Joseph Henry's Letter to Thaddeus Lowe (May 28, 1861)

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Letter from Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to Thaddeus Lowe, a balloonist, May 28, 1861. In the letter, Henry commends Lowe's "aerial voyages," but informs him that the Smithsonian Institution cannot at this time fund his work. Henry does suggest, however, that the United States government might have interest in funding Lowe's ballooning to assist in reconnaissance in the Civil War.


Lowe, T. S. C (Thaddeus Sobieski Coulincourt) 1832-1913


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


2 pages scanned from the edited transcript of the original version and notes in the Joseph Henry Papers Volume 10, pages 212-213 (Document 114).

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), 212-213

Contact information

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


  • May 28, 1861
  • Civil War, 1861-1865

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Aerial reconnaissance
  • Balloons (Aircraft)
  • Funding
  • Secretaries
  • Letters
  • Aeronautics
  • Expenditures, Public
  • History
  • Ballooning
  • Aerial reconnaissance, American


United States


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-0034 and SIA2012-0035

Physical description

Number of Images: 2 ; Color: Black and White ; Size: 7w x 10h ; Type of Image: Document ; Medium: Paper

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