Forsyth Solicits Advice on Smithson Bequest

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Secretary of State John Forsyth, acting on the instructions of President Martin Van Buren, writes to leading politicians, scholars, and educators, asking for their advice in regard to the proper use of the Smithson bequest. Respondents included John Quincy Adams, Thomas Cooper, Richard Rush, and Francis Wayland.


  • Adams, John Quincy 1767-1848
  • Cooper, Thomas 1759-1839
  • Forsyth, John 1780-1841
  • Rush, Richard 1780-1859
  • Van Buren, Martin 1782-1862
  • Wayland, Francis 1796-1865
  • United States. Secretary of State
  • United States President (1837-1841 : Van Buren)


Chronology of Smithsonian History


Goode, George Brown, ed. The Smithsonian Institution, 1846-1896, The History of Its First Half Century. Washington, D.C.: De Vinne Press, 1897., p. 32

Contact information

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


July, 1838


  • Smithson Bequest
  • SI, Early History
  • Public opinion

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