Walcott, Charles D. (Charles Doolittle), 1850-1927 Search this
108.59 cu. ft. (16 record storage boxes) (84 document boxes) (1 half document box) (1 12x17 box) (2 16x20 boxes) (8 5x8 boxes) (oversized materials and framed panoramas)
1851-1940 and undated
The Charles D. Walcott Collection Papers (Record Unit 7004) were given to the Smithsonian Institution by his wife, Mary Vaux Walcott, with certain more recent additions.
The Archives would like to thank Dr. Ellis L. Yochelson, United States Geological Survey, and Frederick J. Collier, Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural
History, for their assistance in transferring items from the Walcott family and the Department for inclusion in this collection.
The Charles D. Walcott Collection documents his personal, professional, and official life as well as activities of his family. Included are papers from his scientific
and educational activities at the local and national levels, his career as a paleontologist, his administrative career with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and
to a lesser extent with the Smithsonian, and material on one of his sons' participation in World War I. Some of the collection postdates Walcott's life, including condolences
to his family, an unpublished biography, correspondence between the biographer and Mrs. Walcott, and paleontological field notes by some of his colleagues.
For records relating to Walcott's family there are diaries; photographs; and correspondence with his children, his last two wives, and other family members. There is a
considerable amount of material consisting of correspondence, photographs, memorabilia, publications, and official documents from the French and German governments concerning
Benjamin Stuart Walcott's involvement with the Lafayette Flying Corps in France during World War I and efforts to establish a memorial in France for the Corps. Other personal
records include legal documents; personal financial records; and family correspondence concerning financial investments in power companies, the prolonged illness and death
of his son Charles, the death of his wife, Helena, and his daughter's travels through Europe.
Walcott's professional life is divided between his service with the USGS and the Smithsonian. Documenting his USGS years are photographs; speeches; scrapbooks; reports
and correspondence from his work on forest reserves, the investigation of scientific work conducted by the federal government, and land reclamation; and annual reports. Walcott's
Smithsonian career is documented primarily by correspondence written while serving as honorary curator of paleontology and Acting Assistant Secretary in charge of the United
States National Museum. One scrapbook includes extensive correspondence from scientists, government officials, and friends upon the occasion of Walcott's appointment as Secretary
of the Smithsonian. For a more complete record of Walcott's association with the Smithsonian, the records of the Office of the Secretary (Record Units 45 and 46), records
of the Assistant Secretary, Acting (Record Unit 56), and two special series relating to the budget (Record Unit 49) and to the Research Corporation (Record Unit 51) should
For Walcott's career as a paleontologist, there is documentation in his field notes; publications of his as well as those of others in related areas; manuscripts; diaries;
and photographs, including panoramic views of the Rockies in Alberta, British Columbia, and Montana. In addition, there are paleontological field notes by Ray T. Bassler,
Charles Elmer Resser, and Edward Oscar Ulrich.
Walcott's role in promoting and developing national science policy is partially covered in the records relating to his involvement in the National Academy of Sciences,
National Research Council, Washington Academy of Sciences, and the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Included are legal documents, correspondence, committee minutes, reports,
proceedings, financial statements, membership lists, and related materials. Additional material on the Washington Academy of Sciences can be found in Record Unit 7099. Records
documenting Walcott's involvement in the administration and development of the other organizations exist at those institutions. His affiliation with the George Washington
Memorial Association is documented with correspondence, trustees' minutes, histories of the Association, and drawings and plans for a building. For other national developments
there is correspondence covering Walcott's participation on the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.
Other types of materials in this collection include certificates, diplomas, awards, and occasionally correspondence concerning his election to honorary and professional
societies and the receipt of honorary degrees, and scrapbooks and diaries which touch on events throughout his life.
See also the online exhibition "Beauty in Service to Science: The Panoramas of Charles D. Walcott."
Charles D. Walcott (1850-1927) was born in New York Mills, New York, and attended the Utica public schools and Utica Academy, but never graduated. He demonstrated an
early interest in natural history by collecting birds' eggs and minerals; and, while employed as a farm hand, he began collecting trilobites. These he later sold to Louis
Agassiz at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology. Walcott began his professional scientific career in November 1876 when he was appointed as an assistant to James Hall,
New York's state geologist. On July 21, 1879, Walcott joined the United States Geological Survey (USGS) as an assistant geologist. Shortly after arriving in Washington, D.
C., he was sent to southwestern Utah to make stratigraphic sections. His later field work with the Survey included expeditions to the Appalachians, New England, New York,
eastern Canada, and several Middle Atlantic states, as well as other parts of southwestern and western United States. From 1882 to 1893 he worked with the Survey's invertebrate
Paleozoic paleontological collections, and in 1893 he was appointed Geologist in charge of Geology and Paleontology. He also served as an honorary curator of invertebrate
Paleozoic fossils at the United States National Museum (USNM) from 1892 to 1907, and as Acting Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in charge of the USNM from
1897 to 1898. His fieldwork from this period resulted in several major publications, including The Paleontology of the Eureka District (1884), a study of fossils in
Nevada; The Fauna of the Olenellus Zone (1888) concerning early North American Cambrian fossils; Correlation Papers on the Cambrian (1890); and Fossil Medusae
(1898). In 1894 Walcott was appointed Director of the USGS. Serving until 1907, he greatly expanded the functions of the agency and was successful in increasing federal appropriations.
In 1891 Congress had given the President the authority to establish public forests, but it was not until 1897 that the administration of the forest reserves was placed under
the USGS. Walcott was instrumental in having legislation passed to enforce the preservation of forest reserves and to add additional land to the reserve program. His predecessor
at the USGS initiated an arid land reclamation program in 1888 which Walcott continued as part of his forest reserve program. In 1902 he established the Hydrographic Branch
to administer the program; but four years later the Branch, since renamed the Reclamation Service, became a separate federal agency. He also created the Division of Mineral
Resources to experiment with coal combustion. In 1907 it was renamed the Bureau of Mines. At the request of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903, Walcott served as chairman
of a committee to study the scientific work being conducted by the federal government.
Walcott was appointed Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution on January 31, 1907, and resigned from the USGS in April 1907. His administration at the Smithsonian was
marked by numerous accomplishments, including the completion of the National Museum Building (now the National Museum of Natural History) in 1911. He was also successful in
convincing Detroit industrialist Charles Lang Freer to donate his extensive Oriental art collection and money for a building during his lifetime rather than after Freer's
death, as was originally intended. Walcott also set up the National Gallery of Art (predecessor to the National Museum of American Art) as a separate administrative entity
in 1920. To administer Frederick G. Cottrell's gift of patent rights to his electrical precipitator, the Research Corporation was formed in 1912, with revenue from this patent,
as well as future ones, to be used to advance scientific research at the Smithsonian and other educational institutions. Walcott served on the Corporation's Board of Directors
for several years. To further increase the Smithsonian's endowment, Walcott was planning a major fundraising effort; but this was not pursued following his death an February
9, 1927. In 1922, he and his wife established a fund in their names at the Smithsonian to support paleontological research.
Despite his many administrative responsibilities as Secretary, Walcott was able to find time to continue his research and collecting of fossils from the Cambrian and Ordovician
periods, with primary focus on the Canadian Rockies. In 1909 he located Cambrian fossils near Burgess Pass above Field, British Columbia. The following season he discovered
the Burgess shale fauna, which proved to be his greatest paleontological discovery. Most of this research was published in various volumes of the Smithsonian Miscellaneous
Collections from 1908-1931. His one major publication during this period was Cambrian Brachiopoda, published in 1912. Walcott continued to return to the Canadian
Rockies for most seasons through 1925, when he made his last field expedition. As one of the foremost scientific figures in Washington, Walcott helped to establish several
organizations with international renown and restructure existing national organizations. In 1902, Walcott, along with several other prominent individuals, met with Andrew
Carnegie to establish the Carnegie Institution of Washington as a center for advanced research and training in the sciences. Walcott served the Institution in several administrative
capacities. He was also instrumental in convincing Carnegie that the Institution should have laboratories built for scientists rather than use his gift solely for research
Elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1896, Walcott played a role in having the Academy become more actively involved in national science policy by serving in
many official capacities. In addition to serving on innumerable committees, he held the offices of treasurer, vice president, president, and council member. He was also appointed
to two presidential committees--Timber Utilization and Outdoor Recreation--in 1924 and was reappointed to both in 1926. He was the Academy's first recipient of the Mary Clark
Thompson Medal. Following his death, his wife established the Charles Doolittle Walcott Fund for achievements in Cambrian research.
In 1916 the Academy, at the request of President Woodrow Wilson, created the National Research Council within the Academy to assist the federal government in the interest
of national preparedness. Walcott, as one who met with Wilson, became actively involved in the organization of the Council by sitting on many of its committees, including
one which planned for the present headquarters of the Council and the Academy. Walcott contributed significantly to the development of American aviation. He pressed for the
establishment of the National Advisory Committee for Aviation, which was a predecessor of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He was instrumental in establishing
air mail service, organizing the Committee on Aerial Photographic Surveying and Mapping, and writing the Air Commerce Act of 1926. Besides his scientific activities, Walcott
lent his influence to other groups, such as the George Washington Memorial Association. That group attempted to create a memorial to Washington by forming an institution to
promote science, literature, and the arts, just as Washington had proposed should be done.
Walcott was married three times - to Lura Ann Rust (d. 1876), to Helena Breese Stevens (d. 1911), and to Mary Morris Vaux (d. 1940). By his second wife he had four children:
Charles Doolittle, Sidney Stevens, Helen Breese, and Benjamin Stuart. Charles died while a student at Yale, and Benjamin was killed in action in France while flying for the
Lafayette Flying Corps. In 1914 Walcott married Mary Morris Vaux, who, while accompanying him on his field trips, studied and painted North American wildflowers. Her work
was published in five volumes by the Smithsonian in 1925.
Although Walcott never received an academic degree, he was the recipient of numerous honorary degrees from colleges and universities in the United States and Europe. His
colleagues recognized his contribution to paleontology by awarding him the Bigsby and Wollaston Medals from the Geological Society of London; the Gaudry Medal of the Geological
Society of France; and the Hayden Medal from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. He also served as a founder and president, 1899-1910, of the Washington Academy
of Sciences; president of the Cosmos Club, 1898; president, 1915-1917, of the Washington Branch of the Archeological Institute of America; and president, 1925-1927, of the
American Philosophical Society.
