Smithson's Geological Tour While a Student

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James Smithson makes a geological tour through Scotland and the Hebrides, including New Castle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dumbarton, Tarbet, Inverary, Oban, Arran, and the island of Staffa. He is in the company of Monsieur Barthelemy Faujas de St. Fond, a celebrated French geologist, William Thornton, the Italian Count Paolo Andreani, and others. The expedition was an unusual opportunity for a young college student to work with noted scientists.


  • Andreani, Paolo 1763-1823
  • Faujas-de-St.-Fond cit (Barthélemy) 1741-1819
  • Smithson, James 1765-1829
  • Thornton, William


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Barthelemy Faujas de St. Fond's volume on "A Journey Through England and Scotland" contains his reminiscences of the trip and one of the few descriptions we have of James Smithson. At the time, Smithson used the French version of his birth name, James Macies.
  • Goode, George Brown, ed. The Smithsonian Institution, 1846-1896, The History of Its First Half Century. Washington, D.C.: De Vinne Press, 1897, p. 10.
  • Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, vol. 21, no. 330, Article I. "James Smithson and his Bequest," by William J. Rhees. Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1880, p. 5.
  • Barthelemy Faujas de St. Fond, A Journey Through England and Scotland to the Hebrides in 1784. Glasgow: Hugh Hopkins, 1907, 2 vols.

Contact information

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




  • Geology
  • Hebrides
  • Field work
  • Geology--Field work



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