Joseph Henry Attends Albany Academy




Date: 1819-1822


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Joseph Henry enters Albany Academy, a school for boys, at the late age of 21, as an "overage student. He had been admitted earlier, but was unable to afford tuition. He had worked for several years as a local teacher to amass the funds necessary to pursue his education. During this time, he is employed by the school's principal, the physician T. Romeyn Beck, to help prepare his lectures. After completing his studies, Henry is hired by Beck as his "chemical assistant." In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Albany Academy


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Image is of the Albany Academy, Albany, New York, Smithsonian Institution Archives, negative number 96-4474.
  • Reingold, Nathan, ed. The Papers of Joseph Henry, The Albany Years, December 1797 - October 1832, vol. 1. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1972, pp. xxi-xxiii, 49.
  • Moyer, Albert. Joseph Henry: The Rise of an American Scientist. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997, pp. 24, 30.

Contact information

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






Albany (N.Y.)

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