337.16 cu. ft. (672 document boxes) (116 microfilm reels)
Records prior to 1907 consist mostly of incoming correspondence (outgoing correspondence can be found in record unit 112). After 1907 the records contain both incoming
and outgoing correspondence. Much of the material consists of routine public inquiries. In addition, these records document museum accessions and Smithsonian expeditions and
field trips. Other topics include Smithsonian participation in expositions, operation of certain museum divisions, and miscellaneous subjects. Accession records include: data
on the Herber R. Bishop jade collection; William Joseph Hammer collection of incandescent lamps, 1905; Robert Ward collection of ferns, 1905-1906; transfer of the United States
Patent Office collections to the United States National Museum, 1906-1909; Hubert G. Squires collection of Chinese porcelain; Hippisley collection of Chinese porcelain, 1909-1912;
collections from the Arizona fossil forest; E. A. Wakefield collection of Basuto pottery; James D. S. Chalmers collection of minerals; McIntire collection of historical objects;
Charles Fuller Baker collection from the Galapagos Islands; United States National Museum collection of postage stamps; Isaac Lea collection of gems and mollusks; George D.
Seymour collection of clocks; Joseph Priestley collection of scientific apparatus; Robert C. Hall ethnological collection; Dwight J. Partello bequest; John B. Bernadou bequest;
Bernard Rogan Ross ethnological collections; Mrs. James W. Pinchot collection of textiles; Richard Mansfield collection of theatrical costumes; B. F. Chandler herbarium; Morris
Loeb collection of chemical compounds; Donn collection of Lincoln relics; Frank S. Collins herbarium and library; Oldroyd collection of Lincoln relics; Thomas Jefferson writing
desk; Richard E. Byrd airplane "Josephine Ford"; Walter W. Holmes fossil bird bone collection; Brush-Swan electrical apparatus collection; collection of first ladies' gowns
in the United States National Museum; Virgil Michael Brand coin collection; Charles Russell Orcutt natural history collections; Isobel H. Lenman collection of Old World archaeology;
American period costume collection in the United States National Museum; Charles A. Lindbergh collection of personal memorabilia; Nordenskold Mesa Verde collection; Joseph
Nelson Rose collection of cacti; Osborne collection of Guatemalan textiles; United States National Museum collection of building stones; the Holt collection of birds from
South America, 1936-1940; the Annie H. Hegeman lace and textile collection; the United States National Museum's collection of Jean Leon Gerome Ferris paintings; James Townsend
Russell anthropological collection; the Harvey Harlow Nininger meteorite collection; the Hope diamond.
Records related to Smithsonian expeditions and field work include: Mexican-United States Boundary Commission; expeditions and collecting in the Philippine Islands, 1903-1905;
University of Pennsylvania expedition to Babylonia, 1887-1888; Metropolitan Museum of Art Expedition to Egypt, 1909; Arthur deC. Sowerby collecting trips to China, 1909-1936;
Owen Bryant-William Palmer expedition to Java, 1905-1910; Smithsonian-Roosevelt African expedition, 1909; Rainey African expedition, 1911; Smithsonian-Harvard expedition to
Altai Mountains, Siberia, 1912; National Geographic Society-Yale University expedition to Peru, 1915; Smithsonian-Universal Film Manufacturing Company African Expedition,
1920; David C. Graham collecting work in China, 1925-1940; Hugh McCormick Smith collecting work in Siam; Marsh-Darien expedition, 1924; Smithsonian biological survey of the
Panama Canal Zone, 1911-1912; Ellsworth Paine Killip collecting work in Europe, 1935, and Venezuela, 1943-1944; Henry Bascom Collins, Jr., field work in Mississippi and Louisiana,
1938; Herbert Girton Deignan's collecting work in Siam, 1936-1937; the Johnson-Smithsonian Deep Sea Expedition to the West Indies, 1933; Stanley John's collecting work in
the British West Indies, 1935-1938; Charles W. Gilmore and Frank H. H. Roberts collecting work in Arizona, 1937; the National Geographic Society-Smithsonian Institution Archeological
Expedition to Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1938-1939; Matthew William Stirling's field work in Mexico, 1940-1946; the National Geographic Society-University of Virginia Expedition to
the South Pacific Islands, 1939; Walter W. Taylor, Jr.'s, archeological field work in Mexico, 1940-1945; Floyd A. McClure's bamboo investigations in Mexico and Central and
South America, 1943-1944; Henri Pittier's botanical field work in Venezuela, 1944-1946; Philip Hershkovitz field work in Colombia, 1946-1950; the Finn Ronne Antarctic Research
Expedition, 1946-1948; Brina Kessel field work in Alaska, 1950; Clifford Evans, Jr., field work in Ecuador, 1954-1958; Marshall T. Newman field work in Peru, 1955-1957; James
Paul Chapin collecting work in Africa, 1957; Ralph S. Solecki field work in Iraq, 1954-1959.
