Joseph Henry Advises Secretary of the Navy on U.S. Exploring Expedition to Paraguay




Date: November 10, 1852


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First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry advises Secretary of the Navy John Pendleton Kennedy on how to collect natural history specimens during the U.S. Exploring Expedition to Paraguay, which launches in the spring of 1853. Numerous plant, animal, and mineral specimens are collected as a result, including many that had not been previously described. These specimens comprise the largest collection of South American specimens in the United States at the time.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Kennedy, John Pendleton 1795-1870
  • Gray, Asa 1810-1888
  • United States. Secretary of the Navy
  • National Collections
  • United States Exploring Expedition to Paraguay 1853


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Portrait of John Pendleton Kennedy, Secretary of the Navy, by Eastman Johnson, c. 1844-1846. National Portrait Gallery, image number NPG.67.48.
  • Wood, Robert D., The Voyage of the Water Witch. Culver City, CA: Labyrinthos, 1985, 80.
  • Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian for the year 1855, p. 47.
  • Joseph Henry to Asa Gray, November 6-11, 1852, document 244 in The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 8, The Smithsonian Years: January 1850-December 1853, Marc Rothenberg, et al, eds. (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1998), pp. 399-404.

Contact information

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


November 10, 1852


  • Scientific expeditions
  • Animals
  • Collectors and collecting
  • Botany
  • Specimens
  • Explorations and Expeditions
  • Minerals
  • Plants
  • Surveying
  • Paraguay


  • South America
  • Paraguay

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