Smithson Portrait and Papers Purchased

Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact

Narrow Your Results


Filter Your Results

Smithsonian Secretaries Information

Close Browse records and papers of the Smithsonian Secretaries, from 1846 until today. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by individuals who have held that office.

Expeditions Information

Close Browse records and papers documenting scientific and collecting expeditions either affiliated with the Smithsonian, or with which Smithsonian researchers participated. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by geographic regions predominantly represented in expedition records.

Professional Societies Information

Close Browse records of professional societies closely associated with the Smithsonian, that focus on areas of scientific research and museum studies. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by major topics and disciplines.


A miniature likeness of James Smithson and one of Colonel Henry Louis Dickinson (the half-brother of Smithson) are purchased for $100 (500 francs) from Mr. George Henry de la Batut, a distant relative of Smithson through marriage. Accompanying these portraits is what appears to be the original draft of Smithson's will, differing slightly from the final version in the Court of Chancery, that was previously published, as well as a series of notes addressed to Smithson by some distinguished scientists of the day.


  • de la Batut, George Henry
  • Dickinson, Henry Louis 1771-1820
  • Smithson, James 1765-1829


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • This miniature painted by Henri Johns in 1816 is now in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery. The miniature was transferred to the Portrait Gallery from the Division of Political History, National Museum of American History and accessioned in 1985. It is 3" x 2", tempera on paperboard (information from John McMahon, National Portrait Gallery).
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1877, p. 9
  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7000, Box 3, Folder 7

Contact information

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




  • Acquisitions
  • Art
  • Accessions
  • Letters
  • Portraits
  • Museums
  • Wills
  • Archives
  • Art objects
  • Museums--Acquisitions
  • Wills--Great Britain


Great Britain

Full Record

View Full Record