Forsyth Acknowledges Letter on Bequest

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Secretary of State John Forsyth writes to Aaron Vail, Charge d'Affaires of the United States in London, acknowledging his letter of 28 July 1835 notifying Forsyth of the bequest of an Englishman named James Smithson. The bequest provides for the creation of an establishment in Washington for the increase and diffusion of knowledge. Forsyth informs Vail that he has notified President Andrew Jackson who will submit the matter to the United States Congress during its next session.


  • Forsyth, John 1780-1841
  • Jackson, Andrew 1767-1845
  • Smithson, James 1765-1829
  • Vail, Aaron 1796-1878
  • United States. Secretary of State
  • United States Dept. of State
  • United States President
  • 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. 9

Contact information

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


September 26, 1835


  • Smithson Bequest
  • Benefactors
  • Gifts

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