Joseph Henry Proposes Index of Scientific Articles

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In a letter to Lewis C. Beck, Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry discusses the need for comprehensive index to scientific articles, but notes that "no one who is fit to direct such a business would be willing to submit to the drudgery of making a list of papers from the various periodicals" and that it would very costly. Henry would later be credited by the Royal Society of London for suggesting, in 1855, that such an index be created. This resulted in the Royal Society's publication of the six-volume Catalogue of Scientific Papers (1800-1863).


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Royal Society of London


Chronology of Smithsonian History


Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry: The Smithsonian Years, January 1847-December 1849, Volume 7, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996, p. 469.

Contact information

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


January 29, 1849


  • Communication in science
  • Secretaries
  • Bibliography

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