Smithsonian Institution, Board of Regents, Minutes, 1846

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  • Present: George M. Dallas, Roger B. Taney, William W. Seaton, George Evans, Robert Dale Owen, William J. Hough, Alexander Dallas Bache, Richard Rush, Joseph G. Totten. Also Present: Joseph Henry. The members not present were Issac S. Pennybacker, Sidney Breese, Henry W. Hilliard, Rufus Choate, Gideon Hawley, and William C. Preston.
  • Joseph Henry appeared and "entered upon his duties of office." Mr. Hough presented a letter from James R. Bartlett expressing his desire to be part of an ethnological department at the Institution. Mr. Hilliard presented a letter from Mr. LeBrun, an architect, asking if the "plan for the buildings of the institution was open to competition;" Mr. Hillard stated that he had replied that plans would be received by the Executive Committee until the 25th of December. Mr. Hilliard also presented a letter from Mr. Eli French offering his "services for the purchase of books for the institution." On behalf of the committee appointed to confer with the U.S. President and others outlined in section four of the act to establish the Institution regarding the selection of a building site, Mr. Owen reported that the committee had had a meeting with said people, but "had not yet received their final decision upon the subject."
  • On motion of Mr. Owen, the board resolved that the report made by Mr. Owen on the first of December on behalf of the Committee on Organization, along with accompanying resolutions not yet discussed, be "recommitted to said committee;" the board then adjourned until the next Wednesday at 10:00 AM.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • French, Eli 1800-1868
  • Le Brun, Napoleon 1821-1901
  • Bartlett, James R
  • Haviland, John 1792-1852
  • Seaton, William Winston 1785-1866
  • Totten, Joseph Gilbert 1788-1864
  • Bache, A. D (Alexander Dallas) 1806-1867
  • Dallas, George Mifflin 1792-1864
  • Hough, William Jervis 1795-1869
  • Owen, Robert Dale 1801-1877
  • Rush, Richard 1780-1859
  • Evans, George 1797-1867
  • Taney, Roger Brooke 1777-1864
  • Hawley, Gideon 1785-1870
  • Pennybacker, Isaac Samuels 1805-1847
  • Breese, Sidney 1800-1878
  • Hilliard, Henry W (Henry Washington) 1808-1892
  • Preston, William C. 1794-1860
  • Choate, Rufus, 1799-1859
  • Board of Regents
  • Smithsonian Institution Building Early History
  • Board of Regents Executive Committee
  • United States President
  • United States Patent Office
  • United States. Secretary of State
  • United States. Secretary of War
  • United States. Secretary of the Navy
  • United States. Secretary of the Treasury
  • Board of Regents Committee on Buildings


Smithsonian Legal Documents

Legal document information

  • 1846/12/21 Regents Minutes
  • Board of Regents - Minutes of Meetings, 1846-


This was the first Board of Regents meeting attended by Joseph Henry, the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.

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 21, 1846


  • Design
  • Architects
  • Architecture
  • Act to establish the "Smithsonian Institution," for the Increase and Diffusion of Knowledge Among Men
  • Regents
  • Architectural design


Board of Regents

Physical description

Number of pages: 2; Page numbers: 19-20

Full Record

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