Stewards of the Hungerford Deed

Why did English chemist James Smithson donate his fortune to the United States, a nation he had never even visited? One of our newest documents, the Hungerford Deed, sheds light on the scientist’s motivations to make that bequest.

The Hungerford Deed illuminates the legal battles that Smithson’s family went through to divide up their family inheritance during the 18th century. This family history reveals the character of Smithson’s closest relatives and helps us see Smithson as a man of passion as well as science.

The Hungerford Deed is an incomparable addition to the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives’ collections, thrilling excited colleagues, intriguing researchers, and even delighting Hungerford descendants. For the Smithsonian’s 175th anniversary, we are showcasing the Deed in an online exhibition so people around the world can experience the real-life history of the Institution. Take a moment to flip through the pages yourself and see who has already lent their support in honor of this priceless piece of Smithsonian history.

We invite you to join us as a close supporter of the Smithsonian legacy by becoming a Steward of the Hungerford Deed!

With a gift of $75 or more, your name will be recognized virtually with the Deed in its inaugural exhibit; additional benefits (see below) are available at a variety of giving levels. All donors will be invited to join the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives Society, The Vault. Donations to this project will support the mission of the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives, including the vital preservation, exhibition, and education work that continues Mr. Smithson’s founding vision to “increase and diffuse knowledge,” which is as impactful today as it was 175 years ago.

We are pleased to recognize donors in the following categories:

Steward $75 and more
  • Recognition on Deed exhibition website
Keate Steward $175 and more

All of the above plus:

  • Personalized certificate by email
Walker Steward $575 and more

All of the above plus:

  • Listed in the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives’ Annual Report
Macie Steward $1,175 and more

All of the above plus:

  • Personalized certificate packet by mail
Smithson Steward $5,175 and more

All of the above plus:

  • Recognition on invitation for virtual program about the Deed and verbal recognition during the program
  • Invite to special (group) tour to view the Deed
Hungerford Steward $10,175 and more

All of the above plus:

  • Visual recognition at virtual program
  • Article about the gift in a Smithsonian Libraries and Archives’ publication

Exhibition website recognition will grow in prominence based on gift level.

The Smithsonian came into being through a philanthropic gift, and we continue to rely on generous support from donors like you. Thank you for all you have done for the Smithsonian; we can’t wait to see where the next 175 years will take us, together.