[Washington, D.C. 1827]. Single sheet, folded to 32 x 19 cm. 3 pp. of text, docketted on the fourth page: "Naval Office, Old Circular." This copy signed in ink by Asbury Dickins, Secretary of the Institute from 1818-1838, and directed to the Naval Officer, Salem, Mass. Old fold lines, some short separations at one or two of the folds. The Columbian Institute, originally founded in 1816, was soliciting "contributions of the friends of science, and particularly of those who are desirous of diffusing throughout the United States the benefits of useful knowledge.... It will be glad to receive original communications on any branch of knowledge, books and manuscripts for its library, specimens in natural history and the arts, for its museum, seeds and plants for its garden, and, generally, whatever may be supposed to have a bearing on its design. To facilitate the acquisition of some of these objects, the Institute has caused to be prepared, a few plain instructions for collecting and preserving seeds and plants, and specimens in natural history...." Two pages of specific instructions follow, signed in type by committee members Alex McWilliams and James M. Staughton. OCLC lists one copy of this cirucular at the Library of Congress. Item #66729
The Columbian Institute was founded by Naval Surgeon Dr. Edward Cutbush in 1816. It counted among its members several former Presidents, Governors, Senators and Representatives, as well as architects, bankers, judges, doctors, etc. It occupied offices in the U.S. Capitol, and maintained several acres of public ground in the city of Washington for a Botanic Garden. The Institute is considered to be Washington D.C.'s first learned society. Financial difficulties plagued it and in 1837, the Institute sold its collections and disbanded the following year. According to a brief history of the Columbian Institute by Lacey Baradel on the National Gallery of Art's website: "Although short-lived, the Columbian Institute's botanic garden was an important precursor to the U.S. Botanic Garden and began the system of distributing plants and seeds nationally that continues today through the U.S. Department of Agriculture."