Stanley Portraits Offered to SI

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Date: January 23, 1858

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Summary

John Mix Stanley offers once again to sell to the Smithsonian his collection of 152 Indian portraits, for the sum of $12,000. Secretary Joseph Henry urges the purchase of the paintings; however, they are never purchased by the United States. In 1861, a small appropriation will be made for Stanley's expenses (relating to interest on a debt he incurred in order to meet his living expenses). When the paintings are destroyed in the 1865 fire at the Smithsonian, Stanley's loss will be estimated at $20,000. Because of wartime expenses, Stanley apparently is not compensated by the U.S. government for the loss. On June 23, 1870, Congress grants to Stanley the privilege of admitting free of duty up to 21,000 copies of the Indian paintings as full settlement of any claim against the United States for the loss in the fire.

Subject

  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Stanley, John Mix 1814-1872
  • United States Customs
  • United States Congress

Category

Chronology of Smithsonian History

Notes

  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1857, p. 76
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1859, p. 113
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1861, p. 46
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1864, p. 119
  • Rhees, William Jones. The Smithsonian Institution: Documents Relative to Its Origin and History: 1835-1899, Vol. 1, 1835-1887. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1901, p. 686

Contact information

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

Date

January 23, 1858

Topic

  • Acquisitions
  • Art
  • Losses
  • Controversies
  • Finance
  • Secretaries
  • Tariff
  • Fire
  • Ethnology
  • Anthropology
  • Museums
  • Artists
  • Art objects
  • Museums--Acquisitions
  • Fires

Place

North America

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