Toner Lecture Series Established, 1872

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On April 13, 1872, James Meredith Toner established a semi-annual lecture series on medical science to be supported by his donation of approximately $1,100 in cash and securities and about $2,900 in real estate. Interest earned from these assets would also enable the lectures to be printed in the Smithsonian's series of miscellaneous publications. The endowment was to be administered by Toner and four other trustees: the Secretary of the Smithsonian, the Surgeon General of the Army, the Surgeon General of the Navy, and the President of the Medical Society of the District of Columbia. Joseph Janvier Woodward gave the series' inaugural address, "On the structure of cancerous tumors, and the mode in which adjacent parts are invaded," on March 28.


  • Toner, Joseph M (Joseph Meredith) 1825-1896
  • Woodward, Joseph Janvier 1833-1884
  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • United States Surgeon-General's Office
  • United States Navy
  • Medical Society of the District of Columbia History


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • James Meredith Toner (1825-1896) was a physician who devoted much of his career to writing and collecting books on medical science, public health, and American history. In 1868 he started a library at the Smithsonian for the American Medical Association. He would later become known as the benefactor of a 27,000-volume collection to the Library of Congress. Source: Dictionary of American Biography.
  • Smithsonian Report for 1872, p. 101-103; Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, vol. 15 (Washington, 1873).

Contact information

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


April 13, 1872


  • Medicine
  • Lectures and lecturing
  • Secretaries
  • Gifts
  • Endowments
  • Medical sciences

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