SI Receives Residual Smithson Legacy

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The residuary legacy of James Smithson, on account of the death of the annuitant, Madame Marie de la Batut (a.k.a. Mary Ann Coates), is received by the Smithsonian Institution. The amount, equivalent to $26,210.63 in gold, is converted into United States bonds, which when sold at the current premium, yielded $54,165.38 in United States currency. The Secretary of the Treasury claims the funds are not under the control of the Smithsonian Board of Regents inasmuch as the original act of Congress of 1846 referred only to the bequest of James Smithson which was then in the Treasury of the United States, and claims that a special act of Congress would be required to apply this money to the uses of the Institution.


  • Smithson, James 1765-1829
  • de la Batut, Mary Ann
  • Board of Regents
  • United States. Secretary of the Treasury
  • United States Dept. of the Treasury
  • United States Congress


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Goode, George Brown, ed. The Smithsonian Institution, 1846-1896, The History of Its First Half Century. Washington, D.C.: De Vinne Press, 1897, p. 31, 837.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1865. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1872, p. 109-10.
  • 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. 116-117.

Contact information

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


June 11, 1864


  • Smithson Bequest
  • Finance
  • Act to establish the "Smithsonian Institution," for the Increase and Diffusion of Knowledge Among Men
  • Interagency Relations
  • Gifts

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