"Statement of Professor Henry in Reference to Lorin Blodget" (mid-February 1855)

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  • Statement of Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, in reference to Lorin Blodget, Assistant in charge of Meteorology, mid-February 1855. In the statement, Henry discusses Bloget's time spent working for the Smithsonian's meteorology department. He details the rise in his salary as his work improved, and the beginning of undesirable circumstances surrounding his employment at the Smithsonian. Henry discusses the collection of materials by Blodget, and his taking credit for work done under the Smithsonian name. He then details the reason for the dismissal of Blodget from his position, due in part to his refusal to follow directions, but as a sum of a number of things.
  • Acting under legal counsel, Joseph Henry discharged Lorin Blodget on October 11, 1854, by locking him out of his office. Blodget had been hired in December 1851 to reduce the meteorological data collected by the Smithsonian and to conduct the institution's correspondence with its volunteer weather observers. At the 1853 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Blodget had presented three papers that, in Henry's opinion, failed to give the Smithsonian due credit for providing the data Blodget had analyzed. When informed of his dismissal, Blodget refused to turn over a list of the Smithsonian's meteorological observers and his record of correspondence with them. Blodget would go on to publish a meteorological report for the Surgeon General's Office of the Army containing data for which, Henry insisted, the Smithsonian and its observers should have be credited.


  • Blodget, Lorin 1823-1901
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • United States Surgeon-General's Office
  • Meteorological Project


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


8 pages scanned from the edited transcript of the original version and notes in the Joseph Henry Papers Volume 9, pages 197-204 (Document 112).

Contained within

Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 9, The Smithsonian Years: January 1854-December 1857 (Smithsonian Institution in association with Science History Publications/USA, 2002), 197-204

Contact information

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


mid-February 1855

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No restrictions


  • Secretaries
  • Collectors and collecting
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Personnel management
  • Paper
  • Employees
  • Wages
  • Volunteers
  • Meteorology
  • Smithsonian Institution--Employees


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-3415 and SIA2012-3416 and SIA2012-3417 and SIA2012-3418 and SIA2012-3419 and SIA2012-3420 and SIA2012-3421 and SIA2012-3422

Physical description

Number of Images: 8 ; Color: Black and White ; Size: 6 3/4w x 10h ; Type of Image: Document ; Medium: Paper

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