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Baird's Office in the East Range
photographed by Thomas W. Smillie, ca. 1878.
Smithsonian Institution, neg. 2337.
After Henry's death in 1878, Spencer Fullerton Baird, Henry's long-time assistant in charge of the National Museum, was appointed Secretary of the Smithsonian. This view of Secretary Baird's office showed Baird's desk at the left, which he ordered in 1876 while Henry's assistant.
First patented by William S. Wooten of Indianapolis in 1874, this innovative desk provided a filing system with pigeon-holes and writing surfaces. Popular in the late nineteenth century, it was advertised as combining "neatness, system and order," with "every particle of space practically utilized."
Shortly after this photo was taken in 1879, the Secretary and his staff were relocated to the rooms formerly occupied by the Henry apartments.