Smithsonian Institution, Board of Regents, Minutes, 1850

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  • Present: Millard Fillmore, William W. Seaton, James A. Pearce, Jefferson Davis, James M. Mason, William F. Colcock, Graham G. Fitch, Henry W. Hilliard, Richard Rush, Joseph G. Totten. Also Present: Joseph Henry. The members not present were Roger B. Taney, Alexander Dallas Bache, Rufus Choate, Gideon Hawley, and William C. Preston.
  • The chancellor was absent and Mr. Seaton took his seat. The Secretary announced that Mr. Colcock from Georgia, Mr. Fitch from Indiana, and Mr. Hilliard from Alabama had been appointed regents from the House of Representatives; these gentlemen appeared and took their seats as members of the board. The proceedings of the last meeting were read and approved. The report of the Secretary was presented, and the board resolved that it "be recorded, and form a part of the report of the Regents to Congress." From the Executive Committee, Mr. Seaton presented a "report on the financial condition of the Institution," stating that the portion of the report related to "appropriations for the ensuing year" would be presented at a different time. Mr. Totten presented a report from the Building Committee. The board then resolved that both of these reports be recorded as well. The Secretary suggested that the journal of the Establishment be read, which it then was.
  • The board resolved that the honorary members of the Institution "be, and are hereby invited to attend" the meetings of the board whenever they like; that the Secretary communicate this resolution and invitation to current and future honorary members. At the request of Mr. Harmon of Ohio, Mr. Davis presented "a proposition...for the encouragement of architecture." Mr. Rush presented a letter from Harrison Hall regarding the purchase of books. The secretary stated that he had received a letter from Hon. Abbott Lawrence, United States Ambassador to Great Britain, regarding a communication from H. P. Bohn offering the sale of a small portrait of James Smithson for the price of thirty guineas, which was in the possession of Mrs. Fitall, the widow of a former servant of Mr. Smithson. The board resolved that the secretary be authorized to purchase the portrait of Mr. Smithson which Mr. Lawrence spoke of in his letter of the 10th of December, 1849. The board then adjourned to meet Saturday the 18th at 11:00 AM.


  • Colcock, William Ferguson
  • Fitch, Graham Newell
  • Mason, James Murray
  • Seaton, William Winston 1785-1866
  • Totten, Joseph Gilbert 1788-1864
  • Davis, Jefferson 1808-1889
  • Fillmore, Millard 1800-1874
  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Hilliard, Henry W (Henry Washington) 1808-1892
  • Rush, Richard 1780-1859
  • Pearce, James Alfred
  • Smithson, James 1765-1829
  • Hall, Harrison 1785-1866
  • Lawrence, Abbott 1792-1855
  • Bohn, H. P
  • Harmon, Mr
  • Fitall, Mrs. John
  • Hawley, Gideon 1785-1870
  • Bache, A. D (Alexander Dallas) 1806-1867
  • Taney, Roger Brooke 1777-1864
  • Preston, William C. 1794-1860
  • Choate, Rufus, 1799-1859
  • United States Congress House
  • Board of Regents Committee on Buildings
  • Board of Regents Executive Committee
  • Board of Regents Special Committee
  • Board of Regents
  • Smithsonian Year
  • Smithsonian Institution Libraries (SIL)


Smithsonian Legal Documents

Legal document information

  • 1850/01/11 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
  • January 11, 1850


  • Design
  • Architecture
  • Portraits
  • Architectural design


Board of Regents

Physical description

Number of pages: 2; Page numbers: 55-56

Full Record

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