Every Collection has a Story. The Archives holds records that document the Smithsonian’s people, events, buildings, and research. The history of the Smithsonian is a vital part of the history of American experience, scientific exploration, and international cultural understanding.  

James Smithson as Oxford Student, 1880, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, 10192 or AI-10192.

May 26, 1786

James Smithson (1765-1829) graduates from Pembroke College, Oxford University, with the degree of Master of Arts, where he excelled at chemistry and mineralogy. His name has not yet been changed from James Lewis Macie, which he continues to use until about 1800.

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