Joseph Henry's Inaugural Address to Albany Academy (September 11, 1826)

Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact
Request permissionsDownload image Print


Joseph Henry's inaugural address to the Albany Academy as Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philiosophy, or physics. Henry, later the first secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, had attended the Albany Academy from 1819 to 1822 and started a professorship there in September of 1826. In his first formal event as an educator, Henry discussed the history of the disciplines of mathematics and physics and offered a look into the future of the field and the work he hoped to accomplish while at the Academy. He began with a historical overview of mathematics, then provided examples of contemporary research, chiefly in the application of calculus to natural philosophy. After describing some of the more arcane aspects of mathematical physics, he discussed the application of mathematics to technology and to the advancement of humankind.


Albany Academy


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


The accompanying PDF contains SIA2012-2611, SIA2012-2612, SIA2012-2613, SIA2012-2614, SIA2012-2615, SIA2012-2616, SIA2012-2617, SIA2012-2618, SIA2012-2619, SIA2012-2620, SIA2012-2621, SIA2012-2622, SIA2012-2623, SIA2012-2624, SIA2012-2625, SIA2012-2626, and SIA2012-2627, which are pages scanned from the edited transcript of the original version and notes in the Joseph Henry Papers Volume 1, pages 163-179.

Contained within

  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7001, Box 26, Folder: 1 - Chair of Mathematics at Albany Academy Acceptance (1826)
  • Reingold, Nathan, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 1, The Albany Years: December 1797-October 1832 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1972), 163-179

Contact information

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


September 11, 1826

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Technology
  • Letters
  • Secretaries
  • Mathematics
  • Educators
  • Physics
  • Speeches, addresses, etc
  • Research


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-3005 and SIA2012-3006 and SIA2012-3007 and SIA2012-3008 and SIA2012-3009 and SIA2012-3010 and SIA2012-3011 and SIA2012-3012 and SIA2012-3013 and SIA2012-3014 and SIA2012-3015 and SIA2012-3016 and SIA2012-3017 and SIA2012-3018 and SIA2012-3019 and SIA2012-3020 and SIA2012-3021 and SIA2012-3022 and SIA2012-3023 and SIA2012-3024 and SIA2012-3025 and SIA2012-3026 and SIA2012-3027 and SIA2012-3028 and SIA2012-3029 and SIA2012-3030 and SIA2012-3031

Physical description

Number of Images: 27; Color: Color; Size: 8w x 10h; Type of Image: Document; Medium: Paper

Full Record

View Full Record