Painting by Henry Ulke, 1875.
National Portrait Gallery.
The Joseph Henry Papers Project is documenting the life of Joseph Henry (1797-1878), the most revered American scientist of his times and the first Secretary (director) of the Smithsonian Institution. Henry's pioneering work in electricity and magnetism helped bring about the invention of the telegraph, the electric motor, and the telephone. At the Smithsonian Institution he created the outlines of the unique research and cultural institution that we know today.
"The most prominent idea in my mind is that of stimulating the talent of our country to original research,--in which it has been most lamentably difficient [sic]--to pour fresh material on the apex of the pyramid of science, and thus to enlarge its base."--Joseph Henry, on the purpose of the Smithsonian Institution.*
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The web site of the Joseph Henry Papers Project includes articles about Henry's scientific accomplishments prior to becoming head of the Smithsonian, as well as articles about his career at the Smithsonian. We also have information about the eleven-volume edition of The Papers of Joseph Henry and selected documents from the edition. Get started by looking at some of the areas below:
For questions about the content of our web site, please e-mail Marc Rothenberg at email@example.com. For permission to use images on the site, please e-mail Frank Millikan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Joseph Henry Papers
Project is located at the Smithsonian Institution in
Washington , D.C. , and is part of the Institutional
History Division of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
Our mailing address is Joseph Henry Papers, Smithsonian
Institution, P.O. Box 37012, Capital Gallery, Suite
3000, MRC 507, Washington, DC 20013-7012. You may also
us by telephone at 202-633-5932.