Joseph Henry's Letter to Alexander Dallas Bache (April 4, 1862)

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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, April 4, 1862. In the letter, Henry discusses his testimony to congress about appropriations for the completion of Steven's Battery, a naval warship. He goes on to talk about the acceptance of Dr. Woolsey to an appointment, and the controversy surrounding the nomination of Henry Barnard to the Board of Regents. There is also mention of the debate surrounding the use of Smithsonian buildings for lectures by the abolitionist Fredrick Douglass.


  • Woolsey, Theodore Dwight 1801-1889
  • Bache, A. D (Alexander Dallas) 1806-1867
  • Douglass, Frederick 1818-1895
  • Regents Smithsonian Institution
  • United States Coast Survey
  • United States Congress
  • United States Navy


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


3 pages scanned from the edited transcript of the original version and notes in the Joseph Henry Papers Volume 10, pages 249-251 (Document 138).

Contained within

Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 10, The Smithsonian Years: January 1858-December 1865 (Smithsonian Institution in association with Science History Publications/USA, 2004), 249-251

Contact information

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


April 4, 1862

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Boats and boating
  • Lectures and lecturing
  • Abolitionists
  • Appointments
  • Letters
  • Secretaries
  • Controversies
  • Physicists
  • Expenditures, Public
  • Appropriations hearings
  • Ships


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-2636 and SIA2012-2637 and SIA2012-2638

Physical description

Number of Images: 3 ; Color: Black and White ; Size: 6 3/4w x 10h ; Type of Image: Document ; Medium: Paper

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