Joseph Henry Dismisses Lorin Blodget, Assistant in Charge of Meteorology

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Acting under legal counsel, Joseph Henry discharges meteorology assistant Lorin Blodget by locking him out of his office. Blodget had been hired in December 1851 to reduce the meteorological data collected by the Smithsonian and to conduct the institution's correspondence with its volunteer weather observers. At the 1853 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Blodget had presented three papers that, in Henry's opinion, failed to give the Smithsonian due credit for providing the data Blodget had analyzed. When informed of his dismissal, Blodget refused to turn over a list of the Smithsonian's meteorological observers and his record of correspondence with them. Blodget would go on to publish a meteorological report for the Surgeon General's Office of the Army containing data for which, Henry insisted, the Smithsonian and its observers should have be credited.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Blodget, Lorin 1823-1901
  • Meteorological Project
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • United States Surgeon-General's Office


Chronology of Smithsonian History


Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds. The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 9, January 1854-December 1857: The Smithsonian Years. Washington, D.C.: Science History Publications, 2002, pp. xix-xxi, xxvi-xvii, 134-36.

Contact information

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


October 11, 1854


  • Labor disputes
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Personnel management
  • Employees
  • Volunteers
  • Meteorology
  • Smithsonian Institution--Employees

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