Joseph Henry Issues Circular Calling for Information on Archaeological Features Nationwide

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First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry issues a circular by ethnologist Otis T. Mason calling upon people across the country to submit information on Indian mounds and other features of archaeological significance. The circular, which is widely published in newspapers, spawns greater public awareness of archaeology and brings to the Smithsonian a large collection of maps, drawings, and letters describing archaeological features still in existence at that time.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Mason, Otis Tufton 1838-1908


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • This circular can be found at For Otis T. Mason's report on the materials received as a result of the circular, see For a finding aid to these materials, see
  • Smithsonian Institution Miscellaneous Collections, Volume 15, Article 9. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1878.
  • Collected Letters on Ethnology, circa 1876-1879, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 58.
  • Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian for the year 1879, pp. 428-448.

Contact information

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




  • Publishers and publishing
  • Antiquities
  • Letters
  • Ethnology
  • Archaeology
  • Mounds
  • Citizen science
  • Historians
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Newspapers
  • Ethnologists
  • National Collections
  • Volunteers
  • Indians of North America
  • Maps
  • Indians of North America--Antiquities
  • Mound-builders


North America



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