Crypt of James Smithson

ID: MAH-17041

Creator: Unknown

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: 1905

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives Record Unit 95 Box 31 Folder 32

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Summary

Crypt containing the body of founder James Smithson in the North Tower entrance of the Smithsonian Institution Building or "Castle." Smithson's remains were brought to the United States by Smithsonian Regent Alexander Graham Bell in 1904, when the Protestant Cemetery in Genoa, Italy, where Smithson was buried, was to be moved. Many plans were made for an elaborate memorial to the Institution's benefactor, but the lack of an appropriation dictated a more modest course. Smithson's marker from the Italian gravesite was incorporated into the room, and a gate was fashioned from pieces of the fence that had surrounded the site. Architects Hornblower and Marshall redesigned the room to give it a more somber classical feeling, replacing the ceiling, windows, and the floor.

Subject

  • Bell, Alexander Graham 1847-1922
  • Smithson, James 1765-1829
  • Hornblower & Marshall
  • Smithsonian Institution Building North Towers
  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)

Category

Historic Images of the Smithsonian

Notes

See Field, Ewing and Stamm, "The Castle," pp. 154-57; Smithsonian Institution Annual Report for 1905, pp. 6-7. Rick Stamm's unpublished ms. "The History of Smithson's Crypt" details each of the proposals made for a Smithson memorial, copy in Office of Architectural History. The proposals are located in Smithsonian Institution Archives, RU7000, B4.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives Record Unit 95 Box 31 Folder 32

Contact information

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

Date

1905

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions

Topic

  • Tombs
  • Smithson, James
  • Benefactors
  • Memorials
  • Smithson family
  • Death and burial
  • Crypt
  • Smithson, James--Death and burial

Form/Genre

  • Photographic print
  • Interior

ID Number

MAH-17041

Physical description

Color: Black and White; Size: 8w x 10h; Type of Image: Interior; Medium: Photographic print

Full Record

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