March 31, 1850 -- Born in New York Mills, New York
1858-1868 -- Attended public schools in Utica, New York, and Utica Academy
1863 -- Began collecting natural history specimens
1871 -- Moved to Trenton Falls, New York, to work on William P. Rust's farm and began collecting trilobites
January 9, 1872 -- Married Lura Am Rust
1873 -- Sold collection of fossils to Louis Agassiz at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology
January 23,1876 -- Lura Ann Walcott died
November 1876 -- Appointed assistant to Janes Hall, state geologist of New York
1876 -- Joined American Association for the Advancement of Science
July 21, 1879 -- Appointed Assistant Geologist, United States Geological Survey (USGS)
1879 -- Assisted Clarence Edward Dutton in Grand Canyon region in south-central Utah and the Eureka district in Nevada
July 1, 1882 -- Placed in charge of Division of Invertebrate Paleozoic Paleontology at USGS
1882 -- Elected Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science
-- Field work in Nevada and Grand Canyon
1883 -- Promoted to Paleontologist, USGS
-- Field work in Grand Canyon and Cambrian studies in Adirondacks and northwestern Vermont
1884 -- Field work in Cambrian fossils in western Vermont; coal deposits in central Arizona; and Lower Paleozoic of Texas' central mineral region; Published first major paper The Paleontology of the Eureka District (USGS Monograph 8)
1885 -- Field work on Cambrians in Highland Range of central Nevada; Permian fossils of southwestern Utah; and Cambrian fossils in Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City
1886 -- Published "Classification of the Cambrian System in North America"
-- Cambrian field work in northern New York and western Vermont
1887 -- Cambrian field work in New York, western Massachusetts, and southwestern Vermont
1888 -- Married Helena Breese Stevens; Attended International Geological Congress in London; Placed in charge of all invertebrate paleontology at USGS; Published The Fauna of the Olenellus Zone which discusses Cambrian fossils in North America; Field work in Wales and on Canadian-Vermont border
May 17, 1889 -- Son Charles Doolittle born
1889 -- Cambrian field work in North Carolina, Tennessee, Mohawk Valley of New York, Vermont, and Quebec
1890 -- Published Correlation Papers on the Cambrian; Cambrian strata field work in New York and Vermont and Ordovician strata field work in Colorado Springs, Colorado
1891 -- Field work in New York, Colorado, and Appalachians from Virginia to Alabama
October 2, 1892 -- Son Sidney Stevens born
1892 -- Placed in charge of all paleontological work at USGS; Field work in southern Pennsylvania and western Maryland
1892-1907 -- Honorary curator of invertebrate Paleozoic fossils at United States National Museum (USNM)
January 1, 1893 -- Appointed Geologist in charge of Geology and Paleontology, USGS
1893 -- Vice President, Section E (Geology and Geography), American Association for the Advancement of Science; Examined Lower Paleozoic rocks in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee; Prepared paleontological exhibition for Chicago's Columbian Exposition
August 20, 1894 -- Daughter Helen Breese born
1894 -- Placed in charge of all paleontological collections at USNM; Appointed Director, USGS; Field work in central Colorado and White Mountain Range in California and Nevada
1895 -- Cambrian field work in Montana, Idaho, and Massachusetts
July 8, 1896 -- Son Benjamin Stuart born
1896 -- Joined National Academy of Sciences (NAS); Field work in eastern California and western Nevada and Franklin Mountains near El Paso, Texas
January 27, 1897 -- Appointed Acting Secretary in Charge of the USNM
1897 -- Conducted examination of forest reserves and national parks in Black Hills, Big Horn Mountains, and Inyo Mountains
June 30, 1898 -- Resigned as Acting Assistant Secretary in Charge of the USNM
1898 -- Field work in Lexington, Virginia; Teton Forest Reserve, Wyoming; Belt Mountains near Helena, Montana; and Idaho; President of the Cosmos Club, Washington, D.C.; Published Fossil Medusae (USGS Monograph 30)
1899 -- Field work in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and Quebec; One of the founders of the Washington Academy of Sciences
1899-1911 -- President of the Washington Academy of Sciences
1900 -- Field work in Montana and Rhode Island
1901 -- Field work in Pennsylvania
January 4, 1902 -- One of the founders of the Carnegie Institution of Washington (CIW) and Secretary of the Board of Incorporators
1902 -- Member of the Advisory Committee on Geology and Advisory Committee on Geophysics of CIW
1902-1905 -- Secretary of Board of Trustees and of Executive Committee of CIW
1902-1922 -- Member, Executive Committee of Board of Trustees of CTW
1902-1923 -- Member of Council of NAS
1902-1927 -- Member, Board of Trustees, CIW
1903 -- Head of Board of Scientific Surveys, CIW; Field work in Uinta Mountains, Utah; House Range of western Utah; Snake River Range of eastern Nevada; Chairman of committee to study scientific work conducted by federal government
1904-1913 -- Honorary Curator, Department of Mineral Technology, USNM
1905 -- Field work in Montana's Rocky Mountains and Cambrian fossils of Utah's House Range
January 31, 1907 -- Appointed Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution
April 1907 -- Resigned as Director of the USGS
1907 -- Field work at Mount Stephen, Castle Mountains, Lake Louise, and Mount Bosworth in British Columbia
1907-1917 -- Vice President of NAS
1908 -- Field work in Montana, British Columbia, and Alberta
1909 -- Found Cambrian fossils near Burgess Pass above Field, British Columbia
1910 -- Found Burgess shale fauna
June 20, 1911 -- National Museum Building (now the National Museum of Natural History) completed
July 11, 1911 -- Wife Helena died in train accident in Bridgeport, Connecticut
1911 -- Field work in British Columbia
1912 -- Field work in Alberta and British Columbia; Published Cambrian Brachiopoda (USGS Monograph 51)
April 7, 1913 -- Son Charles Doolittle died
1913 -- Burgess shale work in Robson Park district, British Columbia, and in Jasper Park, Alberta
June 30, 1914 -- Married Mary Morris Vaux
1914 -- Field work in Glacier, British Columbia, and White Sulphur Springs and Deep Creek Canyon, Montana
1914-1927 -- Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, CIW
1915 -- Living algae field work in Yellowstone National Park and West Gallatin River; fossil field work in Arizona 1915-1917; President, Washington Branch of the Archeological Institute of America
1915-1919 -- Chairman, Executive Committee of National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
June 30, 1916 -- Elected member of National Research Council (NRC)
October 1916 -- Freer Gallery of Art building construction begun
1916 -- Field work in British Columbia and Alberta
1916-1923 -- First Vice Chairman, NRC
December 12, 1917 -- Son Benjamin Stuart died in military action in France
1917 -- Appointed member of NRC's Executive Committee, Aeronautics Committee, and Geology and Paleontology Committee; Chairman, NRC's Military Committee; Burgess shale field work around Lake MacArthur and in Vermilion River Valley
1917-1922 -- Chairman, Executive Committee, CIW
1917-1923 -- President, NAS
June 1918 -- Helped organize National Parks Educational Committee (became National Parks Association in 1919)
1918 -- Field work in Alberta; Member, NRC's Interim Committee; Chairman, NRC's Military Division and Section on Aeronautics
1918-1919 -- Chairman, National Parks Educational Committee
1919 -- Field work in Alberta; Chairman, NRC's Committee on Scientific Men as Reserve officers in Reorganized Army; Chairman, NRC's Committee on Removal of Offices of National Research Council; Chairman, NRC's Committee on Representation of United States at International Meetings to be held at Brussels
1919-1920 -- Member, NRC's Committee on General Policy and Solicitation of Funds; Chairman, NRC's Government Division
1919-1922 -- Member, NRC's Committee on Federal Grants for Research; Chairman, NRC's Committee on Publication of "The Inquiry" Results
1919-1924 -- Member, NRC's Research Information Service
1919-1925 -- Member, NRC's Executive Board
1919-1926 -- Member, National Parks Association's Executive Committee
1919-1927 -- Chairman, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
-- Chairman, NRC's Division of Federal Relations; Member, NRC's Executive Committee of Division of Federal Relations
1920 -- Field work in Alberta
1920-1921 -- Member, NAS's Federal Relations Committee
1920-1922 -- Chairman, Committee on Budget (jointly with NAS and NRC); Member, NRC's Committee on Building Stone and Committee on Building Plans
1921 -- Field work in Alberta
1921 -- Freer Gallery of Art building completed; Received first Mary Clark Thompson Medal from NAS
1921-1924 -- President, National Parks Association
1921-1927 -- Chairman, NRC's Executive Committee of Division of Federal Regulations
1922 -- Field work in Alberta and British Columbia; Established Charles D. and Mary Vaux Walcott Fund at Smithsonian
1922-1923 -- Member, NRC's Committee on Stabilization of Permanent Foundations; Chairman, Committee on Finance (jointly with NAS and NRC)
1922-1925 -- Member, NRC's Committee on Building; Member, NRC's Committee on Policies
1923 -- Field work in Alberta and British Columbia; President, American Association for the Advancement of Science; Freer Gallery of Art opened
1923-1924 -- Chairman, Committee on Dedication of the New Building (jointly with NAS and NRC)
1923-1925 -- Member, NRC's Interim Committee; Member, Executive Committee, Committee on Exhibits in the New Building (jointly with NAS and NRC)
1923-1927 -- Second Vice Chairman, NRC
1924 -- Field work in Alberta and British Columbia
1924-1925 -- Member, Committee on Exhibits (jointly with NAS and NRC)
1925 -- Field work in Alberta; Life Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science
1925-1927 -- President, American Philosophical Society
1926 -- Helped draft Air Commerce Act of 1926
1926-1927 -- Board of Trustees, National Parks Association
History of Smithsonian Folklife Oral History Interview
0.5 cu. ft. (2 half document boxes)
The Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) began its Oral History Program in 1973. The purpose of the program is to supplement the written documentation of the Archives'
record and manuscript collections with an Oral History Collection, focusing on the history of the Institution, research by its scholars, and contributions of its staff. Program
staff conduct interviews with current and retired Smithsonian staff and others who have made significant contributions to the Institution. There are also reminiscences and
interviews recorded by researchers or students on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
Smithsonian predoctoral fellow, William S. Walker, of Brandeis University, conducted a series of oral history interviews on the history of folklife presentation at the
Smithsonian, as part of his dissertation research.
The History of Folklife at the Smithsonian Oral History Interviews consist of 13.2 hours of analog and digital audio interviews, on 4 audiocassette tapes, 23 digital
.wma and .mp3 audio files, and 369 pages of transcript. Each interview recording has two generations either an original and reference audiocassette or original digital audio
files in Windows media audio or .mp3 format and .mp3 files for reference. The original analog cassettes and digital audio files are preserved in security storage with audiocassettes
and .mp3 files available for reference.
Restrictions: Some of the interview sessions do not have deed of gift forms and permission must be secured from the interviewee or their heirs or assigns to use the interviews.
Folklife studies are carried on in several organizational units of the Smithsonian Institution: the Department of Anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History
(NMNH), the Festival of American Folklife (FAF), and the National Museum of American History (NMAH), and the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). Dr. Walker began
his project on the study and exhibition of folklife at the Smithsonian, focusing on the Folklife Festival and then expanded his interview scope to include other Smithsonian
cultural scholars and solicit their views on the FAF and cultural studies, exhibition and public programming at the Smithsonian.
JoAllyn Archambault (1942- ), Director of the American Indian Program at the National Museum of Natural History, is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
She earned her doctorate at the University of California in Berkeley in 1984. She was a faculty member of the Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukie,
Wisconsin (1983-86), and the Director of Ethnic Studies, California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, California (1978-83). As curator of Anthropology at the NMNH since
1986, she organized various exhibitions, including Plains Indian Arts: Change and Continuity, 100 Years of Plains Indian Painting, Indian Baskets and Their
Makers, and Seminole Interpretations.
Spencer Crew (1949- ) received the A.B. in history from Brown University in 1972 and holds a master's degree (1973) and a doctorate from Rutgers University (1979). He was
assistant professor of African-American and American History at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, 1978-1981; historian, 1981-1987, curator 1987-1989, Department
of Social and Cultural History, chair, 1989-1991, deputy director, 1991-1992, acting director, 1992-1994, director, 1994-2001 of NMAH. He then served as historical consultant
to the National Civil Rights Museum, in Memphis, Tennessee, from 1987-1991; consultant to the Civil Rights Institute, in Birmingham, Alabama, 1991-1994; and executive director
and chief executive officer for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center from 2001-2008; and was appointed Clarence Robinson Professor at George Mason University in
2008. At the Smithsonian, Crew curated several exhibitions, most notably Field to Factory: Afro-American Migration, 1915-1940
William W. Fitzhugh (1943- ), an anthropologist, specialized in circumpolar archaeology, ethnology and environmental studies. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College
in 1964. After two years in the U.S. Navy, he attended Harvard University where he received his PhD in anthropology in 1970. He joined the Anthropology Department at NMNH
in 1970. As director of the Arctic Studies Center and Curator in the Department of Anthropology, NMNH, he has spent more than thirty years studying and publishing on arctic
peoples and cultures in northern Canada, Alaska, Siberia and Scandinavia. His archaeological and environmental research has focused upon the prehistory and paleoecology of
northeastern North America, and broader aspects of his research feature the evolution of northern maritime adaptations, circumpolar culture contacts, cross-cultural studies
and acculturation processes in the North, especially concerning Native-European contacts. He curated four international exhibitions, Inua: Spirit World of the Bering Sea
Eskimos; Crossroads of Continents: Native Cultures of Siberia and Alaska; Ainu: Spirit of a Northern People; and Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga.
Rayna D. Green (1942- ) curator and Director of the American Indian Program at the NMAH, received the B.A. in 1963 and M.A. in 1966 from Southern Methodist University,
served in the Peace Corps as a history instructor and library director for the Teacher Training School in Harar, Ethiopia, and the Ph. D. in Folklore and American Studies
from Indiana University in 1973. A member of the Cherokee tribe, she administered National Native American Science Resource Center, Dartmouth College, before joining the staff
of the Smithsonian in 1984. She has written extensively of Native American culture and foodways. Her research and exhibit projects include a documentary narrative with Julia
Child, In the Kitchen with Julia, following on her co-curation of the long-running popular exhibition Bon App tit: Julia Child's Kitchen at the Smithsonian.
Thomas W. Kavanagh (1949- ), an anthropologist, received the B.A. from the University of New Mexico in 1971, the M.A. from The George Washington University in 1980, and
the Ph.D. from University of New Mexico in 1986. He began his career at Indiana University and then joined the staff of the Smithsonian Institution. A scholar of Comanche
Indians of Oklahoma, he has published extensively on the Comanches and was appointed Consulting Anthropologist for the Comanche Nation. In the 2000s, he served as director
of the Seton Hall University Museum. His publications include Comanche Ethnography (2008), Comanche Political History (1996), North American Indian Portraits:
Photographs from the Wanamaker Expeditions (1996), and "Comanche" in the Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 13 (Plains), Smithsonian Institution (2001).
Roger G. Kennedy (1926-2011) graduated from Yale University in 1949 and the University of Minnesota Law School in 1952, and pursued a diverse career in banking, television
production, historical writing, foundation management, and museum administration. He was appointed Director of the National Museum of History and Technology (NMHT) in 1979,
renamed it the National Museum of American History, and left in 1992 to become Director of the National Park Service. He focused on social and cultural history, and oversaw
controversial exhibits including A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans & the American Constitution and Field to Factory: Afro-American Migration, 1915-1940.
Keith E. Melder (1932- ) studied American history at Williams College (B.A. 1954) and Yale University (M.A. 1957; PhD, 1964). He was an intern at the NMHT in 1958 and returned
in 1961 as Curator of Political History until his retirement in 1996. His research focused on America political movements, especially the Women's Movement and the Civil Rights
era. Melder was also interviewed for two other Smithsonian Institution Archives projects, Record Unit 9603, African American Exhibits at the Smithsonian, and Record Unit 9620,
Association of Museums Centennial Honorees Oral History Project, as well as for the Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project of the Capitol Hill Historical Society.
Clydia Dotson Nahwooksy (1933-2009), a Cherokee, and her husband Reaves, a Comanche Nation member, worked most of their lives to preserve American Indian tribal culture.
Originally from Oklahoma, they spent 20 years in Washington, D.C., as cultural activists. In the 1970s, Clydia was director of the Indian Awareness Program for the Smithsonian
Institution's Festival of American Folklife. In 1986 both Nahwooskys entered the seminary, and the Rev. Clydia Nahwooksy was an active pastor and a member of the Board of
National Ministries and the American Baptist Churches USA General Board.
