James Macie Changes His Name to Smithson




Date: February 16, 1801


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James Lewis Macie (c. 1765-1829) changes his name to James Smithson. James Lewis Macie/Smithson was the illegitimate son of Elizabeth Hungerford Keate Macie (c. 1732-1800) and Hugh Smithson (1715-1786). After the death of both his parents, Macie changed his name to Smithson to acknowledge publicly who his father was. James Macie/Smithson was the founding donor of the Smithsonian Institution.


  • Smithson, James 1765-1829
  • Macie, Elizabeth Hungerford Keate
  • Smithson, Hugh, Sir 1715-1786


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Macie began using the name Smithson as early as December of 1800 when he signed the Royal Society of London visitor register as James Smithson.
  • Public Records Office, Great Britain

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu


February 16, 1801


Name Changes

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