Celebrating Smithsonian Institution (1846)

When you do your Estate planning and update your Will do you envision the legacy you plan to leave behind?  Today we are celebrating the result of one person’s estate planning which made possible the Smithsonian Institution being established in 1846.

scott 1838
Attribution: U.S. 15 cent stamp, Scott 1838, from 1980 “Smithsonian” AMERICAN ARCHITECTURE SERIES. It was one of four, the block of four: SCOTT # 1838-1841, (Smithsonian, Trinity Church, Penn Academy, & Lyndhurst)

And I want to Thank my stamp club friend with the Wilmington Philatelic Society in locating these three U.S. stamps today of the Smithsonian (On Twitter .      Attribution: Image (upper left) shown is “The Smithsonian centenary stamp was denominated at three cents, which paid the domestic letter rate for surface letters weighing one ounce or less.” Scott 943.  “The stamp’s maroon color mimics the Castle’s Seneca Creek sandstone facade. The First Day of Issue ceremonies, which were broadcast on national radio, were held at the National Museum of Natural History on August 10, 1946.”

It was interesting to read in today’s History Channel “This Day in History” for August 10 – how its creation was the result of a footnote in the will of an English scientist, James Smithson, stipulating in his will that if his only nephew died without any heirs then his entire estate would go “the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”   It gets even more interesting in reading further “Smithson’s curious bequest to a country that he had never visited aroused significant attention on both sides of the Atlantic.”  …  

and reading further:  “…On July 1, 1836, the U.S. Congress authorized acceptance of Smithson’s gift. President Andrew Jackson sent diplomat Richard Rush to England to negotiate for transfer of the funds, and two years later Rush set sail for home with 11 boxes containing a total of 104,960 gold sovereigns, 8 shillings, and 7 pence, as well as Smithson’s mineral collection, library, scientific notes, and personal effects. After the gold was melted down, it amounted to a fortune worth well over $500,000.  After considering a series of recommendations, including the creation of a national university, a public library, or an astronomical observatory, Congress agreed that the bequest would support the creation of a museum, a library, and a program of research, publication, and collection in the sciences, arts, and history. On August 10, 1846, the act establishing the Smithsonian Institution was signed into law by President James K. Polk.”   To read the entire story, click on this link  History Channel “This Day in History” (On Twitter @History)

scott 3059
Attribution: Scott 3059, Smithsonian Institution, 150th Anniversary, Topic: Museums, 32 cent U.S. Stamp. Year of Issue: 1991-2000

From Wikipedia: “Termed “the nation’s attic” for its eclectic holdings of 138 million items, the Institution’s Washington, D.C., nucleus of nineteen museums, nine research centers, and zoo—many of them historical or architectural landmarks—is the largest such complex in the world.” (On Twitter @Wikipedia) 

The National Postal Museum (On Twitter @PostalMuseum) was established through joint agreement between the United States Postal Service and the Smithsonian Institution in 1993.  

Again, many thanks to my local stamp club, the Wilmington Philatelic Society, for their help in locating these three U.S. stamps today of the Smithsonian.  


Anchors Aweigh,  




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