Joseph Henry Builds an Institution

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Written by Smithsonian Institution Editor, Paul H. Oehser, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian. Details Henry's education; research on electricity, electromagnetism, and the constitution of matter; his vision for the Smithsonian; establishment of a publications program; decision to transfer the Library to the Library of Congress, and role in the development of the United States National Museum, Meteorology Project, international publication exchange program, and a popular lecture series.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • International Exchange Service (IES)
  • Library of Congress
  • Smithsonian Institution Libraries (SIL)
  • United States National Museum
  • Meteorological Project


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Reprinted in Paul H. Oehser, Sons of Science, 1949.

Contained within

Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences Vol. 37, 11 (Journal)

Contact information

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


November 15, 1947


  • Lectures and lecturing
  • Secretaries
  • SI, Early History
  • Museums
  • Physics
  • Biography
  • Museum publications

Physical description

pp. 377-392

Full Record

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