Joseph Henry's Letter to Joseph Patterson (April 19, 1878)

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Letter from Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to Joseph Patterson, April 19, 1878. In the letter, Henry discusses a recent meeting of the National Academy of Sciences. He notes that future elections of members should be thought through carefully, and the qualifications for membership should be a spotless reputation, number of publications, and scientific discoveries instead of social standing. Henry also notes the exhibition and demonstration of a telephone and phonograph at the meeting.


National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


  • The accompanying PDF contains SIA2012-3141 and SIA2012-3142, which are pages scanned from the edited transcript of the original version and notes in the Joseph Henry Papers Volume 11, pages 651-652 (Document 302).
  • This document is a copy of the original made by Mary Henry.

Contained within

  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7001, Box 12, Folder: 20 - April - May 1878
  • 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), 651-652

Contact information

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


April 19, 1878

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Elections
  • Publications
  • Telephone
  • Meetings
  • Letters
  • Secretaries
  • Exhibitions
  • Phonograph
  • Discoveries in science


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2012-3617 and SIA2012-3618

Physical description

Number of Images: 2; Color: Color; Size: 7 3/4w x 7 1/4h; Type of Image: Document; Medium: Paper

Full Record

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