Joseph Henry Urges Secretary of the Interior to Support the Publication of Work on American Indians




Date: June 19, 1849


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First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry urges Secretary of the Interior Thomas Ewing to support the publication of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft's work on North American Indians. Schoolcraft had been hired in 1847 by the War Department's Office of Indian Affairs to gather information on Native Americans. When the Interior Department was established in 1849, the Office of Indian Affairs was transferred to it. The Department did continue to support Schoolcraft, resulting in a monumental six-volume work, Historical and Statistical Information Respecting the History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States, published in 1851-1857.


  • Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe 1793-1864
  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Ewing, Thomas 1789-1871
  • United States Dept. of the Interior
  • United States War Dept


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Image is of letter from Joseph Henry to Thomas Ewing, June 19, 1849, Smithsonian Institution Archives, negative number SIA2012-0441.
  • Joseph Henry to Thomas Ewing, June 19, 1849, document 315 in The Papers of Joseph Henry, vol. 7, The Smithsonian Years: January 1847-December 1849, Marc Rothenberg, et al, eds., Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1996, pp. 564-565.

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


June 19, 1849


  • Soldiers
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  • Language and languages
  • Ethnologists
  • Ethnology
  • Indians of North America
  • Linguistics


North America

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