SIA RU007051, Columbian Institute, Records, 1816-1841, with related papers, 1791-1800
- Columbian Institute
- Records, 1816-1841, with related papers, 1791-1800
- 1791, 1791-1841, 1816-1841, with related papers, 1791-1800
- The Columbian Institute was organized at Washington, D.C., in 1816, originally as the Metropolitan Society, for the purpose of reducing the United States' dependence on a purely European cultural heritage. Its principal goal was utilitarian; it concentrated on encouraging the diffusion of information about agriculture, manufacturing, and natural resources, mainly through correspondence, exchanges, and a program of publication. The Society became the Columbian Institute for the Promotion of the Arts and Sciences later in 1816, and in 1818 was incorporated by Congress under that name. Despite several reorganizations and other attempts to keep the Institute alive, it collapsed in 1838 and was absorbed by the National Institute in 1841
- Cultural property
- Castelnau, Francis comte de 1812-1880, Columbian Institute, Metropolitan Society, National Institute
- Mixed archival materials, Collection descriptions
- Local Number:
- SIA RU007051
- Physical Description:
- 2.36 cubic feet
Finding Aids to Personal Papers and Special Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Table of Contents
- Collection Overview
- Historical Note
- Descriptive Entry
- Index Terms
- Administrative Information
- Container List
- Series 1 - MINUTES AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
- Series 2 - CORRESPONDENCE OF THE COLUMBIAN INSTITUTE - FACSIMILES
- Series 3 - PAPERS SUBMITTED TO THE INSTITUTE
- Series 4 - TREASURER'S RECORDS
- Series 5 - MISCELLANY
- Series 6 - PAPERS OF FRANCOIS DE LAPORTE, COUNT CASTELNEAU DE LAPORTE
- Series 7 - LARGE FORMAT MATERIALS
- Series 8 - CORRESPONDENCE OF THE COLUMBIAN INSTITUTE - ORIGINALS (NON-CIRCULATING)
Record Unit 7051
Records, 1816-1841, with related papers, 1791-1800
|Repository:||Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.|
|Dates:||1816-1841, with related papers, 1791-1800|
|Quantity:||2.36 cubic feet.|
|Collection:||Record Unit 7051|
|Language of Materials:||English|
The Columbian Institute (1816-1838) was first organized as the Metropolitan Society, with the professed purpose of reducing the United States' dependence on a purely European cultural heritage. Its principal goal was utilitarian; the society concentrated on encouraging, by correspondence, exchanges, and a program of publication, the diffusion of information about agriculture, manufacturing, and natural resources. Though initially conceived as a local body, the Society soon decided to expand its operations, and so, still in 1816, changed its name to the Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts and Sciences, under which name it was incorporated by Congress in 1818.
The Institute led a desultory existence. Its first president, Edward Cutbush, a naval surgeon, was energetic; but the Institute was never able to establish itself on a sound footing. Much of its membership seems to have been only casually interested in the Institute's work. Perhaps for this reason, and certainly because Congress gave no aid, there was always a dearth of money. Nor did an 1818 reorganization which added the fields of the liberal arts to its interests prove useful. In 1820 the Institute obtained a plot of land on the Mall and laid out a small botanical garden, virtually its only concrete accomplishment. A few natural history specimens and a small library were collected. The Institute's charter expired in 1838 and, in 1841, it was absorbed by the National Institute.
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
This collection consists of records, mostly dated 1816-1830, concerning the founding and operation of the Columbian Institute by Edward Cutbush, Thomas Law, and others. Records document efforts to raise money for a building, publishing projects, and a botanical garden; and to collect natural history specimens. Also included are minutes of meetings and committee reports; treasurer's records; and correspondence of French naturalist Francois de Laporte, Count Castelneau de Laporte.
Researchers should also consult the Peter Force Collection in the Library of Congress, which contains various minutes, papers, and correspondence of the Institute.
Use of this record unit requires prior arrangement with the Archives staff.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Castelnau, Francis, comte de, 1812-1880.
- Columbian Institute
- Columbian Institute
- Metropolitan Society.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7051, Columbian Institute, Records
Series 1MINUTES AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
Minutes and committee reports of the Columbian Institute, 1816-1839; arranged chronologically; consisting of minutes of meetings and reports of committees, largely ad hoc, appointed by the Institute; and, for 1816-1837, a set of photocopies of minutes taken from an unstated source. Some oversize materials are in Box 4.
Series 2CORRESPONDENCE OF THE COLUMBIAN INSTITUTE - FACSIMILES
Incoming and outgoing correspondence of the Columbian Institute, 1816-1828, 1830-1835, arranged chronologically; concerning largely routine matters, with occasional references to the botanical garden. Originals are in box 5.
Series 3PAPERS SUBMITTED TO THE INSTITUTE
The reports listed are a selection of reports included in this series.
Folders 8-9 Papers submitted to the Institute, 1791-1816, 1818, 1821, 1825-1828, 1830, 1834-1835, 1837, 1840, and undated, arranged chronologically, loose; concerning topics in natural history, astronomy, and mathematics. Some oversize materials are in Box 4. Papers include:
Series 4TREASURER'S RECORDS
Fiscal records of the Institute, 1816-1837, arranged chronologically; accounts, receipts, disbursements, reports.
Membership lists and records, circa 1816-1832
Map of the Institute's plot for botanical garden on the Mall
Other miscellaneous papers
Samuel Harrison Smith, "Memoir of the Life, Character, and Writings of Thomas Jefferson...," Washington: S. A. Elliott, 1827
Samuel Lewis Southard, "Anniversary Address Delivered Before the Columbian Institute, at Washington...," Washington: 1828.
Papers presented to the Columbian Institute, 1791-1816
Series 6PAPERS OF FRANCOIS DE LAPORTE, COUNT CASTELNEAU DE LAPORTE
Papers and, for the most part, correspondence of Francois de Laporte, French naturalist, in French and English, circa 1829-1833; unarranged, loose.
Series 7LARGE FORMAT MATERIALS
Large format materials removed from Series 1 and 3.
Series 8CORRESPONDENCE OF THE COLUMBIAN INSTITUTE - ORIGINALS (NON-CIRCULATING)
Original correspondence from Series 2.
Using the Archives' Collections