Dollars for Research: Science and its Patrons in Nineteenth-Century America

Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact

Narrow Your Results


Filter Your Results

Smithsonian Secretaries Information

Close Browse records and papers of the Smithsonian Secretaries, from 1846 until today. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by individuals who have held that office.

Expeditions Information

Close Browse records and papers documenting scientific and collecting expeditions either affiliated with the Smithsonian, or with which Smithsonian researchers participated. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by geographic regions predominantly represented in expedition records.

Professional Societies Information

Close Browse records of professional societies closely associated with the Smithsonian, that focus on areas of scientific research and museum studies. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by major topics and disciplines.


This scholarly monograph looks at financial support for scientific research in the United States during the nineteenth century. It opens with a discussion of the founding of the Smithsonian Institution ("A Bounty for Research") and the role of an elite group of scientists known as the Lazzaroni in shaping it. The author also addresses support for astronomy, the role of Louis Agassiz in developing American science, the role of philanthropists in expanding opportunities for higher education in science, John Tyndall's fellowship for European science education for American students, the rise of paleontology through government-sponsored geological surveys, and the tension between support for basic versus applied research. This last issue was of particular concern to founding Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry.


  • Agassiz, Louis 1807-1873
  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Tyndall, John 1820-1893


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography

Contained within


Contact information

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




  • Scientific Lazzaroni
  • Benefactors
  • American science
  • Education
  • Science
  • SI, Early History
  • History
  • Astronomy
  • Paleontology
  • Endowments
  • Science--History

Full Record

View Full Record