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And the Search for a Proper Memorial

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James Smithson's Will

The Italian Grave Site

The Exhumation and Journey to America

The Search for a Proper Memorial

Smithson's Crypt

Symbolism of the Grave Marker



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The Inscription on Smithson's Monument

link to image of Smithson's crypt

Smithson's Crypt in the Smithsonian Building, 2003

The inscription on the front of the tomb reads:

“Sacred to the memory of James Smithson Esquire, Fellow of the Royal Society, London, who died at Genoa the 26th June 1829, aged 75 years*.”

The inscription on the back of the tomb reads:

“This monument is erected and the ground on which it stands is purchased in perpetuity by Henry Hungerford. Esq.**, the deceased’s nephew, in token of gratitude to a generous benefactor and as a tribute to departed worth”

* At the time of his death, Smithson was 64.

** Also known as Henry James Dickenson, Smithson's nephew took the family name "Hungerford" at his uncle's request.