James Smithson Carte de Visite, London, England, ca. 1826


The National Institute for the Promotion of Science acquired James Smithson’s personal effects, displaying them in the National Gallery of the Patent Office beginning in 1842. There, John Varden, the collection’s keeper, apparently helped himself to a supply of Smithson’s calling cards. Varden gave this one to Caleb Bentley, a Quaker silversmith, shopkeeper, and postmaster of Brookeville, Maryland—and a contributor to Varden’s Washington Museum. Varden’s gift to Bentley went unrecorded until 1892, when the card came back to the Smithsonian with an inscription that noted its diversion.

Bequest of James Smithson, 1829

Date Made: ca 1826

Associated Person: Smithson, James

See more items in: Political and Military History: Political History, General History Collection, Government, Politics, and Reform, Souvenir Nation


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2011.0036.01Accession Number: 2011.0036Catalog Number: 2011.0036.01

Object Name: calling cardOther Terms: Name Card; calling card; Printed

Measurements: overall: 3 1/8 in x 1 in; 7.9375 cm x 2.54 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a3-c9f9-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_512262

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