Bureau managed apprenticeship disputes and complaints, assisted benevolent societies in the establishment of schools, helped freedmen in legalizing marriages entered into during slavery, and provided transportation to refugees and freedmen who were attempting to reunite with their family or relocate to other parts of the country. The Bureau also helped black soldiers, sailors, and their heirs collect bounty claims, pensions, and back pay.
The act of March 3, 1865, authorized the appointment of Assistant Commissioners to aid the Commissioner in supervising the work of the Bureau in the former Confederate states, the border states, and the District of Columbia. In the District of Columbia, field office operations began in June 1865, when Col. John Eaton, Jr., was appointed Assistant Commissioner with headquarters in the city of Washington. Brig. Gen. J. C. Fullerton succeeded Eaton in December 1865 and served until February 7, 1866. Brig. Gen. Charles H. Howard, brother of Commissioner Howard, then served as the Assistant Commissioner until the position was discontinued in December 1868. Bvt. Maj. David G. Swaim then supervised operations until October 1869, when virtually all Bureau functions, except education, were terminated.
The Assistant Commissioner for the District of Columbia was responsible for Bureau affairs in the District, the Freedmen's Village in Virginia and the farms south of the Potomac, and the Government farms in St. Mary's County, Maryland. In September 1865, Alexandria, Fairfax, and Loudoun Counties, Virginia, were added to his jurisdiction. In August 1866, Loudoun was transferred to the Assistant Commissioner for Virginia, and Alexandria and Fairfax Counties were transferred similarly in March 1867. In the same month, West Virginia was placed under the jurisdiction of the Assistant Commissioner for the District of Columbia. He was also responsible for Bureau affairs in Montgomery, Prince Georges, Anne Arundel, Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary's Counties in Maryland. In January 1868, Washington and Allegheny Counties, Maryland, were added, and in August 1868, the remaining counties of Maryland and the State of Delaware were added to his jurisdiction. Although the officers in the neighboring Maryland and Virginia counties reported to the Assistant Commissioner of the District of Columbia, their records are among those of the subordinate officers for Maryland or Virginia.
While the work performed by Assistant Commissioners in each state and the District of Columbia was similar, the organizational structure of staff officers varied from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In the District of Columbia, the Assistant Commissioner's staff consisted of a superintendent of education, an assistant inspector general (from time to time he served as the assistant adjutant general), an assistant quartermaster and disbursing officer, a superintendent of marriages, and a surgeon in chief. Subordinate to these officers were the assistant superintendents, or subassistant commissioners as they later became known, who commanded the subdistricts. For administrative purposes, agents were assigned to the various counties of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Within the District of Columbia, a subassistant commissioner was appointed to supervise Bureau activities for the communities of Georgetown and Washington. In 1868 Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties were added to his jurisdiction. A subassistant commissioner was also assigned to Alexandria County in January 1866; he reported to the Assistant Commissioner until responsibility for the supervision of the county was transferred to Virginia authorities. In addition to county agents and subassistant commissioners, local superintendents were appointed to supervise such Government projects as Barry Farm, located south of the Anacostia River, and the Sothron Farm in St. Mary's County, Maryland. These farms were purchased with Bureau funds to aid freedmen in buying farmland. Other local superintendents were assigned to administer Freedmen's Village and schools and hospitals. Occasionally, the Bureau retained military officers in a civilian capacity after the termination of their military service. For a list of known District of Columbia subordinate field office personnel and their dates of service, see the Appendix.
The Assistant Commissioner corresponded extensively with both his superior in the Washington Bureau headquarters and his subordinate officers in the subdistricts. Based upon reports submitted to him by the subassistant commissioners and other subordinate staff officers, he prepared reports that he sent to the Commissioner concerning Bureau activities in areas under his jurisdiction. The Assistant Commissioner also received letters from freedmen, local white citizens, state officials, and other non–Bureau personnel. These letters varied in nature from complaints to applications for jobs in the Bureau. Because the assistant adjutant general handled much of the mail for the Assistant Commissioner's office, it was often addressed to him instead of to the Assistant Commissioner.
In a circular issued by Commissioner Howard in July 1865, the Assistant Commissioners were instructed to designate one officer in each state to serve as "General Superintendents of Schools." These officials were to "take cognizance of all that is being done to educate refugees and freedmen, secure proper protection to schools and teachers, promote method and efficiency, correspond with the benevolent agencies which are supplying his field, and aid the Assistant Commissioner in making his required reports." In October 1865, a degree of centralized control was established over Bureau educational activities in the states when Rev. John W. Alvord was appointed Inspector of Finances and Schools. In January 1867, Alvord was divested of his financial responsibilities, and he was appointed General Superintendent of Education. In August 1865, Rev. John Kimball was appointed superintendent of education for the District of Columbia and served until replaced by Maj. D. G. Swaim in October 1869. Maj. W. L. VanDerlip succeeded Swaim in December 1869 and remained in the position until August 1870, when educational activities in the District of Columbia were discontinued.
Because the jurisdiction of the superintendent of education for the District of Columbia included areas other than the District itself, his records include reports and correspondence relating to schools in Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware, and parts of Virginia.
An act of Congress, approved July 25, 1868 (15 Stat. 193), ordered that the Commissioner of the Bureau "shall, on the first day of January next, cause the said bureau to be withdrawn from the several States within which said bureau has acted and its operation shall be discontinued." Consequently, in early 1869, with the exception of the superintendents of education and the claims agents, the Assistant Commissioners and their subordinate officers were withdrawn from the states and the District of Columbia.
For the next year and a half the Bureau continued to pursue its education work and to process claims. In the summer of 1870, the superintendents of education were withdrawn from the states, and the headquarters staff was greatly reduced. From that time until the Bureau was abolished by an act of Congress approved June 10, 1872 (17 Stat. 366), effective June 30, 1872, the Bureau's functions related almost exclusively to the disposition of claims. The Bureau's records and remaining functions were then transferred to the Freedmen's Branch in the office of the Adjutant General. The records of this branch are among the Bureau's files.
Constrained by limited resources, Southern opposition, and the politics of Reconstruction, the Bureau faced an enormous challenge in its efforts to assist the freedmen and refugees. Its relief efforts, without question, saved thousands of southerners from starvation. Its attempts to assist freedmen to become self–sufficient, to provide public education, administer justice, and, to a lesser degree, to provide land, all worked with varying degrees of success to lessen the difficulties during the transition from slavery to freedom. One of the Bureau's greatest legacies is the body of records it created and received during the course of its operations. These records are arguably some of the most important documents available for the study of the Federal Government's policies, efforts to reconstruct the South, and Southern social history and genealogy.
THE FREEDMEN'S BUREAU IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
The major activities of the Freedmen's Bureau field office in the District of Columbia generally resembled those conducted in other states. The Bureau provided relief from poverty and destitution, provided transportation and employment for needy freedmen, worked with benevolent societies in the establishment of schools, provided assistance in legalizing slave marriages and various legal matters, and worked with black soldiers and sailors in obtaining back pay, bounty payments, and pensions.
