Joseph Henry's Letter to George Mifflin Dallas (August 12, 1847)

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Letter from Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to George Mifflin Dallas, Vice President of the United States, August 12, 1847. In the letter, Henry responds to Dallas's inquiry about the danger of a lightning strike to a proposed mast and lantern set to be erected in the United States Capitol Building's dome. Henry states that the fixture would increase the likelihood of a lightning strike to the dome.


  • Dallas, George Mifflin 1792-1864
  • United States. Office of the Vice President
  • United States Capitol (Washington, D.C.)


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


The accompanying PDF contains SIA2012-0452 and SIA2012-0453, which are pages scanned from the edited transcript of the original version and notes in the Joseph Henry Papers Volume 7, pages 161-162 (Document 90).

Contained within

  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7001, Box 9, Folder: 1 - August - September 1847
  • Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 7, The Smithsonian Years: January 1847-December 1849 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1996), 161-162

Contact information

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


August 12, 1847

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Secretaries
  • Lightning
  • Letters
  • Electromagnets
  • Meteorology
  • Domes
  • Electromagnetism


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-2929 and SIA2012-2930 and SIA2012-2931

Physical description

Number of Images: 3 ; Color: Color ; Size: 5 3/4w x 8 1/2h ; Type of Image: Document ; Medium: Paper

Full Record

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