Joseph Henry Appointed to Permanent Commission of the Navy

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Date: February 20, 1863

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Summary

Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry is appointed to the newly-established Permanent Commission of the Navy Department. This three-member board is charged with reviewing proposals sent to the Navy for warship designs, signalling systems, torpedoes, underwater guns, and other ordnance. Established in the midst of the Civil War, the commission meets more than 100 times and up to three times a week over the next two years, often at the Smithsonian Institution Building. They evaluate more than 300 inventions and proposals and issue more than 250 reports.

Subject

  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • United States Dept. of the Navy
  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)
  • Permanent Commission of the Navy

Category

Chronology of Smithsonian History

Notes

  • Portrait of Joseph Henry, 1860, by unknown artist. Smithsonian Institution Archives, negative number 82-3172.
  • Marc Rothenberg, et al, eds. The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 10, January 1858-December 1865: The Smithsonian Years. Washington, D.C.: Science History Publications, 2004, pp. xxxiii-xxxiv, 294-295, 602 (index).
  • Marc Rothenberg, et al, eds. The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 11, January 1866-December 1878: The Smithsonian Years. Washington, D.C.: Science History Publications, 2007, pp.134-135.
  • Nathan Reingold, "Science in the Civil War: The Permanent Commission of the Navy Department," Isis, 1958, 49:309, 310, 317, 318.
  • A. Hunter Dupree, Science in the Federal Government. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1957, pp. 137-138.

Contact information

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

Date

  • February 20, 1863
  • Civil War, 1861-1865

Topic

  • Signals and signaling
  • Boats and boating
  • Weapons
  • Wartime Activities
  • Inventions
  • Rockets (Ordnance)
  • History
  • Ships

Place

United States

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