Bill to Organize Smithsonian Passes House

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The United States House of Representatives, by a vote of 85 to 76, passes a bill organizing the Smithsonian Institution. The bill does not, however, pass the Senate. The final form of the bill, H. 5, was an amended substitution by William Jervis Hough of New York, that finally passed in August of 1846.


  • Hough, William Jervis 1795-1869
  • Owen, Robert Dale 1801-1877
  • United States Congress


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Date given as February 28 in Goode, 1897, page 833, is introduction of an earlier bill by Representative Robert Dale Owen of Indiana which included provisions for a normal school for teacher training in natural science and primary education.
  • Goode, George Brown, ed. The Smithsonian Institution, 1846-1896, The History of Its First Half Century. Washington, D.C.: De Vinne Press, 1897, p. 53-53, 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. 412-427.

Contact information

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


April 29, 1846


  • Smithson Bequest
  • Education
  • Act to establish the "Smithsonian Institution," for the Increase and Diffusion of Knowledge Among Men

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