Smithsonian Institution, Board of Regents, Minutes, 1846

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  • Present: George M. Dallas, William W. Seaton, Isaac S. Pennybacker, Sidney Breese, Robert Dale Owen, William J. Hough, Henry W. Hilliard, Richard Rush, Gideon Hawley, Alexander Dallas Bache, Joseph G. Totten, George Evans. The members not present were Roger Brooke Taney, Rufus Choate, and William C. Preston.
  • The chancellor presented a letter from Chief Justice Taney before the Regents, which stated that he would be absent at the meeting as he was needed in the circuit court for the district of Maryland. Mr. Owen presented a letter from Mr. Renwick commenting on materials commonly used for building in New York. Mr. Breese presented letters regarding applications for office and book purchases. Reporting on his assignment to ascertain whether Madame de la Batut was living, and if not, how to obtain the funds reverting to the U.S., Mr. Rush informed the board that he had written to Mr. Clarke, Fynmore, and Fladgate of London on the matter and had not yet heard back. Mr. Owen made a report on behalf of the Committee on the Organization of the Institution, which was a accompanied by a series of resolutions. On motion of Mr. Owen, the consideration of these resolutions was postponed until the following day.
  • The Board proceeded to consideration of the resolution pending at adjournment the previous day and resolved "that the Regents of the Smithsonian Institution do select and adopt, as a site for their buildings, so much of the Mall, in the city of Washington, as lies between Seventh street and the river Potomac, subject to the power of Congress to grant any portion of the same west of Fourteenth street to the Washington Monument Society, for the purpose of erecting a monument thereon, if the consent of the persons named in the fourth section of the act to establish the Smithsonian obtained there to; and that, upon such consent being obtained in due form, the Secretary is hereby instructed to cause the said ground so selected to be set out by metes and bounds."
  • The committee on the selection of a site was then ordered to give the U.S. President and each of the "officers mentioned in the act of Congress establishing the Institution" a copy of the resolution. On motion of Mr. Evans, it was ordered that the chancellor and each chairman of a committee be a committee to prepare "a report of the operations, expenditures, and condition of the Institution" to submit to Congress in accordance with the third section of the act establishing the Institution. On motion of Mr. Seaton, the board adjourned to meet at 12:00 PM the following day.


  • Pennybacker, Isaac Samuels 1805-1847
  • Seaton, William Winston 1785-1866
  • Totten, Joseph Gilbert 1788-1864
  • Bache, A. D (Alexander Dallas) 1806-1867
  • Breese, Sidney 1800-1878
  • Dallas, George Mifflin 1792-1864
  • Hough, William Jervis 1795-1869
  • Hilliard, Henry W (Henry Washington) 1808-1892
  • Owen, Robert Dale 1801-1877
  • Rush, Richard 1780-1859
  • Hawley, Gideon 1785-1870
  • Renwick, James 1818-1895
  • Clarke, Thomas
  • Fynmore, T. G
  • Fladgate, W. M
  • Taney, Roger Brooke 1777-1864
  • de la Batut, Mary Ann
  • Evans, George 1797-1867
  • Preston, William C. 1794-1860
  • Choate, Rufus, 1799-1859
  • Board of Regents
  • Smithsonian Institution Building Early History
  • Board of Regents Special Committee
  • Board of Regents Executive Committee Committee on Organization
  • Clarke, Fynmore & Fladgate
  • Board of Regents Ad hoc committees


Smithsonian Legal Documents

Legal document information

  • 1846/12/01 Regents Minutes
  • Board of Regents - Minutes of Meetings, 1846-


The Board of Regents selected the site for the Smithsonian Institution's first building.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 1, Board of Regents Vol. 1 (Bound volume)

Contact information

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


  • 1879
  • December 1, 1846


  • Smithson Bequest
  • Act to establish the "Smithsonian Institution," for the Increase and Diffusion of Knowledge Among Men
  • Regents


Mall, The (Washington, D.C.)


Board of Regents

Physical description

Number of pages: 2; Page numbers: 8-9

Full Record

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