Joseph Henry Calls for National Weather Service

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In his annual report for 1865, Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry calls for the federal government to establish a national weather service capable of issuing storm warnings and other weather predictions. He estimates this will cost at least $50,000 a year. Others urge similar proposals. The Smithsonian's network of volunteer weather observers has dropped from over six hundred before the Civil War to half that number in 1865.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Weather Bureau
  • Meteorological Project
  • Smithsonian Institution


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • For Henry's request that the federal government take over the Smithsonian's meteorological program, see
  • Rothenberg, Marc, 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. xxviii-xxix.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1865, pp. 56-59.

Contact information

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





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