Joseph Henry's Letter to Benjamin Silliman, Sr. (March 2, 1836)

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Letter from Joseph Henry, then a professor at Princeton University and later first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to Benjamin Silliman Sr., a chemist and professor at Yale University, March 2, 1836. In the letter, Henry mentions he had been ill for some time, which prevented him from sending the results of some experiments at an earlier date. Henry praises Silliman for lectures he had given that attracted considerable attention to the studies being done at the Royal Institution of Great Britain and the British Association for the Advancement of Science. He goes on to discuss some upcoming work he will be doing in the field of electromagnetism, and he also includes a number of diagrams and descriptions of his electromagnetic experiments with coils and copper ribbons.


  • Silliman, Benjamin 1816-1885
  • Royal Institution of Great Britain
  • Princeton University
  • British Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Yale University
  • Joseph Henry Papers Project


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


7 pages scanned from the edited transcript of the original version and notes in the Joseph Henry Papers Volume 3, pages 14-20.

Contained within

Reingold, Nathan, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 3, The Princeton Years: January 1836-December 1837 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1979), 14-20

Contact information

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


March 2, 1836

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Lectures and lecturing
  • Letters
  • Secretaries
  • Chemists
  • Sick
  • Electromagnets
  • Scientific illustration
  • Experiments
  • Electromagnetism


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-2697 and SIA2012-2698 and SIA2012-2699 and SIA2012-2700 and SIA2012-2701 and SIA2012-2702 and SIA2012-2703

Physical description

Number of Images: 7 ; Color: Black and White ; Size: 6 3/4w x 10h ; Type of Image: Document ; Medium: Paper

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