Smithsonian Budgets $1,000 for Meteorology Program

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The Smithsonian Board of Regents' Executive Committee includes $1,000 in its budget for the year beginning on March 19,1848 for the commencement of meteorological observations, particularly with reference to the phenomena of American storms. In the Smithsonian's Annual Report for 1849, Secretary Joseph Henry writes that the Institution has collected meteorological data from a network of 150 volunteer weather observers throughout the United States. Standard sets of barometers, rain gauges, and wind vanes, constructed under Henry's supervision, have been sent to a small number of the observers. Several telegraph companies have agreed to transmit local weather data to the Smithsonian free of charge. By 1860, thirty percent of the Smithsonian's research and publication budget would be devoted to the meteorology program.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Meteorological Project
  • Board of Regents


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Image is of Circular on Meteorology, 1848, Smithsonian Institution Archives, negative number SIA2012-2724.
  • A discussion of the Smithsonian's nascent meteorology program in its annual report for 1849 can be found at
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the Year 1849. Washington, D.C.: 1850, pp. 12-15.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1848. Washington, D.C.: 1849, pp. 15, 49.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1847. Washington, D.C.: 1849, p. 158.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7001, Box 5, Folder: 1

Contact information

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


March 19, 1848


  • Weather
  • Thermometer
  • Telegraph
  • Scientific apparatus and instruments
  • Weather forecasting
  • Financial policies
  • Budget
  • Barometer
  • Board of Regents
  • Volunteers
  • Meteorology
  • Board of Regents--Financial policies

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