The Great Design: Two Lectures on the Smithson Bequest by John Quincy Adams

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Includes two lectures written by former President John Quincy Adams advocating the acceptance of the Smithson bequest and the formation of an astrophysical observatory. Also includes an extensive introduction by Washburn outlining Adams' role in the Congressional debates concerning the acceptance and use of the bequest and his early communications with Joseph Henry, the first Secretary of the Institution.


  • Adams, John Quincy 1767-1848
  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Smithson, James 1765-1829
  • National Institute
  • United States Naval Observatory
  • National Institution for the Promotion of Science
  • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
  • United States Congress
  • United States President
  • Programme of Organization


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography

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




  • Smithson Bequest
  • Observatories
  • SI, Early History
  • Congressional Debates

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