To relieve problems of destitution and poverty and to aid the aged, orphans, and infirm in the District of Columbia and Virginia, the Bureau offered various forms of assistance. The Bureau established an asylum at the Freedmen's Village in Arlington, Virginia, for destitute men, women, and children. It was located across the Potomac River from Washington, DC, on the estate formerly owned by Robert E. Lee. It originated with the War Department in 1863 as a "Model Community" for the freedmen in the Washington area and was continued by the Freedmen's Bureau for destitute freedmen. Also, under the auspices of a women's campaign, "National Appreciation of the Relief of Destitute Colored Women and Children," the Bureau constructed a building for the Colored Orphans Home of Washington, DC. In addition, the Brooklyn Home for Children of Freedmen, under the direction of the African Civilization Society, received aid from the Bureau to allow temporary relief for freedwomen to look for employment. When "The Farm School for Colored Boys" in the District of Columbia ceased its operations on June 14, 1867, the Bureau provided homes for inmates, and assisted others who returned to their parents.1
As a part of its ongoing relief efforts, the Bureau also issued rations to both the Freedmen's Hospital in the District of Columbia and Abbott Hospital at Freedmen's Village. Up to a 3–day supply of rations was given to freedmen who sought employment outside the city, and rations were given to those destitute refugees and freedmen who weren't considered permanent residents of Washington. In 1866 Congress authorized a special relief appropriation of $25,000 for the poor in the District of Columbia, and an additional expenditure of $15,000 in 1867. A Special Relief Commission headed by Robert Reyburn, surgeon in chief of the District of Columbia, was established by Assistant Commissioner Howard to administer the appropriations. The Commission provided food, clothing, and other essentials to both blacks and whites in the city. The Commission maintained registers of applicants who applied for relief and forwarded weekly reports of its operations to the Assistant Commissioner. The Assistant Commissioner also received additional reports relating to rations, clothing, and medicine issued by other Bureau officials.2
One of the major challenges facing Freedmen's Bureau officials in the Washington, DC, field office was to reduce the number of freedmen in the city who depended on the Bureau for assistance. When the Civil War began, thousands of freedmen flocked to the capital city from the surrounding areas of Maryland and Virginia. After Congress abolished slavery in the District of Columbia in 1862, thousands more migrated to the city, causing overcrowding, destitution, and significant increases in unemployment. A census taken by the Bureau in the winter and spring of 1866 revealed a black population of more than 31,000 in Washington and Georgetown, many of whom were unable to find work. To relieve the Government of the burden of providing support for these individuals and to encourage independence, Assistant Commissioner Charles Howard solicited the help of Northern aid societies in Philadelphia, PA; Boston, MA; New York; and Providence, RI. Howard believed that if large numbers of freedmen in the District of Columbia could secure employment in other parts of country, conditions would improve for those who remained. To carry out his plan, Howard established employment offices in both the District of Columbia and Northern cities and provided rations and free transportation for interested freedmen to prospective employers. Employment offices (A. K. A., "Intelligence Offices") were established in various parts of the capital, and the Bureau hired several employment agents and paid the rent of employment offices in New Jersey; Providence, RI; Hartford, CT; and Boston, MA. In many instances, employment agents traveled with freedmen to the North and took them to the employment office or the employer. Officials in charge of employment offices in Washington; Alexandria, VA; and northern employment offices forwarded trimonthly and monthly reports of their operations to the Assistant Commissioner. The Assistant Commissioner also received reports from local agents regarding destitute freedmen.3
By October 1867, the Bureau had provided resettlement transportation for more than 9,000 freedmen from the District of Columbia. Many others received help finding homes in Maryland and Virginia, to where transportation was not required. However, in spite of the Bureau's claims of reducing the dependency of the black population in the District of Columbia, poverty and unemployment remained an issue. In a circular issued October 5, 1867 (Circular Number 6), Howard, probably realizing the shortcomings of the employment program, limited transportation to orphans and women with small children, thus gradually closing employment offices in and around the city.4
To further deal with the continued problem of poverty and unemployment, and to remove freedmen from some of the most deplorable living conditions in the District of Columbia and Alexandria, Virginia, the Bureau set aside certain buildings under its control as tenements. Several barracks in and around Washington were provided for some 350 families, and in Alexandria accommodations were made for more than 100 families. Families were charged a moderate rent, amounting to nearly a third of what they had paid to their former landlords for filthy shanties and huts. For those who could not find work at an adequate wage to support their families, Assistant Commissioner Howard ordered Bvt. Col. S. P. Lee, superintendent of Alexandria, Fairfax, and Loudoun Counties, to rent some 550 acres of land at Camp Distribution (near Alexandria) for tenements. Land was sub–rented to heads of families in lots from 5 to 40 acres, at a cost to the Government of $800 per year. Small lots were also rented to freedmen in Arlington and St. Mary's County, Maryland.
Superintendents of the barracks forwarded monthly reports of occupying tenants to the Assistant Commissioner. The reports provided the name and occupation of the head of the family, the number in the family, the number of rooms occupied, the rate of rent per month, the amount(s) of rent paid, and the amount of rent in arrears.5
In an effort to assist freedmen in securing land, the Bureau provided funds for the purchase of 375 acres of property south of the Anacostia River known as the "Barry Farm." Portions of the land were sold to freedmen in 1–acre lots. Freedmen were required to make monthly payments for 2 years before they received full ownership of the property. The Bureau cleared the roads leading to the lots and provided lumber and assistance in the construction of houses. By the fall of 1867, the Bureau reported that at least 180 lots had been sold and some 90 houses were either complete or under construction. With the help of the Bureau, freedmen at the "Barry Farm" project built a school on one of the lots.6
The educational efforts of the District of Columbia field office were similar to Bureau operations in other states. The Bureau, by and large, assisted with construction, rental, and repair of school buildings, while benevolent societies provided teachers and paid their salaries. The Bureau also provided free transportation for teachers and assisted them in getting government rations at cost. The superintendent of education, Rev. John Kimball, forwarded monthly school reports to Bureau headquarters and received monthly school reports from subordinate officers and from superintendents of schools sponsored by benevolent societies. In the District of Columbia, the Bureau worked closely with the board of trustees appointed by an act of Congress on May 21, 1862 (12 Stat. 407), to "aid in the support of the colored race." The Trustees provided lots upon which the Bureau erected several school buildings. In 1866 the Assistant Commissioner reported that in his district there were more than 70 schools and over 6,000 students being taught by 132 teachers. There were 15 night schools and 20 Sabbath schools with slightly more than 3,000 students. There were 45 day schools (including industrial schools) conducted in buildings provided and furnished by the Bureau.7
The educational efforts of the Bureau's field office in its Maryland areas of jurisdiction were hampered by a system of illegal apprenticeship of school–age children. In direct conflict with the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (14 Stat. 27), black children were being bound to their former owners for indefinite periods of time with the help of Maryland government officials. An estimated 10,000 black children were bound out as apprentices between 1864 and 1867. The Bureau, however, through writs of habeas corpus and other court actions, fought vigorously to have these children released. By 1868, the intense efforts of the Bureau had largely ended the apprenticeship system in Maryland.8
Although the illegal apprenticeship system hindered the Bureau's educational activities in Maryland, the agency still managed to provide assistance with the construction and repair of school buildings and protection of and transportation for teachers. To increase the Bureau's visibility and to gauge the interest of freedmen in the establishment of schools, Superintendent Kimball traveled to various counties in Maryland, holding meetings on the benefits of education and the Bureau's intention to provide aid for schools. In addition, the Bureau worked hand in hand with private benevolent societies, such as the Baltimore Association, the American Missionary Association, and the Freedmen's Union Association, to sustain freedmen schools during a period when white opposition to black schools in Maryland was intense and support for such schools was nonexistent. From October 1867 to October 1868, the Bureau provided aid and assistance to 80 schools in Maryland.9
