Ruel Pardee Tolman
Artist Ruel Pardee Tolman (1878-1954) came to the Smithsonian in 1912. He served the Smithsonian for thirty-six years in a variety of positions and eventually retired in 1948. From 1932 to 1946, Tolman served as Acting Director of the Smithsonian’s National Collection of Fine Arts; he later became Director. However, his interest in Washington, DC did not stop at the Smithsonian.

In addition to Tolman’s dedication to the Smithsonian, he also worked as a drawing instructor at the Corcoran Gallery of Art from 1906-1919, and served as a founder and the President of the Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers Society of Washington.

Tolman was a multitalented artist and photographer. During his time in Washington, not only did he capture many images of Smithsonian staff, but he was also inspired by the culture of Washington, DC and surrounding cities.

This flickr set contains a sample of his collection at the Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7433. It is a glimpse of people who helped shape the Smithsonian Institution but, unfortunately, there is very little identification attributed with these photos. If you happen to recognize any of the men and women pictured, please feel free to comment.

To learn more about Ruel Pardee Tolman, read "Ruel P. Tolman’s Images: Who Are You?" on THE BIGGER PICTURE.

To learn more about archives and the Smithsonian's history, visit THE BIGGER PICTURE. To view more collections from the Smithsonian, visit the Collection Search Center.
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