James Smithson's Library
James Smithson (c.1765-1829), an 18th-century gentleman of science, included his library with his bequest to the United States founding the Smithsonian Institution. The collection consists of 126 titles, primarily scientific monographs and journal articles, but also history and memoirs, political pamphlets, travel books and museum guides, and a few household items such as cookbooks. Relatively few items from the collection have been digitized; those which have are gathered in this digital collection for perusal. Image: detail of book in Smithson’s hand, from his 1786 portrait, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.