West Virginia maintained a system of free education, but whites controlled funds for schools and the employment of teachers, and schools for blacks and whites were required by law to be separate. Bureau officials worked closely with the West Virginia superintendent of free schools in the establishment of schools for freedmen. As in Maryland, Bureau officials traveled throughout West Virginia counties, advising freedmen of its support and plans for building freedmen schools. Similar to other areas under its jurisdiction, the Bureau supplied funds for buildings, and teachers were generally paid from public funds, contributions from blacks, and aid from benevolent societies. By 1868, with cooperation mostly from freedmen themselves, the Bureau was able to establish 9 schools in West Virginia. Although there were no laws in Delaware by October 1868 for the support of black schools, the Delaware Association, with assistance from Northern societies, sustained some 23 schools in various parts of the state. The Freedmen's Bureau provided assistance in the construction of 12 of the school buildings.10
Safeguarding rights and securing justice for freedmen was of paramount concern to the Freedmen's Bureau. Following the Civil War, several Southern states enacted a series of laws commonly known as "Black Codes," which restricted the rights and legal status of freedmen. Freedmen were often given harsh sentences for petty crimes and in some instances were unable to get their cases heard in state courts. In a circular issued by Commissioner Oliver Otis Howard on May 30, 1865, Assistant Commissioners were authorized, in places where civil law had been interrupted and blacks' rights to justice were being denied, to adjudicate cases between blacks themselves and between blacks and whites. In the District of Columbia and Maryland, the civil process of law had not been interrupted, and unlike many areas of the South under the Bureau's jurisdiction, no freedmen's or provost courts were in operation. The Bureau did however, provide legal assistance to freedmen in civil and criminal cases in the both the District of Columbia and Maryland. This was done especially in instances where freedmen lacked counsel and in cases where Bureau officials felt that freedmen were wrongly convicted or imprisoned. Court cases involving freedmen in Alexandria, VA, were handled by provost courts until June 10, 1866, when the Virginia legislature abolished laws that did not allow blacks to sue or be a party to a suit, or testify in cases in which they were involved. In 1868, the Assistant Commissioner reported that nearly 900 cases had been attended to by the Bureau. A large percentage of the cases involved incidents in Maryland.11
The Freedmen Bureau's field office in the District of Columbia made a special effort to assist freed men and women in legalizing marriages that they had entered into during their enslavement. Continuing a practice that had been started by Northern missionaries and Army clergy, Rev. John Kimball, who served as the superintendent of marriages for the District of Columbia, advised freedmen of the act of Congress of July 25, 1866 (14 Stat. 236), relating to slave marriages. The act stipulated that all persons who recognized each other as man and wife prior to the act were now legally married. Superintendent Kimball and his assistants issued marriage licenses and certificates and forwarded them along with marriage reports to the Office of the Commissioner. During the year, Kimball issued more than 1,000 marriage certificates. Nearly half of the couples who received certificates had lived in slavery without any form of marriage ceremony. Kimball also registered couples and forwarded ministers' reports of marriages that were retained by the Assistant Commissioner. In addition to the reports received from Kimball, the Assistant Commissioner also received reports from other officers regarding laws relating to marriage in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. A March 22, 1867, act of the Maryland General Assembly validated freedmen marriages in Maryland. In Virginia, two February 27, 1866, acts of the Virginia General Assembly made provisions for issuing marriage licenses and the registration and legalization of marriage relations entered into by former slave couples.12
In addition to assisting freedmen in solemnizing slave marriages, the Bureau helped discharged soldiers and their heirs in claims for back pay, bounty payments, and pensions. In accordance with a law passed by Congress on March 29, 1867 (15 Stat. 26), making the Freedmen's Bureau the sole agent for payment of claims of black veterans, Bureau disbursing officers assisted veterans in the preparation and settlement of claims. While many of the subdistricts under the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia field office were involved in veterans' claims, most of the activities of the Bureau were centered in Baltimore, MD, where two full–time disbursing officers were assigned to settle and pay veterans claims. In 1868 Bureau agents disbursed more than $100,000 for military claims.13
1 These Bureau relief projects are explained in Annual Reports of the Assistant Commissioners, District of Columbia, October 10, 1867, [pp. 27 – 30], Records of the Commissioner, Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, Record Group (RG) 105, National Archives Building (NAB).
2 Ibid., [pp. 30 – 31]. See also Register of Ration Requests and Weekly Reports of Operations of the Special Relief Commission, Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the District of Columbia, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1869 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1055, Roll 16).
3 Senate Ex. Doc. No. 6, 39th Cong., 2nd Sess., Serial Vol. 1276, p. 39; Annual Reports of the Assistant Commissioners, District of Columbia, October 10, 1867, [pp. 23 – 26]; William H. Williams, The Negro in the District of Columbia during Reconstruction, Howard University Studies in History, No. 5 (Washington, DC: 1924), pp. 33 – 37.
4 Annual Reports of the Assistant Commissioners, District of Columbia, October 10, 1867, [pp. 25 – 26].
5 Senate Ex. Doc. No. 6, 39th Cong., 2nd Sess., Serial Vol. 1276, pp. 36, 37. See also Monthly Reports of Bureau Tenants, M1055, Rolls 20 and 21.
6 Annual Reports of the Assistant Commissioners, District of Columbia, October 10, 1867, [pp. 19 – 21].
7 Monthly Reports of the superintendent of education, superintendents of aid society sponsored schools, and subassistant commissioners or agents in Maryland and West Virginia, Records of the Superintendent of Education for the District of Columbia, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1872 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1056, Rolls 12 and 13), RG 105; Senate Ex. Doc. No. 6, 39th Cong., 2nd Sess., Serial Vol. 1276, p. 38. See also William H. Williams, The Negro in the District of Columbia during Reconstruction, especially pp. 25 – 30.
8 Annual Reports of the Assistant Commissioners, District of Columbia, October 10, 1867, [pp. 3 – 9]; W. A. Low, "The Freedmen's Bureau in the Border States," in Radicalism, Racism, and Party Realignment: The Border States during Reconstruction, ed. Richard O. Curry, (Baltimore: John Hopkins Press, 1969), p. 247.
9 W. A. Low, "The Freedmen's Bureau in the Border States," pp. 247 – 49. Annual Reports of the Assistant Commissioners, District of Columbia, October 10, 1868, [pp. 11 – 13, 15 – 24].
10 Annual Reports of the Assistant Commissioners, District of Columbia, October 10, 1868, [pp. 26 – 30]. See also W. A. Low, "The Freedmen's Bureau in the Border States," p. 257.
11 Senate Ex. Doc. No. 6, 39th Cong., 2nd Sess., Serial Vol. 1276, p. 34; Annual Reports, Assistant Commissioner for the District of Columbia, October 10, 1867, [p. 3], and October 10, 1868, [pp. 5 – 11].
12 Annual Reports of the Assistant Commissioners, District of Columbia, October 10, 1867, [pp. 11 – 13]; Marriage Records of the Office of the Commissioner, Washington Headquarters of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1861–1869 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1875, Roll 1), RG 105. See also Miscellaneous Reports and Lists, M1055, Roll 21.
13 Annual Reports of the Assistant Commissioners, District of Columbia, October 10, 1867, [pp. 10 – 11], and October 10, 1868, [pp. 13 – 15].
Freedmen's Bureau Personnel in District of Columbia:
This list provides the names and dates of service of known Freedmen's Bureau personnel at selected staff offices and subordinate field offices in the District of Columbia. Additional information regarding persons assigned to various field offices might be found among the Bureau's Washington headquarters station books and rosters of military officers and civilians on duty in the states and other appointment–related records.
OFFICE OF STAFF OFFICERS
June 1864–Aug. 1869 -- Assistant Quartermaster Disbursing Officer Joseph M. Brown
Nov. 1866–July 1867 -- Superintendent of Marriages John Kimball
Nov. 1866–Mar. 1867 -- Assistant Superintendent of Marriages J. L. Roberts
Mar.–July 1867 -- Assistant Superintendent of Marriages M. V. Wright
Feb. 1867–Apr. 1869 -- Surgeon in Chief Robert Reyburn
Apr. 1869–Mar. 1870 -- Surgeon in Chief Patrick Gennan (Freedmen's Hospital)
Mar.–Aug. 1870 -- Surgeon in Chief Patrick Gennan (Chief Medical Officer)
SUBORDINATE FIELD OFFICES
July 1865–Oct. 1866 -- Washington and Georgetown Local Superintendent W. F. Spurgin
Oct.–Nov. 1866 -- Washington and Georgetown Local Superintendent J. V. W. Vandenburgh
Nov. 1866–July 1867 -- Washington and Georgetown Local Superintendent W. B. Beebe
July 1867–Sept. 1868 -- Washington and Georgetown Local Superintendent J. V. W. Vandenburgh
Sept. 1867–Feb. 1868 -- Subdistrict 1 (Washington Georgetown, and Counties of Montgomery and Prince Georges Maryland, 1868) William A. Coulter
Feb.–Sept. 1868 -- Subdistrict 1 (Washington Georgetown, and Counties of Montgomery and Prince Georges Maryland, 1868) J. V. W. Vandenburgh
May–Dec. 1865 -- Freedmen's Village George B. Carse
Dec. 1865–June 1866 -- Freedmen's Village A. U. Lomas
June 1866–Jan. 1867 -- Freedmen's Village A. A. Lawrence
Jan.–July 1867 -- Freedmen's Village E. B. Gates
July 1867–Dec. 1868 -- Freedmen's Village H. N. Howard
Related Archival Materials note:
See also Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection
Acquired from FamilySearch International in 2015.
Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection, 1865–1872, is a product of and owned by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution. Copyright for digital images is retained by the donor, FamilySearch International; permission for commerical use of the digital images may be requested from FamilySearch International, Intellectual Property Office, at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Electricity and Modern Physics, Division of, NMAH, SI. Search this
220 Cubic feet (700 boxes)
The collection forms a documentary record of over half a century of the history of radio, with the greatest emphasis on the period 1900-1935. The collection includes materials that span the entire history of the growth of the radio industry. It is useful for those historians and other researchers interested in technological development, economic history, and the impact of applications of technology on American life.
Scope and Contents:
The materials accumulated in this collection represent the overriding collecting passion of one individual, George H. Clark. The collection forms a documentary record of over half a century of the history of radio, with the greatest emphasis on the period 1900-1935.
The collection includes materials that span the entire history of the growth of the radio industry. It is useful for those historians and other researchers interested in technological development, economic history, and the impact of applications of technology on American life.
In particular, the collection is rich in biographical information on the men who developed the technical aspects of radio and the industry; information on the inception, growth, and activities of radio companies, most notably the National Electric Signaling Company and RCA; and in photographs of all aspects of Radioana.
While most materials document technical aspects of radio, there is much information (e.g. Series 109, 134) on broadcasting and on the early history of television.
The collection, housed in over 700 boxes (about 276 linear feet), was organized into 259 numbered "classes" or series by Clark. Sixty series numbers were never used or were eliminated by Clark and combined with other series. The unused numbers are scattered throughout the filing system. The collection also includes material from series that were eliminated. These materials were never reclassified and are included as an unprocessed series at the end of the series descriptions. The collection also contains material that was never assigned a "class" designation by Clark (Lettered Series: D, E, F, G, H).
The arrangement of the collection is Clark's own; his adaptation of the Navy filing system he helped devise in 1915. Clark periodically revised the filing system and reclassified items within it.
Clark assigned class numbers to types of equipment (e.g. broadcast receivers), systems (impulse-excited transmitters and systems), scientific theories (circuit theory), and topics (company history, biography). Box 1 contains descriptions of the classification system.
When Clark classified an item and filed it he also assigned a serial number. This classification begins with 1 (or 1A) for the first item in the class and continues with successive numbers as items were added. As a consequence, the order of individual items within a series reflects the order in which Clark filed them, not any logical relationship between the items. Clark created cross references for items dealing with more than one subject by making notations on blank sheets of paper placed in related series.
Clark made cross references between series when there was no logical relationship between them; that is, when a person using the collection would not normally look in the series. For example no cross reference would be made of an engineer from series 87 (portraits) to series 4 (biography), but one would be made from series 87 to series 142 (history of television) if the item showed the engineer, say, working on a television installation.
Clark created the insignia "SRM" as the sign on the bottom of all sheets of paper numbered by him for binding. SRM stood for Smithsonian Radio Museum. This replaced the earlier though not greatly used sign "CGM." For a time about 1930, the class number on each sheet was preceded by these: "C.G.M.", for Clark, Martin, and Goldsmith, the earliest contributors to what would become the Clark Radioana Collection. After about 1933-34 Clark used C.W.C. for Clark Wireless Collection.
There are many photographs located in most series throughout the collection. But there are also three exclusive photographic series. Lettered series A, B, C. See index; and also series descriptions under lettered series.
The collection is divided into 223 series.
Numbered Series 1-233:
Series 1, Library Operating System, 1915-1950
Series 2, Apparatus Type Numbers, 1916-1931
Series 3, Photographic Lists, 1925-1928
Series 4, Biographies of Radio Personages, Technical Index to Correspondents in Series 4
Series 5, History of Radio Companies, 1895-1950
De Forest Radio Company, 1905-1930s
Jenkins Televsion Corporation, 1924-1931
Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company, 1908-1929
National Electric Signaling Company, 1896-1941
Wireless Specialty Apparatus Company, 1906-1929
Radio Corporation of America, 1895-1950
Series 6, Shore Stations, 1900-1940
Series 7, Marine Stations, 1900-1930s
Series 8, Broadcasting Stations, 1910s-1940s
Series 9, Amateur Stations, 1910s-1940s
Series 10, Miscellaneous Information, 1911-1914
Series 11, Radio Antiques, 1921-1938
Series 13, Specifications of Radio Apparatus, 1910s-1930s
Series 14, General History, 1899-1950s
Series 15, Radio Companies Catalogues & Bound Advertisements, 1873-1941
Series 16, Log Books, 1902-1923
Series 17, Radio Companies' House Organs, 1896-1942
Series 18, Prime Movers, 1904-1911
Series 19, Batteries, 1898-1934
Series 20, Rectifiers, 1875-1935
Series 21, Motor Generators, 1898-1936
Series 22, Nameplates of Apparatus, 1928
Series 23, Switchboards and Switchboard Instruments, 1910-1935
Series 24, Radio Frequency Switches, 1905-1905-1933
Series 25, Transmitter Transformers, 1893-1949
Series 26, Operating Keys, 1843-1949
Series 27, Power Type Interrupters, 1902-1938
Series 28, Protective Devices, 1910-1925
Series 30, Message Blanks, 1908-1938
Series 31, Transmitter Condensers, 1849-1943
Series 32, Spark Gaps, 1905-1913
Series 33, Transmitter Inductances, 1907-1922
Series 34, Transmitter Wave Changers, 1907-1924
Series 37, ARC Transmitters, 1907-1940
Series 38, Vacuum Tube Type of Radio Transmitter, 1914-1947
Series 39, Radio Transmitter, Radio-Frequency, Alternator Type, 1894-1940
Series 41, Vacuum Tubes, Transmitting Type, 1905-1948
Series 43, Receiving Systems, 1904-1934
Series 45, Broadcast Receivers, 1907-1948
Series 46, Code Receivers, 1902-1948
Series 47, Receiving Inductances, 1898-1944
Series 48, Receiving Condensers, 1871-1946
Series 49, Audio Signal Devices, 1876-1947
Series 50, Detectors, 1878-1944
Series 51, Amplifiers, 1903-1949
Series 52, Receiving Vacuum Tubes, 1905-1949
Series 53, Television Receivers, 1928-1948
Series 54, Photo-Radio Apparatus, 1910-1947
Series 59, Radio Schools, 1902-1945
Series 60, Loudspeakers, 1896-1946
Series 61, Insulators, 1844-1943
Series 62, Wires, 1906-1945
Series 63, Microphones, 1911-1947
Series 64, Biography, 1925-1948
Series 66, Antennas, 1877-1949
Series 67, Telautomatics, 1912-1944
Series 69, Direction Finding Equipment, Radio Compasses, 1885-1948
Series 71, Aircraft Transmitters, 1908-1947
Series 72, Field or Portables Transmitters, 1901-1941
Series 73, Mobile Radio Systems, 1884-1946
Series 74, Radio Frequency Measuring Instruments, 1903-1946
Series 75, Laboratory Testing Methods and Systems, 1891-1945
Series 76, Aircraft Receivers, 1917-1941
Series 77, Field Portable Receivers, 1906-1922
Series 78, Spark Transmitter Assembly, 1909-1940
Series 79, Spark Transmitter System, 1900-1945
Series 82, Firsts in Radio, undated
Series 85: Distance Records and Tests, 1898-1940
Series 87, Photographs of Radio Executives, and Technical Types, 1857-1952
Series 90, Radio Terms, 1857-1939
Series 92, Static Patents and Static Reducing Systems, 1891-1946
Series 93, Low Frequency Indicating Devices, 1904-1946
Series 95, Articles on Radio Subjects, 1891-1945
Series 96, Radio in Education, 1922-1939
Series 98, Special Forms of Broadcasting, 1921-1943
Series 99, History of Lifesaving at Sea by Radio, 1902-1949
Series 100, History of Naval Radio, 1888-1948
Series 101, Military Radio, 1898-1946
Series 102, Transmitting & Receiving Systems, 1902-1935
Series 103, Receiving Methods, 1905-1935
Series 108, Codes and Ciphers, 1894-1947
Series 109, Schedules of Broadcasting & TV Stations, 1905-1940
