During 1853, the Smithsonian supplies the means and full instructions for natural history research to all the various government parties organized for the survey of the boundary line between the United States and Mexico and of the several routes for a Pacific railroad. Large numbers of specimens result, much to the dismay of Secretary Joseph Henry who writes to Secretary of the Navy J. C. Dobbin that the Smithsonian does not wish to retain these specimens for itself. The collections are scattered over the building in various rooms, and he believes the Institution cannot care for them. Seventy-three donors to the museum are listed in the 1853 Annual Report..
First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry urges Secretary of the Interior Thomas Ewing to support the publication of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft's work on North American Indians. Schoolcraft had been hired in 1847 by the War Department's Office of Indian Affairs to gather information on Native Americans. When the Interior Department was established in 1849, the Office of Indian Affairs was transferred to it. The Department did continue to support Schoolcraft, resulting in a monumental six-volume work, Historical and Statistical Information Respecting the History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States, published in 1851-1857..
Secretary Joseph Henry reports to the Board of Regents that he has authorized a fund of $75 to be used by Professor Spencer F. Baird, of Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, for collecting, packing, and transporting specimens of natural history for the Smithsonian Institution..
The first meeting of the "Establishment" of the Smithsonian Institution is held with President Zachary Taylor presiding. Section 5579 of the Revised Statutes of the United States provides that "The President, the Vice-President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, the Postmaster General, the Attorney General, the Chief Justice, the Commissioner of the [Patents], and the Governor of the District of Columbia, and any others elected as honorary members, constitute the Establishment." The principal object of this meeting is to elect honorary members: Dr. Robert Hare of Philadelphia, Albert Gallatin of New York, Dr. Benjamin Silliman of Connecticut, and Washington Irving, of New York..
Joseph Henry visits England, France, Belgium, Holland, and Scotland, where he meets with European scientists and visits learned societies, laboratories, industrial facilities, and other sites of scientific interest. In London, Henry undertakes experimental work with British scientists Charles Wheatstone, Michael Faraday, and John Daniell, and attends a lecture by physicist William Sturgeon. In Paris, he acquires scientific instruments for teaching and research, attends a meeting of the Academie des sciences, and meets Swiss physicist Auguste-Arthur de la Rive. In Edinburgh he visits the estate of Sir David Brewster, a distinguished researcher in the field of optics. At the conclusion of his tour, Henry returns to Liverpool where he participates in a week long meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. There he gives a paper on static-electric lateral discharge and makes a presentation on U.S. canal and railway systems. The establishment of personal and professional relationships with European colleagues would benefit Henry as a scientist and later as the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, which was founded in 1846..
Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry is appointed to the newly-established United States Light-House Board, serving as one of two civilian scientists. Alexander Dallas Bache, Superintendent of the United States Coast Survey and Henry's friend, is the other civilian appointment. Henry would become Chairman of the Light-House Board in 1871, and would serve until is death in 1878..
The first volume of Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge is published and distributed. It consists of the study "Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley," comprising the results of Extensive Original Surveys and Explorations," by E. G. Squier and E. H. Davis. It is illustrated by 48 lithographic plates and 207 wood engravings. The manuscript was submitted to Secretary Joseph Henry on May 15, 1847, who then requested that members of the American Ethnological Society review it. They quickly sent favorable reviews. Henry reports that the publication quality of the volume compares with any publication ever issued from the American press and decides against copyrighting this or any Smithsonian publications. The first volume of Contributions would be distributed to learned societies in approximately 25 foreign countries..
Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry is elected to the Board of Trustees of the newly established Corcoran Gallery of Art. He would serve on a committee charged with developing the roles of the museum's director and curator. He would also be asked to help acquire art and the means for transporting works to the museum. The museum would open on January 19, 1874..
The Washington Lecture Association receives permission to hold a lecture series at the Smithsonian after agreeing their purpose was "consistent with the character of the Institution," and that they would exclude "any subject connected with sectarianism, discussions in Congress and the political questions of the day." The lecture series soon reveals itself to be a forum on abolition of slavery, perhaps the most explosive issue of the day, with leading abolitionists booked as lecturers. Vain attempts are made to quell the ensuing controversy by stating that the Institution is not responsible for the political character of these lectures. After the lecture series ends, Henry and the Smithsonian's executive committee decide to refuse all applications for use of the lecture hall except those from public school principals, who use the hall for student award ceremonies. Henry concludes that he must otherwise restrict use of the lecture room to events directly under the auspices of the Institution, provoking complaints of unfairness from an association that had hoped to sponsor lectures opposing abolitionism. Henry decides to make up for dissatisfaction by arranging, under Institution auspices, a more extended series of lectures for the winter of 1862-63, on a variety of scientific and educational subjects..
The executive committee of the Board of Regents concludes that it would be in the interests of the Institution if the officers are provided with houses on the Smithsonian grounds; however, they do not consider it advisable to incur the expense of additional buildings at this time and recommend that $500 be added to the salaries of Assistant Secretaries Charles Coffin Jewett and Spencer F. Baird in lieu of the rent of a house. They also resolve that the same sum was intended for an allowance to the Secretary, Joseph Henry, as of the resolution of December 4, 1846..