Records that document Smithsonian involvement in expositions include: South Carolina and West Indian Exposition, Charleston, 1902; Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis,
1904; Jamestown (Virginia) Tercentenary Exposition, 1907; International Photographic Exposition, Dresden, 1909; World's Columbian Exposition, 1896; Panama-California Exposition,
San Diego, 1915; Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, 1915; International Silk Exposition, New York, 1921; Pageant of Progress Exposition, Chicago, 1922;
Sesquicentennial Exposition, Philadelphia, 1926; Progress Exposition, New Haven, 1926; International Exposition, Seville, Spain, 1927; Century of Progress Exposition, Chicago,
1931; Great Lakes Exposition, Cleveland, 1936; New York World's Fair, 1939; Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco, 1939; Texas Centennial Exposition, Dallas,
1936; Greater Texas and Pan American Exposition, 1937; Port-au-Prince Bicentennial Exposition, Haiti, 1949.
Records related to the origin or operation of subdivisions of the United States National Museum include: development of the Division of Textiles; history of the National
Herbarium, 1886-1908; development of the Division of Medicine; development of the Division of Mineral Technology, 1914; Traveling Exhibit Service; Division of Graphic Arts;
Division of Numismatics.
Miscellaneous topics covered by these records include: establishment of Bermuda Biological Station, 1900-1904; United States military operations against insurgents in the
Philippine Islands, 1904; the Lincoln Memorial Commission, 1913; proposed construction of a George Washington Memorial; National Museum involvement in search for the Port
Orford meteorite; exhibition of the "Spirit of St. Louis"; National Museum exhibition of objects from World War I; use of the National Museum Building by the Bureau of War
Risk Insurance in World War I; proposed creation of a National Museum of Engineering and Industry under Smithsonian control; Samuel P. Langley's aerodrome experiments; Smithsonian
activities during World War II, particularly the evacuation of United States National Museum collections from Washington; A. Remington Kellogg's work on the Governmental Advisory
Committee on Oceanography and the International Whaling Commission; United States National Museum correspondence with Phineas T. Barnum, 1882-1891; Washington A. Roebling's
Most of the correspondence is directed to the officer in immediate charge of the United States National Museum (Richard Rathbun, 1897-1918; William deC. Ravenel, 1918-1925;
Alexander Wetmore, 1925-1948; A. Remington Kellogg, 1948-1962) with lesser amounts to John Enos Graf, who was appointed Associate Director, United States National Museum,
in 1931. Also, a smaller amount of correspondence is addressed to the Secretary of the Smithsonian (Spencer F. Baird, 1878-1887; Samuel P. Langley, 1887-1906; Charles D. Walcott,
1907-1927; Charles G. Abbot, 1928-1944; Alexander Wetmore, 1944-1952; Leonard Carmichael, 1953-1964) and to various museum curators. This correspondence was usually referred
to the chief administrator of the United States National Museum for response.
In 1902 the Museum's Division of Correspondence and Documents instituted a numeric filing system for the general correspondence of the United States National Museum.
That correspondence, as found in this record unit, comprises most of the central administrative files of the Museum. Prior to 1902, museum correspondence had been filed alphabetically
by correspondent (see record unit 189). Beginning in 1862 the accession records of the National Museum had been filed using a numeric system similar to that later adopted
for correspondence. Finally in 1924 the two numbering systems were integrated.
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women’s Committee.
