Benjamin Tappan's Bill for Smithson Bequest

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Mr. Benjamin Tappan of Ohio, from the Joint Library Committee, reports bill S. 188 to establish the Smithsonian Institution. This version provides for a twelve member Board of Managers from different States or Territories to conduct business; construction of a building which will house all objects of natural history received by the government, as well as a library, chemical laboratory, and lecture rooms; appointment of professors to lecture in natural history, chemistry and astronomy, and a professor of agriculture and horticulture to carry out experiments on cultivars new to the country. The bill is passed to a second reading.


  • Tappan, Benjamin
  • United States Congress


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • 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. 266-268.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1879, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880, p. 177-178.

Contact information

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


June 6, 1844


  • Smithson Bequest
  • Chemistry
  • Horticulture
  • Lectures and lecturing
  • Education
  • Debates
  • Natural History
  • Act to establish the "Smithsonian Institution," for the Increase and Diffusion of Knowledge Among Men
  • Board of Managers
  • Agriculture
  • National Collections
  • Astronomy
  • Natural history

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