JAMES SMITHSON AND THE SMITHSONIAN STORY by

JAMES SMITHSON AND THE SMITHSONIAN STORY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Emerson's statement that ""An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man"" is aptly applied to the Smithsonian Institute, born of a bequest by an English scientist interested in the increase and diffusion of knowledge. This tri-partite volume gives a birds-eye view of the Smithsonian vi Leonard Carmichael, present Secretary, who reviews its history. Then J.C. Long presents a biography of the founder, the illegitimate son of Sir Hugh Smithson and Elizabeth Macie, who rose to prominence as a chemist and discoverer of a whole new complex of zinc applications. There follows the story of the Smithsonian, championed in Congress by John Quincy Adams, becoming an actuality some seventeen years after Smithson's death in 1846. A brief run-down includes a sample year of exploration (1930) with ethnology leading the list; a description of the Museum of History and Technology, new in 1964; a view of the Smithsonian as custodian of the arts with a quick tour of the National Gallery, gallery by gallery; a list of publications and some denizens of the zoo; a respectful bow to Smithson's tomb (he was moved to the Institution seventy-five years after his death in Genoa); and finally, a note on employment policies and the procedure for giving objects. Like the Institution, the book touches all bases and in a seemingly random way mirrors some of its higgledy-piggledy fascination.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1965
Publisher: Putnam