Joseph Henry's Letter to Gideon Hawley (December, 28, 1846)

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Letter from Joseph Henry, then a professor at Princeton University and later first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to Gideon Hawley, a citizen Regent of the Smithsonian Insitution from New York, December 28, 1846. In the letter, Henry thanks Hawley for voting for him to be elected as the Secretary of the Smithsonian. He states that he hopes to meet with Hawley soon to discuss the plan for the Smithsonian, as to avoid any early mistakes which could jeopardize the Institution's mission. He presents a number of ideas concerning the finances and goals, which should be considered before the plan is finalized in order to make the Smithsonian recognizable and respected worldwide.


  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Regents Smithsonian Institution
  • Princeton University


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


The accompanying PDF contains SIA2012-3367, SIA2012-3368, SIA2012-3369, SIA2012-3370, SIA2012-3371, and SIA2012-3372, which are pages scanned from the edited transcript of the original version and notes in the Joseph Henry Papers Volume 6, pages 610-615.

Contained within

  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7001, Box 8, Folder: 25 - December 17-31 1846
  • Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 6, The Princeton Years: January 1844-December 1846 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1992), 610-615

Contact information

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


December, 28, 1846

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Letters
  • Secretaries
  • Finances
  • Mission statements


New York


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-2904 and SIA2012-2905 and SIA2012-2906 and SIA2012-2907 and SIA2012-2908

Physical description

Number of Images: 5; Color: Color; Size: 8 1/4w x 10 1/2h; Type of Image: Document; Medium: Paper

Full Record

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