The Smithsonian Board of Regents' Executive Committee includes $1,000 in its budget for the year beginning on March 19,1848 for the commencement of meteorological observations, particularly with reference to the phenomena of American storms. In the Smithsonian's Annual Report for 1849, Secretary Joseph Henry writes that the Institution has collected meteorological data from a network of 150 volunteer weather observers throughout the United States. Standard sets of barometers, rain gauges, and wind vanes, constructed under Henry's supervision, have been sent to a small number of the observers. Several telegraph companies have agreed to transmit local weather data to the Smithsonian free of charge. By 1860, thirty percent of the Smithsonian's research and publication budget would be devoted to the meteorology program..
The Smithsonian Board of Regents passes a resolution to award the Joseph Henry Medal for exceptional service to the Smithsonian Institution. The first three medals are awarded to David E. Finley, Director, National Collection of Fine Arts, now the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 1967; Frank A. Taylor, Director General of Museums, founding director of the National Museum of History and Technology, now the National Museum of American History in 1968; and Charles G. Abbot, astrophysicist and fifth Smithsonian Secretary in 1970..
First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry advises Secretary of the Navy John Pendleton Kennedy on how to collect natural history specimens during the U.S. Exploring Expedition to Paraguay, which launches in the spring of 1853. Numerous plant, animal, and mineral specimens are collected as a result, including many that had not been previously described. These specimens comprise the largest collection of South American specimens in the United States at the time..
Physicist Joseph Henry (1797-1878), the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, receives a letter notifying him that the salary for the position of Secretary of the Smithsonian has been fixed at $3,500, with the addition of $500 per annum for rent, until a residence is prepared for his use. On December 4th, the Board of Regents had resolved to appoint a library committee and to recommend that the Secretary appoint an assistant secretary to discharge the duties of librarian. Alexander Dallas Bache informs Henry that the members of the Board appointed to the library committee, Rufus P. Choate, Henry W. Hilliard, and Richard Rush, are in favor of the nomination of Professor Charles Coffin Jewett as librarian. These members of the Board favored a greater role for a library than those who supported Henry; therefore Bache suggests that the nomination of Jewett, who will develop a library, will conciliate them..
James Hamilton, lawyer and amateur scientist, of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, makes a will bequeathing $1,000 to the Institution, the interest of which is to be appropriated biennially by the Secretaries, either in money or a medal, for such contribution, paper, or lecture on any scientific or useful subject as said Secretary may approve..
During 1851, the exterior of the Smithsonian Institution Building or "Castle," including the towers, is completed..
Smithsonian Secretary Henry and Assistant Secretary Spencer Fullerton Baird provide detailed scientific instructions and equipment for the Pacific Railroad surveys, conducted from 1853 to 1855. These surveys consist of six major expeditions extending from the Great Plains to the west coast with the purpose of determining a transcontinental railroad route. The specimens collected during these surveys became a significant part of the Smithsonian's collections and contained many new species..
The Board of Regents authorizes Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry to purchase a small portrait painted by James Roberts of Mr. James Smithson whose bequest founded the Smithsonian The portrait is now in the possession of Mrs. John Fitall, widow of a servant of the late Mr. Smithson. On June 1, 1850, Henry reports that the painting has been received from England. In the 1877 Annual Report, Henry lists all the existing portraits of Smithson. He describes this one as a small full-length picture that represents Smithson in the costume of a student at Oxford University. This portrait is now on display in the Crypt Room of the Smithsonian Institution Building or "Castle.".
Encouraged by Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry, balloonist Thaddeus S. C. Lowe makes a number of ascents from the future site of the National Air and Space Museum, and from the Smithsonian and White House grounds, to demonstrate balloons' usefulness for military reconnaissance. The main purpose of these ascents is to show the feasibility and value of using the telegraph to communicate between aerial balloons and the ground. Henry witnesses these ascents and helps Lowe become appointed to organize a balloon corps within the Union Army. In February 1861, the Board of Regents had requested that Secretary Henry give Mr. Lowe any advice which he may deem fit, but had turned down Lowe's request for an appropriation..
Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry discharges Charles Coffin Jewett, the assistant secretary responsible for the Smithsonian's library. Jewett's dismissal marks the culmination of a protracted and public battle over the Smithsonian's budget priorities. Jewett had advocated for the Smithsonian serving as a national library and saw this as the Institution's primary mission. He had also attacked Henry in the press as a self-serving leader. Henry saw the equal division of funds between the Smithsonian's library and collections and its research and publications, as mandated by an 1847 agreement with Congress, as untenable and not in keeping with either Smithson's intent or Henry's own vision for the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian's Board of Regents sided with Henry by agreeing to rescind the 1847 decision on the distribution of the Institution's funds and supporting his decision to dismiss Jewett..
The Smithsonian publishes Professor James Henry Coffin's "Winds of the Northern Hemisphere," a compilation and analysis of meteorological data collected by the Smithsonian. The 213-page manuscript comprises Article 6 of Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge, Volume 6..
