Relations of the Smithsonian Institution to the National Government

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Relations of the Smithsonian Institution to the National Government is a memorandum written by Smithsonian Secretary Charles Doolittle Walcott in 1925. Walcott offers the opinions that the U.S. Congress cannot alter the original purpose of the Institution; that the Congress cannot regulate how the Smithsonian invests and spends its trust funds; and that it cannot require an accounting for those funds. In the case of the bureaus funded by the Congress, such as the National Museum, Walcott argued that the Regents had agreed to administer these for the government and the government could terminate those at any time. Walcott had submitted a similar memorandum to the Board of Regents on 18 December 1924 and also published a pamphlet containing these views. Walcott quotes Senator George W. Pepper and Judge George Gray. Also included is a letter from Watson Davis, Managing Editor of Science Service, commenting on Walcott's memorandum.


  • Davis, Watson
  • Gray, George 1840-1925
  • Pepper, George Wharton
  • Walcott, Charles D (Charles Doolittle) 1850-1927
  • Board of Regents
  • Science Service
  • United States Congress
  • United States National Museum


Smithsonian Legal Documents

Legal document information

  • Title 20, Education
  • Memorandum

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7091, Science Service, Records, Box 82, Folder: Correspondence "W," 1925 (Documents)

Contact information

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




  • Museum finance
  • Law
  • Controversies
  • Finance
  • Interpretation and construction
  • Secretaries
  • Act to establish the "Smithsonian Institution," for the Increase and Diffusion of Knowledge Among Men
  • Congressional Debates
  • Interagency Relations
  • Expenditures, Public
  • Memorandums
  • Federal Government, Relations with SI
  • Law--Interpretation and construction
  • Legislation

Physical description

Number of pages: 5; Page Numbers: i-4

Full Record

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