Solomon G Brown was also a poet, lecturer, and scientific technician. He joined the Smithsonian in 1852 and remained there for fifty-four years until he retired in 1906.
#SolomonGBrown (February 14, 1829 - June 26, 1906) Born around 1829, Brown was one of six children. With the unfortunate death of his father in 1833, Brown's chance of attending school and receiving a formal education was over. However, Brown began working for Lambert Tree, assistant postmaster with the DC post office. It was in this capacity that Brown first met Joseph Henry, the Smithsonian's first Secretary. Tree detailed Brown to work with Henry, #SamuelBMorse, and #AlfredVail, while they developed the first magnetic telegraph that ran from DC to Baltimore, Maryland.
In 1852, #SolomonBrown was hired as a general laborer by the Smithsonian under Henry. Initially, he built exhibit cases, cleaned and moved furniture for the Institution, and shortly became the supervisor of a small group of Smithsonian workers. While working, Brown developed a close relationship with then Assistant Secretary Baird, a naturalist and later second Secretary of the Institution. The two worked together until Baird's death in 1887. Baird trusted Brown implicitly and when out of town, relied on Brown to be his "eyes and ears" of the Institution. Brown and Baird frequently corresponded about the operations of the Smithsonian, city events, and their personal lives, sharing a wry sense of humor about life. From these letters we learn that Brown entertained visitors, handled the mail, made travel arrangements, performed clerical duties, and paid the household staff for the Baird family in addition to his other numerous Smithsonian duties.