Joseph Henry Requests Equipment from England for Pacific Railroad Surveys

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Summary

First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry writes to renowned British scientist Edward Sabine to request magnetic instruments for two Pacific Railroad Surveys recently authorized by Congress. Sabine sends the instruments, but they are not received by the Smithsonian in time to be given to the exploring parties. These surveys consist of six major expeditions extending from the Great Plains to the west coast with the purpose of determining a transcontinental railroad route.

Subject

  • Sabine, Edward Sir 1788-1883
  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Pacific Railroad Surveys
  • United States Congress
  • National Collections
  • Pacific Railroad Expeditions

Category

Chronology of Smithsonian History

Notes

  • Joseph Henry Letter to Edward Sabine, May 12, 1852, document 270 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. 441-443.
  • Joseph Henry Letter to Edward Sabine, December 2, 1853, document 298 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. 496-498.

Contact information

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

Date

May 12, 1853

Topic

  • Surveys
  • Railroads
  • Scientific expeditions
  • Scientific apparatus and instruments
  • Magnetism
  • Expeditions

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