Handwritten Draft of James Smithson Will, Pages 1 and 3 and 2 and 4

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Full text of the four page, double-sided handwritten draft of James Smithson's will, in which he specifies his bequest to the United States. This handwritten draft of Smithson's will was acquired by the Smithsonian Institution in 1878 from George Henry de la Batut of France. The draft may have been written by Smithson's clerk.


  • Smithson, James 1765-1829
  • de la Batut, George Henry


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


  • 72-3960-A (pages 1 and 3) and 72-3960 (pages 2 and 4).
  • The final version of the will was written on October 23, 1826 and proved on November 4, 1829 and is located at the National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey. To view a digital facsimile of the Court's version of the final three-page will of James Smithson that was submitted to the Chancery Court after his death in 1829, visit The National Archives of Great Britain web site at http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ under wills.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7000, Box 2, Folder: 12

Contact information

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



Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Benefactors
  • Holographic wills
  • Philanthropists
  • Wills
  • Bequest
  • Wills--Great Britain


Great Britain


  • Paper
  • Document
  • Will

ID Number

72-3960-A and 72-3960

Physical description

Color: Color; Size: 14.75w x 9.25h unfolded, 2 pages on each side; Type of Image: Document; Medium: Paper

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