Joseph Henry Gives Smithsonian Linguistic Materials on American Indians to John Wesley Powell




Date: October 1876


Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact
Download IIIF Manifest Request permissions Download image Print

Narrow Your Results


Filter Your Results

Smithsonian Secretaries Information

Close Browse records and papers of the Smithsonian Secretaries, from 1846 until today. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by individuals who have held that office.

Expeditions Information

Close Browse records and papers documenting scientific and collecting expeditions either affiliated with the Smithsonian, or with which Smithsonian researchers participated. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by geographic regions predominantly represented in expedition records.

Professional Societies Information

Close Browse records of professional societies closely associated with the Smithsonian, that focus on areas of scientific research and museum studies. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by major topics and disciplines.


First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry gives all of the Smithsonian's linguistic materials and questionnaires on Indian life to John Wesley Powell, director of the United States Geological Survey. Three years later, the materials come back to the Institution when Powell is appointed to direct the newly established Bureau of American Ethnology at the Smithsonian.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Powell, John Wesley 1834-1902
  • Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology
  • United States Geological Survey (USGS)


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Image is of Major John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) seated at his desk in his office in the Adams Building on F Street in Washington, D.C., c. 1870s. Smithsonian Institution Archives, negative number 2002-12170.
  • Donald Worster, A River Running West: The Life of John Wesley Powell (Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 397.
  • Neil M. Judd, The Bureau of American Ethnology: A Partial History (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1967), p. 6.
  • Virginia Noelke, The Origin and Early History of the Bureau of American Ethnology (Ph.D diss., The University of Texas at Austin, 1974), pp. 22-23.

Contact information

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


October 1876


  • Historians
  • Questionnaires
  • Language and languages
  • Ethnologists
  • Ethnology
  • Interagency Transfers
  • Indians of North America
  • Linguistics


North America

Full Record

View Full Record