The administration of the United States National Museum required curators to submit regular reports on the activities of the departments, divisions, and sections. Prior
to about 1900 these reports were often made monthly and semiannually as well as annually. The reports were traditionally submitted to the Director of the National Museum to
be used in preparing the published Annual Report of the United States National Museum. The individual reports, however, were not reproduced in their entirety in the published
Annual Report and generally contain more information than is to be found in the published version.
Reports were stored by the Office of Correspondence and Reports (later known as the Office of Correspondence and Documents), and then by the Office of the Registrar.
Includes reports submitted to the Director of the United States National Museum by curators and administrators.
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
These records document the history, operation, and activities of the AOU, 1883-1977. For many years the papers were scattered in the hands of various officers until
1969 when the Committee on Archives was established. In 1974 the collection was brought together at the Smithsonian Institution. The records include correspondence, constitutions
and by-laws, minutes, membership lists, nominations, fiscal records, contracts, manuscripts, reports, biographical and bibliographical materials, drawings, memorabilia, programs,
abstracts, scrapbooks, and photographs.
The American Ornithologists' Union (AOU) was organized by three members of the Nuttall Ornithological Club, Joel Asaph Allen, William Brewster, and Elliott Coues, who
wanted to establish an American society for ornithologists similar to the British Ornithologists' Union. They issued a call which was answered by twenty-three noted American
ornithologists, later designated the founders, to meet on September 26, 1883, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Formal incorporation occurred in
1888 in the District of Columbia. The aim of the AOU is the advancement of ornithological science through annual meetings, membership, committees, and publications. There
are several classes of membership: Patron; Benefactor; Member; Elective Member, bestowed upon those members who have made contributions to ornithology; and Fellow, the highest
class, which is bestowed upon Elective Members who have made the most significant contributions. Publications of the Union include its quarterly magazine, The Auk;
the Handbook of North American Birds; the Check-list of North American Birds; and Ornithological Monographs. The affairs of the AOU are administered under
a constitution and by-laws by elected officers and a council.