Joseph Henry's Letter to Alexander Dallas Bache (October 3, 1863)

ID: SIA2012-2541 and SIA2012-2542 and SIA2012-2543

Creator: Joseph Henry Papers Project

Form/Genre: Document

Date: October 3, 1863

Citation: Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 10, The Smithsonian Years: January 1858-December 1865 (Smithsonian Institution in association with Science History Publications/USA, 2004), 338-339

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Summary

  • Letter from Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to Alexander Dallas Bache, a physicist, head of the United States Coast Survey and Smithsonian Institution Regent, October 3, 1863. In the letter, Henry discusses meeting Bache in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as well as seeing many members of the National Academy of Sciences' Weights and Measurements committee he was a part of. Henry also talks about his experimentation with different oils in order to find the best one for use in lighthouses as part of his work as a member of the United States Light House Board.
  • Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, was appointed to the newly-established United States Light-House Board on September 25, 1852, serving as one of two civilian scientists. Alexander Dallas Bache, a physicist, head of the United States Coast Survey and Smithsonian Institution Regent, was the other civilian appointment. Henry would become Chairman of the Light-House Board in 1871, and would serve until is death in 1878.
  • The National Academy of Sciences was established on March 3, 1863, by an act of the United States Congress. The purpose of the Academy was to advance science and to advise the federal government on scientific matters. Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, was named as one of the academy's fifty members and chaired its inaugural meeting in New York. He initially declined a leadership position due to his role at the Smithsonian, but would become the Academy's president in 1868. The Smithsonian furnished rooms in the Smithsonian Institution Building, or "Castle," to the organization for its meetings and library.

Subject

  • Bache, A. D (Alexander Dallas) 1806-1867
  • National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
  • Regents Smithsonian Institution
  • United States Coast Survey
  • United States Congress
  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)
  • United States Light House Board

Category

Historic Images of the Smithsonian

Notes

The accompanying PDF contains SIA2012-2658 and SIA2012-2659, which are pages scanned from the edited transcript of the original version and notes in the Joseph Henry Papers Volume 10, pages 338-339 (Document 189).

Contained within

  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7053, Box 4, Folder: 8
  • Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 10, The Smithsonian Years: January 1858-December 1865 (Smithsonian Institution in association with Science History Publications/USA, 2004), 338-339

Contact information

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

Date

October 3, 1863

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions

Topic

  • Weights and measures
  • Letters
  • Secretaries
  • Science
  • Physicists
  • Scientists
  • Lighthouses
  • Experiments
  • Light sources
  • Science--Experiments

Place

  • Philadelphia (Pa.)
  • New York (N.Y.)

Form/Genre

  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-2541 and SIA2012-2542 and SIA2012-2543

Physical description

Number of Images: 3 ; Color: Color ; Size: 5 1/4w x 8 1/4h ; Type of Image: Document ; Medium: Paper

Full Record

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