Series 112, Radio Shows and Displays, 1922-1947
Series 114, Centralized Radio Systems, 1929-1935
Series 116, United States Government Activities in Radio, 1906-1949
Series 117, Technical Tables, 1903-1932
Series 120, Litigation on Radio Subjects, 1914-1947
Series 121, Legislation, 1914-1947
Series 122, History of Radio Clubs, 1907-1946
Series 123, Special Applications of Radio Frequency, 1924-1949
Series 124, Chronology, 1926-1937
Series 125, Radio Patents & Patent Practices, 1861-1949
Series 126, Phonographs, 1894-1949
Series 127, Piezo Electric Effect, 1914-1947
Series 128, ARC Transmitting & Reciving Systems, 1904-1922
Series 129, Spark Systems, 1898-1941
Series 130, Vacuum Tubes Systems, 1902-1939
Series 132, Radiophone Transmitting & Receiving System, 1906-1947
Series 133, Photo-Radio, 1899-1947
Series 134, History of Radio Broadcasting, 1908-
Series 135, History of Radiotelephony, Other Than Broadcasting
Series 136, History of Amateur Radio
Series 138, Transoceanic Communication
Series 139, Television Transmitting Stations
Series 140, Radio Theory
Series 142, History of Television
Series 143, Photographs
Series 144, Radio Publications
Series 145, Proceedings of Radio Societies
Series 146: Radio Museums
Series 147, Bibliography of Radio Subjects and Apparatus
Series 148, Aircraft Guidance Apparatus
Series 150, Audio Frequency Instruments
Series 151, History of Radio for Aircrafts
Series 152, Circuit Theory
Series 154, Static Elimination
Series 161, Radio in Medicine
Series 162, Lighting
Series 163, Police Radio
Series 169, Cartoons
Series 173, Communications, Exclusive of Radio (after 1895)
Series 174, Television Methods and Systems
Series 182, Military Portable Sets
Series 189, Humor in Radio (see
Series 209, Short Waves
Series 226, Radar
Series 233, Television Transmitter
Series A, Thomas Coke Knight RCA Photographs, circa 1902-1950
Series B, George H. Clark Collection of Photographs by ClassSeries C, Clark Unorganized and/or Duplicate Photographs
Series D, Miscellaneous
Series E, News Clippings Series F: Radio Publications
Series G, Patent Files of Darby and Darby, Attorneys, circa 1914-1935
Series H, Blank Telegram Forms from many Companies and Countries Throughout the World
Series I (eye), Miscellaneous Series
Series J, Research and Laboratory Notebooks
Series K, Index to Photographs of Radio Executives and Technical Types
Series L, Index to Bound Volumes of Photos in Various Series
Series M, Index to David Sarnoff Photographs
Biographical / Historical:
George Howard Clark, born February 15, 1881, at Alberton, Prince Edward Island, Canada, emigrated to the United States at the age of fourteen. He worked as a railroad telegraph operator for the Boston and Maine Railroad during high school and college. In his unpublished autobiography he wrote:
In 1888, when I was a lad of seven, I suddenly blossomed out as a scrapbook addict, and for years I gave up boyhood games for the pleasure of sitting in a lonely attic and 'pasting up' my books ... By 1897, in high school, I graduated to beautiful pictures, and made many large size scrapbooks ... Around that time, too, I became infatuated with things electrical, and spent many evenings copying in pen and ink the various electrical text books in the Everett, Mass., Public Library. Clark began collecting material pertaining to wireless or radio in 1902. In 1903 he graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. During his last year of college he specialized in radio work under the instruction of Professor John Stone Stone and after graduation went to work for Stone's radio company, the Stone Telegraph and Telephone Company, of Boston.
In 1908 Clark took a competitive examination open to all wireless engineers in the United States and entered the civilian service of the Navy. He was stationed at the Washington Navy Yard, with special additional duty at the Navy's Bureau of Steam Engineering and at the National Bureau of Standards.
In 1915 Clark helped devise a classification system for Navy equipment, assigning a code number to each item. This system of classification for blueprints, photographs, reports, and general data, was prepared by Arthur Trogner, Guy Hill, and Clark, all civilian radio experts with the US Navy Department in Washington. In 1918 Clark adopted the 1915 Navy classification system for organizing the radio data he was accumulating. Clark created the term "Radioana" at this time. He began spending his evenings and weekends pasting up his collection and numbering pages. At this time he bound the accumulated material. It totaled 100 volumes.
In July 1919, after resigning from the Navy, Clark joined the engineering staff of the Marconi Telegraph Company of America, which became part of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) later the same year. His first work was at Belmar and Lakewood, New Jersey, assisting the chief engineer, Roy A. Weagant, in his development of circuits to reduce the interference caused by static (static reduction). Clark and his wife were assigned to the unheated Engineer's Cottage. His wife decided not to stay and left for Florida. Clark moved his trunks of wireless material to the heated RCA hotel at Belmar and spent most of the winter "pasting." As Clark mentions, "From that time on I was wedded to scraps."
After a year of work in New Jersey, Clark was assigned to the sales department in New York, where he devised the "type number system" used by RCA. This type number system, for example, gave the designation UV 201 to the company's first amplifier tube.
From 1922 to 1934 Clark was in charge of RCA's newly created Show Division, which held exhibits of new and old radio apparatus at state fairs, department stores, and radio shows. About 1928 Clark started an antique radio apparatus museum for RCA. RCA's board of directors announced:
Recognizing the importance of providing a Museum for the Radio Art to house the rapidly disappearing relics of earlier days, and the desirability of collecting for it without further delay examples of apparatus in use since the inception of radio, the Board of Directors of RCA has made an initial appropriation of $100,000, as the nucleus of a fund for the establishment of a National Radio Museum. A plan for ultimately placing the museum under the wing of the Smithsonian Institution was coupled with the goal of the Institution's gathering the largest possible library of wireless data.
Around 1933 the RCA traveling exhibition program ended and Clark started classifying his collected "radioana" material. The objects of the museum were eventually turned over for exhibit purposes to the Rosenwald Museum in Chicago and the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, when space was not forthcoming at the Smithsonian. A list of objects sent to the two museums (with tag and case numbers) is in Series 1, Box A. The "radioana" collection remained under Clark's care during the 1930s, and became of increasing use to RCA. Clark continued to add to the material.
Between 1934 and 1942 Clark was in court many times regarding patent infringements. Clark's wireless data was useful and he testified frequently, for example, in RCA's suit against the United States in the Court of Claims over the Marconi tuning patents and in the Westinghouse Company's suit against the United States over the heterodyne. Patent specifications and material regarding these and other radio industry suits are found throughout this collection.
In 1946 RCA retired George Clark and denied him space to house his "radioana" collection. Clark wished to remain in New York and house the collection somewhere in the city where it would be open at all times to the public and where it would be maintained. He hoped to continue cataloguing the collection and writing books from its information. He wanted to keep the collection under his control for as long as he was capable of using it.
George H. Clark died in 1956 and his collection was subsequently given to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1959 the collection was given to the Smithsonian's new Museum of History and Technology, where space was available to house it. The collection remained in the Division of Electricity until the spring of 1983 when it was transferred to the Archives Center.
Brief Company Histories From The Radio Industry, 1900-1930s:
At the end of the nineteenth century, when Guglielmo Marconi began his first wireless company, Western Union, Postal Telegraph, and the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) were the major enterprises in electrical communications. General Electric, Western Electric, and Westinghouse were the major producers of electrical equipment. All these earlier developments set the stage for the expansion of the radio industry.
