Smithsonian Institution, Board of Regents, Minutes, 1851

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  • Present: Roger B. Taney, Walter Lenox, Jefferson Davis, James M. Mason, James A. Pearce, Graham N. Fitch, Henry W. Hilliard, Alexander D. Bache, Joseph G. Totten, Gideon Hawley, and Richard Rush. Also Present: Joseph Henry. The members not present were William F. Colcock, Rufus Choate, and William C. Preston.
  • The Honorable Roger B. Taney appeared and took the chair as chancellor of the board; he expressed his thanks for the honor of appointment and his regret that because of the meetings of the Supreme Court, he had not been a able to attend any previous meetings of the Board, although he "hoped in the future to be able to do so." He also expressed his interest in the Institution and "his gratification with reference to its present condition." The proceedings of the last meeting were then read.
  • The Building Committee presented their annual report, including a report from James Renwick, Jr., the architect of the Institution's building; the report was accepted and ordered to be a part of the regent's report to Congress. Regarding the report of the Building Committee, Mr. Lenox made a statement related to the "erection of a foot bridge over the canal at 9th or 10th street, for facilitating the approach to the institution"; he also stated that Mr. Eller, the engineer, had offered to superintend the bridge's erection free of charge, and that he believed that the bridge could be constructed that year.
  • Mr. Seaton, the treasurer, presented "a report of the moneys placed to his credit on account of the Institution, and the manner in which they had been expended"; the report was referred to the Executive Committee for examination. The board then proceeded to the reading of the Secretary's report, including a "statement relative to the foreign distribution of the first volume of Smithsonian Contributions, and the method of keeping the account of the exchanges with foreign societies" as well as the progress made in meteorology. "Specimens" of barometers, thermometers, rain gauges, and wind vanes "prepared for Smithsonian observers" were then shown to the regents. The board then adjourned to meet the following Saturday the 18th, at 10:00 AM.


  • Lenox, Walter 1817-1874
  • Fitch, Graham Newell
  • Mason, James Murray
  • Seaton, William Winston 1785-1866
  • Totten, Joseph Gilbert 1788-1864
  • Bache, A. D (Alexander Dallas) 1806-1867
  • Davis, Jefferson 1808-1889
  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Hilliard, Henry W (Henry Washington) 1808-1892
  • Rush, Richard 1780-1859
  • Taney, Roger Brooke 1777-1864
  • Hawley, Gideon 1785-1870
  • Pearce, James Alfred
  • Renwick, James 1818-1895
  • Eller, Mr
  • Colcock, William Ferguson
  • Preston, William C. 1794-1860
  • Choate, Rufus, 1799-1859
  • Board of Regents
  • United States Congress
  • Board of Regents Committee on Buildings
  • Smithsonian Institution Office of the Treasurer
  • Smithsonian Year
  • Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge (Publication)
  • Board of Regents Executive Committee
  • United States Supreme Court
  • International Exchange Service (IES)
  • Meteorological Project
  • Regents Smithsonian Institution


Smithsonian Legal Documents

Legal document information

  • 1851/01/10 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 10, 1851


  • Architects
  • Scientific apparatus and instruments
  • Meteorology


Board of Regents

Physical description

Number of pages: 2; Page numbers: 69-70

Full Record

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