Agriculture Department Ends Support of Smithsonian Meteorology Program




Date: December 15, 1873


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After discontinuing the U.S. Department of Agriculture's monthly reports on crops and the weather, Commissioner of Agriculture Frederick Watts stops providing support for the Smithsonian's meteorology program. On December 15, Secretary Joseph Henry writes a letter to the Institution's network of meteorological observers informing them that the Smithsonian has no funds available for printing blank registers. Until arrangements were made to maintain the system, a limited supply of blanks would be forwarded. The franking privilege, which had permitted meteorological observers to mail registers without postage, had been abolished effective July 1, 1873. Henry requests that the observers hold on to any blanks they have already filled in until further notice.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Watts, Frederick 1801-1889
  • United States Dept. of Agriculture


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Image of first U.S. Department of Agriculture Building, 1870. Smithsonian Institution Archives, negative number 2005-10442.
  • Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds. The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 11, January 1866-May 1878: The Smithsonian Years. Washington, D.C.: Science History Publications, 2007, pp. xxix-xxx, 478-79.
  • Circular to Observers, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 65, vol. 2, p. 91.

Contact information

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


December 15, 1873


  • Finance
  • Secretaries
  • Interagency Relations
  • Government spending policy
  • Expenditures, Public
  • Meteorology

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