Ethel Raim (1936- ), Artistic Director of New York's Center for Traditional Music and Dance (CTMD), researched ethnic music and worked closely with community-based traditional
for almost five decades. Raim also had a distinguished career as a performer, recording artist, music editor, and singing teacher. In 1963 she co-founded and was musical director
of the Pennywhistlers, who were among the first to bring traditional Balkan and Russian Jewish singing traditions to the folk music world. Raim served as music editor
of Sing Out! magazine from 1965 to 1975. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, she developed ethnic programs for the Newport Folklife Festival and the Smithsonian's Festival
of American Folklife. In 1975 Raim joined Martin Koenig as Co-Director of the Balkan Folk Arts Center, which developed into the CTMD in New York City.
Joanna Cohan Scherer (1942- ) received the B.A. from Syracuse University in 1963 and the M.A. from Hunter College, City University of New York in 1968. A specialist in
visual anthropology especially of Native Americans, historical photography, women and photography, North American Indian photography, and cultural anthropology. She joined
the staff of the Anthropology Archives of the National Museum of Natural History in 1966 and in 1975 advanced to served as anthropologist and illustrations editor for the
Smithsonian's multivolume series Handbook of North American Indians.
Robert D. Sullivan (1949- ) was educated at St. John Fisher College with a B.S. in anthropology in 1970, the M.A. in education management from the University of Rochester
in 1979, and pursued the Ph.D. in human studies (ABD) at The George Washington University until 2006. He served as Chief of Museum Education at Rochester Museum and Science
Center from 1970 to 1980, Director at the New York State Museum from 1980 to 1990, and Associate Director for exhibitions at National Museum of Natural History from 1990 to
Peter Corbett Welsh (1926-2010) was a curator and historian at the Museum of History and Technology, now known as the National Museum of American History. He was born on
August 28, 1926, in Washington, D.C. He received his B.A. from Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, in 1950 and completed a post-graduate year of study at the University
of Virginia. He received his M.A. from the University of Delaware where he was the first recipient of the Hagley Fellowship in 1956. Welsh served in the United States Army,
1951-1954. Prior to coming to the Smithsonian Institution, he was Research Assistant and Fellowship Coordinator at the Eleutherian-Mills Hagley Foundation, 1956-1959. Welsh
was Associate Curator in the Smithsonian's Department of Civil History, 1959-1969, and served as editor of the Smithsonian's Journal of History in 1968. As Curator he played
a major role in the development of the Growth of the United States hall for the opening of the Museum of History and Technology which depicted American civilization
from the time of discovery through the mid-twentieth century. Welsh was Assistant Director General of Museums, 1969-1970, and assisted with the implementation of the National
Museum Act through seminars on improving exhibit effectiveness. He also served as Director of the Office of Museum Programs, 1970-1971. After Welsh's tenure at the Smithsonian,
he became the Director of both the New York State Historical Association and the Cooperstown Graduate Program, 1971-1974. He then served as Director of Special Projects at
the New York State Museum in Albany, 1975-1976; Director of the Bureau of Museums for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; President of The Welsh Group, 1984-1986;
and Curator (1986-1988) and Senior Historian (1988-1989) of the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, New York. In 1989, he became a full-time, independent museum consultant
and lecturer, and was a visiting professor of the State University of New York (SUNY) in 1992. Welsh was a contributor to numerous scholarly journals. He authored Tanning
in the United States to 1850 (1964), American Folk Art: The Art of the People (1967), Track and Road: The American Trotting Horse, 1820-1900 (1968), The
Art of the Enterprise: A Pennsylvania Tradition (1983), and Jacks, Jobbers and Kings: Logging the Adirondacks (1994).
1923-1993 and undated,with material from 1878 to 1892
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
The papers of G. Arthur Cooper offer broad documentation of his professional career. The collection documents his interest in taxonomy and stratigraphy; his scientific
research on fossil brachiopods; his extensive field work in the United States, Canada, and Mexico; his curatorial duties and administrative activities in the Departments of
Geology and Paleobiology, NMNH, including the development of the invertebrate paleontological collections; and his role in professional societies.
Series 1 consists mainly of the extensive correspondence Cooper maintained with scientific colleagues in the paleontological community worldwide between 1940 and 1987.
Incoming and outgoing correspondence documents the exchange of ideas and information on taxonomic identifications and classifications; field work; and the loan and acquisition
of fossil specimens. Scientific correspondence files also include photographs of specimens for identification; obituaries of colleagues; and nineteenth-century letters of
Edward Oscar Ulrich and Thomas Davidson used for research purposes.
Series 2 contains travel and grant files, 1927-1968, that document communication with the Department while Cooper was in the field and records pertaining to grants for
scientific research. It includes correspondence, memoranda, travel expense records, and itineraries from field trips, as well as grant proposals and records on Cooper's involvement
in various professional societies.
Cooper's role as an administrator at the USNM and NMNH is documented in series 3. The correspondence, dated between 1933 and 1967, concerns activities of professional societies;
bequests, including nineteenth-century correspondence and copies of wills and bequests; the relationship between the department and the Smithsonian Libraries; the Exhibits
Modernization Program; and the opening of the paleontological halls, 1961-1963. Also included are a notebook, several manuscripts, and one folder of correspondence created
by William F. Foshag during his tenure as head curator of the Department of Geology.
Overlap exists between series 1, scientific correspondence, and series 3, administrative correspondence; therefore, researchers should check both to ensure a complete search.
Series 4 consists of Cooper's manuscripts and text of speeches written before his arrival at the USNM and during the course of his career. Of special interest are Cooper's
M.S. thesis, "Hamilton Group in Hamilton Township," and an incomplete draft of his Ph.D. dissertation, "Hamilton Group of New York." Oversize figures for several of these
manuscripts are housed off site. It is recommended that researchers make prior arrangements with the reference staff when requesting this material.
Series 5 and 6 consist of field notes, photographs, and slides taken by Cooper during his collecting trips. Field notes and photographs from his early work in New York
State, the Gaspe region of Quebec, and a variety of localities across the United States are included in these divisions. His field work and research on the Hamilton formation
in New York and Glass Mountains in Texas are especially well documented.
Additional information about Cooper can be found in Record Unit 328, the chairman's files of the Department of Paleobiology, 1940-1978; Record Unit 9523, oral history interviews
of Cooper; and Record Unit 9529, videohistory interviews of Cooper.
G. Arthur Cooper (1902- ), paleobiologist emeritus at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), distinguished himself as an authority on the taxonomy and stratigraphy
of Paleozoic brachiopods. He first developed an interest in natural history by collecting insects and minerals during his childhood in New York. During his adolescence his
interest in minerals grew, and he received his B.S. degree in chemistry with a minor in geology from Colgate University in 1924. Cooper continued research on stratigraphy
of upper New York state and was awarded the M.S. degree from Colgate University in 1926 on the merits of this work. Cooper continued his graduate studies at Yale University
under Carl O. Dunbar and Charles Schuchert. Under Schuchert's direction, he began his study of fossil brachiopods, an interest he maintained throughout his career. He received
his Ph.D. in 1929, focusing on the stratigraphy of the Hamilton formation. While at Yale, he also served as assistant curator, 1928-1929, and research associate, 1929-1930,
in the Department of Invertebrate Paleontology of the Peabody Museum of Natural History.
Cooper came to the Smithsonian in 1930 as assistant curator in the Division of Stratigraphic Paleontology of the United States National Museum (USNM). In 1941, he advanced
to associate curator and in 1944 to curator of the Division of Invertebrate Paleontology. He was appointed head curator of the Department of Geology in 1957, and oversaw its
division into the separate departments of Paleobiology and Mineral Sciences in 1963. He continued as chairman of the Department of Paleobiology through 1967 when he was appointed
senior paleobiologist. After his retirement from federal service in 1974, he continued his research at the Smithsonian as paleobiologist emeritus until 1987.
During his years as an administrator, the paleobiology staff grew from two in 1944 to twenty in 1967 as Cooper sought to fill gaps of coverage in the department. Cooper
was also the motivating force behind the split of the Department of Geology into two separate departments in 1963. By implementing these changes he stimulated growth and focused
research on paleobiology. He also involved himself in space planning and supervision of the move into the new wings of the Natural History Building in 1963-1965.
Cooper is well known for his research on the taxonomy and stratigraphy of Paleozoic brachiopods. His major monographs include: Ozarkian and Canadian Brachiopoda
(1938 with E. O. Ulrich), Chazyan and Related Brachiopods (1956), Morphology, Classification, and Life Habits of Productoids (Brachiopoda) (1960 with Helen M.
Muir-Wood), and Permian Brachiopods of West Texas, vols. 1-6 (1969-1977 with Richard E. Grant). Throughout his career, he conducted extensive field work in the United
States, Canada, and Mexico, significantly increasing both the range and depth of the national collections. Under his guidance, an acid-etching laboratory was established for
work with silicified fossils, notably Permian brachiopods from the Glass Mountains of Texas. He also developed his own photographic laboratory, where he produced over fifty
thousand images from the collections.
Many honors have been presented to Cooper over the years, including the Mary Clark Thompson Medal of the National Academy of Sciences, 1958; the Paleontological Society Medal,
1964; the Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal of the National Academy of Sciences, 1979; the Penrose Medal of the Geological Society of America, 1983; and the James Hall Medal of the
New York State Geological Survey, 1986.
1902 -- Born in College Point, Long Island, N.Y., February 9
1924 -- B.S. degree, Phi Beta Kappa, Colgate University, Hamilton, New York
1926 -- M.S. degree, Colgate University
1928 -- Research assistant, invertebrate paleontology, Yale University
1928 -- Field work on Devonian stratigraphy of Hamilton Group of New York
1929 -- Ph.D., Yale University
1929 -- Research associate, invertebrate paleontology, Yale University
1929 -- Field work with Charles Schuchert, Gaspe, Quebec
-- 1930 Married Josephine P. Wells
1930 -- Assistant curator, USNM, Division of Stratigraphic Paleontology
1931 -- Assistant curator, USNM, Division of Invertebrate Paleontology
1932 -- Field work in Gaspe, Quebec; New Brunswick; Eastern New York
1935 -- USNM acidizing program begun
1938 -- Ozarkian and Canadian Brachiopoda published with Edward Oscar Ulrich
1939 -- Field work on Permian brachiopods of Glass Mountains, Texas
1941 -- Associate curator, USNM, Division of Stratigraphic Paleontology
1942 -- Associate curator, USNM, Division of Invertebrate Paleontology and Paleobotany
1942 -- Geological Society of America (GSA) published Devonian correlation chart with Cooper's concepts of facies, zonation, and stages
1942 -- Received Washington Academy of Sciences Award in the Biological Sciences
1942 -- Acid etching laboratory installed in NHB
1943 -- Field work in Sonora, Mexico, on Cambrian sequence with Alberto R. V. Arellano and Ignecio Flores
1944 -- Curator, USNM, Division of Invertebrate Paleontology
1945 -- Field work in Sonora, Mexico, completed
1953 -- Awarded Honorary D.Sc., Colgate University
1956 -- Acting head curator, USNM, Department of Geology
1956 -- Chazyan and Related Brachiopods published
1957 -- Head curator, USNM, Department of Geology
1958 -- President of Paleontological Society
1958 -- Awarded Mary Clark Thompson Medal of National Academy of Sciences
1960 -- Morphology, Classification, and Life Habits of Productoids (Brachiopoda) published with Helen Muir-Wood
1963 -- Department of Geology split into Department of Paleobiology and Department of Mineral Sciences; Cooper appointed chairman of Department of Paleobiology
1964 -- Awarded Paleontological Society Medal
1967 -- Resigned in February as chairman of Department of Paleobiology and appointed senior paleobiologist, NMNH
1969 -- Traveled to England and Poland
1969 -- First volume of Permian Brachiopods of West Texas published, with Richard E. Grant
1972 -- Retired from NMNH and appointed paleobiologist emeritus, February 29
1979 -- Awarded Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal of National Academy of Sciences
1981 -- Awarded Raymond C. Moore Medal of Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists
1983 -- Awarded Penrose Medal of GSA
1986 -- Awarded James Hall Medal of the New York State Geological Survey
1987 -- Retired from active research at NMNH as paleobiologist emeritus
21.95 cu. ft. (17 record storage boxes) (3 12x17 boxes) (4 16x20 boxes) (6 3x5 boxes)
Canadian Rockies (B.C. and Alta.)
1720-1929, 1944, 1995
This accessions consists of the personal correspondence of Charles D. Walcott, his family, and his extended family, as well as genealogical materials, family Bibles,
photographs, medals, and other materials related to the Walcott family. The correspondence documents the personal relationships between the immediate Walcott family, as well
as the extended family, mostly relations and ancestors of Helena Stevens Walcott. Photographs consist of both personal photography, and photography from field research expeditions.
Of note are eight boxes of lantern slides used by Mary Vaux Walcott to illustrate American wildflowers. The medals encompass awards presented to Charles D. Walcott, most notably
the Mary Clark Thompson Medal, presented by the National Academy of Sciences. Materials include correspondence, images, negatives, albums, medals, school records, wedding
registers, legal documents, family Bibles, articles, clippings, and ephemera.
