Smithsonian Institution, Board of Regents, Minutes, 1850

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  • Present: Millard Fillmore, James A. Pearce, Jefferson Davis, James M. Mason, Henry W. Hilliard. Also Present: Joseph Henry. The members not present were Roger B. Taney, William W. Seaton, William F. Colcock, Graham N. Fitch, Alexander Dallas Bache, Joseph Totten, Rufus Choate, Gideon Hawley, Richard Rush, and William C. Preston.
  • The proceedings of the last meeting were read. The Secretary presented a letter from Lieutenant Gilliss, "dated at his station near Santiago, Chili." Thus having learned of the "object and progress of the expedition," the "importance of furnishing Lieutenant Gilliss with improved instruments" was made apparent to the board. The board then resolved that the Secretary be instructed to furnish the Lieutenant with "instruments for facilitating his physical and astronomical observations in Chili," for under the expense of one thousand dollars. Mr. Harmon's "plan for the encouragement of architecture" was again discussed, after which the board resolved that the Secretary be instructed to report on Mr. Harmon's plan, "exhibiting such features of the scheme as may be found to be within the plan of organization adopted for the operations" of the Institution.
  • The Secretary presented to the board a list of names of men who had "undertaken labor and responsibility of examining memoirs and propositions submitted" to the Institution, after which the board resolved that the Secretary be requested to send a letter to each person named, conveying to them the thanks of the board for their assistance in "carrying out the operations of the Institution." Mr. Davis presented a letter from Charles B. Wells, regarding archaeological research done by himself in Peru and asking for "the assistance of the Institution in their publications." A letter from Daniel Pierce "detailing a method of educating the Indian tribes" was presented. The Secretary brought up the topic of the artist Hiram Powers and the Institution's involvement with him relating to the purchase of his statue of the Greek Slave; the subject was referred to the secretary with the understanding that he would communicate with Mr. Powers the board's intention to make an alteration in the terms of their contract.
  • The Secretary made a verbal report regarding the progress of Henry Stevens in compiling the "Bibliographia Americana"; the Secretary also presented a letter form Pierre Margry requesting the assistance of the Institution in publishing his research on the "history of the ancient French colonies in North America," which was referred to the Secretary for a reply, "in accordance with the rules adopted by the board." The board then resolved to meet the next Saturday at 10:00 AM and then adjourned.


  • Mason, James Murray
  • Davis, Jefferson 1808-1889
  • Fillmore, Millard 1800-1874
  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Hilliard, Henry W (Henry Washington) 1808-1892
  • Pearce, James Alfred
  • Stevens, Henry
  • Harmon, Mr
  • Pierce, Daniel
  • Wells, Charles B
  • Gilliss, J. M (James Melville) 1811-1865
  • Powers, Hiram 1805-1873
  • Margry, Pierre 1818-1894
  • Powers, Hiram 1805-1873 Greek slave
  • Colcock, William Ferguson
  • Fitch, Graham Newell
  • Seaton, William Winston 1785-1866
  • Totten, Joseph Gilbert 1788-1864
  • Hawley, Gideon 1785-1870
  • Bache, A. D (Alexander Dallas) 1806-1867
  • Rush, Richard 1780-1859
  • Taney, Roger Brooke 1777-1864
  • Preston, William C. 1794-1860
  • Choate, Rufus, 1799-1859
  • Board of Regents
  • Bibliographia Americana historico-naturalis A.D. 1851 (Book)
  • Regents Smithsonian Institution


Smithsonian Legal Documents

Legal document information

  • 1850/01/26 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 26, 1850


  • Archaeology
  • Scientific expeditions
  • Architecture
  • Sculpture
  • Scientific apparatus and instruments
  • Historians
  • Astronomy
  • Contracts
  • Indians of North America


  • Chile
  • France
  • Peru


Board of Regents

Physical description

Number of pages: 2; Page numbers: 57-58

Full Record

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