Smithsonian Institution, Board of Regents, Minutes, 1851

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  • Present: Jefferson Davis, James A. Pearce, Alexander Dallas Bache, William F. Colcock, Henry W. Hilliard, and Richard Rush. Also Present: Joseph Henry. The members not present were Roger B. Taney, Walter Lenox, James M. Mason, Graham N. Fitch, Joseph G. Totten, Rufus Choate, Gideon Hawley, and William C. Preston.
  • The chancellor was absent and Mr. Pearce took the seat. The proceedings of the last meeting were then read. Mr. Bache made a report on behalf of the Executive Committee, detailing the expenditures made from the Institution's start to the end of 1850. The Secretary stated that following the board's resolution on June 1, 1850, a petition relating to $150,000 accrued interest had "been drawn up for presentation to Congress," but that "owing to the press of business of the last session, and by the advice of the members of the Board" from Congress, it had not yet been presented. The petition stated that the plan the of the Institution which the board had established with the authority invested in them, following the constructions of Congress, additional interest to the original $515,000 provided by the Smithson bequest and $242,000 that had accrued on the fund was needed to complete the plan.
  • The petition continued stating that the regents had resolved to spend the $242,000 gradually on the construction of a building, instead of all at once, and that the board was requesting at this time to place $150,000 of accrued interest in the United States Treasury and to be able to add to it from time to time, until it reached $200,000, making the principal fund slightly more than $715,000. The secretary then brought up the subject of the remainder of the Smithson bequest, "left as an annuity payable to Madame de la Batut; Mr. Rush "gave an account of this annuity" and stated that he had left the subject in the hand of attorneys he had written to in 1846. A copy of the correspondence was read, and Mr. Rush was requested to communicate with these attorneys "relative to this business." The reading of the Secretary's report was continued, including Jewett's report on the library, "illustrated by specimens of a new plan of stereotyping catalogues of libraries by separate titles." The board then adjourned to meet the following Saturday the 25th at 10:00 AM.


  • de la Batut, Mary Ann
  • Colcock, William Ferguson
  • Bache, A. D (Alexander Dallas) 1806-1867
  • Davis, Jefferson 1808-1889
  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Hilliard, Henry W (Henry Washington) 1808-1892
  • Jewett, Charles C (Charles Coffin) 1816-1868
  • Rush, Richard 1780-1859
  • Pearce, James Alfred
  • Fitch, Graham Newell
  • Mason, James Murray
  • Totten, Joseph Gilbert 1788-1864
  • Lenox, Walter 1817-1874
  • Hawley, Gideon 1785-1870
  • Taney, Roger Brooke 1777-1864
  • Preston, William C. 1794-1860
  • Choate, Rufus, 1799-1859
  • United States Congress House
  • United States Congress
  • United States Dept. of the Treasury
  • Board of Regents Executive Committee
  • United States Congress Senate
  • Assistant Secretary in charge of the Library
  • Board of Regents
  • Regents Smithsonian Institution


Smithsonian Legal Documents

Legal document information

  • 1851/01/18 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,


  • 1979
  • January 18, 1851


  • Smithson Bequest
  • Library science


Board of Regents

Physical description

Number of pages: 3; Page numbers: 69-72

Full Record

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