Joseph Henry's Letter to James Rodney (March 25, 1846)

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Letter from Joseph Henry, then a professor at Princeton University and later first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to James Rodney, March 25, 1846. In the letter, Henry explains the principles of lightning and how to use a lightning rod to protect a building from lightning strikes.


Princeton University


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


The accompanying PDF contains SIA2012-0955, SIA2012-0956, SIA2012-0957, SIA2012-0958, SIA2012-0959, SIA2012-0960, and SIA2012-0961, which are pages scanned from the edited transcript of the original version and notes in the Joseph Henry Papers Volume 6, pages 399-405.

Contained within

  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7001, Box 8, Folder: 19 - January-March 1846
  • Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 6, The Princeton Years: January 1844-December 1846 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1992), 399-405

Contact information

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


March 25, 1846

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Electricity
  • Secretaries
  • Lightning
  • Letters
  • Science
  • Lightning rods
  • Meteorology


United States


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-2879 and SIA2012-2880 and SIA2012-2881 and SIA2012-2882 and SIA2012-2883 and SIA2012-2884 and SIA2012-2885 and SIA2012-2886

Physical description

Number of Images: 8 ; Color: Color ; Size: 8w x 10h ; Type of Image: Document ; Medium: Paper

Full Record

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