The Board of Regents authorizes Secretary Joseph Henry to deposit in the Corcoran Art Gallery any works of art belonging to the Institution, as approved by the Executive Committee. The Corcoran Art Gallery had opened to the public on January 19. The Smithsonian's first transfer of paintings, statuary, engravings, and books on art took place on February 13, 1874..
Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry is appointed to the Board of Visitors of the Government Hospital for the Insane, established in 1855 and later known as St. Elizabeth's Hospital. Henry attends his first board meeting on July 7 and remains a member of the board for the rest of his life. The Hospitals founder, Dorothea Dix, was a friend of the Henry family..
Under the direction of B. S. Alexander, the main portion of the Smithsonian Institution Building or "Castle" is completed, except for a few, unimportant additions. The total cost for the building, grounds, and furnishings is $299,414.14. From June 13, 1853, when Gilbert Cameron, the original contractor, commenced work on completion of the building, the project has been uninterruptedly prosecuted without any further accidents. The completed upper story has a Lecture Room of about 100 feet in length in the middle, which comfortably seats 1500 and can hold upwards of 2000. The optical and acoustic properties of the lecture room are considered unsurpassed by any other in the U.S..
United States Congress allows all copyright publications to be sent to the Smithsonian Institution free of postage. It also orders 6000 extra copies of the Smithsonian Annual Report for 1854, 4000 for members of Congress and 2000 for the Institution. This is the first annual report that contains lectures, extracts from correspondence, and miscellaneous papers in the general appendix..
First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry reprints an influential report by Swiss archaeologist Adolphe Morlot, "General Views on Archaeology," in his annual report for 1860, which is published in 1861. The Smithsonian's annual reports feature a number of archaeological studies from Europe, where artifacts were in greater abundance and archaeology was a more mature field..
Several days after an earthquake shakes Washington, D.C., in 1852, Joseph Henry circulates a list of questions to members of the Smithsonian's network of weather observers living in range of the quake. He suggests that its direction and intensity could be determined by observing the stain left on the sides of a bowl "by molasses or any viscid liquid.".
The former canal along the present Constitution Avenue, Washington, D.C., is filled in. Previously, the canal had cut the Smithsonian Institution Building off from the downtown area..
Henry accepts his appointment as Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at Albany Academy with a formal address. He begins with a historical overview of mathematics, then provides examples of contemporary research, chiefly in the application of calculus to natural philosophy. After describing some of the more arcane aspects of mathematical physics, he discusses the application of mathematics to technology and to the advancement of humankind. In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
Construction of the exterior of the West Wing and Range of the Smithsonian Institution Building, the "Castle," is begun in August and completed later in the year. Preparations for placing the Gallery of Art in the Range are underway..
Assistant Secretary Spencer Fullerton Baird is unanimously elected the second Secretary by the Board of Regents, after the death of the first Secretary, Joseph Henry, on May 13th. Baird's association with the Institution began in 1848 when he was aided by a grant of money from Smithsonian funds for research on the natural history of Pennsylvania. He was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian in 1850 and placed in charge of the National Museum. His term as Secretary lasts for nine years, from 1878 until his death in 1887. A noted naturalist, Baird devoted his career to the development of the National Museum at the Smithsonian..
Joseph Henry resigns from his position as Professor of Natural Philosophy at The College of New Jersey, now known as Princeton University. Although he had initially submitted his resignation in December 1846, after being appointed the first Secretary of the Smithsonian, Princeton's trustees had accepted his offer to continue teaching his senior course in natural philosophy during the 1847-48 academic year..
Secretary Joseph Henry reports that nine memoirs have been bound together to form the second volume of Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge. It will be ready for distribution during 1852. It includes articles on the planet Neptune, deaf mutes, coastal soundings on the Atlantic coast, physical geography of the United States, explosive potential of nitre, Native American mounds in New York, microscopal studies of pond life, insect classification and taxonomy of the Monosaurus..
William Scoresby, an Anglican minister, Arctic explorer, and lecturer, begins lectures on the construction and use of the Rosse telescope. The lecture takes place in Odd Fellows Hall in Washington, D.C., and is the first lecture delivered under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution..
A memorial (petition) is presented to the United States Congress by Secretary Joseph Henry on behalf of the Board of Regents asking permission to increase the permanent Smithsonian fund by a maximum of $200,000. to total $715,000. Interest on the original James Smithson bequest had accumulated while the Smithsonian Institution Building was being built and early operations of the Institution were being planned..
Board of Regents appoints a special committee to consider the relationship between the Smithsonian Institution and the National Museum and to make appropriate recommendations. The following February 1, the committee recommends no action beyond making "the distinction between the Institution itself and the museum ... as prominent as possible." In his annual report for 1876, Secretary Joseph Henry again mentions his objections to the present connection of the Smithsonian and National Museum which requires annual appeals to Congress for appropriations to support the Museum, whereas no annual appropriation is necessary for carrying out the legitimate objects of the bequest. He sees it as an important first step toward recognizing the National Museum as a separate establishment when Congress first uses the wording, "for the National Museum in charge of the Smithsonian Institution," in an act making appropriations for deficiencies..