General Electric, which dominated the lighting industry, was formed in 1892 as a merger of the Edison and Thomson-Houston companies. It was active in building central power station equipment; controlled nearly all the important early patents in electric railways; took a leading part in the introduction of trolley systems; and was the principal supplier of electric motors. Westinghouse promoted the alternating current system and installed the first AC central station in Buffalo, NY, during the winter of 1866-1867. After years of patent litigation, in 1896 GE and Westinghouse agreed to share their patents on electrical apparatus.
American Bell Telephone Company purchased Western Electric in 1881. Western Electric had a strong patent position in telephone equipment and in industrial power apparatus, such as arc lamps, generators, motors, and switchboard equipment.
Until RCA was formed in 1919, these established electrical companies played no active part in the early development of the American radio industry. They were in difficult financial positions, reorganizing, or concentrating their efforts and resources on improving their existing products.
The revolution in "wireless" technology, which began in earnest after 1900, centered in New York City, home of the Lee de Forest and American Marconi companies, and in Boston, headquarters of John Stone Stone and Reginald Fessenden.
Information in this section was compiled from the Clark Collection; the Invention and Innovation in the Radio Industry by W. Rupert Maclaurin, Macmillan Company, New York, 1949; and Radio Pioneers, Institute of Radio Engineers, Commemorating the Radio Pioneers Dinner, Hotel Commodore, New York, NY, November 8, 1945.
The De Forest Companies
Lee De Forest (1873-1961), inventor of the three-element vacuum tube or triode (1906) and the feedback circuit, was one of the first Americans to write a doctoral thesis on wireless telegraphy: "The Reflection of Short Hertzian Waves from the Ends of Parallel Wires," Yale University, 1899. The grid-controlled tube or audion of De Forest was first a radio detector, 1906-1907; in 1912 was adapted to an amplifier; and later to an oscillator. When it was perfected as a high vacuum tube, it became the great electronic instrument of electrical communications.
De Forest began work in the Dynamo Department at the Western Electric Company in 1899. Six months later he was promoted to the telephone laboratory. In 1900 De Forest went to work for the American Wireless Telegraph Company where he was able to carry out work on his "responder." However, after three months when De Forest refused to turn over the responder to the company, he was fired.
In the following year De Forest had a number of jobs, was active as an inventor, and created numerous firms to manufacture his inventions. In 1901 De Forest joined with Ed Smythe, a former Western Electric colleague and a collaborator in his research, to found the firm of De Forest, Smythe, and Freeman. Between 1902 and 1906 De Forest took out thirty-four patents on all phases of wireless telegraphy. The responder that he had been working on for so long never proved satisfactory.
The numerous De Forest companies, reflected his many interests and his inability to carry one project through to a conclusion. Unlike Marconi, but similar to Fessenden, De Forest had great inventive skill which resulted in a great number of companies; but none lasted long. The original partnership of 1901 led to the Wireless Telegraph Co. of America (1901), the De Forest Wireless Telegraph Company (Maine) (1902), and the American De Forest Wireless Telegraph Company (1903), to name a few.
The American De Forest Wireless Telegraph Company was incorporated after De Forest met a stock promoter, Abraham White. While many stations were built by this company, many never sent a message due to static interference. In 1907 two speculators from Denver with large holdings of company stock put the company out of business. The assets were sold to a new company that these speculators organized, the United Wireless Telephone Company. De Forest was forced to resign. He took the triode patents with him.
De Forest joined with one of White's stock salesmen, James Dunlop Smith, and together with De Forest's patent attorney, Samuel E. Darby, they formed a new corporation, the De Forest Radio Telephone Company in 1907. This company set out to develop wireless communication by means of the radio telephone.
In January 1910 De Forest staged the first opera broadcast, with Enrico Caruso singing. The Radio Telephone Company went bankrupt in 1911 following an aborted merger with North American Wireless Corporation. In 1913 he reorganized the company as the Radio Telephone and Telegraph Company and began producing the triode.
The Marconi Company brought a patent suit, claiming the triode infringed on the Fleming valve to which it had rights. In 1916 the court decided that Marconi had infringed the three element De Forest patent and that De Forest had infringed the two element Fleming valve. The result was that neither company could manufacture the triode.
In 1920 RCA acquired the De Forest triode rights through cross-licensing agreements with AT&T which had recently purchased the rights to it. De Forest's company was no match for GE, Westinghouse, and RCA. The De Forest Radio Company (1923) went bankrupt in 1928, was reorganized in 1930, and went into receivership in 1933. RCA eventually purchased its assets.
Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) came from a wealthy and well connected Italian family. He was able to spend his time developing his inventions and following his own course of action. Marconi spent his entire life developing wireless communication into a "practical" reality. In 1905 Marconi invented a directional antenna. In 1909 he shared with Karl Ferdinand Braun the Nobel prize in physics. And in 1912 he invented the time spark system for the generation of continuous waves. The principal patents in his name were improved types of vertical antennas; improved coherer; magnetic detector for the detection of wireless signals; and improvements on methods of selective tuning. Two other inventions of great importance to the Marconi companies' patent structure were the Oliver Lodge tuning patent and the Ambrose Fleming valve.
In 1895 Marconi made the first successful transmission of long wave signals. The following year he met William Preece, engineer-in-chief of the British Post Office, who was interested in inductive wireless telegraphy. This meeting led to the formation in 1897 of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company Ltd. In 1898 he transmitted signals across the English Channel. In 1899 an American subsidiary was formed. The various Marconi companies were the dominant enterprises in both British and American wireless until 1919 when RCA was formed.
From a business standpoint, wireless did not become profitable until long distance communications were accomplished. On December 12, 1901 in St. John's, Newfoundland, Marconi received a telegraph signal in the form of repetitions of the Morse telegraphic letter "S" transmitted from the Marconi station at Poldhu, Cornwall, England. This success, however, was met by opposition from vested interests, particularly the Anglo-American Telegraph Company whose cables terminated in Newfoundland.
So as not to restrict his company's future to one front alone, Marconi decided to exploit the field of communication with ships at sea. In order to control this field he decided in 1900 to lease his apparatus rather than sell it outright. This strategy did not work. Competition developed in Germany (Telefunken Corporation) and the United States (American De Forest and its successor, United Wireless) and Marconi was forced to sell rather than lease apparatus to the navies of various countries. He nevertheless retained numerous restrictions. This led to further friction. At the height of this debacle English stations worldwide refused to communicate with ships without Marconi equipment. This absurd and dangerous situation had to change and coastal stations opened up to all senders in 1908.
Marconi's system was based on spark technology. He saw no need for voice transmission. He felt the Morse code adequate for communication between ships and across oceans. He, along with most others, did not foresee the development of the radio and the broadcasting industry. He was a pragmatist and uninterested in scientific inquiry in a field where commercial viability was unknown.
For these reasons Marconi left the early experimentation with the radio telephone to others, particularly Lee De Forest and Reginald Fessenden.
National Electric Signaling Company
Canadian-born Reginald Fessenden (1866-1932), one of the principal early radio inventors and the first important inventor to experiment with wireless, left the University of Pittsburgh in 1900 to work for the U.S. Weather Bureau. There he invented the liquid barretter, an early radio receiver, and attempted to work out a means for wireless transmission of weather forecasts. After a squabble over patent rights, Fessenden resigned in 1902.
The National Electric Signaling Company (NESCO), primarily intended to support Fessenden's work on wireless, telegraphy, and telephony, was formed by Fessenden and two Pittsburgh capitalists, Hay Walker, Jr. and Thomas H. Given. It began as an inventor's laboratory and never proved successful as a business venture.
Fessenden recognized that a continuous wave transmission was required for speech and he continued the work of Nikola Tesla, John Stone Stone, and Elihu Thomson on this subject. Fessenden felt he could also transmit and receive Morse code better by the continuous wave method than with a spark-apparatus as Marconi was using.
In 1903 Fessenden's first high-frequency alternator needed for continuous wave transmission was built to his specifications by Charles Steinmetz of GE. In 1906 Fessenden obtained a second alternator of greater power from GE and on Christmas Eve broadcast a program of speech and music. The work on this alternator was given to Ernst F. W. Alexanderson. It took years for Alexanderson to develop an alternator capable of transmitting regular voice transmissions over the Atlantic. But by 1916 the Fessenden-Alexanderson alternator was more reliable for transatlantic communication than the spark apparatus.
