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Provides an overview of the history of chemistry at the Smithsonian, tracing the connection back to James Smithson's interests in chemistry and establishment of a chemical laboratory in the founding legislation of the Institution. Also covers published and unpublished manuscripts and public lectures pertaining to chemistry carried out by the Smithsonian, and the use of the chemical laboratory in the Smithsonian Institution Building over the years.


  • Smith, J. Lawrence (John Lawrence) 1818-1883
  • Smithson, James 1765-1829
  • Taylor, Frederick W
  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)
  • United States Congress
  • United States Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Hodgkins Fund and Medal


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Includes a list of chemical papers that have appeared in Smithsonian Annual Reports, 1846-1896.

Contained within

The Smithsonian Institution, 1848-1896, The History of its First Half Century (Book)

Contact information

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




  • Chemistry
  • Law
  • Architecture
  • Lectures and lecturing
  • Museums
  • Chemical laboratories
  • Buildings
  • Legislation
  • Museum publications

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