An act to authorize and enable the President to assert and prosecute with effect, the claim of the United States to the legacy bequeathed to them by James Smithson, late of London, deceased, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men

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Enables the President to appoint an agent to prosecute the claim of the right of the United States to the legacy of James Smithson. Any sums of money received on account of the legacy shall be applied to the purpose of founding and endowing at Washington the Smithsonian Institution. The President is authorized to apply a sum not exceeding $10,000 for that purpose.


Smithson, James 1765-1829


Smithsonian Legal Documents

Legal document information

  • 5 Stat. 64
  • Title 20, Education
  • Public Law

Citation information

Statutes at Large

Contained within

05 Stat. 64 (1836); ch, 252 (Book)

Contact information

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


  • 1856
  • 07/01/1836


Smithson Bequest


Public Law

Physical description

Number of pages: 1; Page Numbers: 64

Full Record

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