Smithsonian Institution, Board of Regents, Minutes, 1847

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  • Present: George M. Dallas, William W. Seaton, James A. Pearce, Sidney Breese, Lewis Cass, Henry W. Hilliard, William J. Hough, Robert Dale Owen, Alexander Dallas Bache, Joseph G. Totten. Also Present: Joseph Henry. The members not present were Roger B. Taney, Rufus Choate, Gideon Hawley, Richard Rush, and William C. Preston.
  • From the Executive Committee, Mr. Seaton presented a report on the "state of the funds of the institution." Also from the Executive Committee, Mr. Bache made a report regarding the appropriations for the year to begin on March 19, 1848, which was adopted by the board. Hearing that the American sculptor Hiram Powers wanted for his marble statue of the Greek Slave "a suitable tribune, in a fire-proof building, where it shall forever remain open," the board resolved that the Executive Committee be authorized to enter into a contract to obtain the statue. The board resolved that the statue should be obtained within three years and was to be displayed for three years with a 25 cent admission charge, proceeds of which were to go to Mr. Powers; at the end of three years, admission charges will be dropped, and the Institution will keep the statue in its possession on the condition that it is cared for and that visitors are allowed to see it.
  • The board also resolved that the chairmen of the Executive Committee send to Miner K. Kellogg, Esq., who currently possesses the statue, a copy of the above resolution. Mr. Seaton laid before the board a catalogue of the library of the late Right Hon. Henry S. Fox offering it for sale to the Institution, and a letter from Richard Smith of the Philadelphia Bank of the United States accompanied by a list of portraits of "revolutionary worthies and other distinguished men" for sale to the Institution. The Secretary was requested to inform the person offering the books that it was not a present interest of the board to purchase books for a library, and to inform the person offering the portraits that the board had no authority to use its funds for acquisitioning art work. Mr. Bache presented a letter from Lieutenant Gillis regarding a proposed expedition to observe "the solar parallax by the method of Gerling."
  • The board resolved that the letter from Lieutenant Gillis be referred to the secretary of the institution and that the secretary be given the authority to give his professional opinion. Mr. Cass advised that the secretary, in order to avoid "being consumed in the examination of the various schemes which will be presented to him," adopt a rule of giving no opinion on any subject, unless required by the board. The board resolved that the Building Committee may, if they choose, "accede" to the request of Mr. Notman and return his architectural drawing of his design for the Institution's building. The board then resolved that the chancellor of the Institution "be the organ of communication of the Institution with the public," and that the secretary be such between the officers of the Institution and the board. The board then adjourned to meet the following Friday at 11:00 AM.


  • Cass, Lewis
  • 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
  • Pearce, James Alfred
  • Notman, John 1810-1865
  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Fox, Henry Stephen 1791-1846
  • Kellogg, Miner K (Miner Kilbourne) 1814-1889
  • Powers, Hiram 1805-1873
  • Gilliss, J. M (James Melville) 1811-1865
  • Smith, Richard Averill
  • Gerling, Christian Ludwig 1788-1864
  • Powers, Hiram 1805-1873 Greek slave
  • Hawley, Gideon 1785-1870
  • Rush, Richard 1780-1859
  • Taney, Roger Brooke 1777-1864
  • Preston, William C. 1794-1860
  • Choate, Rufus, 1799-1859
  • Board of Regents
  • Smithsonian Institution Libraries (SIL)
  • Board of Regents Executive Committee
  • Board of Regents Committee on Buildings
  • Board of Regents Special Committee
  • Bank of the United States (Philadelphia, Pa.)
  • Regents Smithsonian Institution


Smithsonian Legal Documents

Legal document information

  • 1847/12/15 Regents Minutes
  • Board of Regents - Minutes of Meetings, 1846-

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 15, 1847


  • Design
  • Architecture
  • Sculpture
  • Portraits
  • Astronomy
  • Solar Research
  • Architectural design


Board of Regents

Physical description

Number of pages: 3; Page numbers: 42-44

Full Record

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