Among the oldest and most enduring of American institutions are those that have been devoted to the encouragement of the arts and the sciences. During the nineteenth century, a great many scientific societies came and went, and a few in individual disciplines achieved permanence. But the century also witnessed the founding of three major organizations with broadly interdisciplinary interests: the Smithsonian Institution in 1846; the Association of American Geologists and Naturalists, which in 1848 became the American Association for the Promotion (later, Advancement) of Science; and the National Academy of Sciences in 1863.
The founding of the National Academy of Sciences represented a momentous event in the history of science in the United States. Its establishment in the midst of a great civil war was fortuitous, perhaps, and its early existence precarious; and in this it mirrored the state of science at that time. The antecedents of the new organization in American science were the national academies in Great Britain and on the Continent, whose membership included the principal men of science of the realm. The chartering of academies under the auspices of a sovereign lent the prestige and elements of support and permanence the scientists sought, and in return they made their scientific talents and counsel available to the state.
The National Academy of Sciences: The First Hundred Years, 1863-1963 describes the National Academies from inception through the beginning of the space age. The book describes the Academies' work through different periods in history, including the Postbellum years, World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II.
National Academy of Sciences. 1978. The National Academy of Sciences: The First Hundred Years, 1863-1963. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/579.
|1 The Academy's Antecedents||1-15|
|2 Scientists and Scientific Organizations in Mid-Century America||16-42|
|3 The Incorporation and Organization of the Academy||43-78|
|4 The Government Calls upon the Academy||79-99|
|5 Postbellum Years and the Crisis within the Academy||100-133|
|6 The End of the Nineteenth Century||134-164|
|7 The Academy Marks Its Semicentennial||165-199|
|8 World War I and the Creation of the National Research Council||200-241|
|9 The Research Council's Permanent Status and the Academy's New Home||242-280|
|10 The Twenties: New Horizons in Science||281-316|
|11 The Academy during the Great Depression||317-346|
|12 The New Dealand the Science Advisory Board||347-381|
|13 The Academy in World War II||382-432|
|14 The Postwar Organization of Science||433-474|
|15 The Years between the Wars||475-516|
|16 The Academy in the Fifties--Beginnings of the Space Age||517-564|
|17 Academy Centennial||565-594|
|APPENDIX A Act of Incorporation: National Academy of Sciences||595-597|
|APPENDIX B Minutes of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences at the Meeting Held for Organization in the Chapel of the New York University on the 22nd, 23rd,and 24th days of April 1863||598-605|
|APPENDIX C Constitution and By-Laws of the National Academy of Sciences, Adopted January 1864||606-613|
|APPENDIX D Members and Foreign Associates of theNational Academy of Sciences,1863-1963, and Year of Election*||614-633|
|APPENDIX E Officers and Members of the Council of the National Academy of Sciences, 1863-1963||634-643|
|APPENDIX F Executive Orders Defining the Duties and Functions of the National Research Council||644-647|
|APPENDI X G Chairmen of the National Research Council||648-649|
|APPENDIX H Executive Secretaries and Executive Officers of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council||650-651|
|APPENDIX I Executive Orders Relating to the Science Advisory Board: Establishment, July 31, 1933; Appointment of Additional Members, May 28, 1934; and Continuation, July 15, 1935||652-656|
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