Joseph Henry's Letter to Alexander Dallas Bache (June 25 - July 9, 1852)

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  • 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, June 25 - July 9, 1852. In the letter, Henry informs Bache of the events at the Smithsonian Institution and in Washington, DC, during Bache's absence. He mentions the preparation of scientific publications by the Smithsonian and a meeting of the United States Congress in which it was proposed the the Smithsonian Institution be converted into an agricultural society, which Henry opposed. He also talks about planning a series of scientific lectures at the Smithsonian, and business related to the United States Lighthouse Board, of which both he and Bache were members.
  • 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.


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


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


The accompanying PDF contains SIA2012-3292, SIA2012-3293, SIA2012-3294, SIA2012-3295, SIA2012-3296, SIA2012-3297, SIA2012-3298, SIA2012-3299, SIA2012-3300, SIA2012-3301, SIA2012-3302, SIA2012-3303, and SIA2012-3304, which are pages scanned from the edited transcript of the original version and notes in the Joseph Henry Papers Volume 8, pages 342-354 (Document 218).

Contained within

  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7053, Box 3, Folder: 26
  • Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 8, The Smithsonian Years: January 1850-December 1853 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1998), 342-354

Contact information

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


June 25 - July 9, 1852

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Lectures and lecturing
  • Publications
  • Letters
  • Secretaries
  • Science
  • Physicists
  • Agriculture
  • Lighthouses
  • Light sources


Washington (D.C.)


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-2570 and SIA2012-2571 and SIA2012-2572 and SIA2012-2573 and SIA2012-2574 and SIA2012-2575 and SIA2012-2576 and SIA2012-2577 and SIA2012-2578 and SIA2012-2579 and SIA2012-2580 and SIA2012-2581 and SIA2012-2582 and SIA2012-2583 and SIA2012-2584 and SIA2012-2585 and SIA2012-2586 and SIA2012-2587 and SIA2012-2588 and SIA2012-2589 and SIA2012-2590 and SIA2012-2591 and SIA2012-2592 and SIA2012-2593 and SIA2012-2594 and SIA2012-2595 and SIA2012-2596 and SIA2012-2597 and SIA2012-2598 and SIA2012-2599

Physical description

Number of Images: 30; Color: Color; Size: 7 3/4w x 10 1/2h; Type of Image: Document; Medium: Paper

Full Record

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