Joseph Henry's Letter to Louis Agassiz (November 12, 1872), November 12, 1872, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, Letter from Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to Louis Agassiz, a Swiss paleontologist, glaciologist, and geologist, November 12, 1872. In the letter, Henry lists upcoming United States House of Representatives appropriation hearings and duties related to the Smithsonian and Light House Board as keeping him from accepting Agassiz's invitation to stay with him in Cambridge, Massachusetts, during the upcoming meeting of the National Academy of Sciences. He writes about a growing interest in the physical sciences being displayed by the United States Congress as indicated by their most recent appropriations, and that Washington, DC, may soon be as vibrant a center of science as it is politics..