Joseph Henry's Letter to M. W. Jacobus (July 19, 1843)

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Letter from Joseph Henry, then a professor at Princeton University and later first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to Melancthon Williams Jacobus, a clergyman in New York, July 19, 1843. In the letter, Henry answers Jacobus's query about how to outfit his church with a lightning rod to protect it from lightning strikes.


  • Jacobus, Melancthon W (Melancthon Williams) 1816-1876
  • Princeton University


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


  • The accompanying PDF contains SIA2012-0993, SIA2012-0994, and SIA2012-0995, which are pages scanned from the edited transcript of the original version and notes in the Joseph Henry Papers Volume 5, pages 372-374. A drawing from these pages was individually scanned is SIA2012-0994a.
  • This letter is a copy of the original made by Mary Henry. SIA2012-3625 is an image clipped from the original letter made by Joseph Henry.

Contained within

  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7001, Box 8, Folder: 9 - July - September 1843
  • Reingold, Nathan, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 5, The Princeton Years: January 1841-December 1843 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1985), 372-374

Contact information

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


July 19, 1843

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Electricity
  • Secretaries
  • Lightning
  • Letters
  • Science
  • Lightning rods
  • Church buildings
  • Clergy
  • Meteorology
  • New York (State)


  • United States
  • New York (State)


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-3623 and SIA2012-3624 and SIA2012-3625

Physical description

Number of Images: 3 ; Color: Color ; Size: 7 7/8w x 11h ; Type of Image: Document ; Medium: Paper

Full Record

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