General Appendix to the Smithsonian Report for 1901

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The unnamed author states that for this Smithsonian Report, the first issued in the 20th Century, it would be fitting to briefly tell readers what the Institution is, how it came into being, and how it has fulfilled the purpose for which it was established. The Smithsonian is defined as an "Establishment," created by a bequest from Englishman James Smithson, "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men," and its early beginnings are discussed. Actions of the United States Congress concerning the Smithsonian's formation, organization, and finances are reviewed, early Smithsonian activities and programs designed to fulfill the "increase and diffusion of knowledge" directive are discussed, as are the roles played by the Board of Regents and Smithsonian Secretaries Joseph Henry, Spencer F. Baird, and Samuel P. Langley.


  • Langley, S. P (Samuel Pierpont) 1834-1906
  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Baird, Spencer Fullerton 1823-1887
  • Smithson, James 1765-1829
  • United States National Museum
  • United States Congress
  • Board of Regents


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Article is part of the General Appendix to the Smithsonian Report for 1901. Six unpaginated Plates accompany the article.

Contained within

Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, Showing the Operations, Expenditures, and Condition of the Institution for the Year Ending June 30, 1901 ( Annual Report)

Contact information

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




  • Smithson Bequest
  • Museum finance
  • Smithsonian influence
  • Secretaries
  • SI, Early History
  • Federal Government, Relations with SI

Physical description

pgs. 145-151

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