Joseph Henry uses his electromagnet and a battery to induce an electric current measurable by a galvanometer, and to create sparks. He publishes his results in Silliman's American Journal of Science in July, 1832, shortly after British scientist Michael Faraday published similar results in another scientific journal. In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
In a letter to the American Geographical and Statistical Society, first Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry endorses Isaac Israel Hayes' expedition to the Arctic, which launches in July 1860. Henry and Smithsonian Assistant Secretary Spencer Fullerton Baird provide magnetic and meteorological instruments for the expedition, along with a dredge and collecting equipment for organic specimens. Hayes collects two thousand plant specimens, two hundred bird skins, and live fish for the Smithsonian's tanks. Upon his return, he gives a lecture at the Smithsonian on the expedition. In 1867, Hayes' "Physical Observations in the Arctic Seas" is published in volume 15 of Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge..
During 1866, the system of meteorological observations interrupted by the Civil War is gradually re-established. There are 352 observers, 67 of whom have complete sets of instruments. The meteorological system under the direction of the U.S. Army's Surgeon General is also in the process of reorganization, and as soon as military posts are permanently established, will recommence to coordinate its efforts with the Smithsonian Institution. In 1867, the Smithsonian would oversee the production of new barometers and thermometers for military posts..
Thomas Alva Edison demonstrates his phonograph and his use of carbon transmitters for the telephone at a meeting of the National Academy of Sciences held at the Smithsonian Building on April 16-19, 1878. Edison's phonograph, which he had originally developed as a potential means of recording telephone conversations, had attracted widespread notice since being publicly announced in January. Invited by Smithsonian Secretary and National Academy president Joseph Henry to demonstrate his two inventions to the academy, Edison took advantage of his journey to Washington to exhibit the phonograph to members of Congress and to President Rutherford B. Hayes..
The United States Congress appropriates $2,000 for the transfer of the United States Exploring Expedition collections to the Smithsonian, and $15,000 for the construction of display cases. The bulk of the collections from the 1838-1842 survey, led by Charles Wilkes, had been in the possession of the National Institute for the Promotion of Science, located in the Patent Office Building. On March 31, as part of this transfer, the personal effects of James Smithson are deposited in the Regents Room at the Smithsonian Institution Building. The Smithson display, in a large black walnut case, consists of mineral specimens, a table service, and portable scientific apparatus. Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry had previously resisted Congressional attempts to house the national collections at the Institution..
In the Annual Report of 1867, Secretary Joseph Henry states that the $4,000 annual appropriation in support of the museum has been temporarily increased to $10,000. In 1868, the appropriation will revert to $4,000, despite a request for more funds due to inflation, the expenses associated with the fire, and the three-fold increase in the size of the National Museum since it was under the charge of the Patent Office..
Penfield & Taft, owners of an iron forge in Crownpoint (later Ironville), New York, request that Joseph Henry build an electromagnet for separating iron from ore. Henry's electromagnet for Penfield & Taft is the first known industrial application of electricity. In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
In the Annual Report for 1851, Secretary Joseph Henry notes that nearly fifty original papers, "purporting to be additions to the sum of human knowledge," have been presented for publication. Eight of these are accepted for publication. He describes the system of review used to select papers for publication as memoirs, and counters the idea that the intention of James Smithson's bequest would best be served by publication on practical subjects. "The true, the beautiful, as well as the immediately practical, are all entitled to a share of attention." (p. 203).
The First National Bank of Washington fails. At the time, the Smithsonian has $8,224.87 on deposit. Of this amount, the Institution will receive half during the next year, leaving a loss of $4,112.43. The amount on deposit (without any accrued interest) will be fully repaid during 1876..
At a meeting of the United States Agricultural Society held at the Smithsonian, Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois attacks the Smithsonian for a lack of "practical results" and claims it "is not what it was designed to be by its founder." According to a local press account, Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry countered that he would rather blow up the Smithsonian and send the funds back to England than turn it into an agricultural society, as Douglas had suggested. It was reported that Henry went on to argue that "Smithson intended not the diffusion of useful knowledge merely, but the increase of knowledge," and "that agriculture is to be more advanced by the microscope than by the plough and harrow." Douglas and Henry would later apologize to each other, and Douglas would become a Smithsonian Regent in 1854, remaining on the board until his death in 1861..
Shortly after completing an article on his electromagnet for Benjamin Silliman's Journal of American Science, Joseph Henry begins making a large electromagnet for Silliman to demonstrate to his students at Yale University. The 82.5 -pound magnet proves capable of supporting more than 2,000 pounds. In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
In his report for 1862, Secretary Joseph Henry writes that the Smithsonian has cooperated with the Sanitary Commission and Surgeon-General of the United States Army in improving the health and comfort of soldiers, while at the same time collecting data of interest to ethnologists and other researchers. The collections include a world-class set of illustrations of surgical anatomy. At the same time, the number of meteorological observations has diminished. With respect to finances, the Institution's position has suffered due to rising prices (especially for paper) as well as the non-payment of interest on southern state stocks. The receipt of specimens of natural history is materially curtailed. (The policy of not purchasing collections is affirmed.).
