Spencer Fullerton Baird's Letter to George Perkins Marsh (May 6, 1854)

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Letter from Spencer Fullerton Baird, then Assistant Secretary and later second Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to George Perkins Marsh, United States Minister to Italy and environmentalist, May 6, 1854. In the letter, Baird informs Marsh of developments in the conflict between Henry and Charles Coffin Jewett, the Librarian of the Smithsonian Institution. Henry did not want the Smithsonian to be responsible for a library, and in 1866 the library collection was transferred to the Library of Congress. Baird also describes his relations with Henry as "quite pleasant," though, he continues, Henry did not treat him "justly or kindly on all occasions."


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Jewett, Charles C (Charles Coffin) 1816-1868
  • Marsh, George Perkins 1801-1882
  • Smithsonian Library
  • Library of Congress Relations with the Smithsonian


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


  • 5 pages scanned from the edited transcript of the original version and notes in the Joseph Henry Papers Volume 9, pages 64-68 (Document 25).
  • Marsh served on the Smithsonian Board of Regents from 1847 to 1849, and was an advocate of having the national library at the Smithsonian.

Contained within

Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 9, The Smithsonian Years: January 1854-December 1857 (Smithsonian Institution in association with Science History Publications/USA, 2002), 64-68

Contact information

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


May 6, 1854

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  • Diplomacy
  • Secretaries
  • Controversies
  • Letters
  • Diplomats
  • Librarians


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-0385 and SIA2012-0386 and SIA2012-0387 and SIA2012-0388 and SIA2012-0389

Physical description

Number of Images: 5 ; Color: Black and White ; Size: 7w x 10h ; Type of Image: Document ; Medium: Paper

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