Joseph Henry's Letter to John Torrey (December 30, 1860 - January 4, 1861)

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Letter from Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to John Torrey, a botanist, December 30, 1860 - January 4, 1861. In the letter, Henry discusses the distribution of botanical specimens to Torrey from the United States National Museum. He also expresses concerns over the threat of a Civil War and his opposition to having the museum as part of the Smithsonian Institution.


  • Torrey, John 1796-1873
  • United States National Museum


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 186-188 (Document 99).

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), 186-188

Contact information

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


  • December 30, 1860 - January 4, 1861
  • Civil War, 1861-1865

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Secretaries
  • Letters
  • Botany
  • Specimens
  • Science
  • Expenditures, Public
  • Plants
  • History
  • Botanists


United States


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-0012 and SIA2012-0013 and SIA2012-0014

Physical description

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

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