Joseph Henry's Letter to Benjamin Peirce (December 30, 1845)

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


Letter from Joseph Henry, then a professor at Princeton University and later first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to Benjamin Peirce, a mathematician and professor at Harvard University, December 30, 1845. In the letter, Henry discusses a recent electromagnetic discovery made by Michael Faraday, an English physicist, and his attempts to reproduce the result. Henry notes that the experiment was one that he had attempted a few years earlier, but that it had failed due to lack of galvanic power. He writes about his busy teaching schedule, which has prevented him from conducting research and experiments.


  • Peirce, Benjamin
  • Faraday, Michael 1791-1867
  • Princeton University
  • 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 6, pages 355-359.

Contained within

Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 6, The Princeton Years: January 1844-December 1846 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1992), 355-359

Contact information

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


December 30, 1845

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Electricity
  • Letters
  • Secretaries
  • Physicists
  • Electromagnets
  • Experiments
  • Discoveries in science
  • Teaching
  • Mathematicians
  • Research
  • Electromagnetism


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-3381 and SIA2012-3382 and SIA2012-3383 and SIA2012-3384 and SIA2012-3385

Physical description

Number of Images: 5 ; Color: Black and White ; Size: 6 3/4w x 10h ; Type of Image: Document ; Medium: Paper

Full Record

View Full Record