Joseph Henry Portrait

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Photograph of a portrait of Joseph Henry (1797-1878), physicist and first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution (1846-1878). Portrait painter Henry Ulke first painted Henry in 1875, for display at the Philadelphia Centennial in 1876. That portrait was transferred to the Smithsonian in 1917, and hung for many years in the Secretary's Parlor in the Smithsonian Institution Building or "Castle." This is an 1879 version by Ulke derived from the original 1875 portrait.


Henry, Joseph 1797-1878


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


Another version was painted for the American Philosophical Society in 1879, showing an older Henry. Other versions exist with faded background and oval frames. This image was published in Goode, George Brown, editor, The Smithsonian Institution, 1846-1896, The History of its First Half Century, Washington, D.C.: De Vinne Press, 1897. There is a card photograph version of it in Smithsonian Archives. The National Portrait Gallery collection contains at least two oil portraits of Henry, including the 1875 oil portrait.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 11, Folder: 15

Contact information

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



Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Secretariats
  • Secretaries
  • Portraits
  • Physicists


  • Photographic print
  • Portraits

ID Number

10191or AI-10191

Physical description

Color: Black and White; Size: 10w x 8h; Type of Image: Portrait; Medium: Photographic print

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