Joseph Henry Sent to Galway, New York, to Live with Uncle

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Born in Albany, New York, Joseph Henry is sent to live with his maternal uncle's family when he is around eight years old. His father's alcoholism and the birth of Henry's younger sibling James are likely factors in his parents' decision to send Henry to live with his uncle, John Alexander. The Alexanders live 36 miles away in the small town of Galway, New York. In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.


Henry, Joseph 1797-1878


Chronology of Smithsonian History


Moyer, Albert. Joseph Henry: The Rise of an American Scientist. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997, p. 17.

Contact information

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




  • Biography
  • New York (State)


New York (State)

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