These papers include a very small amount of general correspondence regarding membership in scientific organizations and actions taken by the Washington Council of Social
Agencies (1930); field notes of bird investigations in Haiti, Florida, the Florida Keys, and the West Indies (1912-1927); research notes taken on the Albatross Philippine
Expedition (1907-1909); field notes and specimen collections made on the Thomas Barrera expedition to Cuba (1914); field notes, manuscript, maps, supply inventories,
financial accounts, correspondence and newspaper clippings regarding the expedition to the West Indies under the Walter Rathbone Bacon Travelling Scholarship (1928-1930);
notes, balloon observations, log accounts on board the Caroline, sonic soundings, photographs, blueprints, newspaper clippings and correspondence describing the first
Johnson-Smithsonian deep-sea expedition to the West Indies (1933); correspondence, manuscripts and photographs documenting the Bartsch process for the preservation of wood
fibers (1914-1929); biographical material regarding Bartsch and Carlos de la Torre; mollusk notes unidentified; speeches; student theses, reports and examinations; photographs
of Bartsch, Carlos de la Torre, mollusca, birds, and unidentified research activities and friends on Loggerhead Key, Tortugas, Bird Key, Margarita Island, Cuba, and other
islands in the Caribbean; prints for Bartsch's publication on "Pirates of the Deep--Stories of the Squid and Octopus;" newspaper clippings regarding mussels and pearls for
the pearl button industry (1907-1909), and Bartsch's activities in conservation (1933).
Correspondents include Charles G. Abbot, Fred Corry Bishopp, William H. Dall, Eldridge R. Fenimore Johnson, William B. Marshall, G. E. Rice, Carlos de la Torre y de la
Huerta, Washington Council of Social Agencies, Alexander Wetmore, Francis White.
Born in Tuntschendorf, Silesia, Paul Bartsch (1871-1960) received an early interest in nature from his father, who was an entrepreneur and amateur naturalist, and an
interest in medicine probably from his mother, who had received a degree in obstetrics at the University of Breslau. As a result of a depression in the 1880s, the elder Bartsch
went into financial bankruptcy. By utilizing the last savings of Bartsch's mother, the Bartsch family was able to emigrate to the United States, finally settling down in Burlington,
Paul Bartsch was at first determined to become an ornithologist, but after talking to Professor Samuel Calvin, geologist at the State University of Iowa, he instead enrolled
for course work which included a broad spectrum of the various sciences. Before completing his degree, Bartsch left for Washington, D.C., to accept a position as an aid with
William H. Dall, honorary curator of the Division of Mollusks, United States National Museum.
After entering into research on mollusks, Bartsch expanded his activities, pursuing ornithological investigations and teaching biology and zoology to university students.
Interested in medicine and the biological training of medical students, Bartsch began teaching histology at the Medical School of Howard University in 1899. This position
lasted for thirty-seven years when he became director of the Histological and Physiological Laboratory. In 1900, Bartsch began teaching zoology at George Washington University,
becoming professor emeritus in 1945.
Bartsch's work at the United States National Museum, meanwhile, led to his appointment as assistant curator of the Division of Mollusks in 1905, and then curator of that
division in 1914. He retired from his duties at the Smithsonian Institution in 1946. Bartsch's work on explorations included positions as the Smithsonian representative on
board the Albatross Philippine Expedition (1907-1909) and director of the Thomas Barrera expedition to Cuba (1914); he received the Walter Rathbone Bacon Travelling
Scholarship to explore the West Indies (1928-1930) and was director of the first Johnson-Smithsonian deep-sea expedition to the West Indies (1933), all of which are documented
to some extent in these papers. In his expedition to the West Indies Bartsch was aided by his friend Carlos de la Torre. This resulted in their collaboration on the publications
regarding the Annulariidae of Cuba, the Bahamas, and Hispanola, and the Cyclophoridae of the Americas. Their monograph, "The Terrestrial Mollusks of the Family Urocoptidae
in the Island of Cuba," is still unpublished.
This collection contains almost no private correspondence (for official correspondence see Museum of Natural History, Division of Mollusks, Record Unit 73).
Besides receiving his Ph.D. degree from the University of Iowa in 1905, Bartsch was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from George Washington University (1937).
He was president of the Wild Flower Preservation Society (1920-1924), president of the Biological Society in Washington, D.C. (1913-1915), and vice-president of the Washington
Academy (1913-1915), among other numerous memberships and offices which he held in scientific societies.