Oct
23

Today in Smithsonian History: October 23, 1826

Pages one and three 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.

Pages one and three 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.

October 23, 1826 James Smithson makes his will while residing in Bentinck Street, Cavendish Square, London. He makes a bequest to the United States with the following conditions: “In the case of the death of my said Nephew [Henry James Hungerford] without leaving a child or children, or the death of the child or children he may have had under the age of twenty-one years or intestate, I then bequeath the whole of my property, . . . to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase & diffusion of knowledge among men.

Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Archives


Posted: 23 October 2017
About the Author:

The Torch relies on contributions from the entire Smithsonian community.

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>