Smithsonian Institution v. Meech

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  • The plaintiff, the Smithsonian Institution, sought reversal of appeals court decision that denied them ownership of property donated to them by the late Robert Avery. Robert Avery made a will, prior to his death and the death of his wife, donating his possessions to the Smithsonian Institution. Among the possessions donated was land purchased by Robert Avery and titled to his wife, Lydia Avery. Robert Avery titled the land to his wife because his wife was younger and was expected to outlive him, however, Lydia Avery passed away four years before Robert Avery. The Appellee is heir to Lydia Avery, and appealed for possession of the land titled to Lydia Avery. Court ruled that because an oral agreement was made between Mr. and Mrs. Avery, at the time the property was conveyed to Mrs. Avery, the will of the grantee in the conveyance will be held.
  • The decree of the Court of Appeals was reversed, and the case remanded to the Appeals Court to conform with the opinions of the current court. The court granted land to the Smithsonian Institution as intended in Robert Avery's will.


  • Brewer, David Josiah
  • Avery, Robert Stanton
  • Avery, Lydia T
  • District of Columbia Court of Appeals
  • United States Supreme Court


Smithsonian Legal Documents

Legal document information

  • Title 20, Education
  • Court case

Contained within

October Term, 1897. (Book)

Contact information

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


  • 1898
  • 02/23/1898


  • Judicial opinions
  • Actions and defenses
  • Wills
  • Gifts
  • Estates (Law)
  • Estates (Law)--United States


United States


Court case

Physical description

Number of pages: 18; Page Numbers: 398-415

Full Record

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