Narrow Your Results

Filter Your Results

Expeditions Information

Close Browse records and papers documenting scientific and collecting expeditions either affiliated with the Smithsonian, or with which Smithsonian researchers participated. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by geographic regions predominantly represented in expedition records.

Smithsonian Secretaries Information

Close Browse records and papers of the Smithsonian Secretaries, from 1846 until today. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by individuals who have held that office.

Professional Societies Information

Close Browse records of professional societies closely associated with the Smithsonian, that focus on areas of scientific research and museum studies. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by major topics and disciplines.

Smithson Held as a Prisoner of War

Smithson Held as a Prisoner of War
September 18, 1808
James Smithson Collection, 1796-1951. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7000, Box 2, Folder 5, Box 4, Folder 5.
Returning from a sojourn on the Continent, in early August 1807, Smithson is taken as a prisoner of war in Tonningen, at the moment of the rupture between England and Denmark in the Napoleonic Wars. He subsequently arranges a transfer to Hamburg, Germany, where he is again held under arrest, this time by the French. On September 18, 1808, Smithson writes to Sir Joseph Banks, president of the Royal Society of London from 1778 to 1820, noting that he is physically ill, and requesting Banks use his influence to get Smithson back to England, which Banks does.
Napoleonic Wars, 1800-1814, Prisoners of war, Professional associations
Banks, Joseph Sir 1743-1820, Smithson, James 1765-1829, Royal Society of London
Chronology of Smithsonian History
Denmark, Germany
Full Record:!sichronology&uri=full=3100001~!346~!0#focus

Using the Archives' Collections

The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. Please cite the Smithsonian Institution Archives as the source of the content, and when possible, link to the Smithsonian Archives website ( Please let us know how you are using our collections for your projects. If you would like to see a collection in person, please note that most records and special collections are stored off-site, so researchers should contact the Reference Team at least one week prior to visiting to ensure that records can be made available in the Archives Reading Room. For information on commercial licensing or other uses, visit Rights and Reproductions. More information available within the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use policy.