Henry, Science Administrator

Joseph Henry (1797–1878) was the most noted scientist in the United States when he was selected to serve as the first Secretary or chief executive officer of the new Smithsonian Institution in 1846. This section of the site will explore his role as a leader in developing support for American science in the second half of the 19th century.

Career as Science Administrator

Joseph Henry, Henry Ulke

This page provides an overview of Henry's role in the management of scientific organizations, notably at the Smithsonian Institution.More

Civil War

Abraham Lincoln, by Hesler, Alex, 1860, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, 2002-32257.

Learn about how the Civil War affected the Smithsonian and Joseph Henry's role as science advisor to President Abraham Lincoln.More

National Academy of Sciences

National Academy of Sciences Meeting, Smithsonian Institution Building

Joseph Henry played a pivotal role in creating and leading the new National Academy of Sciences when it was founded in 1863, serving as president from 1868 to his death in 1878. More

Scientific Leadership

Joseph Henry, First Secretary of the Smithsonian

Learn about Joseph Henry's role in promoting American science.More