Foundling Left at Smithsonian Castle Door

ID:

Creator:

Form/Genre:

Date: June 1, 1863

Citation:

Close
Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact photos@si.edu.
Download IIIF Manifest Request permissions Download image Print

Narrow Your Results

Reset

Filter Your Results

Smithsonian Secretaries Information

Close Browse records and papers of the Smithsonian Secretaries, from 1846 until today. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by individuals who have held that office.

Expeditions Information

Close Browse records and papers documenting scientific and collecting expeditions either affiliated with the Smithsonian, or with which Smithsonian researchers participated. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by geographic regions predominantly represented in expedition records.

Professional Societies Information

Close Browse records of professional societies closely associated with the Smithsonian, that focus on areas of scientific research and museum studies. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by major topics and disciplines.
 

Summary

Mary Henry, daughter of the first Smithsonian Secretary, Joseph Henry, reported in her diary for June 1, 1863, that they "had found an addition to the family in the shape of an infant which had been left at the door of the Institution." The infant's parents were never located, but the event occurred during the Civil War, creating major disruption in the City of Washington. The Henry family kept the baby boy for a few weeks in their quarters in the East Wing of the Smithsonian Castle, but then took him to an orphanage. He would occasionally visit the Henrys over the course of the next two years, but then is not mentioned again. The Henrys had recently lost their only son, William, to what was probably typhoid, but did not keep the foundling.

Subject

  • Henry, Mary Anna 1834-1903
  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Henry, William Alexander 1831-1862
  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)

Category

Chronology of Smithsonian History

Notes

  • Photograph of east wing of Smithsonian Castle, early 1860s. Smithsonian Institution Archives, negative number 82-3288.
  • The Smithsonian "Torch," December 1966, p. 3.
  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, RU 7001, The Papers of Joseph Henry, Mary Henry Diary for 1863

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu

Date

  • June 1, 1863
  • Civil War, 1861-1865

Topic

  • Orphans
  • Foundlings
  • History

Place

  • United States
  • Washington (D.C.)

Full Record

View Full Record