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Western Union Telegraph Company Records

Creator:
United Telegraph Workers.  Search this
Western Union Telegraph Company  Search this
Extent:
452 Cubic feet (871 boxes and 23 map folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Patents
Scrapbooks
Contracts
Drawings
Articles
Administrative records
Clippings
Books
Photographs
Newsletters
Photograph albums
Specifications
Technical documents
Date:
circa 1820-1995
Summary:
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.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into twenty-six 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: Materials for Interfile (Series 1; Series 3; Series 13; Series 15-23; Series 25-26)
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.
Related Materials:
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.
Separated Materials:
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.
Provenance:
The collection was donated by Western Union in September of 1971.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.

Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs and negatives. Special arrangements must be made to view some of the audio visual materials. Contact the Archives Center at 202-633-3270.
Rights:
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.
Topic:
Electric engineering  Search this
Electric engineers  Search this
Electrical equipment  Search this
Communication -- International cooperation  Search this
Electrical engineers  Search this
Electrical science and technology  Search this
Communications equipment  Search this
Telegraphers  Search this
Telegraph  Search this
Genre/Form:
Patents
Scrapbooks -- 20th century
Contracts
Drawings
Articles
Administrative records
Clippings
Books
Photographs -- 19th century
Newsletters
Photograph albums
Specifications
Photographs -- 20th century
Scrapbooks -- 19th century
Technical documents
Citation:
Western Union Telegraph Company Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0205
See more items in:
Western Union Telegraph Company Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0205
Online Media:

United States Army Engineer Museum

Collection Creator:
National Museum of Natural History (U.S.). Department of Anthropology  Search this
Smithsonian Institution. Department of Anthropology  Search this
Smithsonian Institution. United States National Museum. Department of Anthropology  Search this
Container:
Box 60
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Some materials are restricted.

Access to the Department of Anthropology records requires an appointment.
Collection Rights:
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Collection Citation:
Department of Anthropology Records, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
See more items in:
Department of Anthropology records
Department of Anthropology records / Series 24: Antiquities Act Permits / 24.3: Antiquities Act Permits – Post 1960
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-naa-xxxx-0311-ref13321

Folder 2

Collection Creator::
National Museum of History and Technology. Division of Mechanical and Civil Engineering  Search this
Container:
Oversize
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 05-111, National Museum of History and Technology. Division of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Architectural Drawings
See more items in:
Architectural Drawings
Architectural Drawings / Oversize
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-fa05-111-refidd1e341

Hialeah Fire Engine Museum - Hidalgo

Collection Creator::
National Museum of History and Technology. Division of Transportation  Search this
Container:
Box 9 of 23
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 239, National Museum of History and Technology. Division of Transportation, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Series 1: CORRESPONDENCE, CIRCA 1927-1973. / Box 9
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0239-refidd1e4517

Royal Engineers Museum (Chatham, UK)

Collection Creator:
National Air and Space Museum. Archives Division.  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
The majority of the Archives Department's public reference requests can be answered using material in these files, which may be accessed through the Reading Room at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. More specific information can be requested by contacting the Archives Research Request.
See more items in:
National Air & Space Museum Technical Reference Files: Museums, Exhibits, Memorials, Planetariums, Science Centers
National Air & Space Museum Technical Reference Files: Museums, Exhibits, Memorials, Planetariums, Science Centers / Series U: Museums, Exhibits, Memorials, Planetariums, Science Centers, by Name
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-xxxx-1183-u-ref1795

Royal Engineers Museum (Chatham, UK)

Collection Creator:
National Air and Space Museum. Archives Division.  Search this
Container:
Drawer UR, Folder 671840-01
Type:
Archival materials
Scope and Contents note:
Documents
Collection Restrictions:
The majority of the Archives Department's public reference requests can be answered using material in these files, which may be accessed through the Reading Room at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. More specific information can be requested by contacting the Archives Research Request.
See more items in:
National Air & Space Museum Technical Reference Files: Museums, Exhibits, Memorials, Planetariums, Science Centers
National Air & Space Museum Technical Reference Files: Museums, Exhibits, Memorials, Planetariums, Science Centers / Series U: Museums, Exhibits, Memorials, Planetariums, Science Centers, by Name / Royal Engineers Museum (Chatham, UK)
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-xxxx-1183-u-ref1796

