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Eleven lectures or courses of lecture are given at the Smithsonian during the current session of Congress. Secretary Joseph Henry observes: "Although the lectures appear to the public one of the most prominent objects of the Institution, ... they really form the least important feature of the plan adopted." Henry preferred to focus on basic scientific research, rather than public dissemination of knowledge. The first lecture was given on January 16, 1850, by Dr. George Washington Bethune on Holland.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • United States Congress


Chronology of Smithsonian History


Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1850, p. 25-27

Contact information

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


January 16, 1850


  • Policies
  • Lectures and lecturing
  • Secretaries

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