US Wins Chancery Suit for Smithson Bequest

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The English Court of Chancery suit pertaining to the James Smithson bequest brought by Richard Rush is decided in favor of the United States.


  • Rush, Richard 1780-1859
  • Smithson, James 1765-1829
  • Great Britain Court of Chancery


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Goode and Rhees both state that the date is 9 May, however, the Annual Report for 1879 (page 171) gives the date as 12 May. This is the date of Rush's letter to Forsyth informing him of the success of the suit.
  • Goode, George Brown, ed. The Smithsonian Institution, 1846-1896, The History of Its First Half Century. Washington, D.C.: De Vinne Press, 1897., p. 30, 833
  • 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. 52
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1879, p. 171

Contact information

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


May 9, 1838


  • Smithson Bequest
  • Actions and defenses
  • Gifts
  • Major Events in Smithsonian History

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