Ohio Senator Benjamin Tappan reports from the Committee on the Library an amended bill, S. 18, for the establishment of the Smithsonian Institution. He proposes a board of managers to conduct the business of the Smithsonian. The board is to consist of the Vice-President, the Chief Justice, three members from each House of Congress, and seven other persons not members of Congress, including two members of the National Institute who reside in Washington, and five members who are inhabitants of five different states. Joseph Totten and Alexander Dallas Bache, a close friend of the first Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry, are recommended as the members of the National Institute. On January 23, bill S. 18 is passed by the Senate..
Joseph Henry presents his first contribution to electrical science entitled, "On some Modifications of the Electro-Magnetic Apparatus," at a meeting of the Albany Institute. He becomes the first to construct an electromagnet formed by tightly wrapping multiple coils of an insulated conducting wire around an iron bar. He will demonstrate the difference between this electromagnet, a "quantity" magnet, and the type devised by Gerard Moll of Holland in 1830, which relied on only a single coil. Henry also experiments with the effects of a continuous coil of very great length, or "intensity" magnet, and will publish these experiments in 1831. In 1831, Henry and Michael Faraday will independently induce electrical currents by charging magnetic forces, although Faraday will publish his results first..
The Smithsonian Board of Regents repeals a resolution originally adopted January 26, 1847, requiring an equal division of income between active operations and the library and museum. They pass a resolution stating that hereafter annual appropriations will be apportioned according to intrinsic importance in the judgment of the Regents. (The 1856 AR p. 12 says the date of repeal was January 15.).
The contract for construction of the Smithsonian Institution Building is awarded to James Dixon and Gilbert Cameron by the Smithsonian Board of Regents.The committee arranges a contract so that the wings of the building will be completed in two years, the whole building finished in five. This allows for parts of the building to be occupied in the near future while the rest is completed without cutting corners. It also benefits the construction plan by allowing time for the Smithsonian's budget to accrue greater interest..
The United States Congress passes an Act to provide for publishing an account of discoveries made by Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, of the U.S. Navy while commanding the United States Exploring Expedition, which circumnavigated the globe from 1838 to 1842. The Act also establishes that until other arrangements are made, the objects of natural history in possession of the Government are to be deposited in the upper room of the United States Patent Office, under care of someone appointed by the Joint Committee on the Library. On August 4, Congress had appropriated $20,000 for transportation, arrangement and preservation of articles brought back by the exploring expedition..
Commissioner of Patents Charles Mason agrees to Joseph Henry's request that the U.S. Patent Office contribute funding toward the collection, reduction, and publication of data from the Smithsonian's network of volunteer meteorological observers. Prior to the establishment of the Department of Agriculture, the Patent Office was responsible for compiling agricultural statistics. Its partnership with the Smithsonian would result in more farmers becoming meteorological correspondents. Over 500,000 separate weather observations would be received by the Smithsonian in 1856. In exchange for the Patent Office's annual provision of $700, the Smithsonian would provide summaries of its observations for the Patent Office's annual report. The Patent Office would also publish a massive two-volume compilation of observations made from 1854 to 1859 and distribute it for free to observers..
Pioneer American balloonist John Wise launches a balloon named the "Smithsonian" carrying equipment provided by first Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry. During prior balloon ascents, Wise had made meteorological observations that he conveyed to Henry, who in turn informed other meteorologists of Wise's findings. Although Henry is skeptical of Wise's theory that "a sufficient quantity of [atmospheric] electricity for practical purposes could be obtained" and delivered to earth via a wire suspended from a balloon, he outfits the balloon with "gas, conductors, ropes and meteorological instruments." During the ascension, Wise observes the development of a thundercloud. Subsequent experiments never occur because of Wise's preparations for a transatlantic balloon voyage, Henry's preoccupation with Smithsonian business, and the coming of the Civil War..
Meteorological observers receive a circular requesting information regarding seasonal phenomena of plants and animals and general phenomena of climate. They are also invited to submit natural history specimens to the Smithsonian. The information gathered is intended to be used to derive general laws relating to the geographical distribution of species of animals and plants in North America..
Secretary Joseph Henry reports to the Board of Regents that the President of the United States has forwarded a power of attorney to Messrs. Fladgate, Clarke & Finch, of London, authorizing them to collect the remainder of the Smithsonian fund, which was left as the principal of an annuity to the mother, Marie de la Batut, a.k.a. Mary Ann Coates of the nephew of Smithson, Henry James Hungerford. The power of attorney was forwarded to the care of Honorable Charles F. Adams, American minister to England..
At the request of Assistant Secretary Spencer Fullerton Baird, Secretary Joseph Henry issues a circular directed to the Diplomatic and Naval officers of the United States, to invite their cooperation in obtaining a complete collection of the birds of Mexico, Central and South America, and the West Indies. It is noted that the Institution has no funds available to purchase specimens, but in return will provide copies of different publications, and if desired, specimens of birds or other animals from North America..
