The Founding of the Institution, 1835-1846

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Includes the death of Smithson, notification of the U. S. of the bequest and the ensuing Congressional debates over its acceptance, passage of the bill accepting the bequest, Rush's trip to England to settle the suit, detailed coverage of the Congressional debates on what form the Institution should take, and derivation of the term "regent" and appointment of the first Board of Regents. Also includes the influence of John Quincy Adams, John Davis, Joel Poinsett, Rufus Choate, Richard Rush, and Robert Dale Owen on the final bill establishing the Institution.


  • Adams, John Quincy 1767-1848
  • Choate, Rufus, 1799-1859
  • Davis, John
  • Rush, Richard 1780-1859
  • Owen, Robert Dale 1801-1877
  • Board of Regents
  • United States Congress


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography

Contained within

The Smithsonian Institution, 1846-1896, 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,




  • Congressional Debates
  • SI, Early History
  • Management

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