Charles Doolittle Walcott (1850-1927) was born in New York Mills, New York. He attended Utica public schools and the Utica Academy, but never graduated or pursued further
education. He had an early interest in natural history, and began his professional career in 1876 when he was appointed as an assistant to James Hall, New York's state geologist.
In 1879, he joined the newly formed United States Geological Survey (USGS) as an assistant geologist. Shortly after his appointment, Walcott began to do field work in Utah.
Field work would continue to define his life, and later sites included the Appalachians, New England, New York, several Mid-Atlantic states, western and southwestern United
States, and eastern Canada. From 1882 to 1893 he worked with the Survey's invertebrate Paleozoic paleontological collections, and in 1893 he was appointed Geologist in charge
of Geology and Paleontology. He also served as an honorary curator of invertebrate Paleozoic fossils at the United States National Museum (USNM) from 1892 to 1907, and as
Acting Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in charge of the USNM from 1897 to 1898. In 1894 Walcott was appointed Director of the USGS and served until 1907
when he resigned from the USGS and was appointed Secretary of the Smithsonian, a position he would remain at until his death.
During Walcott's administration at the Smithsonian he oversaw the completion of the National Museum Building (now the National Museum of Natural History) in 1911. He also
convinced Detroit industrialist Charles Lang Freer to donate his extensive Asian art collection and money for a building during his lifetime rather than after Freer's death,
as was originally intended. He also set up the National Gallery of Art (predecessor to the Smithsonian American Art Museum) as a separate administrative entity in 1920.
Despite his responsibilities as Secretary, Walcott found time to continue his research and collecting of fossils from the Cambrian and Ordovician periods, with primary
focus on the Canadian Rockies. In 1909 he located Cambrian fossils near Burgess Pass above Field, British Columbia. The following season he discovered the Burgess shale fauna,
which proved to be his greatest paleontological discovery.
In 1872, Walcott married Lura Ann Rust. Their marriage was relatively short, as Rust died in 1876 from an undiagnosed illness. In 1888, he married Helena Stevens. Charles
and Helena had three children: Charles Doolittle (born 1889), Sidney Stevens (born 1892), Helen Breese (born 1894), and Benjamin Stuart (born 1896). Helena and the children
often accompanied Charles on fieldwork excursions. Unfortunately, in 1911 Helena was killed in a train accident in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Charles Doolittle Walcott Jr. (often
referred to as "Charlie") died in 1913 while a student at Yale University, after suffering from multiple severe ear infections. In 1917, Benjamin Stuart (often referred to
as Stuart), was killed in action while serving as a pilot in the l'Escadrille de Lafayette in France during World War I. In 1914, Walcott married Mary Morris Vaux, an accomplished
naturalist. In 1925, the Smithsonian published her illustrations of American wildflowers in five volumes. Also in 1925, Helen Breese Walcott married Cole Younger. On February
9, 1927, Charles D. Walcott passed away.
For a more detailed history of Charles D. Walcott, please see Record Unit 7004: Charles D. Walcott Collection 1851-1940 and undated.
These records are the official minutes of the Board. They are compiled at the direction of the Secretary of the Smithsonian, who is also secretary to the Board, after
approval by the Regents' Executive Committee and by the Regents themselves. The minutes are edited, not a verbatim account of proceedings. For reasons unknown, there are no
manuscript minutes for the period from 1857 through 1890; and researchers must rely on printed minutes published in the Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution instead.
Minutes are transferred regularly from the Secretary's Office to the Archives. Minutes less than 15 years old are closed to researchers. Indexes exist for the period from
1907 to 1946 and can be useful.
The Smithsonian Institution was created by authority of an Act of Congress approved August 10, 1846. The Act entrusted direction of the Smithsonian to a body called
the Establishment, composed of the President; the Vice President; the Chief Justice of the United States; the secretaries of State, War, Navy, Interior, and Agriculture; the
Attorney General; and the Postmaster General. In fact, however, the Establishment last met in 1877, and control of the Smithsonian has always been exercised by its Board of
Regents. The membership of the Regents consists of the Vice President and the Chief Justice of the United States; three members each of the Senate and House of Representatives;
two citizens of the District of Columbia; and seven citizens of the several states, no two from the same state. (Prior to 1970 the category of Citizen Regents not residents
of Washington consisted of four members). By custom the Chief Justice is Chancellor. The office was at first held by the Vice President. However, when Millard Fillmore succeeded
to the presidency on the death of Zachary Taylor in 1851, Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney was chosen in his stead. The office has always been filled by the Chief Justice
since that time.
The Regents of the Smithsonian have included distinguished Americans from many walks of life. Ex officio members (Vice President) have been: Spiro T. Agnew, Chester A.
Arthur, Allen W. Barkley, John C. Breckenridge, George Bush, Schuyler Colfax, Calvin Coolidge, Charles Curtis, George M. Dallas, Charles G. Dawes, Charles W. Fairbanks, Millard
Fillmore, Gerald R. Ford, John N. Garner, Hannibal Hamlin, Thomas A. Hendricks, Garret A. Hobart, Hubert H. Humphrey, Andrew Johnson, Lyndon B. Johnson, William R. King, Thomas
R. Marshall, Walter F. Mondale, Levi P. Morton, Richard M. Nixon, Nelson A. Rockefeller, Theodore Roosevelt, James S. Sherman, Adlai E. Stevenson, Harry S. Truman, Henry A.
Wallace, William A. Wheeler, Henry Wilson.
Ex officio members (Chief Justice) have been: Roger B. Taney, Salmon P. Chase, Nathan Clifford, Morrison R. Waite, Samuel F. Miller, Melville W. Fuller, Edward D. White,
William Howard Taft, Charles Evans Hughes, Harlan F. Stone, Fred M. Vinson, Earl Warren, Warren E. Burger.
Regents on the part of the Senate have been: Clinton P. Anderson, Newton Booth, Sidney Breese, Lewis Cass, Robert Milledge Charlton, Bennet Champ Clark, Francis M. Cockrell,
Shelby Moore Cullom, Garrett Davis, Jefferson Davis, George Franklin Edmunds, George Evans, Edwin J. Garn, Walter F. George, Barry Goldwater, George Gray, Hannibal Hamlin,
Nathaniel Peter Hill, George Frisbie Hoar, Henry French Hollis, Henry M. Jackson, William Lindsay, Henry Cabot Lodge, Medill McCormick, James Murray Mason, Samuel Bell Maxey,
Robert B. Morgan, Frank E. Moss, Claiborne Pell, George Wharton Pepper, David A. Reed, Leverett Saltonstall, Hugh Scott, Alexander H. Smith, Robert A. Taft, Lyman Trumbull,
Wallace H. White, Jr., Robert Enoch Withers.
Regents on the part of the House of Representatives have included: Edward P. Boland, Frank T. Bow, William Campbell Breckenridge, Overton Brooks, Benjamin Butterworth,
Clarence Cannon, Lucius Cartrell, Hiester Clymer, William Colcock, William P. Cole, Jr., Maurice Connolly, Silvio O. Conte, Edward E. Cox, Edward H. Crump, John Dalzell, Nathaniel
Deering, Hugh A. Dinsmore, William English, John Farnsworth, Scott Ferris, Graham Fitch, James Garfield, Charles L. Gifford, T. Alan Goldsborough, Frank L. Greene, Gerry Hazleton,
Benjamin Hill, Henry Hilliard, Ebenezer Hoar, William Hough, William M. Howard, Albert Johnson, Leroy Johnson, Joseph Johnston, Michael Kirwan, James T. Lloyd, Robert Luce,
Robert McClelland, Samuel K. McConnell, Jr., George H. Mahon, George McCrary, Edward McPherson, James R. Mann, George Perkins Marsh, Norman Y. Mineta, A. J. Monteague, R.
Walton Moore, Walter H. Newton, Robert Dale Owen, James Patterson, William Phelps, Luke Poland, John Van Schaick Lansing Pruyn, B. Carroll Reece, Ernest W. Roberts, Otho Robards
Singleton, Frank Thompson, Jr., John M. Vorys, Hiram Warner, Joseph Wheeler.
Citizen Regents have been: David C. Acheson, Louis Agassiz, James B. Angell, Anne L. Armstrong, William Backhouse Astor, J. Paul Austin, Alexander Dallas Bache, George
Edmund Badger, George Bancroft, Alexander Graham Bell, James Gabriel Berrett, John McPherson Berrien, Robert W. Bingham, Sayles Jenks Bowen, William G. Bowen, Robert S. Brookings,
John Nicholas Brown, William A. M. Burden, Vannevar Bush, Charles F. Choate, Jr., Rufus Choate, Arthur H. Compton, Henry David Cooke, Henry Coppee, Samuel Sullivan Cox, Edward
H. Crump, James Dwight Dana, Harvey N. Davis, William Lewis Dayton, Everette Lee Degolyer, Richard Delafield, Frederic A. Delano, Charles Devens, Matthew Gault Emery, Cornelius
Conway Felton, Robert V. Fleming, Murray Gell-Mann, Robert F. Goheen, Asa Gray, George Gray, Crawford Hallock Greenwalt, Nancy Hanks, Caryl Parker Haskins, Gideon Hawley,
John B. Henderson, John B. Henderson, Jr., A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., Gardner Greene Hubbard, Charles Evans Hughes, Carlisle H. Humelsine, Jerome C. Hunsaker, William Preston
Johnston, Irwin B. Laughlin, Walter Lenox, Augustus P. Loring, John Maclean, William Beans Magruder, John Walker Maury, Montgomery Cunningham Meigs, John C. Merriam, R. Walton
Moore, Roland S. Morris, Dwight W. Morrow, Richard Olney, Peter Parker, Noah Porter, William Campbell Preston, Owen Josephus Roberts, Richard Rush, William Winston Seaton,
Alexander Roby Shepherd, William Tecumseh Sherman, Otho Robards Singleton, Joseph Gilbert Totten, John Thomas Towers, Frederic C. Walcott, Richard Wallach, Thomas J. Watson,
Jr., James E. Webb, James Clarke Welling, Andrew Dickson White, Henry White, Theodore Dwight Woolsey.
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
This notebook contains data on a collection of dragonflies made in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, but principally in the eastern United States. Some collecting
was done in the south, southwest, and west. A complete record of habitat from which most specimens were taken and occasional notes of the chase for especially prized specimens
are included in the notebook.
Robert H. Gibbs, Jr., (1929-1988) joined the Smithsonian as Associate Curator in the Division of Fishes in 1963 and became Curator in 1967. Prior to 1963, Gibbs taught
at New York State Teachers College, 1955-1956, and Boston University, 1958-1963, and served as marine biologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, 1956-1958.
Cooper-Hewitt Museum. Paper Conservation Laboratory Search this
2 cu. ft. (2 record storage boxes)
These records document the design, construction, furnishing, and equipping of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum's Paper Conservation Laboratory during 1979 and 1980 under the
guidance of Konstanze Bachmann, Paper Conservator, and Elaine Evans Dee, Curator of Prints and Drawings. The files contain Dee's February 1975 proposal for the laboratory,
and also include floor plans; lists of furnishings, equipment, and supplies; and price quotes. In addition, the records contain budget and cost estimates, correspondence with
suppliers and contractors, and floor plan markups.
The records also document the first five years of the New York State Conservation Consultancy (NYSCC). The organization was an outgrowth of a program at the New York University
Institute of Fine Arts, and was funded by grants from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). Bachmann was Coordinator of the NYSCC from its inception in 1982 through
1987. The goal of the program was to encourage an awareness of the need for collections conservation in New York museums and historical societies. The program offered lectures
and seminars on various aspects of conservation; free conservation surveys; bibliographies and lists of conservators and conservation suppliers; and free bulletins on conservation
Records of the program contain the original NYSCC grant proposal submitted by Bachmann to the NYSCA in February 1981 and grant applications, budgets, grant reviews, and
annual reports for each subsequent year through 1987. The files also include mailing lists; seminar information; program correspondence from 1981 to 1987; lists of conservation
surveys conducted under NYSCA and NYSCC auspices from 1974 to 1986; and selected survey reports. In addition, the records contain copies of the first twenty NYSCC bulletins,
as well as brochures and publicity materials.
The papers of Robert E. Silberglied provide comprehensive documentation of his professional career. They include materials relating to his initial interest in entomology;
his academic training; his teaching career at Harvard University; his duties as a staff member of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI); his efforts as a conservationist;
and his research on Lepidoptera. Also included, to a lesser extent, are records documenting his personal affairs.
All aspects of Silberglied's professional life are documented in a large file of correspondence carried on between 1964 and 1982. Particularly well represented are his
dual careers at Harvard University and STRI; the development of his research interests; participation in professional activities; and the preparation and publication of scientific
manuscripts. The correspondence also includes many letters exchanged with his parents, family members, and friends.
Silberglied's academic career at Cornell University and Harvard University receives extensive coverage in the collection. Included are class notes; personal diaries and
daily calendars which document class schedules, student activities, and travel; registration and admission records; and copies of his M.A. thesis and Ph.D. dissertation. Also
included are research papers, notes, collecting records, and related materials illustrating Silberglied's interest in entomology as a high school student.
Silberglied's teaching and administrative activities at Harvard University and his work as a staff member at STRI are documented by a wide variety of materials. Records
concerning his Harvard appointment include lecture notes, examinations, and evaluations from several courses he taught; files relating to his curatorial duties at the Museum
of Comparative Zoology--especially work on the Scanning Electron Microscope Laboratory; and materials relating to committees, student advising, grants and financial matters,
and job negotiations and promotions. His six-year association with STRI is documented by correspondence, memoranda, and related materials concerning various administrative
and research activities--particularly the management of the Barro Colorado Island research station.