A daily weather map, compiled from telegraph reports, is displayed in the Great Hall of the Smithsonian Institution Building or Castle. The weather at the reporting stations is indicated by pieces of colored card stock which denote clear weather, cloudiness, rain, or snow. Each card has an arrow painted on it and holes punched around the edges so the card can be hung to show the direction of prevailing winds. Reports are received around 10 am and are changed as new information is received. Flags are also flown from the high tower of the Smithsonian Building to indicate forthcoming weather, especially on nights when lectures are scheduled. A local newspaper, the Washington Evening Star, first began publishing weather forecasts in 1857, based on the telegraph reports received by the Smithsonian..
A special committee of the Board of Regents presents a report affirming the power of the Secretary, Joseph Henry, to employ assistants, but does not "require" him to employ assistants. The committee criticizes a suggested plan that would organize the Institution into several departments on the grounds that it would encourage rivalry, collision, hostility, and impaired efficiency and usefulness. It also supports repeal of the resolution of January 1847, requiring equal division of income between active operations and the museum and library, when the buildings are completed. J. Meacham, a member of the committee, submits a minority report dissenting from the conclusions of the report submitted by the committee..
In a letter, physicist Joseph Henry (1797-1878), who would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian in December 1846, responds to Alexander Dallas Bache's request for his thoughts on the bill establishing the Smithsonian. His response emphasizes the encouragement of original research, rather than applications of discoveries, as the way to increase knowledge. So that the Smithsonian does not furnish the same information as other public institutions operating around the country, Henry sees only a limited role for a library and collections as aids to research. For the same reason, he thinks public lectures should be limited. Henry suggests that the publication of a series of journals would be the most effective way to diffuse knowledge. He hopes that only a small part of the present endowment will be used to erect a building..
Professor John Tyndall of the Royal Institution of Great Britain deeds the proceeds of a lecture series, totaling $13,033, to the United States for promoting science in this country, especially in the department of physics. Secretary Joseph Henry participates in directing the spending of this fund..
In anticipation of a publication on the ancient copper mining operations of the Lake Superior Copper region, Secretary Joseph Henry sends out a circular requesting specimens and any original observations of the region. Specimens will be photographed and returned, if requested..
Joseph Henry (1797-1878), physicist and professor at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), begins compiling his Syllabus of Lectures on Physics. Part I, "Somatology," is printed in 1844. Henry worked on Part II, "Mechanics," in 1844 and 1845. Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian in 1846..
Joseph Henry's second child, Mary Anna, is born in the winter of 1834 in Princeton, New Jersey. In 1846, Joseph Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. After his death, Mary Henry attempted to preserve her father's legacy by compiling and transcribing documents in preparation for a biography of her father. Her diaries were bequeathed to the Smithsonian and include entries on her experiences as a resident of the Smithsonian Castle during the Civil War..
Secretary Joseph Henry reports that John Mix Stanley deposited a gallery of Indian portraits (completed between 1842 and 1852) in the West Wing of the Smithsonian Institution Building or "Castle." The portraits generate much interest among visitors..
A special committee of the Board of Regents issues a report concerning Secretary Joseph Henry's involvement in the invention of the electromagnetic telegraph. Henry had requested the Regents take up the matter after the publication of Samuel Morse's "A Defence Against the Injurious Deductions Drawn from the Deposition of Prof. Joseph Henry" in 1855. The Board adopts the committee's report, resolving that none of Morse's accusations against Henry have proved to be true or diminished his scientific reputation..
Assistant Secretary Jewett presents his report which includes a survey of the world's libraries. His plan of collecting includes the purchase of books required by officers and those engaged in research for the Institution, memoirs and transactions of learned societies worldwide, as well as important scientific and literary periodicals, books of general importance, especially those not found in other libraries of the country, and works required to make the Institution a center of bibliographical knowledge. In the last category, he provides a list for an initial acquisition of 3,000 volumes (toward a complete bibliographic library of 20,000 volumes), including histories of literature, science, and art; biographical and critical works; as well as bibliographical works..
The Board of Regents adopts Secretary Joseph Henry's "Programme of Organization of the Smithsonian Institution." Henry's plan contains fourteen guiding considerations, including the suggestion that the Smithsonian only undertake programs that cannot be adequately carried out by existing United States institutions. A key feature of the plan is the publication of "Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge" and periodical reports on scientific progress..
Secretary Joseph Henry sends out a circular requesting everyone who receives a copy of the accompanying map to mark the path of any meteors observed from the 10th to the 15th of November, particularly on the nights of the 12th and 13th. Replies are to be sent free of postage costs through the Commissioner of Agriculture..
Englishman C. F. Anderson accuses Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry of treason for operating signals from the tower of the Smithsonian Building. It is possible Anderson had witnessed signalling tests carried out by Henry with the support of President Abraham Lincoln, or that Anderson had seen the flashlights of night watchmen on the tower. This is among a number of claims made by persons who question Henry's loyalty to the Union..
