Joseph Henry's Letter to Asa Gray (April 29, 1861)

Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact
Request permissionsDownload image Print

Narrow Your Results


Filter Your Results

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.


Letter from Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to Asa Gray, a Harvard University botanist, April 29, 1861. In the letter, Henry describes the effects felt, specifically the increase of the cost to ship packages and mail, due to the Confederate Army being in the vicinity of Washington, D.C. Henry also shares his views on the Civil War, stating that he does not think the Union, large as it has grown, can survive as a whole. Henry states that it would be "better to separate peacefully than to deluge the country with blood."


  • Gray, Asa 1810-1888
  • Confederate States of America. Army
  • Harvard University


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


3 pages scanned from the edited transcript of the original version and notes in the Joseph Henry Papers Volume 10, pages 207-209 (Document 111).

Contained within

Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 10, The Smithsonian Years: January 1858-December 1865 (Smithsonian Institution in association with Science History Publications/USA, 2004), 207-209

Contact information

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


  • April 29, 1861
  • Civil War, 1861-1865

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Secretaries
  • Letters
  • Botany
  • Postal service
  • History
  • Packages
  • Botanists


  • United States
  • Washington (D.C.)


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-0005 and SIA2012-0006 and SIA2012-0007

Physical description

Number of Images: 3 ; Color: Black and White ; Size: 7w x 10h ; Type of Image: Document ; Medium: Paper

Full Record

View Full Record