Joseph Henry's Letter to Charles Wheatstone (February 27, 1846)

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Letter from Joseph Henry, then a professor at Princeton University and later first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to Charles Wheatstone, an English scientist and inventor, February 27, 1846. In the letter, Henry thanks Wheatstone for making favorable comments about him to the US minister the royal court of the United Kingdom. Henry writes that because of such kind words, and Wheatstone's reputation, the minister was selected as President of Harvard, and then offered Henry a position as Professor of Technology. He discusses his satisfaction with his life at Princeton, besides the low salary he is earning, and states that he would only be tempted to leave should a position at the Medical College of Pennsylvania become open. Henry also mentions the current state of science in the US, and the need for change in order to progress the boundaries of human knowledge.


  • Princeton University
  • Harvard University


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


The accompanying PDF contains SIA2012-3272, SIA2012-3273, SIA2012-3274, and SIA2012-3275, which are pages scanned from the edited transcript of the original version and notes in the Joseph Henry Papers Volume 6, pages 382-385.

Contained within

  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7001, Box 8, Folder: 19 - January-March 1846
  • Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 6, The Princeton Years: January 1844-December 1846 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1992), 382-385

Contact information

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


February 27, 1846

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Diplomacy
  • Letters
  • Secretaries
  • Diplomats
  • Educators
  • Teachers
  • England




  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-2874 and SIA2012-2875 and SIA2012-2876 and SIA2012-2877 and SIA2012-2878

Physical description

Number of Images: 5 ; Color: Color ; Size: 7 3/4w x 9 3/4h ; Type of Image: Document ; Medium: Paper

Full Record

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