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James Smithson Collection, 1796-1951, circa 1974, 1981-1983

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Catalog Data

Creator:
Smithson, James 1765-1829  Search this
Subject:
Macie, Elizabeth Hungerford Keate 1728-1800  Search this
Bell, Alexander Graham 1847-1922  Search this
Langley, S. P (Samuel Pierpont) 1834-1906  Search this
Rhees, William Jones 1830-1907  Search this
Northumberland, Hugh Percy Duke of 1712-1786  Search this
Smithsonian Institution  Search this
Pembroke College (University of Cambridge)  Search this
Physical description:
5.19 cu. ft. (8 document boxes) (2 half document boxes) (1 16x20 box) (oversize material)
Culture:
Portraits  Search this
Type:
Black-and-white photographs
Collection descriptions
Serials (publications)
Maps
Drawings
Clippings
Books
Illustrations
Manuscripts
Plates (illustrations)
Art objects
Date:
1796
1796-1983
1796-1951, circa 1974, 1981-1983
Notes:
James Smithson (circa 1765-1829) was an amateur chemist and mineralogist of some reputation in his own day. He was the illegitimate son of Sir Hugh Smithson, Bt. (later duke of Northumberland) and Elizabeth Hungerford Keate Macie, a gentlewoman. To posterity he is best known as the founder of the Smithsonian Institution, created by a residual bequest under his will. Smithson was born in France about 1765; was naturalized a British subject about 1775; and entered Pembroke College, Oxford, in 1782, graduating M.A. in 1786.
Organization:
(1) Original Smithson manuscripts and copies, 1796-1878; (2) documents related to securing the Smithson bequest and claims by would-be heirs, 1835-1892; (3) research and correspondence about Smithson's life and lineage, 1881-1951 and undated; (4) removal of Smithson's remains to America, 1903-1905; (5) photographs; (6) publications
Summary:
This collection contains the few original Smithson papers to survive a fire at the Smithsonian in 1865. It is, however, chiefly concerned with efforts to obtain the bequest; to trace the details of Smithson's own history; and to reinter his remains in the United States, which was accomplished in 1904. Notable among the actors in these pursuits were William Jones Rhees, the Institution's Chief Clerk; Samuel P. Langley, its third Secretary; and Alexander Graham Bell, long a Smithsonian Regent. The collection consists of correspondence, photographs, and publications.
Repository Loc.:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520
Local number:
SIA RU007000
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_217200