Joseph Henry's Letter to Theodore Dwight Woolsey (August 8, 1862)

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Letter from Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to Theodore Dwight Woolsey, President of Yale University, April 16, 1862. The letter discusses the Annual Report for the Smithsonian Institution for 1861 and alludes to the prosperous condition of the Institution's affairs. The burden of the Smithsonian lecture room is discussed, and there is talk of Henry's opposition to its use by Tennessee preacher William Gannaway Brownlow. Henry also acknowledges his unease about the safety and security of Washington from a Confederate attack during the US Civil War.


  • Woolsey, Theodore Dwight 1801-1889
  • Smithsonian Institution Building Lecture Hall
  • Confederate States of America. Army
  • Smithsonian Year
  • Yale University


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 274-276 (Document 153).

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), 274-276

Contact information

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


  • August 8, 1862
  • Civil War, 1861-1865

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Lectures and lecturing
  • Religious leaders
  • Letters
  • Secretaries
  • Safety
  • History


  • United States
  • Washington (D.C.)


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-2639 and SIA2012-2640 and SIA2012-2641

Physical description

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

Full Record

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