The collection is extremely valuable in documenting Silberglied's diverse research interests and his participation in professional activities. His efforts in the fields
of entomology, evolutionary theory, ultraviolet photography, and conservation are illustrated by drafts of research papers, research proposals, notes, and various forms of
Also included are photographs and films, mostly of or relating to butterflies; reprints of his publications; and copies of speeches and lectures presented at professional
meetings and to popular audiences. Field notes document extensive research in the Galapagos Islands, Lignum vitae Key (Florida), and various regions of the United States and
Central America. Also, Silberglied's correspondence contains a continuous exchange of ideas and information with colleagues throughout the entomological community.
In addition to correspondence with family and friends, Silberglied's personal affairs are documented in a group of collected materials including diaries and daily calendars;
health records; his professional dossier; records concerning income taxes, selective service status, and personal property; and similar materials. A small group of photographs
of Silberglied, family members, and friends is also found in the collection.
Robert E. Silberglied (1946-1982) was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. While in high school, he developed an interest in entomology and wrote his first research
paper, on Drosophila melanogaster, in 1961. In 1963 he enrolled in the School of Agriculture at Cornell University, where he received the Bachelor of Science degree
in 1967 and a Master's degree in 1968. During his years at Cornell, Silberglied's developing interest in evolutionary biology led him to research in insect communication,
particularly among butterflies. An early association with Dr. Thomas Eisner and a variety of field work experiences in Mexico, Florida, and Arizona led him to the study of
ultraviolet reflection among butterflies, specifically the evolution of reflective patterns and their significance in the process of communication.
Silberglied's research in the field continued when he entered Harvard University to begin his doctoral work in the fall of 1968. At Cambridge, his interests grew as he
encountered a number of new work experiences and associations. Field work at the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos Islands in 1970 began what would be a long-term
commitment to research in neotropical entomology. His initial interest was to study mechanisms of insect pollination of flowers, which led to a broad and valuable survey of
the islands' insect fauna. During his work in the Galapagos, he made an extensive collection of specimens and, in the process, acquired a valuable working knowledge of the
islands and their literature which would frequently be called upon in future collaborative efforts.
While at Harvard, Silberglied continued his field work in Florida at the Archbold Biological Station, as well as in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, eastern Canada, and Latin
America. During this time, his association with Orley R. Taylor, Jr., led Silberglied to a more extensive study of ultraviolet patterns of butterflies through the development
of new methods for the visualization and recording of ultraviolet reflection. His work in photographic techniques provided him with a proficiency in optical microscopy that
was to be widely recognized alongside his more primary areas of research. Through his work with Taylor, Silberglied was able experimentally to determine how ultraviolet patterns
are used as a communications device in some species of the Colias butterfly, for which he was awarded the Ph.D. in 1973.
During his graduate studies at Harvard, Silberglied worked as a teaching fellow from 1968 to 1973. He maintained an active membership in the Cambridge Entomological Society
and was elected Vice President in 1969 and President in 1970. This period also saw the first in a long series of scientific publications representing his broadening interests
in areas such as mimetic communities, the role of vision in insect behavior, the physiology of vision, ultraviolet patterns of flowers, and the terrestrial invertebrates of
the Galapagos Islands. His experience at Harvard also fostered what would be long-term associations with Edward O. Wilson and Frank M. Carpenter, staff members at the Museum
of Comparative Zoology (MCZ).
Following the completion of his formal training in 1973, Silberglied simultaneously held a number of positions over the next eight years. From 1973 to 1978 he served as
an Assistant Professor of Biology at Harvard, teaching courses in various aspects of arthropod biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, and behavior. During this same period
he worked as Assistant Curator of Lepidoptera in the MCZ Department of Entomology. His primary goals at the MCZ were reorganization of the collections, improved curation methods,
and wider utilization of the collections in teaching and research. He was also instrumental in setting up the MCZ Scanning Electron Microscope facility, a project that occupied
his energies until 1980.
Silberglied's interest in conservation led him to join the Lignum vitae Key University Council in 1973. Lignum vitae Key in Florida is the only preserve of West Indian
lowland hardwood forest remaining in the United States; and for the next eight years Silberglied devoted much of his time and energy to its preservation and management. Silberglied
was also involved in a study of the Costa Rican National Park System, and he co-authored (with Thomas Simkin of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History) a computerized
bibliography of the Galapagos Islands.
Silberglied also served as a consultant to the Biological Laboratories at Harvard, as a member of the editorial board of Psyche, and as a member of the governing
board of the Organization for Tropical Studies. In addition, he served as a contributing reviewer for several non-scientific journals and was an active member of the Entomological
Society of America.
In 1976, a new dimension was added to Silberglied's career with his appointment as a biologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama. This position
divided his research, teaching, and administrative responsibilities between Cambridge and Panama, as he began spending approximately half of each year in the American tropics.
In 1977, Silberglied became a permanent member of the scientific staff at STRI as a Research Entomologist. In the same year, he also received promotions at Harvard becoming
an Associate Professor of Biology and the Associate Curator of Lepidoptera at MCZ--positions he would hold until his departure from Cambridge in 1981.
While serving as a staff member at STRI, Silberglied's research interests were expanded. In concert with Dr. Annette Aiello, he conducted experimental work involving a
number of behavioral, ecological, and evolutionary problems among many species of tropical insects, especially Lepidoptera. Among other projects, they studied the origin and
evolution of reproductive isolating mechanisms and the way in which color and pattern influenced predator-prey relationships and intra- and intersexual communication. The
work was greatly enhanced by Silberglied's expertise in ultraviolet photography. Their efforts resulted in several important findings and led to a number of joint publications.
In addition to his research at STRI, Silberglied served on the Smithsonian Fellowship Selection Committee in Tropical Biology and as an advisor to individual students studying
at the facility. He was also involved in a variety of administrative responsibilities as Scientist-in-Charge at the Barro Colorado Island research station. While in residence
he devoted a considerable portion of his time to drawing up plans for the administration and management of the biological preserve.
Despite a rather full schedule of research, teaching, and administrative activities, Silberglied managed to maintain active membership in a variety of conservation organizations
and professional societies. His expertise as an entomologist led to many speaking engagements, and his pioneering efforts in the field of photography led to frequent work
as a consultant to cinematographers doing natural history documentary work. Silberglied maintained these diverse interests and enthusiasms until his untimely death in the
Air Florida accident in Washington, D.C., on January 13, 1982.
1946 -- Born in Brooklyn, New York, June 19
1963 -- Received New York State Regents Scholarship
1963 -- Entered College of Agriculture, Cornell University
1964 -- Appointed part-time Assistant to Curator, Insect Collections, Cornell University
1964 -- Member of New York (Brooklyn) Entomological Society
1965 -- Member of Cornell University Mexico Field Research Party (with Dr. W. L. Brown, Jr.)
1965-1968 -- Ford Three-Year Scholar's Program
1966 -- Appointed Field Research Assistant to Dr. Thomas Eisner at Archbold Biological Station in Florida and at Cave Creek Ranch, Portal, Arizona
1966-1968 -- Part-time Assistant to Librarian, Entomology Library, Cornell University
1967 -- Appointed Field Research Assistant (with D. Simberloff for Dr. E. O. Wilson) in Florida Keys and Arizona
1967 -- Received B.S., Cornell University
1967 -- Entered Cornell University, Department of Biology as graduate student
1968 -- Received M.S., Cornell University
1968 -- Entered Harvard University as post-graduate
1968-1973 -- Teaching fellowship, Department of Biology, Harvard University
1968-1982 -- Member of Cambridge Entomological Society
1969 -- Field work at Archbold Biological Station in Florida
1969 -- Elected Vice President, Cambridge Entomological Society
1969-1973 -- Richmond Fellowship, Harvard University
1970 -- Member of Graduate Student Council, Department of Biology, Harvard University
1970 -- Elected President, Cambridge Entomological Society
1970 -- Field work at Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos Islands
1970 -- Field work at the E. N. Huyck Preserve, Albany County, New York
1971 -- Field work in Florida, Arizona, and Colorado
1972 -- Participated in Organization for Tropical Studies trip to Costa Rica
1972 -- Field work in Nova Scotia, Kansas, Colorado, and Arizona
1973 -- Received Ph.D., Harvard University
1973 -- Field work in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Ecuador
1973 -- Published "Ultraviolet Differences Between Sulphur Butterflies"
1973-1974 -- Member of Executive Committee, Cambridge Entomological Society
1973-1977 -- Member of Library Committee, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
1973-1978 -- Assistant Professor of Biology, Harvard University
1973-1978 -- Assistant Curator of Lepidoptera, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
1973-1982 -- Consultant to the Biological Laboratories Insectary Facility, Harvard University
1973-1982 -- Member of Lignum vitae Key (Florida) University Council
1973-1982 -- Member of Editorial Board, Psyche
1974 -- Field work at Archbold Biological Station in Florida
1974-1975 -- Section Vice Chairman, Section A (Systematics, Morphology and Evolution), Entomological Society of America
1974-1975 -- Member of Scanning Electron Microscope Committee, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
1974-1980 -- Member of Scanning Electron Microscope Facility Committee, Department of Biology, Harvard University 1974-1981 member of Entomological Society of America
1974-1980 -- Member of Governing Board, Organization for Tropical Studies (representing Harvard University)
1975 -- Field work in Panama
1975 -- Participated in a safari to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania
1975 -- Served on Program Evaluation Committee, Section A (Systematics, Morphology and Evolution), Entomological Society of America
1975-1976 -- Section Chairman, Section A (Systematics, Morphology and Evolution), Entomological Society of America
1975-1980 -- Contributing reviewer for American Reference Book Annual
1976 -- Appointed Biologist, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)
1976 -- Member of Nominating Committee and Special Constitution and By-laws Revision Committee, Section A (Systematics, Morphology and Evolution), Entomological Society of America
1976-1977 -- Organized and administered Natural History Seminar series of Department of Biology, Harvard University
1976-1980 -- Member of Education Committee, Organization for Tropical Studies
1977 -- Field work in Panama, Ecuador, and Colombia
1977 -- Published "Communication in the Lepidoptera"
1977 -- Member of Committee on Meeting Dates, Section A (Systematics, Morphology and Evolution), Entomological Society of America
1977-1980 -- Member of Executive Committee, Organization for Tropical Studies
The collection contains: twenty-nine silver gelatin photoprints mounted on Fome-Core, Masonite, and cardboard, ranging in size from 5-1/2" x 9-1/4" to 10-11/16" x 13-13/16"; three 5" x 7" unmounted silver gelatin photoprints; a scrapbook which originally contained 56 silver gelatin photoprints, ranging in size from 2" x 3" to 7-1/2" x 9-1/2"; and silver gelatin film negatives (presumably acetate) for the prints. The scrapbook includes a New York Daily News clipping about Rivers: "Builds a Bridge to Students" by Anthony Burton (dated May 12, 1970 by Rivers) with a photograph showing him speaking to a crowd,
Most of the photographs depict the construction of the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings--iron workers on the job and relaxing during breaks, and pictures of the buildings at various stages of completion. Other subjects are: a demonstration to prevent World War II (1935), a color photoprint of the Civil Rights March and Demonstration in Washington, D.C. (1963), and two magazine clippings from a Soviet publication, New Times, in which Rivers's prize-winning "Self Portrait" (1930) was reproduced.
Most of these prints were made by Charles Rivers many years after the creation of the original negatives, probably ca.1970s 1980s. The collection is in generally good condition, except that many of the print surfaces are scratched.
Biographical / Historical:
Charles Rivers created a certain amount of confusion about his origins, whether accidentally or intentionally. Born Constantinos Kapornaros (or Kostandinos Kapernaros) in the small town of Vahos in Mani, an isolated area in the southern Peloponnesian region of Greece, on May 20, 1904, he emigrated to the United States as a child of five or six with his parents. His school record showed that he was enrolled in 1911 at the age of seven. The family lived in Maine or New Hampshire, then Massachusetts, and later other locations in New York state. It is believed that his new name was derived from the Charles River in Boston. The change may have been occasioned by a need to conceal his deep involvement in left-wing political and union activities.
Mr. Rivers settled in New York City in 1950 and resided there until 1993. He sometimes identified his birthplace as Denver, Colorado, but this may have been a fabrication or simplification, based on the fact that Greek church baptismal records were kept in Denver. His sons James and Ronald believe that he never became an official American citizen. Late in life, in order to visit his birthplace, he was issued a passport, based on his school records, which stated that he was born in Denver.
Rivers photographed the construction of the Chrysler Building (1929) and the Empire State Building (1930) in New York City. He was inspired to take up photography by seeing the work of the influential documentary photographer Lewis Hine, whose famous images of working children helped win passage of protective child labor laws. Rivers and Hine both photographed the Empire State Building and the men building it, yet Rivers apparently was unaware until years later that his idol had been present. Employed as an iron worker, Rivers traded his pail of tools for a Zeiss Ikon camera during his lunch hour or when photographic opportunities arose. While the workers depicted in some of the photographs clearly are aware of the photographer's presence, Rivers's project presumably was conducted more or less surreptitiously. It is not known for certain if the paths of Rivers and Hine ever crossed, but his son Ron considers it unlikely: Hine photographed only the Empire State Building in connection with his "Men at Work" project, not the earlier Chrysler Building, and Rivers did not work on the Empire State Building for a very long period. His self-portrait on the Empire State Building, "The Bolter-Up," may have been intended as a memento during one of his last days on that job.
