Joseph Henry's Letter to Parker Cleaveland (November 16, 1831)

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Letter from Joseph Henry, then a teacher at the Albany Academy and later first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to Parker Cleaveland, a geologist and professor at Bowdoin College, November 16, 1831. In the letter, Henry informs Cleaveland of the price of the magnet that he constructed for Benjamin Silliman and other magnets that he could build for Cleaveland. Shortly after completing an article on his electromagnet for Benjamin Silliman's "American Journal of Science," Joseph Henry began making a large electromagnet for Silliman to demonstrate to his students at Yale University, c. 1830s. The 82.5 -pound magnet proved capable of supporting more than 2,000 pounds.


  • Silliman, Benjamin 1816-1885
  • Cleaveland, Parker 1780-1858
  • Albany Academy
  • Yale University
  • Bowdoin College


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


The accompanying PDF contains SIA2012-0939 and SIA2012-0940, which are pages scanned from the edited transcript of the original version and notes in the Joseph Henry Papers Volume 1, pages 375-376.

Contained within

  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7001, Box 7, Folder: 8 - July - September 1831
  • Reingold, Nathan, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 1, The Albany Years: December 1797-October 1832 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1972), 375-376

Contact information

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


November 16, 1831

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Electric apparatus and appliances
  • Prices
  • Scientific apparatus and instruments
  • Secretaries
  • Letters
  • Inventions
  • Science
  • Electromagnets
  • Educators
  • Experiments
  • Electromagnetism
  • Teachers
  • Electromagnet
  • Science--Experiments


United States


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-2938 and SIA2012-2939 and SIA2012-2940

Physical description

Number of Images: 3 ; Color: Color ; Size: 8w x 10h ; Type of Image: Document ; Medium: Paper

Full Record

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