American Philosophical Society Memorial's Letter to Joel R. Poinsett (December 20, 1839)

Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact
Request permissionsDownload image Print


Letter from the American Philosophical Society Memorial committee to Joel R. Poinsett, United States Secretary of War, December 20, 1839. In the letter, the committee members request that Poinsett provide Department of War support to an Antarctic Expedition of the British Government to study terrestrial magnetism. They also requests that magnetic observatories be built throughout the United States for further study of magnetism and meteorology. Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, was one of the committee members.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Poinsett, Joel Roberts 1779-1851
  • American Philosophical Society
  • United States War Dept
  • United States. Secretary of War


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


6 pages scanned from the edited transcript of the original version and notes in the Joseph Henry Papers Volume 4, pages 315-320.

Contained within

Reingold, Nathan, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 4, The Princeton Years: January 1838-December 1840 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1981), 315-320

Contact information

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


December 20, 1839

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Observatories
  • Secretaries
  • Magnetism
  • Expeditions
  • Meteorology


  • Great Britain
  • United States
  • Antarctica


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-2976 and SIA2012-2977 and SIA2012-2978 and SIA2012-2979 and SIA2012-2980 and SIA2012-2981

Physical description

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

Full Record

View Full Record