Rivers became unemployed in the Depression and consequently became involved in national efforts to create Social Security, unemployment insurance, and housing programs. These experiences apparently encouraged his active participation in politically leftist activities, as coverage about him in Soviet publications attests. A pacifist, in 1935 he was involved in demonstrations aimed at preventing World War II, and in the 1960s he took part in anti-Vietnam demonstrations and encouraged young people to continue such resistance.
In the 1950s Rivers worked in steel fabrication, in a chemistry lab as a technician, and briefly as a legislative aide for a New York state senator.
In 1986 Rivers submitted his 1930 self-portrait, posed on the Chrysler Building, to the International Year of Peace art contest sponsored by the New Times, published in Moscow: it was awarded a prize and diploma.
Mr. Rivers died in 1993, only two weeks after moving to Arlington, Texas to enter a nursing home near his sons' homes.
1. The page on Rivers in New York University=s Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives web site (http://laborarts.org/collections/item.cfm?itemid=82) --noted 5 June 2002), claims Rivers was born in 1905 and changed his name Ato resemble those of the Mohawk Indians working on the high steel of New York City=s skyscrapers and bridges".
2. This spelling is given in an e-mail from James Rivers to Helen Plummer, Aug. 19, 2002.
4. Telephone conversation between Ron Rivers and the author, 6 June 2002. Additional information was provided by Ron Rivers in electronic mail messages, 5 June and 12 June 2002.
5. James Rivers, op. cit.
6. Telephone conversation with Ron Rivers, 6 June 2002.
7. In a biographical statement for the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art (copy supplied by Helen Plummer), Charles Rivers called Denver his birthplace. The George Eastman House photographer database also included this apparently erroneous information, probably derived from the Amon Carter statement (telephone conversation with Helen Plummer, 3 June 2002).
8. Ron Rivers, telephone conversation, 6 June 2002.
9. Identified by Charles Rivers as the camera used in the skyscraper photographs: interview by Carol Sewell, "Photographer looked at U.S. from high view," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dec. 27, 1986. Rivers also used a Rolleiflex, according to Ron Rivers (see note above), but the folding Zeiss Ikon camera would have been a more convenient addition to a lunchbox than the bulkier Rolleiflex. The collection negatives are not in the Rolleiflex square format, moreover.
10. See Judith Mara Gutman, Lewis W. Hine and the American social conscience. New York: Walker, 1967.
11. Ron Rivers, telephone conversation, 6 June 2002.
Materials at the Smithsonian Institution
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Included Rivers's self-portrait, "The Bolter Up," in its summer 2002 exhibition, "Metropolis in the Machine Age," in the form of a new print made from a digital copy of the Archives Center's original negative. The author discussed the new print from the Rivers negative and other photographs in this exhibition in an invited gallery lecture, "The Skyscraper Photographs of Lewis Hine and Charles Rivers," Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, June 6, 2002.
Materials at Other Organizations
Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
See Barbara McCandless and John Rohrbach, Singular moments: photographs from the Amon Carter Museum, with select entries by Helen Plummer. Reproduction of a Rivers photograph, with description and analysis, p. 30. Additional information has been generously supplied by Ms. Plummer, curatorial associate, and Barbara McCandless, curator of photography, Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Fort Worth Texas.
Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University
Museum of the City of New York
Some of his photographs were included in the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art exhibition, "Looking at America: Documentary Photographs of the 1930s and 1940s," December 1986.
The collection is a gift from Mr. Charles Rivers, 1989.
Collection is open for research.
Archives Center claims copyright. Rights were conveyed to the Archives Center through a Deed of Gift signed by the donor.
Kaslov, Steve, ca. 1888-1949 (King of the Red Bandanna Romany Gypsies ) Search this
0.25 Cubic feet (4 boxes)
Virgin Islands -- 1930-1940
New York (N.Y.) -- 1930-1940
Bowery (New York, N.Y.) -- 1930-1940
Chinatown (New York, N.Y.) -- 1930-1940
St. Thomas (Virgin Islands) -- 1930-1940
1985 - 1986
1930 - 1943
Scope and Contents:
This collection contains 273 silver gelatin photoprints (Series 1), most of which apparently were made during the 1930s and early 1940s, contemporaneously with the original negatives. All are 8" x 10" or slightly smaller, unmounted except for flush mounted linen on the backs of some prints. The photographs were made primarily in two locations, New York City and the Virgin Islands. The Virgin Islands pictures were made as part of a special documentary project in 1939, as described above, whereas the New York photographs stem from Mr. Alland's largely self assigned documentation of various ethnic and religious groups in New York from approximately 1932 to 1943. The projects include photographs of the "Red Bandanna" Romany Gypsy group in the Bowery, a black Jewish congregation, Mohawk Indians in Brooklyn, and other groups, which required extensive exploration, research, and photographing over periods of many days or weeks. A variety of miscellaneous ethnic and religious groups are covered in the general "Other Religions" and "Nationalities" folders. The contents of the "Judaism" folder include primarily New York sites and people, but there are also additional views of a synagogue from the Virgin Islands project.
Series 2 of the collection contains four cassette tape recordings of two interviews with Mr. Alland, three made by Richard Ahlborn (with Eugene Ostroff and Matt Salo) in 1985, and one by David Haberstich and Richard Ahlborn, June 2-3, 1986 (at which time the photographs were donated). The tapes include readings from his autobiography, personal reminiscences on his experiences as an immigrant and a photographer, and commentary on the photographs.
The collection is arranged into two series.
Series 1: Photoprints, 1930-1943
Series 2: Audiotape Cassettes, 1985-1986
The photographs are arranged topically and by nationality.
Biographical / Historical:
Alexander Alland, Sr., was born in Sevastopol, Crimea (formerly in the Soviet Union) on 6 August 1902. His last name originally was Landschaft, but he legally changed it to Alland following the birth of his son. Alland's interest in photography began at the age of twelve, when he helped a local photographer with darkroom work. He constructed his own camera from cardboard with a simple meniscus lens and exposed glass plate negatives with the device.
Toward the end of the Civil War in Russia in 1920, Alland relocated in Constantinople, Turkey, where he was hired as an apprentice by a graduate of the Vienna Academy of Photography. When the Union Nationale des Combatants Francais went on a pilgrimage to Gallipoli, a former battle zone on the Dardanelles, he was asked to accompany them in order to document events. After having his request for a pay increase refused, he left his employer two years later and opened his own portrait studio, "Photo d'Art Russe." When civil unrest threatened Constantinople in 1923, he decided to emigrate to the United States.
During his first years in the United States he worked in photo finishing businesses while engaged in home portraiture independently. He married in 1929 and a son, Alexander, Jr., was born. In the 1930s he became one of the best known photographers portraying the life of immigrants and various ethnic groups in New York. (1) In 1936 he was appointed supervisor of the Photo Mural section of the W.P.A. Federal Art Project, and worked as a free lance photographer for magazines and periodicals featuring the activities of various ethnic groups living in New York City. He specialized in making photomurals with montage techniques. (2)
In 1937 Alland became photography instructor at the American Artists' School and joined the American Artists Congress. In 1939, his first book, Portrait of New York, was published and he became president of the "Exploration Photo Syndicate" and went to the U.S. Virgin Islands as part of a project to produce a pictorial record of the West Indian Islands. His photographs appeared in publications and were exhibited at the New School for Social Research and at the Schomberg Collection. In 1942 he joined the staff of Common Ground magazine as photography editor and was appointed by the National Youth Administration to supervise their photography workshop. His book American Counterpoint appeared in 1943 and was selected as "One of the Fifty Best Books of the Year." The original prints from that book were exhibited at the Museum of the City of New York, which also exhibited a portfolio of his work on American Gypsies. In 1944 he became director of an agency, "Pictures for Democracy," and in 1945 his book The Springfield Plan was proclaimed another "One of the Fifty Best Books of the Year."
During World War II Alland did technical photography for the War Department, receiving a commendation for this work. After another book My Dog Rinty was published, he left New York City to establish a school of photography, combined with a school of dance directed by his wife, Alexandra, a professional dancer and choreographer. (3) He then began to exhibit his own photographs and to collect glass plate negatives and vintage prints by significant photographers. He is perhaps best known for locating a collection of Jacob Riis negatives and making them available. In 1974 Aperture published his biography, Jacob A. Riis: Photographer and Citizen4. Because of his efforts in providing the Riis negatives to the Museum of the City of New York, that institution awarded a special commemorative medal to him in 1973. The Riis book was followed by two more studies of photographers, Jessie Tarbox Beals, First Woman News Photographer (5) and Heinrich Tonnies, Cartes de Visite Photographer Extraordinaire. (6)
Retrospective exhibitions of Alland's work were held in two major Danish museums in summer 1979 and he was honored for contributions to the cultural history of Denmark. In 1991 studies for his photomural work were included in an historical survey exhibition of American photomontage at the University of Maryland at College Park. (7).
1. My text is based upon the biographical information recorded on my taped interviews with Mr. Alland in this collection, but see also Bonnie Yochelson, The Committed Eye: Alexander Alland's Photography. New York: The Museum of the City of New York, Inc., 1991.
2. Merry A. Foresta, "Art and Document: Photography of the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project," in Official Images: New Deal Photography (essays by Foresta, Pete Daniel, Maren Stange, and Sally Stein), Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1987, p. 153, based on an interview with Alland, January 1987.
3. Photographic historian Anne Peterson, contractor for three Archives Center photographic collection projects between 1986 and 1982, reports that she studied ballet as a child with Mrs. Alland.
7. See catalog by Cynthia Wayne, Dreams, Lies, and Exaggeration: Photomontage in America. The Art Gallery, University of Maryland at College Park, 1991 (exhibition at the gallery Oct. 21 Dec. 20, 1991).
Materials in the Archives Center
Carlos de Wendler Funaro Gypsy Research Collection (AC0161)
Contains additional Alland photographs. De Wendler Funaro also photographed Steve Kaslov, his family, and his Bowery coppersmith workshop.
Collection donated by Alexander Alland, June 3, 1986.
Collection is open for research.
Copyrighted material: photographs may not be reproduced without written permission from the Estate of Alexander Alland, Sr.
Synagogues -- Photographs -- 1930-1940 -- New York, N.Y. Search this
Newspapers -- Photographs -- 1930-1940 -- New York N.Y. Search this
Muslims -- Photographs -- 1930-1940 -- New York N.Y. Search this
Minorities -- Housing -- 1930-1940 -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Minorities -- Housing -- 1930-1940 -- Virgin Islands Search this
The collection documents in photographs, scrapbooks, notebooks, correspondence, stock ledgers, annual reports, and financial records, the evolution of the telegraph, the development of the Western Union Telegraph Company, and the beginning of the communications revolution. The collection materials describe both the history of the company and of the telegraph industry in general, particularly its importance to the development of the technology in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The collection is useful for researchers interested in the development of technology, economic history, and the impact of technology on American social and cultural life.
Scope and Contents:
The collection is divided into twenty-six (26) series and consists of approximately 400 cubic feet. The collection documents in photographs, scrapbooks, notebooks, correspondence, stock ledgers, annual reports, and financial records, the evolution of the telegraph, the development of the Western Union Telegraph Company, and the beginning of the communications revolution. The collection materials describe both the history of the company and of the telegraph industry in general, particularly its importance to the development of the technology in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The collection is useful for researchers interested in the development of technology, economic history, and the impact of technology on American social and cultural life.
The collection is divided into twenty-seven series.
Series 1: Historical and Background Information, 1851-1994
Series 2: Subsidiaries of Western Union, 1844-1986
Series 3: Executive Records, 1848-1987
Series 4: Presidential Letterbooks and Writings, 1865-1911
Series 5: Correspondence, 1837-1985
Series 6: Cyrus W. Field Papers, 1840-1892
Series 7: Secretary's Files, 1844-1987
Series 8: Financial Records, 1859-1995
Series 9: Legal Records, 1867-1968
Series 10: Railroad Records, 1854-1945
Series 11: Law Department Records, 1868-1979
Series 12: Patent Materials, 1840-1970
Series 13: Operating Records, 1868-1970s
Series 14: Westar VI-S, 1974, 1983-1986
Series 15: Engineering Department Records, 1874-1970
Series 16: Plant Department Records, 1867-1937, 1963
Series 17: Superintendent of Supplies Records, 1888-1948
Series 18: Employee/Personnel Records 1852-1985
Series 19: Public Relations Department Records, 1858-1980
Series 20: Western Union Museum, 1913-1971
Series 21: Maps, 1820-1964
Series 22: Telegrams, 1852-1960s
Series 23: Photographs, circa 1870-1980
Series 24: Scrapbooks, 1835-1956
Series 25: Notebooks, 1880-1942
Series 26: Audio Visual Materials, 1925-1994
Series 27: Addenda
Biographical / Historical:
In 1832 Samuel F. B. Morse, assisted by Alfred Vail, conceived of the idea for an electromechanical telegraph, which he called the "Recording Telegraph." This commercial application of electricity was made tangible by their construction of a crude working model in 1835-36. This instrument probably was never used outside of Professor Morse's rooms where it was, however, operated in a number of demonstrations. This original telegraph instrument was in the hands of the Western Union Telegraph Company and had been kept carefully over the years in a glass case. It was moved several times in New York as the Western Union headquarters building changed location over the years. The company presented it to the Smithsonian Institution in 1950.
