The Man Behind the Smithsonian Institution

At his death in 1829, English scientist James Smithson left half a million dollars for the establishment of an institution in Washington, D.C. He'd never set foot in the city — or in the United States. NPR's Robert Siegel talks with Nina Burleigh, author of The Stranger and the Statesman, a new book about the mysterious benefactor of the Smithsonian Institution.

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