Fessenden also worked on continuous-wave reception. This work arose out of his desire for a more effective type of receiver than the coherer, a delicate device that was limited by its sensitivity on a rolling ship at sea. In 1903 he developed a new receiving mechanism - the electrolytic detector.
As his work progressed Fessenden evolved the heterodyne system. However, due to faulty construction and the fact that it was ahead of its time, heterodyne reception was not fully appreciated until the oscillating triode was devised, thus allowing a practical means of generating the local frequency.
Between 1905 and 1913 Fessenden developed a completely self-sustaining wireless system. However, constant quarrels between Fessenden, Walker, and Given culminated in Fessenden's forming the Fessenden Wireless Company of Canada. He felt a Canadian company could better compete with British Marconi. As a result, his backers dismissed Fessenden from NESCO in January of 1911. Fessenden brought suit, won, and was awarded damages. To conserve assets pending appeal, NESCO went into receivership in 1912, and Samuel Kintner was appointed general manager of the company.
In 1917 Given and Walker formed International Signal Company (ISC) and transferred NESCO's patent assets to the new company. Westinghouse obtained majority control of ISC through the purchase of $2,500,000 worth of stock. The company was then reincorporated as The International Radio Telegraph Company. The Westinghouse-RCA agreements were signed in 1921 and International's assets were transferred to RCA.
The development of the radio industry accelerated after 1912. This was due to several factors, the most important of which was the passage of legislation by the US government requiring ships at sea to carry wireless. This created a market incentive and spurred the growth of the industry. Also, with the outbreak of World War I, the larger electrical companies turned their manufacturing output to radio apparatus, supporting the war effort. Three firms were prominent in this industrial endeavor: AT&T, GE, and Westinghouse.
AT&T's early contributions to this effort centered on their improvements of De Forest's triode, particularly in the evolution of circuits, the redesign of the mechanical structure, and an increase in the plate design. The importation of the Gaede molecular pump from Germany created a very high vacuum. The resulting high-vacuum tube brought the practical aspects of the wireless telephone closer to reality. By August 1915 speech had been sent by land wire to Arlington, Va., automatically picked up there via a newly developed vacuum-tube transmitter, and subsequently received at Darien, Canal Zone. By 1920 AT&T had purchased the rights to the De Forest triode and feedback circuit, and had placed itself in a strong position in the evolution of radio technology.
GE centered its efforts on the alternator, assigning Ernst F. W. Alexanderson to its design, and on further development of vacuum tube equipment for continuous wave telegraph transmission. By 1915 Alexanderson, Irving Langmuir, William D. Coolidge, and others had developed a complete system of continuous wave transmission and reception for GE.
As can be seen, both AT&T and GE were diverting major time and expenditures on vacuum tube research. This inevitably led to patent interferences and consequently, to cross-licensing arrangements.
Westinghouse was not in the strategic position of GE and AT&T. Nevertheless, during the war it did manufacture large quantities of radio apparatus, motors, generators, and rectifiers for the European and American governments. Postwar moves led Westinghouse into full partnership with the other two companies.
By the end of the war, all three companies had committed significant resources to wireless. They were hampered internationally, however, by the Marconi Company's dominant status, and in the United States they were blocked by opposing interests with control of key patents.
The US government also was concerned with this lack of solidarity in the wireless industry and over the British domination of the field worldwide. This impasse set a fascinating and complicated stage for the formation of the RCA.
Owen D. Young, legal counselor for GE, was instrumental in breaking the impasse. Through an innovative and far-reaching organizational consolidation, Young was able to persuade British Marconi that persistence in monopoly was a fruitless exercise, because of the strong US government feelings. Marconi, realizing the harm of a potential American boycott, finally agreed to terms. GE purchased the controlling interest in American Marconi, and RCA was formed. Young was made chairman of the board of RCA, while Edwin J. Nally and David Sarnoff of the old American Marconi were appointed president and commercial manager respectively.
On July 1, 1920, RCA signed a cross-licensing agreement with AT&T. The telephone company purchased one half million shares of RCA common and preferred stock for several considerations -- the most important being that all current and future radio patents of the two companies were available to each other royalty-free for ten years. Many provisions of these agreements were ambiguous and led to later squabbles between the RCA partners.
In May 1920 Westinghouse, which had an efficient radio manufacturing organization, formed an alliance with the International Radio and Telegraph Company (NESCO's successor). Westinghouse's part ownership gave them control of Fessenden's patents, particularly continuous-wave transmission and heterodyne transmission. Westinghouse also wisely purchased in October of 1920 Armstrong's patents on the regenerative and superheterodyne circuits -- which also included some of Columbia University professor Michael Pupin's patents. This placed Westinghouse in a strong bargaining position vis-à-vis RCA and in their new consolidated corporation. Westinghouse joined the growing group of radio companies on June 30, 1921. With these mergers, RCA agreed to purchase forty percent of its radio apparatus from Westinghouse and sixty percent from GE.
Through these and other legal arrangements, RCA obtained the rights to over 2,000 patents. These amounted to practically all the patents of importance in the radio science of that day. As a result, other firms in the radio industry, for example, the United Fruit Company and the Wireless Specialty Apparatus Company, entered into cross-licensing arrangements with RCA.
RCA also made arrangements internationally with the three dominant companies in radio communication in their respective countries. British Marconi, Compagnie Generale de Telegraphie sans fil, and Telefunken. Each corporation was given exclusive rights to use the other companies' patents within their own territories.
The rise of amateur radio in the 1920s and, to a greater extent, the demand for new products by the general public contributed to the rise of the broadcasting industry. This put a strain on the earlier agreements between the major radio corporations and between 1921 and 1928 there was a struggle over patents for control of the evolving medium.
An initial attempt by AT&T to control the broadcasting industry -- using its earlier cross-licensing agreements to manufacture radio telephone transmitting equipment -- began with AT&T's disposal of RCA stock holdings in 1922-1923. It ended in 1926 with a new cross-licensing agreement which gave AT&T exclusive patent rights in the field of public service telephony and gave GE, RCA, and Westinghouse exclusive patent rights in the areas covered by wireless telegraphy, entertainment broadcasting, and the manufacture of radio sets and receiving tubes for public sale.
In 1926 after the agreements were finalized, RCA, GE, and Westinghouse joined forces and established the National Broadcasting Company (NBC). Fifty percent of the stock went to RCA, thirty percent to GE, and twenty percent to Westinghouse. The new company was divided into three divisions: the Red, Blue, and Pacific Networks. Independent, competing networks soon emerged. William S. Paley and his family formed the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) in 1927. The Mutual Broadcasting System was formed in 1934.
By 1928 RCA had strong patent positions in all major areas of the radio industry, including the research, development and manufacture of vacuum tubes and speakers. Most small companies entering the industry in the 1920s produced their products based on prior research by others and on expired patents. An RCA license, therefore, was essential for the manufacture of any modern radio set or vacuum tube.
In the late 1920s new developments in the reproduction of sound, produced significant changes in the phonograph industry. Among those new developments were the introduction of the electronic record, and the marketing of the Radiola 104 Loudspeaker in 1926. In 1929 RCA purchased the Victor Talking Machine Company. This changed not only the quality but the sales of the phonograph and the phonograph record. A new entertainment industry was born and an ever-expanding market for consumer products was created with cultural implications that continue today.
German industrialists were eager to break the Marconi Company's monopoly. Although Marconi had patents on his inventions in Germany, the Germans developed a rival system through the Telefunken Corporation, incorporated in 1903, based on the inventions of Professor Ferdinand Braun, Dr. Rudolf Slaby, and Count George von Arco.
Before 1903 the Braun-Siemens and Halske system had been developed by Gesellschaft fur Drahtlose Telegraphie (GFDT). The Slaby-Arco system had been developed by Allgemeine Electrizitats-Gesellschaft. After litigation over patents, the German court handed down a decision in favor of the GFDT. The Kaiser, with national interests in mind, ordered that the rivalry cease. The two systems were amalgamated under GFDT, and became known as the Telefunken.
