Smithsonian Institution, Board of Regents, Minutes, 1851

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  • Present: Walter Lenox, Jefferson Davis, James M. Mason, James A. Pearce, William F. Colcock, Graham N. Fitch, Alexander Dallas Bache, Joseph G. Totten. Also Present: Joseph Henry. The members not present were Roger B. Taney, Henry W. Hilliard, Rufus Choate, Gideon Hawley, Richard Rush, and William C. Preston.
  • In the absence of the chancellor, Mr. Pearce was called to the chair and the proceedings of the last meeting were read. The board resolved that during the year of 1851, $25,000 be appropriated for expenditure under the direction of the Secretary and with the advice of the Executive Committee for the Institution's expenses, "and to carry out the several parts of the programme of organization." The board also resolved that the report of the Secretary and the Executive Committee be adopted to form parts of the Regents' report to Congress and that the chancellor and the Secretary be authorized to present this report. A bill from W. Fischer was presented to the board "for stationary purchased in 1848" for the Executive and Building Committees "prior to the present system of keeping accounts"; the issue was referred to the Executive Committee to be examined and paid if found correct.
  • The Secretary referred to the statement in the report of the Executive Committee that "in the examination and re-arrangement of the accounts of the Institution," there had been found a few instances "in which payment had been made in accordance with the spirit of the resolutions to the Board, but which could be referred to no special appropriations." The Secretary also stated that "a new edition of the programme of organization" of the Institution needed to be published and suggested "the propriety of making a few verbal alterations in the text." The board resolved to authorize the Secretary to employ an accountant for a salary of $200 per year, to "assign his duties," and to pay Mr. William B. Randolph $200 for the "arrangement of the accounts to date, as reported"; to authorize the Secretary to appoint an "agent abroad to conduct the exchanges of the Institution," for a yearly salary under $150 per year.
  • The board also resolved that the Executive Committee be resolved to "inquire into the expediency of providing buildings for the residences of the officers of the institution on Smithsonian grounds, or other convenient location," and to report plans and estimate for such buildings to the board at the following meeting. Mr. Lenox reported that a clock could be obtained "free of expense to the institution, provided a bell of a large size could be arranged in connection with it, in one of the towers of the Smithsonian building," and that he thought it "probably that the corporation of the city of Washington" would pay half the cost of the bell if the Institution paid the other half; the board resolved to authorize the Secretary to purchase a bell to be placed in one of the towers of the Institution, provided that the purchase was made for under $500 in conjunction with "the authorities of the city of Washington" and that the "size and tone" of the bell was approved by the Executive Committee.
  • Mr. Downing's plan for the "improvement of the public Mall, including the grounds" of the Institution was presented to the regents. The board then adjourned sine die.


  • Lenox, Walter 1817-1874
  • Colcock, William Ferguson
  • Fitch, Graham Newell
  • Mason, James Murray
  • Totten, Joseph Gilbert 1788-1864
  • Bache, A. D (Alexander Dallas) 1806-1867
  • Davis, Jefferson 1808-1889
  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Pearce, James Alfred
  • Fischer, W
  • Randolph, William B
  • Downing, A. J (Andrew Jackson) 1815-1852
  • Hawley, Gideon 1785-1870
  • Hilliard, Henry W (Henry Washington) 1808-1892
  • Rush, Richard 1780-1859
  • Taney, Roger Brooke 1777-1864
  • Preston, William C. 1794-1860
  • Choate, Rufus, 1799-1859
  • United States Congress
  • Smithsonian Institution Building Towers
  • Board of Regents Committee on Buildings
  • Smithsonian Year
  • Smithsonian Institution Building Early History
  • Board of Regents Executive Committee
  • Smithsonian Institution Building Flag Tower
  • International Exchange Service (IES)
  • Board of Regents
  • Regents Smithsonian Institution
  • Programme of Organization


Smithsonian Legal Documents

Legal document information

  • 1851/02/27 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
  • February 27, 1851


  • Bells
  • Clocks


Mall, The (Washington, D.C.)


Board of Regents

Physical description

Number of pages: 2; Page numbers: 73-74

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