Joseph Henry's Letter to Benjamin Silliman, Jr. (August 13, 1846)

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Letter from Joseph Henry, then a professor at Princeton University and later first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to Benjamin Silliman, Jr., a chemistry professor at Yale University, August 13, 1846. In the letter, Henry discusses recent requests made upon him to recommend candidates for professorships, and his thoughts about what traits make a good professor. He writes that decisions should be made based upon whoever has provided the most original research and has made the most important additions to his specific branch of knowledge.


  • Silliman, Benjamin 1816-1885
  • Princeton University
  • Yale University


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


The accompanying PDF contains SIA2012-3276, SIA2012-3277, SIA2012-3278, SIA2012-3279, and SIA2012-3280, which are pages scanned from the edited transcript of the original version and notes in the Joseph Henry Papers Volume 6, pages 474-478.

Contained within

  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7001, Box 8, Folder: 21 - July-September 1846
  • Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 6, The Princeton Years: January 1844-December 1846 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1992), 474-478

Contact information

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


August 13, 1846

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Letters
  • Secretaries
  • Educators
  • Teachers
  • Research


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-2893 and SIA2012-2894 and SIA2012-2895

Physical description

Number of Images: 3 ; Color: Color ; Size: 8w x 10h ; Type of Image: Document ; Medium: Paper

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