At Home with the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives: The Hungerford Deed

Thursday, August 12 at 5 pm ET
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Picture this: you're cleaning out your attic and come across a folded bundle of paper. Unfurling the document reveals the signatures of your ancestors from two centuries ago, and as you begin to read, you are quickly swept up into what you realize was a dramatic legal battle over an inheritance that has had an impact to this day.

This is just the experience conservator William Bennett had when the Hungerford Deed was anonymously donated to the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives. The Deed illuminates the fraught proceedings between JamesSmithson’s mother, Elizabeth Macie, and her sister, Henrietta Maria Walker, which contributes important context to the Smithsonian’s founding.

Join William as he shares more details about his preservation of the Deed, divulges the sensational stories and fascinating history that emerged from his research, and provides a behind-the-scenes deep dive into the virtual exhibition about the Deed that will be launching August 10.

Watch the recording of this program.

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How to Join the Live Event
You can watch this event on Facebook. To access the event, please be sure you are following Smithsonian Institution Archives. We recommend having our page open when it starts.

We are committed to providing access services so all participants can fully engage in these events. Optional real-time captioning will be provided. If you need other access services, please email Advanced notice is appreciated.

This program will be recorded and made available following the event. You will find it on this page and on our YouTube channel.

Thank you to our generous Stewards of the Hungerford Deed!
Smithson Stewards: Mary and Clinton Gilliland

In celebration of the Smithsonian’s 175th anniversary and in honor of this fascinating discovery of the Deed, we hope you will join the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives' community of supporters by becoming a Steward of the Hungerford Deed.

Benefits at a variety of giving levels include honoring Stewards as part of this virtual program, recognition on the exhibition, and an exclusive invitation to view the Deed in person with fellow Stewards in the future. By joining, you will help ensure that the Libraries and Archives continues to engage and inspire our global audiences through educational programs and exhibitions, important preservation, and so much more.

TOP IMAGE: The wax seal used by Elizabeth Macie, James Smithson’s mother, as part of the signing and sealing of the Hungerford Deed. SIA Acc. 19-150, image by Michael Barnes, 2019.