Excerpt from Joseph Henry's Locked Book (January 16, 1864)

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  • Entry in the locked book of Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, January 16, 1864. In the entry, Henry discusses a recent meeting of the National Academy of Sciences where the constitution was adopted, and committee reports were read. Henry writes about his presentation of his recent experimentation with oils for light houses.
  • Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, was appointed to the newly-established United States Light-House Board on September 25, 1852, serving as one of two civilian scientists. Alexander Dallas Bache, a physicist, head of the United States Coast Survey and Smithsonian Institution Regent, was the other civilian appointment. Henry would become Chairman of the Light-House Board in 1871, and would serve until is death in 1878.


  • Bache, A. D (Alexander Dallas) 1806-1867
  • National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
  • Regents Smithsonian Institution
  • United States Coast Survey
  • United States Light House Board


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


  • The accompanying PDF contains SIA2012-3523 and SIA2012-3524, which are pages scanned from the edited transcript of the original version and notes in the Joseph Henry Papers Volume 10, pages 356-357 (Document 200).
  • This document is a typed copy of the original made by Mary Henry.

Contained within

  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7001, Box 39, Folder: 5 - Locked Book, B 1863-1876
  • Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds., The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 10, The Smithsonian Years: January 1858-December 1865 (Smithsonian Institution in association with Science History Publications/USA, 2004), 356-357

Contact information

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


January 16, 1864

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Letters
  • Science
  • Physicists
  • Lighthouses
  • Presentations
  • Experiments
  • Light sources
  • Science--Experiments


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-3314 and SIA2012-3315 and SIA2012-3316

Physical description

Number of Images: 3; Color: Black and White; Size: 8w x 10 1/2h; Type of Image: Document; Medium: Paper

Full Record

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