Bell Brings James Smithson's Remains to SI

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Summary

Alexander Graham Bell, a Smithsonian Regent, brings Smithson's relics from Genoa, Italy, to the United States. After a procession from the Navy Yard to the Smithsonian Institution Building, Bell hands over Smithson's remains with the words, "And now...my mission is ended and I deliver into your hands...the remains of this great benefactor of the United States." The remains are temporarily situated in the Regents Room accompanied by the few remaining personal relics of Smithson. In 1905 the crypt containing Smithson's remains is created at the north entrance of the Smithsonian Building.

Subject

  • Bell, Alexander Graham 1847-1922
  • Smithson, James 1765-1829
  • Board of Regents
  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)

Category

Chronology of Smithsonian History

Notes

  • Oehser states that the transfer occured in 1900, which is incorrect. Field, et al, state that in 1905, the crypt containing Smithson's remains is created at the north entrance of the Smithsonian Building.
  • Oehser, Paul H. The Smithsonian Institution. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970, p. 15.
  • Field, Cynthia R., Richard E. Stamm, and Heather P. Ewing. The Castle: An Illustrated History of the Smithsonian Building. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993, p. xii.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1904. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, p. xx-xxxiii, 4-10.
  • Stamm, Richard. "Mr. Smithson Goes to Washington." Smithsonian Preservation Quarterly, Summer/Fall 1995, p. 4.
  • Bruce, Robert V. Alexander Graham Bell and the Conquest of Solitude. Boston, p. 371.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu

Date

January 25, 1904

Topic

Regents

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