The telegraph was further refined by Morse, Vail, and a colleague, Leonard Gale, into working mechanical form in 1837. In this year Morse filed a caveat for it at the U.S. Patent Office. Electricity, provided by Joseph Henry's 1836 "intensity batteries", was sent over a wire. The flow of electricity through the wire was interrupted for shorter or longer periods by holding down the key of the device. The resulting dots or dashes were recorded on a printer or could be interpreted orally. In 1838 Morse perfected his sending and receiving code and organized a corporation, making Vail and Gale his partners.
In 1843 Morse received funds from Congress to set-up a demonstration line between Washington and Baltimore. Unfortunately, Morse was not an astute businessman and had no practical plan for constructing a line. After an unsuccessful attempt at laying underground cables with Ezra Cornell, the inventor of a trench digger, Morse switched to the erection of telegraph poles and was more successful. On May 24, 1844, Morse, in the U.S. Supreme Court Chambers in Washington, sent by telegraph the oft-quoted message to his colleague Vail in Baltimore, "What hath God wrought!"
In 1845 Morse hired Andrew Jackson's former postmaster general, Amos Kendall, as his agent in locating potential buyers of the telegraph. Kendall realized the value of the device, and had little trouble convincing others of its potential for profit. By the spring he had attracted a small group of investors. They subscribed $15,000 and formed the Magnetic Telegraph Company. Many new telegraph companies were formed as Morse sold licenses wherever he could.
The first commercial telegraph line was completed between Washington, D.C., and New York City in the spring of 1846 by the Magnetic Telegraph Company. Shortly thereafter, F. O. J. Smith, one of the patent owners, built a line between New York City and Boston. Most of these early companies were licensed by owners of Samuel Morse patents. The Morse messages were sent and received in a code of dots and dashes.
At this time other telegraph systems based on rival technologies were being built. Some companies used the printing telegraph, a device invented by a Vermonter, Royal E. House, whose messages were printed on paper or tape in Roman letters. In 1848 a Scotch scientist, Alexander Bain, received his patents on a telegraph. These were but two of many competing and incompatible technologies that had developed. The result was confusion, inefficiency, and a rash of suits and counter suits.
By 1851 there were over fifty separate telegraph companies operating in the United States. This corporate cornucopia developed because the owners of the telegraph patents had been unsuccessful in convincing the United States and other governments of the invention's potential usefulness. In the private sector, the owners had difficulty convincing capitalists of the commercial value of the invention. This led to the owners' willingness to sell licenses to many purchasers who organized separate companies and then built independent telegraph lines in various sections of the country.
Hiram Sibley moved to Rochester, New York, in 1838 to pursue banking and real estate. Later he was elected sheriff of Monroe County. In Rochester he was introduced to Judge Samuel L. Selden who held the House Telegraph patent rights. In 1849 Selden and Sibley organized the New York State Printing Telegraph Company, but they found it hard to compete with the existing New York, Albany, and Buffalo Telegraph Company.
After this experience Selden suggested that instead of creating a new line, the two should try to acquire all the companies west of Buffalo and unite them into a single unified system. Selden secured an agency for the extension throughout the United States of the House system. In an effort to expand this line west, Judge Selden called on friends and the people in Rochester. This led, in April 1851, to the organization of a company and the filing in Albany of the Articles of Association for the "New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company" (NYMVPTC), a company which later evolved into the Western Union Telegraph Company.
In 1854 there were two rival systems of the NYMVPTC in the West. These two systems consisted of thirteen separate companies. All the companies were using Morse patents in the five states north of the Ohio River. This created a struggle between three separate entities, leading to an unreliable and inefficient telegraph service. The owners of these rival companies eventually decided to invest their money elsewhere and arrangements were made for the NYMVPTC to purchase their interests.
Hiram Sibley recapitalized the company in 1854 under the same name and began a program of construction and acquisition. The most important takeover was carried out by Sibley when he negotiated the purchase of the Morse patent rights for the Midwest for $50,000 from Jeptha H. Wade and John J. Speed, without the knowledge of Ezra Cornell, their partner in the Erie and Michigan Telegraph Company (EMTC). With this acquisition Sibley proceeded to switch to the superior Morse system. He also hired Wade, a very capable manager, who became his protege and later his successor. After a bitter struggle Morse and Wade obtained the EMTC from Cornell in 1855, thus assuring dominance by the NYMVPTC in the Midwest. In 1856 the company name was changed to the "Western Union Telegraph Company," indicating the union of the Western lines into one compact system. In December, 1857, the Company paid stockholders their first dividend.
Between 1857 and 1861 similar consolidations of telegraph companies took place in other areas of the country so that most of the telegraph interests of the United States had merged into six systems. These were the American Telegraph Company (covering the Atlantic and some Gulf states), The Western Union Telegraph Company (covering states North of the Ohio River and parts of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Minnesota), the New York Albany and Buffalo Electro-Magnetic Telegraph Company (covering New York State), the Atlantic and Ohio Telegraph Company (covering Pennsylvania), the Illinois & Mississippi Telegraph Company (covering sections of Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois), and the New Orleans & Ohio Telegraph Company (covering the southern Mississippi Valley and the Southwest). All these companies worked together in a mutually friendly alliance, and other small companies cooperated with the six systems, particularly some on the West Coast.
By the time of the Civil War, there was a strong commercial incentive to construct a telegraph line across the western plains to link the two coasts of America. Many companies, however, believed the line would be impossible to build and maintain.
In 1860 Congress passed, and President James Buchanan signed, the Pacific Telegraph Act, which authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to seek bids for a project to construct a transcontinental line. When two bidders dropped out, Hiram Sibley, representing Western Union, was the only bidder left. By default Sibley won the contract. The Pacific Telegraph Company was organized for the purpose of building the eastern section of the line. Sibley sent Wade to California, where he consolidated the small local companies into the California State Telegraph Company. This entity then organized the Overland Telegraph Company, which handled construction eastward from Carson City, Nevada, joining the existing California lines, to Salt Lake City, Utah. Sibley's Pacific Telegraph Company built westward from Omaha, Nebraska. Sibley put most of his resources into the venture. The line was completed in October, 1861. Both companies were soon merged into Western Union. This accomplishment made Hiram Sibley leader of the telegraph industry.
Further consolidations took place over the next several years. Many companies merged into the American Telegraph Company. With the expiration of the Morse patents, several organizations were combined in 1864 under the name of "The U.S. Telegraph Company." In 1866 the final consolidation took place, with Western Union exchanging stock for the stock of the other two organizations. The general office of Western Union moved at this time from Rochester to 145 Broadway, New York City. In 1875 the main office moved to 195 Broadway, where it remained until 1930 when it relocated to 60 Hudson Street.
In 1873 Western Union purchased a majority of shares in the International Ocean Telegraph Company. This was an important move because it marked Western Union's entry into the foreign telegraph market. Having previously worked with foreign companies, Western Union now began competing for overseas business.
In the late 1870s Western Union, led by William H. Vanderbilt, attempted to wrest control of the major telephone patents, and the new telephone industry, away from the Bell Telephone Company. But due to new Bell leadership and a subsequent hostile takeover attempt of Western Union by Jay Gould, Western Union discontinued its fight and Bell Telephone prevailed.
Despite these corporate calisthenics, Western Union remained in the public eye. The sight of a uniformed Western Union messenger boy was familiar in small towns and big cities all over the country for many years. Some of Western Union's top officials in fact began their careers as messenger boys.
Throughout the remainder of the nineteenth century the telegraph became one of the most important factors in the development of social and commercial life of America. In spite of improvements to the telegraph, however, two new inventions--the telephone (nineteenth century) and the radio (twentieth century)--eventually replaced the telegraph as the leaders of the communication revolution for most Americans.
At the turn of the century, Bell abandoned its struggles to maintain a monopoly through patent suits, and entered into direct competition with the many independent telephone companies. Around this time, the company adopted its new name, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T).
In 1908 AT&T gained control of Western Union. This proved beneficial to Western Union, because the companies were able to share lines when needed, and it became possible to order telegrams by telephone. However, it was only possible to order Western Union telegrams, and this hurt the business of Western Union's main competitor, the Postal Telegraph Company. In 1913, however, as part of a move to prevent the government from invoking antitrust laws, AT&T completely separated itself from Western Union.
Western Union continued to prosper and it received commendations from the U.S. armed forces for service during both world wars. In 1945 Western Union finally merged with its longtime rival, the Postal Telegraph Company. As part of that merger, Western Union agreed to separate domestic and foreign business. In 1963 Western Union International Incorporated, a private company completely separate from the Western Union Telegraph Company, was formed and an agreement with the Postal Telegraph Company was completed. In 1994, Western Union Financial Services, Inc. was acquired by First Financial Management Corporation. In 1995, First Financial Management Corporation merged with First Data Corporation making Western Union a First Data subsidiary.
Many technological advancements followed the telegraph's development. The following are among the more important:
The first advancement of the telegraph occurred around 1850 when operators realized that the clicks of the recording instrument portrayed a sound pattern, understandable by the operators as dots and dashes. This allowed the operator to hear the message by ear and simultaneously write it down. This ability transformed the telegraph into a versatile and speedy system.
Duplex Telegraphy, 1871-72, was invented by the president of the Franklin Telegraph Company. Unable to sell his invention to his own company, he found a willing buyer in Western Union. Utilizing this invention, two messages were sent over the wire simultaneously, one in each direction.
As business blossomed and demand surged, new devices appeared. Thomas Edison's Quadruplex allowed four messages to be sent over the same wire simultaneously, two in one direction and two in the other.
An English automatic signaling arrangement, Wheatstone's Automatic Telegraph, 1883, allowed larger numbers of words to be transmitted over a wire at once. It could only be used advantageously, however, on circuits where there was a heavy volume of business.
Buckingham's Machine Telegraph was an improvement on the House system. It printed received messages in plain Roman letters quickly and legibly on a message blank, ready for delivery.
Vibroplex, c. 1890, a semi-automatic key sometimes called a "bug key," made the dots automatically. This relieved the operator of much physical strain.
Materials in the Archives Center
Additional moving image about Western Union Telegraph Company can be found in the Industry on Parade Collection (AC0507). This includes Cable to Cuba! by Bell Laboratory, AT & T, featuring the cable ship, the C.S. Lord Kelvin, and Communications Centennial! by the Western Union Company.
Materials at Other Organizations
Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, Delaware.
Western Union International Records form part of the MCI International, Inc. Records at the First Data Corporation, Greenwood Village, Colorado.
Records of First Data Corporation and its predecessors, including Western Union, First Financial Management Corporation (Atlanta) and First Data Resources (Omaha). Western Union collection supports research of telegraphy and related technologies, and includes company records, annual reports, photographs, print and broadcast advertising, telegraph equipment, and messenger uniforms.
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Western Union Telegraph Expedition, 1865-1867
This collection includes correspondence, mostly to Spencer F. Baird, from members of the Scientific Corps of the Western Union Telegraph Expedition, including Kennicott, Dall, Bannister, and Elliott; copies of reports submitted to divisional chiefs from expedition staff members; newspaper clippings concerning the expedition; copies of notes on natural history taken by Robert Kennicott; and a journal containing meteorological data recorded by Henry M. Bannister from March to August, 1866.
Artifacts (apparatus and equipment) were donated to the Division of Information Technology and Society, now known as the Division of Work & Industry, National Museum of American History.
The collection was donated by Western Union in September of 1971.
Collection is open for research but Series 11 and films are stored off-site. Special arrangements must be made to view some of the audiovisual materials. Contact the Archives Center for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-633-3270.
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.
Science, Medicine and Society, Division of (NMAH, SI). Search this
Science, Medicine and Society, Division of (NMAH, SI). Search this
3.5 Cubic feet (12 boxes, 3 oversized folders)
This collection consists of pamphlets, books, and a wide variety of printed matter and ephemera relating to HIV/AIDS. The collection was principally assembled by National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution curator Ramunas Kondratas.
Scope and Contents:
The Division of Science, Medicine, and Society HIV/AIDS Reference Collection contains a large amount of printed material representing how HIV/AIDS was depicted in popular culture, in the medical sciences, by activist groups, and by government agencies principally during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Most of the collection consists of pamphlets, brochures, reports, and other educational material designed to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in the general public.
This collection includes correspondence and conference proceedings related to the history of HIV/AIDS. The materials were collected by NMAH curator Ramunas "Ray" Kondratas, working together with the AIDS history group that was part of the American Association for the History of Medicine. A number of bibliographies and resource guides to literature related to HIV/AIDS are included in the collection. Geographically, the material is primarily from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, with New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, the general United States, as well as Lithuania and London, also represented in the collection.
The collection is organized into five series.
