Joseph Henry's Letter to Edmund Burke (September 11, 1847)

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Letter from Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to Edmund Burke, United States Commissioner of Patents, September 11, 1847. In the letter, Henry discusses his opinion on the use of sulphates and sulfuric acid in relation to galvanic batteries. Burke had asked Henry his thoughts on the subject in relation to a new discovery by Lansing B. Swan, a druggist and inventor.


  • Burke, Edmund 1809-1882
  • United States Patent Office


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


The accompanying PDF contains SIA2012-3241, SIA2012-3242, and SIA2012-3243, which are pages scanned from the edited transcript of the original version and notes in the Joseph Henry Papers Volume 7, pages 183-185 (Document 101).

Contained within

  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7001, Box 9, Folder: 1 - August-September 1847
  • Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 7, The Smithsonian Years: January 1847-December 1849 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1996), 183-185

Contact information

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


September 11, 1847

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Chemistry
  • Electricity
  • Inventors
  • Letters
  • Secretaries


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-2945 and SIA2012-2946

Physical description

Number of Images: 2; Color: Color; Size: 7 1/2w x 9 3/4h; Type of Image: Document; Medium: Paper

Full Record

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