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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.

Copyright 2003 NPR

Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.