Seal of the Smithsonian Authorized

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The Board of Regents authorizes the creation of a seal of the Institution, with a likeness of James Smithson. A bronze medallion portrait of James Smithson is copied from one attributed to Engraver General of France, Pierre Joseph Tiolier (1763-1819). A noted manufacturer of seals, Edward Stabler, is hired to engrave the seal based on the medallion portrait and a design by Regent Robert Dale Owen. On March 17, the design is approved.


  • Canova, Antonio 1757-1822
  • Owen, Robert Dale 1801-1877
  • Smithson, James 1765-1829
  • Stabler, E (Edward) 1794-1883
  • Tiolier, Pierre Joseph 1763 - 1819
  • Board of Regents


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Goode, 1897, page 834, gives date as September 9, which is the date of a letter from Stabler to the chairman of the Board of Regents. The medallion was originally attributed to the Italian artist Antonio Canova, but the "T" mark on the medallion identifies it as created by Pierre Joseph Tiolier.
  • Goode, George Brown, ed. The Smithsonian Institution, 1846-1896, The History of Its First Half Century. Washington, D.C.: De Vinne Press, 1897, p. 834.
  • "The Smithsonian Seal, Symbol of the Institution." Undated brochure prepared by the Smithsonian Office of Architectural History and Historic Preservation.
  • Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, volume 18, number 329. "Journals of the Proceedings of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution 1846-76, Reports of Committees, Statistics, Etc." ed. by William J. Rhees. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1879, p. 445-446.

Contact information

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


February 24, 1847


  • Art
  • Seals (Numismatics)
  • Art objects

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