Smithsonian Institution, Board of Regents, Minutes, 1853

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  • Present: John W. Maury, James M. Mason, Walter F. Colcock, Graham N. Fitch, and Joseph G. Totten. Also present: Secretary Joseph Henry. The members not present were William R. D. King, Roger B. Taney, James A. Pearce, Robert M. Charlton, James Meacham, Alexander Dallas Bache, Rufus Choate, Gideon Hawley, Richard Rush, and John M. Berrien.
  • The Secretary raised the topic of the surplus fund. Corcoran and Riggs had offered five percent interest to keep the fund ($208,000) with them. Mr. Fitch offered a resolution to do so, allowing that a portion could be withdrawn for building expenses, which was adopted.
  • Mr. Colcock offered a resolution that for the year 1853 the distribution of the Smithsonian Income ($30,000) would be spent under the supervision of Secretary Joseph Henry with the advice of the Executive Committee, which was adopted. The Secretary requested that there be a new division of funds between the "active operations" and building the Museum and Library because of the increased expense of the building. Mr. Fitch offered a resolution to refer this to a Select Committee of Messrs. Pearce, Mason, Rush, Bache, Choate, Totten, and Maury. General Totten offered a resolution to consider altering the the East Wing of the Smithsonian Building to create a residence for the Secretary, which was adopted. The board then adjourned sine die.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Colcock, William Ferguson
  • Fitch, Graham Newell
  • Mason, James Murray
  • Seaton, William Winston 1785-1866
  • Totten, Joseph Gilbert 1788-1864
  • Maury, John Walker
  • Charlton, Robert Milledge
  • Hawley, Gideon 1785-1870
  • Pearce, James Alfred
  • Bache, A. D (Alexander Dallas) 1806-1867
  • King, William R (William Rufus) 1786-1853
  • Rush, Richard 1780-1859
  • Taney, Roger Brooke 1777-1864
  • Choate, Rufus, 1799-1859
  • Meacham, James C
  • Berrien, John McPherson, 1781-1856
  • Board of Regents
  • Smithsonian Institution Libraries (SIL)
  • United States National Museum
  • Regents Smithsonian Institution
  • Smithsonian Institution Building East Wing
  • Board of Regents Executive Committee
  • Corcoran & Riggs


Smithsonian Legal Documents

Legal document information

  • Regents Minutes
  • Title 20, Education
  • Board of Regents - Resolutions

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 1, Board of Regents Vol. 1 (Bound volume)

Contact information

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


  • 1879
  • March 12, 1853


  • Trusts and trustees
  • Secretariats
  • Architecture
  • Controversies
  • Finance
  • Secretaries
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • History
  • National Collections
  • Buildings
  • Libraries and museums
  • Libraries--History
  • Research


Board of Regents

Physical description

Number of pages: 3; Page Numbers: 435-437

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