Contributions from the Museum of History and Technology: Science and Technology paper 41: Tunnel Engineering-A Museum Treatment

Author:
Vogel, Robert M.  Search this
Object Type:
Smithsonian staff publication
Electronic document
Year:
1964
Data source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:SILSRO_82422

Correspondence, 1886-1919

Creator:
United States National Museum Division of Engineering  Search this
Subject:
United States National Museum Department of Arts and Industries  Search this
United States National Museum Division of Mineral Technology  Search this
Physical description:
1.5 cu. ft. processed holdings
.25 cu. ft. unprocessed holdings
Type:
Manuscripts
Date:
1886
1886-1919
Topic:
Engineering--History  Search this
Museum curators  Search this
Local number:
SIA RS00406
See more items in:
Correspondence 1886-1919 [United States National Museum Division of Engineering]
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_219599

Curatorial Records, 1952-1989

Creator:
National Museum of American History (U.S.) Division of Engineering and Industry  Search this
Subject:
Multhauf, Robert P  Search this
Vogel, Robert M  Search this
Battison, Edwin A  Search this
Stephens, Carlene E. 1949-  Search this
Mayr, Otto  Search this
Post, Robert C  Search this
Noble, David F (David Franklin) 1935-  Search this
Stine, Jeffrey K  Search this
United States National Museum  Search this
National Museum of American History (U.S.) Division of Mechanical and Civil Engineering  Search this
United States National Museum Division of Engineering  Search this
Physical description:
5 cu. ft. processed holdings
1.5 cu. ft. unprocesed holdings
Type:
Manuscripts
Black-and-white photographs
Black-and-white transparencies
Date:
1952
1952-1989
Topic:
Engineering--History  Search this
Industries--History  Search this
Museum curators  Search this
Documentary films  Search this
Textile factories  Search this
Museums--Collection management  Search this
Local number:
SIA RS00537
See more items in:
Curatorial Records 1952-1989 [National Museum of American History (U.S.) Division of Engineering and Industry]
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_219694

Western Union Engineering Museum Catalog

Collection Creator:
United Telegraph Workers.  Search this
Western Union Telegraph Company  Search this
Container:
Box 677, Folder 8-10
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.

Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs and negatives. Special arrangements must be made to view some of the audio visual materials. Contact the Archives Center at 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
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.
Collection Citation:
Western Union Telegraph Company Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Western Union Telegraph Company Records
Western Union Telegraph Company Records / Series 20: Western Union Museum / 20.2: Correspondence
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0205-ref9235

Records

Creator::
United States National Museum. Division of Engineering  Search this
Extent:
4.5 cu. ft. (9 document boxes)
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Black-and-white photographs
Clippings
Manuscripts
Date:
1886-1956
Descriptive Entry:
These records document the activities of the Division of Engineering and its predecessors. Included is early correspondence between curators and administrators of the USNM and the Smithsonian; an incomplete general correspondence file, R-Z, circa 1904-1919; annual and quarterly reports of the Division; histories of the Division of Technology, 1906; administrative files including budgets, plans of operations, object inventories, and list of objects packed for evacuation during World War II; postcards and photographs of museums and exhibits from Mitman's study of European engineering, industrial, and science museums in 1932; files, including minutes of an organizing committee and correspondence between Mitman and Holbrook Fitz John Porter and Frederick A. Waldron, concerning an effort to establish a national museum of engineering and industry under the direction of the Smithsonian; and files including correspondence and biographical information, documenting the Division of Mineral and Mechanical Technology's effort to establish a biographical file of American inventors, engineers, and industrialists.
Historical Note:
The Section of Steam Transportation was the first curatorial division in the United States National Museum (USNM) responsible for mechanical, technical, and scientific objects in the collection. The Section was established in 1886, with J. Elfreth Watkins as Honorary Curator. Two years later the Section was renamed the Section of Transportation and Engineering with Watkins as Curator. William Crawford Winlock succeeded Watkins and was named Honorary Curator of Apparatus in 1891; he served until 1895. Watkins rejoined the Smithsonian in 1895 as Curator of the Section of Technological Collections; later he was Custodian of the Electrical Collections in 1896 and Curator of the Technological Collections in 1897.

