Smithsonian Institution, Board of Regents, Minutes, 1858

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  • Present: John C. Breckinridge, Roger B. Taney, James M. Mason, James A. Pearce, Stephen A. Douglas, William H. English, Benjamin Stanton, and Alexander Dallas Bache. Also Present: Joseph Henry. Members not present were Lucius J. Gartrell, Joseph G. Totten, Cornelius C. Felton, Gideon Hawley, Richard Rush, and George E. Badger.
  • Mr. Pearce explained the report of the Executive Committee and the estimates for the year 1858 and, on motion, they were adopted. A report was presented from Professor Felton on the proposition to purchase J.M. Stanley's Indian Gallery stating that though the portraits are of great historical and ethnographic value, it is inexpedient to withdraw such a large sum at this time. The committee recommends that the subject be brought the the attention of Congress to provide the necessary funds for purchase. The report was accepted and laid on the table. The Secretary stated Mr. Putnam resigned the agency of Smithsonian publications in New York and Messrs. Appleton & Co. had been appointed. The Secretary announced that Dr. Robert Hare had died who was a principle benefactor and the Institution's first honorary member. Prof. Bache gave an account of his life and researches and presented several resolutions in his honor which were all adopted. The report of the Secretary for 1857 was accepted.
  • Prof. Felton on behalf of the special committee presented a report relative to the communication of Prof. Henry on the publication of Prof. Morse, corroborating Prof. Henry's statement, advising a delay to let the issue die down, and giving an account of the controversy. The full report, recorded in the minutes, reproduces much correspondence on this, and shows that Prof. Morse had acknowledged the value of Prof. Henry's discoveries to the electric telegraph and that Prof. Morse's attack was due to Prof. Henry's 1849 deposition. The committee recommended the adoption of resolutions that Prof. Morse had not refuted the statements of Prof. Henry and that nothing has diminished the confidence of the Board in Prof. Henry. The report was accepted and the resolutions were unanimously adopted. The Board then adjourned sine die.


  • English, William Hayden
  • Mason, James Murray
  • Warner, Hiram
  • Stanton, Benjamin 1809-1872
  • Totten, Joseph Gilbert 1788-1864
  • Hawley, Gideon 1785-1870
  • Pearce, James Alfred
  • Douglas, Stephen Arnold
  • Bache, A. D (Alexander Dallas) 1806-1867
  • Breckinridge, John C (John Cabell) 1821-1875
  • Gale, Leonard D (Leonard Dunnell) 1800-1883
  • Hare, Robert 1781-1858
  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Morse, Samuel Finley Breese 1791-1872
  • Rush, Richard 1780-1859
  • Stanley, John Mix 1814-1872
  • Taney, Roger Brooke 1777-1864
  • Badger, George Edmund 1795-1866
  • Felton, Cornelius Conway 1807-1862
  • Regents Smithsonian Institution
  • Shaffner's Telegraph Companion (Serial)
  • Board of Regents
  • Board of Regents Executive Committee
  • Board of Regents Special Committee


Smithsonian Legal Documents

Legal document information

  • Regents Minutes
  • Board of Regents - Minutes of Meetings, 1846-

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 1, Board of Regents Vol. 1 (Bound volume)

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 900 Jefferson Drive, SW, Washington, D.C. 20013-7012,


  • 1879
  • May 19, 1858


  • Telegraph
  • Inventors
  • Controversies
  • Inventions
  • Stanley Indian Paintings
  • Death


Board of Regents

Physical description

Number of pages: 30; Page numbers: 623-653

Full Record

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