Joseph Henry's Letter to Asa Gray (July, 8, 1868)

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Letter from Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to Asa Gray, a Harvard University botanist, July 8, 1868. In the letter, Henry discusses his reluctant acceptance of the position of President of the National Academy of Sciences, since the wife of his late friend , Alexander Dallas Bache, who had been a physicist, head of the United States Coast Survey and Smithsonian Institution Regent, hoped he would take the position. Henry also writes about the need for the United States Congress to further support the work of the Academy, and make proper appropriations to keep the Academy prominent and able to produce important scientific findings.


  • Bache, Nancy
  • Bache, A. D (Alexander Dallas) 1806-1867
  • Gray, Asa 1810-1888
  • National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
  • Regents Smithsonian Institution
  • United States Coast Survey
  • United States Congress
  • Harvard University


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


4 pages scanned from the edited transcript of the original version and notes in the Joseph Henry Papers Volume 11, pages 195-198 (Document 93).

Contained within

Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 11, The Smithsonian Years: January 1866-May 1878 (Smithsonian Institution in association with Science History Publications/USA, 2007), 195-198

Contact information

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


July, 8, 1868

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Letters
  • Secretaries
  • Botany
  • Science
  • Physicists
  • Expenditures, Public
  • Botanists


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-3146 and SIA2012-3147 and SIA2012-3148 and SIA2012-3149

Physical description

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

Full Record

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