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Smithsonian Institution Secretary, Charles Doolittle Walcott


DescriptionCharles Doolittle Walcott (1850-1927) is a highly respected figure in the history of geology and paleontology. Perhaps his most notable contribution to his field was his discovery of the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale, one of the most important fossil discoveries ever made. In addition to his distinguished field work, Walcott’s career included years of service as an administrative leader in the scientific community: as director of the U.S. Geological Survey, as secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, as organizer of the National Space and Aeronautics Administration, as a founding member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Smithsonian Institution Secretary continues the story Ellis L. Yochelson began in Charles Doolittle Walcott, Paleontologist (1998). Using Walcott’s letters and journals and the recollections of friends and colleagues, Yochelson discusses Walcott’s life and career as secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.

Accompanied by illustrations and photographs from private collection

AuthorEllis Yochelson is past-president of the Paleontological Society and cofounder and past-president of the History of Earth Sciences Society. He is the author of The National Museum of Natural History: Seventy-Five Years in the Natural History Building and editor of the two-volumeProceedings of the North American Paleontological Convention.