Smithsonian Distributes Circular on Indian Languages of North America

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The American Ethnological Society publishes a circular entitled "Indian Languages of North America." First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry reports that he has helped distribute the circular to missionaries, government agents, and soldiers to facilitate the collection of Indian words. Henry considers the study of Indian languages as key to understanding the origins and history of North American natives.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • American Ethnological Society


Chronology of Smithsonian History


Curtis M. Hinsley, Jr., The Smithsonian and the American Indian: Making a Moral Anthropology in Victorian America, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994, pp. 48-49.

Contact information

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


December 23, 1852


  • Soldiers
  • Missionaries
  • Publications
  • Historians
  • Collectors and collecting
  • Language and languages
  • Ethnology
  • Indians of North America
  • Linguistics


North America

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