Series 1, Educational Material and Advertisements, 1984-2004
Subseries 1, American Red Cross, 1986-1993, undated
Subseries 2, Gay Men's Health Crisis, Incorporated, 1985-1994, undated
Subseries 3, New York State Health Department, 1984-1991, undated
Subseries 4, Government of the District of Columbia, 1990-1996, undated
Subseries 5, United States Department of Health and Human Services, 1984-1995, undated
Subseries 7, Various Organizations, 1984-2004, undated
Subseries 8, Posters, Newspapers, and Ephemera, 1986-1994, undated
Series 2, Reports, Commissions and Bibliographies, 1981-1999
Subseries 1, Presidential Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Epidemic, 1987-1989
Subseries 2, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1981-1999
Subseries 3, National Library of Medicine (NLM), 1986-1993
Subseries 4, Other Organizations, 1987-1988
Series 3, Ramunas Kondratas, Correspondence and Collected Materials, 1979-1994, undated
Series 4, AIDS/HIV Related Press Clippings and Periodicals, 1982-2006
Series 5, Audiovisual Material, 1988
Biographical / Historical:
The HIV/AIDS crisis that began in the 1980s is a defining event of the latter half of the 20th century. Once thought to be a disease affecting homosexual men only, the epidemic spread to the broader population of the United States and the world at large. The response to the epidemic came from many public and private organizations, some internationally known like the Red Cross and some at the local level such as the Whitman-Walker Clinic in Washington, D.C. Many organizations produced a variety of pamphlets, studies, and reports dealing with all aspects of the disease.
This collection consists of material collected by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, Division of Science, Medicine, and Society. The bulk of the collection was assembled by curator Ramunas "Ray" Kondratas during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Received from Ramunas Kondratas, curator, Division of Science, Medicine, and Society.
The collection is open for research use.
Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves. Researchers must use reference copies of audio-visual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an "as needed" basis, as resources allow. Please ask staff to remove any staples before copying.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply.
The papers of Louise Nevelson measure 30.5 linear feet and date from circa 1903 to 1988. The collection documents aspects of the life and work of the sculptor, focusing especially on her later career. Papers include correspondence, personal business records, writings, scrapbooks, early art work, photographs, interviews, awards and honorary degrees, books, and an extensive amount of printed material.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Louise Nevelson measure 30.5 linear feet and date from circa 1903 to 1988. The collection documents aspects of the life and work of the sculptor, focusing especially on her later career. Papers include correspondence, personal business records, writings, scrapbooks, some of Nevelson's early art work, photographs, interviews, awards and honorary degrees, books, and an extensive amount of printed material.
Interviews, awards, and honorary degrees comprise a series of biographical material, along with scattered personal papers such as a graduation program, wedding announcement, teaching certificate, invitations, miscellaneous notes, and material relating to Nevelson's family. Correspondence consists of letters and enclosures from a wide range of professional contacts, including museums and art centers, universities, art associations, women's and charitable organizations, artists, and philanthropists, among others, concerning the exhibition, sale, and donation of Nevelson's art work, and her various arts-related activities, as well as some letters from friends and family. Correspondence can also be found amongst the subject files, which also include clippings, notes, printed and other material organized according to subject and relating to certain exhibitions, and various artistic and professional activities. Whether this organization originates with Nevelson, one of her assistants, or Archives staff is unknown.
Found amongst Nevelson's business records are consignment receipts, statements, correspondence, inventories, disposition cards, notebooks, and lists, stemming from her business dealings with the Martha Jackson Gallery and related matters, usually carried out by her assistant at the time. Business records relate in particular to the large and complex project of inventorying Nevelson's art work undertaken sometime in the early-1960s. Nevelson's writings consist of poems and poem fragments, a short-lived dream journal, scattered writings on art, and drafts from Dawns and Dusks: Taped Conversations with Diana MacKown by Louise Nevelson and Diana MacKown. Also found are a large number of scrapbooks and an extensive amount of printed material, which likely stem in large part from Nevelson's concern to document and keep a record of her accomplishments. Scrapbooks contain clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, and other material documenting Nevelson's early career from roughly the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s. Also included are loose items comprising a scrapbook of sorts on son Mike Nevelson and various scrapbooks compiled by others as mementos of particular events. Printed material includes an extensive amount of clippings and publications, exhibition catalogs and announcements, and a variety of other printed material relating or referring to Nevelson or merely featuring her name in print. Also included are several books, some of which are about or feature segments on Nevelson. This material documents both her critical and commercial success, and her role as personality and minor celebrity in the mass media later in her career, especially during the 1960s and 1970s.
Art work consists of early drawings and watercolors made by Nevelson as a child and adolescent and while studying art in high school and New York, which document her artistic tendencies as youth and her early development as an artist and which provide an interesting contrast to her later work in sculpture. Photographs include ones of the Berliawsky family and Nevelson as a child, adolescent, and young woman in the 1920s and 1930s before she became known as an artist; ones of Nevelson from the mid-1950s to the 1980s, once she had become known, and began to be honored, as an artist; and ones of Nevelson's art work, as well as of various exibitions and installations of her work. Also included are a number of slides of the artist and her art work, including photographs taken by Dorothy Dehner in the mid-1950s at Louise Nevelson's house on Thirtieth Street.
The Louise Nevelson papers are arranged into nine series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1918-1985 (Boxes 1, 17, OV 21, 30, 31, Sol 42; 2.3 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1931-1984 (Boxes 1-2, 31-35, Sol 42; 6 linear feet)
Series 3: Subject Files, 1955-1988 (Box 3, 35-36; 1.7 linear feet)
Series 4: Business Records, 1946-1981 (Boxes 3-5, 36-38, Sol 42; 3.8 linear feet)
Series 5: Writings, 1936-1980 (Box 5, 38, Sol 42; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 6: Scrapbooks, 1935-1983 (Boxes 5, 18-19, OV 22-27, 38, Sol 42; 1.5 linear feet)
Series 7:Books and Printed Material, 1904-1985 (Boxes 6-13, 19, OV 28, 38-40, Sol 43; 9.5 linear feet)
Series 8: Art Work, 1905-1982 (Boxes 13, 20, 40, Sol 43; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 9: Photographs, circa 1903-1980s (Boxes 14-15, 20, OV 29, 40-41, Sol 43; 3.5 linear feet)
Louise Nevelson was born in 1899 in Kiev, Russia. Her parents, Isaac and Minna Berliawsky, and their children emigrated to America in 1905 and settled in Rockland, Maine, where the young Louise grew up as a bit of an outsider in local society. She decided upon a career in art at an early age and took some drawing classes in high school, before graduating in 1918. Two years later, she married Charles Nevelson, a wealthy businessman, and moved to New York. She proceeded to study painting, drawing, singing, acting, and eventually dancing. In 1922, Nevelson gave birth to a son, Myron (later called Mike). She eventually separated from her husband in the winter of 1932-1933; and they divorced officially in 1941.
Beginning in 1929, Nevelson began to study art full-time at the Art Students League, where she took classes with Kenneth Hayes Miller and Kimon Nicolaides. In 1931, she went to Europe and studied with Hans Hofmann in Munich before traveling to Italy and France. She returned to New York in 1932 and again studied for a time with Hofmann, who was by now a guest instructor at the Art Students League. In 1933, she met Diego Rivera while he was in New York working on his mural for Rockefeller Center and casually worked as his assistant for a short period. Shortly thereafter, she began to work in sculpture and joined a sculpture class taught by Chaim Gross at the Educational Alliance. She continued to draw and paint, and even took up etching, lithography, and other techniques at different points in her career, but from this time on, she concentrated on sculpture. Her early sculptures were primarily in plaster, clay, and tattistone.
During the thirties, Nevelson exhibited in a number of group shows (both non-juried and competitive ones), garnering some recognition for her work. In 1935, she taught mural painting at the Flatbush Boys Club in Brooklyn, as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), then went on to work in the fine-arts division as an easel painter and sculptor until 1939. In 1941, Nevelson had her first solo exhibition at the Nierendorf Gallery, run by Karl Nierendorf who represented her until his death in 1947. Both this and a one-woman show the following year received favorable reviews. It was around this time that she discovered the decorated shoeshine box of Joe Milone, a local tradesman, and arranged to have it exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, an occasion which received much notice in the press.
In the 1940s, Nevelson produced a great many works in stone, bronze, terra cotta, and wood, most of them being cubist studies of the figure. In 1943, she had a show titled "The Clown as the Center of his World" at the Norlyst Gallery, which featured works on a circus theme constructed from discarded pieces of wood and other material. This new work was not very well received at the time, and it wasn't until the mid-1950s that she began to work with discarded and found objects on a regular basis.
During the early-1950s, Nevelson attempted to exhibit her work as often as possible, eventually receiving various prizes and notices for her work in the press. She continued to struggle financially though and began to teach sculpture classes in the adult education program of the Great Neck, Long Island public schools in order to make ends meet. In 1955, she joined he Grand Central Moderns Gallery, which was run by Colette Roberts, and had several one-woman shows there. These included: "Ancient Games and Ancient Places" in 1955, featuring Bride of the Black Moon, "The Forest" in 1957, featuring First Personage, and "Moon Garden + One" in 1958, featuring her first wall, Sky Cathedral. During this period, she was painting her wood black and putting together entirely black exhibits; she went on to create works in white and gold in the early-1960s. Around this time, she also began to enclose her small sculptures within wooden boxes.
Nevelson joined the Martha Jackson Gallery in 1958, where she received a guaranteed income and finally achieved a certain degree of financial security. Her first show at the gallery, "Sky Columns Presence," took place in the fall of 1959. In 1960, she had her first one-woman exhibition in Europe at the Galerie Daniel Cordier in Paris. Later that year, her work, grouped together as "Dawn's Wedding Feast," was included in the group show, "Sixteen Americans," at the Museum of Modern Art, alongside the work of Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenburg, and other younger artists. She made her first museum sale in 1962 when the Whitney Museum of American Art purchased the black wall, Young Shadows. That same year, Nevelson's work was selected for the thirty-first Biennale in Venice.
Over the years, Nevelson took on several assistants, including Teddy Haseltine, Tom Kendall, and Diana Mackown, to help in the studio and with daily affairs. She also participated in various artists' groups, and served as President of the New York Chapter of Artists' Equity from 1957 to 1958, and as President of the national organization from 1962 to 1964. She left the Martha Jackson Gallery in 1962, and after a brief, unhappy stint with the Sidney Janis Gallery, she joined the Pace Gallery, which was run by Arnold Glimcher, in the fall of 1963. She proceeded to have shows of new work there about every two years for the remainder of her career. She had her first museum retrospective at the Whitney Museum in 1967, which featured over a hundred of her works from her drawings from the 1930s to her latest constructions. And in 1968, she was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters. By this time, Nevelson had achieved both critical and commercial success as an artist.
Nevelson always experimented with new materials; she continued to construct her black wood walls, but also went on make constructions from aluminium, plastic, and metal. In the fall of 1969, she was commissioned by Princeton University to do a monumental outdoor sculpture in Cor-ten steel (her first), and went on to do commissioned works for the Philadelphia Federal Courthouse, and Chase Manhattan Bank in New York, among others. In 1973, the Walker Art Center organized a major exhibition of Nevelson work which traveled around the country over the next two years. In 1975, she designed the chapel for St. Peter's Lutheran Church in midtown Manhattan.
Nevelson was widely honored for her work during her lifetime. Over the years, she received honorary degrees from Rutgers University and Harvard University, among other schools, as well as numerous awards, including the Brandeis University Creative Arts Award in Sculpture and the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture in 1971, the gold medal for sculpture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1983, and the National Medal of the Arts in 1985. By the time of her death on April 17, 1988, Nevelson was considered by and large one of the most important American sculptors of the twentieth century.
Sources consulted for this biographical note include Louise Nevelson: A Passionate Life by Laurie Lisle and Louise Nevelson by Arnold Glimcher.
Other resources relating to Louise Nevelson in the Archives include oral history interviews with Nevelson conducted by Dorothy Seckler, June 1964-January 14, 1964, and Arnold Glimcher, January 30, 1972. Also related are a 4 part untranscribed audio recording of an interview with Nevelson by Barbaralee Diamonstein, an audio recording of an interview with Nevelson conducted by Barbara Braun in 1983, and a video recording of Nevelson's 1958 exhibition installation at Grand Central Moderns gallery.
Donated 1966-1979 by Louise Nevelson and in 2018 by the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine via Michael Komanecky, Chief Curator. The Farnsworth Art Museum received the materials from Louise Nevelson, her son Mike Nevelson, brother Nathan Berliawksy, and others that were close to the artist.
The bulk of this collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website, with the exception of the 2017 addition. Use of material not digitized requires an appointment.
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews Search this
Sculpture, Modern -- 20th century -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Women sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Louise Nevelson papers, circa 1903-1982. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for a portion of the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Additional processing received Federal support from the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund, administered by the National Collections Program and the Smithsonian Collections Advisory Committee.
The papers of African American art historian, curator and art administrator, Lowery Stokes Sims, measure 24.5 linear feet and date from circa 1918-2017. Included are correspondence; photographs of Lowery and others at events; notes and journals;printed material; exhibition records and administrative records from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Museum of Art and Design and other organizations; VHS videos, DVD and audio cassettes of interviews with Sims regarding artists and exhibitions; and research files on artists.
Biographical / Historical:
Lowery Stokes Sims (1949-) is an African American art historian, curator and art administrator. Sims was the first African American Curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1972-1999), then served as Executive Director, President then Adjunct Curator of the Permanent Collection of The Studio Museum in Harlem (2000-2007), and Senior Curator and then Chief Curator of the Museum of Art and Design (2007-2015).
The collection was donated in 2019 by Lowery Stokes Sims as part of the Archives' African American Collecting Initiative funded by the Henry Luce Foundation.
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Researchers interested in accessing audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
This collection is access restricted; written permission is required. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Access, with permission, to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Art historians -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Arts administrators -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Art museum curators -- New York (State) -- New York Search this