In 1898 a major reorganization occurred in the USNM. That year the Division of Technology (Mechanical Phases) became part of the Department of Anthropology, with Watkins as Curator of the Division, serving until his death in 1903. George C. Maynard, who originally served as Aid and Custodian in the Division, was appointed Assistant Curator in 1901. In 1904 the Division was renamed the Division of Technology. In 1912 its name was changed to the Division of Mechanical Technology with Maynard as Curator until 1918.

From 1904 to 1913 the Department of Mineral Technology with Charles D. Walcott as Honorary Curator had only nominal recognition, but was given full curatorial status as the Division of Mineral Technology in 1913 with Chester G. Gilbert as Curator. Carl W. Mitman joined the Division as Assistant Curator in 1916. In 1918 Joseph E. Pogue was appointed Assistant Curator.

In 1919 the Department of Arts and Industries was established with the Division of Mineral Technology reporting to that Department while the Division of Mechanical Technology was still under Anthropology. Gilbert and Pogue were each Curator and Mitman was Assistant Curator in Mineral Technology. In 1920 both divisions were placed under Arts and Industries; Gilbert was named Honorary Curator, staying until 1935. Mitman was promoted to Curator of Mechanical Technology in 1920 and Curator of Mineral and Mechanical Technology from 1921 to 1931.Other curators included Paul M. Frank, Assistant Curator of Mineral Technology, 1922; Paul E. Garber, Assistant Curator, 1925-1931; and Frank A. Taylor, Assistant Curator, 1929-1931.

A major reorganization in the USNM occurred in 1932, with the Division of Engineering and Industries under the Department of Arts and Industries. Engineering had sections of Mechanical Technology, Aeronautics, and Mineral Technology. Staff included Mitman, Curator of the Division, 1932, and in Charge of Mineral Technology, 1932-1938; Taylor, Assistant Curator of Mechanical Technology, 1932, Curator of the Division and in Charge of Mechanical Technology,1933-1938; and Garber, Assistant Curator of Aeronautics.

Another reorganization occurred in 1939 when the Division was placed under the Department of Engineering and Industries. The Division, with Taylor as Curator, included sections of Transportation and Civil Engineering, Aeronautics, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Communications, Mining and Metallurgical Engineering, Tools, and Physical Sciences and Measurement. Garber continued as Assistant Curator and Associate Curator of Aeronautics, 1942-1946; Fred C. Reed, Acting Associate Curator of Aeronautics,1943-1946; Mitman, Curator of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering; and Taylor in charge of the last Section.

In 1947 a reorganization occurred at the section level with Engineering responsible for Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Marine Transportation, Land Transportation, Electricity, and Physical Science and Measurement. Taylor continued as Curator of the Division until 1948 when he was named Acting Curator. Smith Hempstone Oliver was appointed Associate Curator of Land Transportation in 1947 and in 1948, Kenneth M. Parry as Associate Curator of Electricity. In 1954 Robert P. Multauf was appointed Associate Curator of the Division and Curator in 1955.He was also in charge of the sections of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Tools, and Physical Science and Measurement; Parry was Associate Curator of Marine Transportation and Electricity; and Oliver, Associate Curator of Land Transportation and Horology, a new Section in 1955.
Topic:
Engineering  Search this
Engineering museums  Search this
Genre/Form:
Black-and-white photographs
Clippings
Manuscripts
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 297, United States National Museum. Division of Engineering, Records
Identifier:
Record Unit 297
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-sia-faru0297
Online Media:

