Joseph Henry Meets with Dudley Observatory Trustees

Close
Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact photos@si.edu.
Print

Narrow Your Results

Reset

Filter Your Results

Smithsonian Secretaries Information

Close Browse records and papers of the Smithsonian Secretaries, from 1846 until today. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by individuals who have held that office.

Expeditions Information

Close Browse records and papers documenting scientific and collecting expeditions either affiliated with the Smithsonian, or with which Smithsonian researchers participated. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by geographic regions predominantly represented in expedition records.

Professional Societies Information

Close Browse records of professional societies closely associated with the Smithsonian, that focus on areas of scientific research and museum studies. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by major topics and disciplines.
 

Summary

Joseph Henry travels to Albany, New York, where the Dudley Observatory had been established in 1856. As a member of an advisory body of the observatory known as the Scientific Council, Henry must help resolve a conflict that has developed between the Council's chosen director for the observatory, Benjamin Apthorp Gould, and the observatory's Board of Trustees. Although Henry is initially able to help broker an agreement between Gould and the trustees, Gould is ultimately fired. Other members of the Scientific Council, including Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Survey and Henry's friend Alexander Dallas Bache, respond with angry letters, a public protest meeting, and an appeal to the state legislature. Henry prefers to handle the matter more quietly, in part because he fears that the controversy could endanger appropriations to the Coast Survey, the Smithsonian, and the Light-House Board, on which he serves. The trustees are able to successfully influence newspaper coverage of the controversy, resulting in public disapproval of the Scientific Council.

Subject

  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Gould, Benjamin Apthorp
  • Bache, A. D (Alexander Dallas) 1806-1867
  • Dudley Observatory

Category

Chronology of Smithsonian History

Notes

Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds. The Papers of Joseph Henry, Vol. 10, January 1858 - December 1865: The Smithsonian Years. Washington, D.C.: Science History Publications, 2004, pp. xv-xvii, 32-33.

Contact information

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

Date

June 28, 1858

Topic

  • Observatories
  • Labor disputes
  • Astronomers
  • Controversies
  • Astronomy

Place

Albany (N.Y.)

Full Record

View Full Record