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James Smithson

PemBook: James Smithson and his bequest by William J Rhees

Student, 1782-1786

James Smithson (1764 – 1829) was born Jacques Louis Macie in Paris in early 1764, the illegitimate son of Hugh Percy (formerly Smithson), second earl and later first duke of Northumberland. Smithson came to Pembroke in 1782, obtaining his M.A. in 1786. During this time, he was known as James Lewis Macie, having taken his mother’s surname which he continued to use until she died in 1800, when he changed it to Smithson. Although he never visited the States, Smithson stipulated in his will that, should his heir die without issue, the Smithson estate would go to establish an Institution in Washington, D. C. This benefaction resulted in the establishment of The Smithsonian Institute.

More about James Smithson

Other Works:

The lost world of James Smithson : science, revolution, and the birth of the Smithsonian by Heather Ewing (2007)

The Smithsonian Institution, 1846-1896 : The history of its first half century by George Brown Goode (1897)

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