Chronology of Some Significant Events In The History of The Radio Industry
1895 -- Marconi experiments with Hertz's oscillator and Branley's coherer.
1897 -- In March Marconi demonstrates his wireless system on Salisbury Plain, near London, and files a complete patent specification. In May trials of Marconi's system are made over water between Lavernock and Flatholm, a distance of three miles. On May 13, communication is established between Lavernock Point and Brean Down, a distance of eight miles. German scientist Professor Slaby is present. The first Marconi station is erected at the Needles, Isle of Wight. A distance of fourteen and one-half miles is bridged by wireless. In December the Marconi station at the Needles communicates with a ship eighteen miles at sea.
1898 -- In England Oliver Lodge files a complete specification covering inventions in wireless telegraphy.
1899 -- The New York Herald uses Marconi's wireless telegraphy to report the progress of the International Yacht races between the Columbia and the Shamrock off New York harbor in September. US. Navy vessels make trials of Marconi's wireless telegraph system. The cruiser New York and the battleship Massachusetts are equipped with apparatus. Fessenden develops improvements in methods of wireless telegraph signaling.
1900 -- The Marconi International Marine Communication Company is organized on April 25th in London. Reginald Aubrey Fessenden begins work at the United States Weather Bureau. Over the next two years he invents the liquid barretter, an improved radio receiver.
1901 -- In February on board the SS Philadelphia, Marconi receives wireless signals over a distance of 1,551 miles. In March Marconi wireless telegraph service begins between islands of the Hawaiian group. On December 12, Marconi receives transatlantic signal at St. John's, Newfoundland from Poldhu, Cornwall, England. The Canadian government orders two Marconi telegraph sets for use at coastal points along the Strait of Belle Isle.
1901 -- Fessenden procures US patent no. 706737 for a system of radio signaling employing long waves (low frequency). De Forest develops a system of wireless telegraphy in Chicago. 1903-06 10,000 to 50,000 cycle machines, 1 kW, are developed by Steinmetz and by Alexanderson of GE for Fessenden. 1905 Marconi procures patent number 14788 in England, covering the invention of the horizontal directional antenna.
1906 -- At Brant Rock, Massachusetts, Fessenden employs a generator of one-half kW capacity, operating at 75,000 cycles, for radio purposes. He succeeds in telephoning a distance of eleven miles by means of wireless telephone apparatus.
1907 -- De Forest procures a U. S. patent for an audion amplifier of pulsating or alternating current.
1908 -- Marconi stations in Canada and England are opened for radio telegraph service across the Atlantic. Fessenden constructs a 70,000-cycle alternator with an output of 2.5 kW. at 225 volts, for radio signaling purposes. He reports successful radio telephone tests between Brant Rock and Washington, DC, a distance of 600 miles.
1909 -- US House of Representatives passes the Burke Bill for the compulsory use of radio telegraphy on certain classes of vessels. The United Wireless Telegraph Company and the Radio Telephone Company of New York (De Forest and Stone systems) begin the erection of radio stations in the Central and Western states. Marconi shares with Ferdinand Braun of Germany the Nobel prize in recognition of contributions in wireless telegraphy.
1910 -- An act of the US government requires radio equipment and operators on certain types of passenger ships. The Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Marconi station is opened in September. This station communicates with Clifden, Ireland. The transatlantic tariff is seventeen cents a word.
1911 -- A radio section is organized by the US Department of Commerce to enforce the provisions of national radio legislation. Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company acquires the Lodge-Muirhead patents.
1912 -- Rotary gap is used with Fessenden 100 kW 500 cycle spark set at NAA, the Navy's first high-power station at Arlington, Virginia. Marconi Wireless of America acquires property of the United Wireless Telegraph Company. British Marconi secures the important radio patents of Bellini and Tosi, Italian inventors. Wreck of the SS Titanic on April 15th. The act of 1910 is extended on July 23 to cover cargo vessels. requires an auxiliary source of power on ships and two or more skilled radio apparatus operators on certain types of passenger ships. On August 13, an act provides for licensing radio operators and transmitting stations.
1912-1913 -- High vacuum amplifying tubes (an improvement on De Forest's), using the findings of pure science, are produced almost simultaneously in two great industrial laboratories, by Dr. H. D. Arnold of AT&T and Irving Langmuir of GE.
1915 -- De Forest Ultra-audion three-step (cascade) audio amplifier is announced and introduced into practice.
1916 -- GE and the Western Electric Company develop the first experimental vacuum tube radiotelephone systems for the Navy.
1917-1918 -- First production of vacuum tubes in quantity, both coated filament and tungsten filament types, by Western Electric Company and GE.
1918 -- Lloyd Espenschied procures US patent number 1,256,889 for the invention of a duplex radio telegraph system. (See Lloyd Espenschied Papers, Archives Center, NMAH, Collection #13.) The House of Representatives passes a resolution on July 5, authorizing the President to take over management of telegraph and telephone systems due to war conditions.
1919 -- Bills are introduced in Congress for permanent government control of radio stations. The widespread resentment of amateurs has more to do with the defeat of these bills than the objections of commercial companies. Roy Alexander Weagant, New York, reports having developed means of reducing disturbances to radio reception caused by atmospherics or static. This is the first successful static-reducing system. GE purchases the holdings of the British Marconi Company in the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America, the name of the latter company being changed to Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in October. Edward J. Nally is elected president of the new company.
1920 -- E. F. W. Alexanderson is appointed Chief Engineer of RCA. RCA begins the installation of 200-kW Alexanderson alternators at Bolinas, California, and Marion, Massachusetts. The Tropical Radio Telegraph Company, a subsidiary of the United Fruit Company, New York, operates ten long-distance radio stations at points in Central and South Americirca RCA purchases 6,000 acres at Rocky Point, Long Island, New York, and begins erection of a Radio Central station, comprising a number of operating units for communication with European stations and stations in South Americirca On May 15, RCA inaugurates radio telegraph services between installations at Chatham and Marion, Massachusetts, and stations at Stavanger and Jaerobe, Norway. Westinghouse Company's radio station KDKA, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, broadcasts returns of the national elections, November 2. Development, design, and manufacture by GE of the early receiving and transmitting tubes made available to the public by RCA (UV-200,201,202). Radio telegraph stations and properties taken over by the government under war time powers are returned to their owners at midnight, February 29. The government calls for bids for the sale of large quantities of surplus radio and telegraph and telephone apparatus purchased for war needs and not used.
1921 -- RCA develops Vacuum tubes UV-200(detector) and UV-201(amplifier) -- both triodes with brass shells known as the UV base, and incorporating a filament that required 1 ampere at 5 volts for operation -- for storage battery operation; and at the same time also released to the public the WD-11 for dry cell operation, which employed an oxide-coated tungsten filament. RCA station at Rocky Point, Long Island, opens on November 5. WJZ station established by the Westinghouse Company in Newark, NJ. RCA broadcast station at Roselle Park, NJ (WDY) opens on December 15. It continues operation until February 15, 1922, when its operation is transferred to WJZ, Newark, previously owned by Westinghouse. RCA installs 200-kW alternator at Tuckerton, NJ.
1922 -- First use of tube transmitters by RCA for service from the United States to England and Germany. RCA begins substitution of tube transmitters on ships to replace spark sets. RCA begins replacement of crystal receivers by tube receivers on ships.
1923 -- Broadcast stations WJZ and WJY opened in New York in May by RCA. WRC opens in Washington on August 1. The UV-201A, receiving tubes developed by GE and consuming only 1/4 of an ampere are introduced by RCA. Tungsten filaments coated and impregnated with thorium were employed.
1924 -- Edwin H. Armstrong, demonstrates the superheterodyne receiver on March 6th. In November RCA experiments with radio photographs across the Atlantic. RCA markets the superheterodyne receivers for broadcast reception.
1925-26 -- Dynamic loudspeakers introduced. Magnetic pick-up phonograph recording and reproduction developed. RCA opens radio circuit to Dutch East Indies. Direction-finders introduced on ships.
1927 -- Fully self-contained AC radio receivers introduced.
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