Return to the Sea Exhibit, NHB

Author:
Unknown  Search this
Subject:
National Museum of Natural History (U.S.)  Search this
Life in the Sea Hall (Exhibition) (1963: United States National Museum)  Search this
Physical description:
Color: Black and White; Size: 10w x 8h; Type of Image: Exhibit; Medium: Photographic print
Type:
Photographic print
Exhibit
Date:
1964
Topic:
Exhibitions  Search this
Museum visitors  Search this
Return to the Sea (Exhibition)  Search this
Ocean engineering  Search this
Oceanography  Search this
Standard number:
MNH-1261 or MNH1261
Restrictions & Rights:
No restrictions
Data Source:
Smithsonian Archives - History Div
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sic_10634

Guide through the collections / Published by the Deutsches Museum ; English translation by V. Maasburg and J. Peryer

Author:
Deutsches Museum (Germany)  Search this
Subject:
Deutsches Museum (Germany)  Search this
Physical description:
287 p. : ill. (some col.), plans ; 23 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Germany
Munich
Date:
1988
Topic:
Science museums  Search this
Industrial museums  Search this
Engineering museums  Search this
Call number:
AM101 .D48 E1988
AM101.D48 E1988
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_429771

National Museum of Engineering and Industry : to be under the direction of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C

Author:
American Association of Engineering Societies  Search this
Subject:
National Museum of Engineering and Industry (Proposed)  Search this
Physical description:
24 p. : ill., map, port. ; 25 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
1924
Topic:
Engineering--Museums  Search this
Industrial museums  Search this
Call number:
TL180.W3 N27 1924
TL180.W3N27 1924
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_438935

Museum guide book / V.K. O'Meara's Hialeah Fire Engine Museum

Author:
Hialeah Fire Engine Museum  Search this
Subject:
O'Meara, Vincent K Collectors and collecting  Search this
Hialeah Fire Engine Museum  Search this
Physical description:
[32] p. : ill., ports. ; 15 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1900
1987
[19--?]
Topic:
Fire engines--Collectors and collecting  Search this
Call number:
TH9371 .H62
TH9371.H62
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_318142

Catalogue of the collections in the Science museum, South Kensington, with descriptive and historical notes and illustrations. Electrical engineering, comp. by F. St. A. Hartley, A.C.G.I

Author:
Science Museum (Great Britain)  Search this
Hartley, F. St. A  Search this
Subject:
Science Museum (Great Britain)  Search this
Physical description:
116 p. XIV pl. on 8 l. 25 cm
Type:
Catalogs
Date:
1927
Topic:
Electrical engineering--Museums  Search this
Electric machinery  Search this
Call number:
TK6.G72L84 1927
TK6.G72L84 1927
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_352066

The Engineerium : a history & guide

Subject:
British Engineerium  Search this
Physical description:
37 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 24 cm
Type:
Guidebooks
Date:
1977
[1977?]
Topic:
Engines--Museums  Search this
Call number:
TJ461 .E54 1977
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_940592

Smithsonian Collections Space Framework Plan Published

Author:
Tompkins, William  Search this
Ennnaco, Walter  Search this
Subject:
Kurin, Richard 1950-  Search this
Miller, Scott E (Scott Everett)  Search this
Kress, W. John  Search this
Tompkins, William  Search this
Office of Facilities Planning and Engineering Services Engineering and Design Branch  Search this
Office of Facilities Services  Search this
National Collections Program  Search this
Collections Space Steering Committee  Search this
Smithsonian Collections Space Framework Plan Securing the Future for Smithsonian Collections  Search this
Smithsonian Collections Space Framework Plan Complete Findings  Search this
Ayers Saint Gross (Firm)  Search this
Undersecretary for Finance and Administration  Search this
Undersecretary for History, Art, and Culture  Search this
Undersecretary for Science  Search this
Date:
11 September 2015
Topic:
Museum storage facilities  Search this
National Collections  Search this
Storage facilities  Search this
Storage  Search this
Plant engineering  Search this
Facility management  Search this
Facilities Planning  Search this
Museums--Collection management  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Archives - History Div
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sic_14473

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