to the United States
James Smithson died in Genoa, Italy, on June 27, 1829, at the age of 64, after a long illness. 75 years later, Smithsonian Regent Alexander Graham Bell brought Smithson's remains to Washington, where they were interred in a tomb in the Smithsonian Building.
When Smithson's nephew died in 1835 without any heirs, the founding of the Smithsonian Institution—and a rousing national debate—were set in motion.
Smithson did not explain his bequest in his public or private writings.
Smithson's motives in leaving money to the United States
are unknown. He drafted his own will following the guidance
in this book.
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