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Finding Aids to Personal Papers and Special Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Archives

Record Unit 7213

Western Union Telegraph Expedition (1865-1867)

Western Union Telegraph Expedition Collection, 1865-1867

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at osiaref@si.edu.
Creator: Western Union Telegraph Expedition (1865-1867)
Title: Western Union Telegraph Expedition Collection
Dates: 1865-1867
Quantity: 0.75 cu. ft. (1 document box) (1 half document box)
Collection: Record Unit 7213
Language of Materials: English
Summary:

This collection includes correspondence, mostly to Spencer F. Baird, from members of the Scientific Corps of the Western Union Telegraph Expedition, including Kennicott, Dall, Bannister, and Elliott; copies of reports submitted to divisional chiefs from expedition staff members; newspaper clippings concerning the expedition; copies of notes on natural history taken by Robert Kennicott; and a journal containing meteorological data recorded by Henry M. Bannister from March to August, 1866.

Historical Note

The Western Union Telegraph Expedition, 1865-1867, also known as the Russian-American Telegraph Expedition, was undertaken to study the possibility of setting up a communications system with Europe by way of Alaska, the Bering Straits, and Asia. The expedition was organized in three divisions, working in Canada, Russian-America (Alaska), and Asia. Robert Kennicott, the veteran Alaskan explorer, was placed in charge of the Russian-American division. Under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution and the Chicago Academy of Sciences, a Scientific Corps was established, with Kennicott in command, to accompany the Russian-American division and make collections in natural history. Naturalists William H. Dall, Henry M. Bannister, and Henry W. Elliott served as members of the Scientific Corps. On the death of Kennicott on May 13, 1866, Dall became chief of the Scientific Corps until the expedition was terminated in July 1867 due to the successful laying of the Atlantic Cable.

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Descriptive Entry

This collection includes correspondence, mostly to Spencer F. Baird, from members of the Scientific Corps of the Western Union Telegraph Expedition, including Kennicott, Dall, Bannister, and Elliott; copies of reports submitted to divisional chiefs from expedition staff members; newspaper clippings concerning the expedition; copies of notes on natural history taken by Robert Kennicott; and a journal containing meteorological data recorded by Henry M. Bannister from March to August, 1866.

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Access Restriction

It appears that some of the material in this collection was removed from the official correspondence files of the Smithsonian.

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This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.

Name

Subject

Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection

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Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7213, Western Union Telegraph Expedition Collection

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Container List

Box 1

Folder 1 Reports of Major S. Abasa, Chief of Asia Division, February 15, 1866, February 16, 1866, March 26, 1866 and April 19, 1866

Box 1 of 2

Folder 2 Henry M. Bannister

Box 1 of 2

Folder 3 Charles S. Bulkley

Box 1 of 2

Folder 4 Report of Charles S. Bulkley, March 1, 1867

Box 1 of 2

Folder 5 Reports of Richard J. Bush, May 4, 1866, May 24, 1866, June 9, 1866, August 2, 1866, May 28, 1867, November 14, 1866, and July 15, 1867

Box 1 of 2

Folder 6 Report of R. D. Cotter, May 30, 1866

Box 1 of 2

Folder 7 William H. Dall

Box 1 of 2

Folder 8 Report of Joseph T. Dyer, July 7, 1867

Box 1 of 2

Folder 9 Henry W. Elliott

Box 1 of 2

Folder 10 Reports of William H. Ennis, June 30, 1866, September 1, 1866 and August 15, 1867

Box 1 of 2

Folder 11 Report of Henry T. Fisher, January 1, 1867

Box 1 of 2

Folder 12 Reports of George Kennan, February 5, 1866 and March 28, 1866

Box 1 of 2

Folder 13 Robert Kennicott

Box 1 of 2

Folder 14 Duplicate Transcripts of Kennicott's Notes, undated

Box 1 of 2

Folder 15 Reports of Frank E. Ketcham, July 12, 1866, March 6, 1867 and July 25, 1867

Box 1 of 2

Folder 16 Report of Captain James A. Mahood to Major S. Abasa, Asia Division, March 13, 1866 from Okhotsk, Eastern Siberia and October 3, 1865 from Nicolaefski

Box 1 of 2

Folder 17 Clippings

Box 1 of 2

Folder 18 Reports of Collins S. Macrae, March 28, 1866 and June 4, 1867

Box 1 of 2

Folder 19 Report of D. C. Norton, April 20, 1867

Box 1 of 2

Folder 20 Report of J. H. Robinson to Richard J. Bush, June 27, 1867, Northeast Siberia

Box 1 of 2

Folder 21 Report of Joseph Trimble Rothrock, March 30, 1865

Box 1 of 2

Folder 22 Report of E. Everett Smith to Bulkley, July 26, 1867

Box 1 of 2

Folder 23 Report of Ferdinand Westdahl, July 23, 1867

Box 1 of 2

Folder 24 Report of Frederick Whymper to Ketcham, August 12, 1867, St. Michaels

Box 1 of 2

Folder 25 Report of George M. Wright, December 31, 1867, San Francisco

Box 1 of 2

Box 2

Meteorological Journal of Henry M. Bannister

Box 2 of 2