The framing and floor of the southeastern end of the main building, first floor (Great Hall), of the Smithsonian Institution Building or "Castle" collapse. Professor Louis Agassiz had just concluded his first lecture in the east wing lecture hall. A committee, consisting of architects E. B. White, Mr. Turnbull, and John Niernsee, is appointed on March 4 to investigate the collapse. They find the contractor responsible for $12,000 worth of damages for inferior work. Architect James Renwick, Jr., proposes a plan to fireproof the main building..
In a letter, British physicist Michael Faraday responds to Alexander Dallas Bache's request for his opinion concerning Joseph Henry's suitability for the Secretaryship of the Smithsonian. Faraday believes Henry to be just the man for the position, and that no matter who else is likely to be considered, the appointment of Henry would be no mistake. As Faraday made a general rule to turn down requests for references, he asks that his letter be kept to some degree private..
In response to requests from Samuel Morse to help him obtain Congressional funding, Joseph Henry, physicist and professor at the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University, pens a letter that later becomes a key piece of evidence in the conflict between Morse and Henry over the origins of the telegraph. In his letter, Henry asserts that "science is now fully ripe" for an electromagnetic telegraph, and although such an invention has been suggested "by various persons from the time of Franklin to the present," it is not "until within the last few years or since the discoveries in electro-magnetism" that it has been practicable. He goes on to say that "little credit can be claimed" for the telegraph's invention "since it is one which would naturally arise in the mind of almost any person familiar with the phenomena of electricity," but he supports Morse's design over the needle telegraphs being proposed by European scientists..
The Board of Regents approves Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry's nomination of Spencer Fullerton Baird as Assistant Secretary in the Department of Natural History. As "Keeper of the Cabinet," Baird will take charge of the museum and assist with publications. After his hiring, Baird would also become responsible for managing the Smithsonian's international publications exchange program. Baird, a naturalist, had previously taught at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The initial salary for his position is $1,500 per annum. Baird would become the second Secretary of the Smithsonian upon Henry's death in 1878..
In the 1867 Annual Report, Secretary Joseph Henry first uses the term "National Museum" (AR 1867, p. 55). The term "National Museum" is also used by the Executive Committee in its report on funds (AR 1867 p. 101). Congress will not recognize the "National Museum" in its appropriation bills until the 1877 appropriation (per AR 1884, p. 53)..
The Smithsonian begins presenting scientific lectures, as included in first Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry's "Programme of Organization" for the Institution. From March 16 to March 30, at Carusi's saloon, Professor Koeppen of Denmark speaks on "Attica and Athens." From April 30 to May 11, Edward Hitchcock delivers a six-part lecture series on geology. This is the first lecture series to be delivered in the Smithsonian Building's lecture room, located in the east wing..
Joseph Henry enters Albany Academy, a school for boys, at the late age of 21, as an "overage student. He had been admitted earlier, but was unable to afford tuition. He had worked for several years as a local teacher to amass the funds necessary to pursue his education. During this time, he is employed by the school's principal, the physician T. Romeyn Beck, to help prepare his lectures. After completing his studies, Henry is hired by Beck as his "chemical assistant." In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
In order to establish himself as the first to discover self-induction, Joseph Henry presents a series of papers to the American Philosophical Society and publishes extracts of his work in the Journal of the Franklin Institute and Silliman's Journal of American Science. The first paper was given at the January 16th meeting. These articles include "Contributions to Electricity and Magnetism No. I.-- Description of a Galvanic Battery for Producing Electricity of Different Intensities" and "Contributions II-- On the Influence of a Spiral Conductor in Increasing the Intensity of Electricity from a Galvanic Arrangement of a Single Pair, Etc." In 1846, Joseph Henry would become Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
In preparation for a contemplated series of reports on the Shells of North America, Secretary Joseph Henry issues a circular requesting cooperation in obtaining specimens. Instructions are given regarding how to ship the specimens, as well as what to collect and the best methods of preservation..
The fifteen-member Board of Regents holds its first meetings. Vice President George Mifflin Dallas of Pennsylvania is elected Chancellor of the Institution. Members of the board include: the Vice President of the United States, the Chief Justice of the United States, and the Mayor of the city of Washington, all ex officio members; three members each of the U.S. Senate and House; and six citizen members. Four committees are established, an Executive Committee, a committee to prepare a plan to carry out the provisions of the Act of Organization, a committee to investigate formation of a library, and a Building Committee..
A major fire destroys much of the Smithsonian Institution Building. Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry had been concerned about this danger for years and had taken preventive measures such as prohibiting smoking and open fires, starting a night watch, and stationing containers of water in various locations. Despite these precautions, a fire breaks out between the ceiling and the roof of the main building when workmen hanging pictures in the second floor picture gallery insert a stove pipe into a furring space rather than into a flue. The fire, said to have attracted thousands of spectators, destroys the second floor and roof of the main building as well as portions of the towers. The lecture room, apparatus room, and picture gallery are destroyed, including almost all of John Mix Stanley's irreplaceable collection of American Indian portraits, which had been on exhibit in the building since 1852. Meteorological records and scientific instruments, including those donated by Dr. Robert Hare, are also lost. The contents of Henry's office between the two front towers burns, including virtually all of his official correspondence since the founding of the Smithsonian in 1846 as well as scientific papers, diaries, and the completed manuscript of the 1864 annual report. In the south tower, the contents of the regents' room, including James Smithson's personal effects and mineral collection, also burn. Smithson's portrait and library survive. The Smithsonian library in the west wing and the museum on the ground floor of the main building are spared, thanks both to a wind from the west and the fireproof materials used in the construction of the museum area..
Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry is appointed to the newly-established Permanent Commission of the Navy Department. This three-member board is charged with reviewing proposals sent to the Navy for warship designs, signalling systems, torpedoes, underwater guns, and other ordnance. Established in the midst of the Civil War, the commission meets more than 100 times and up to three times a week over the next two years, often at the Smithsonian Institution Building. They evaluate more than 300 inventions and proposals and issue more than 250 reports..
The United States Congress increases its annual appropriation to the Smithsonian for the preservation and exhibition of the national collections to $10,000, and appropriates an additional $10,000 toward the completion of the hall required for government collections. Secretary Joseph Henry sees it as a significant move toward providing for the independent support of the National Museum..
After arriving in London for a European tour on behalf of the Smithsonian, Secretary Joseph Henry is invited to testify before the Royal Commission on Scientific Instruction and the Advancement of Science, also known as the Devonshire Commission. Henry answers questions about the purpose and operations of the Smithsonian, and about the American educational system and federal support for science. His testimony is published in the Royal Commission's nine-volume report in 1872..
John Mix Stanley offers once again to sell to the Smithsonian his collection of 152 Indian portraits, for the sum of $12,000. Secretary Joseph Henry urges the purchase of the paintings; however, they are never purchased by the United States. In 1861, a small appropriation will be made for Stanley's expenses (relating to interest on a debt he incurred in order to meet his living expenses). When the paintings are destroyed in the 1865 fire at the Smithsonian, Stanley's loss will be estimated at $20,000. Because of wartime expenses, Stanley apparently is not compensated by the U.S. government for the loss. On June 23, 1870, Congress grants to Stanley the privilege of admitting free of duty up to 21,000 copies of the Indian paintings as full settlement of any claim against the United States for the loss in the fire..
Years of debate over the terms of James Smithson's 1826 bequest to the United States result in the passage of the "Act to Establish the 'Smithsonian Institution,' for the Increase and Diffusion of Knowledge among Men," Public Law 76, 29th Congress, 1st Session..
Secretary Joseph Henry's fourth Annual Report to the Board of Regents, for the year 1849, includes expenditures for subscriptions in natural history collecting trips in the fall of 1849: $150 to Charles Wright to collect plants and seeds in New Mexico, and $20 for a set of plants collected by Augustus Fendler in the vicinity of Santa Fe..
Distribution of duplicate specimens to other museums begins. The 1853 Annual Report states: "Much has been done during the year towards distributing duplicate specimens of the Smithsonian collection among the other cabinets of the country." Secretary Joseph Henry does not wish to amass a large museum collection as part of the Smithsonian and so encourages the distribution of specimens received to other museums. In practice, Assistant Secretary Spencer Fullerton Baird uses the distribution of specimens to exchange with other museums, thereby increasing the U.S. National Museum he was dedicated to developing..
After publishing an article in Silliman's American Journal of Science on the large electromagnet he constructed for Professor Benjamin Silliman at Yale College, Joseph Henry receives numerous requests for electromagnets, most of which he turns down. He makes an exception for Parker Cleaveland, Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at Bowdoin College, charging him $45. to cover the cost of materials and shipping. In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
Shortly after the commencement of the Civil War on April 12, 1861, Secretary of War Simon Cameron authorizes the issuance of 12 muskets and 240 rounds of ammunition to the Smithsonian "for the protection of the Institute against lawless attacks." The Smithsonian Building was in a vulnerable location, cut off from the rest of the city by the Washington Canal and close to the end of a bridge across the Potomac River, which divided the District of Columbia from Virginia. On April 18 and 19, 1861, secessionists in Baltimore, Maryland had attacked regiments from Pennsylvania and Massachusetts who were on their way to Washington..
United States Congress appropriates $67,000 to the Smithsonian to participate in mounting an exhibit at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876. Some of this amount is to pay for a portion of the cost of a temporary building for the exhibition of articles belonging to the Government, leaving about $50,000 for the display by the Institution..
A new Commissioner of Patents, Philip Francis Thomas, terminates the U.S. Patent Office's support of the Smithsonian's meteorology program. Since July 1855, the Patent Office had printed blank registers for volunteer weather observers, allowed use of its franking privilege (or permission for mail to be sent without postage) to distribute blanks, provided some instruments, and helped pay for data reduction costs. The Patent Office would continue to use its franking privilege to receive forms from observers on the Smithsonian's behalf for the next two years. In 1862, the Agriculture Department would begin distributing and collecting blanks for the Smithsonian and publishing some of the Institution's meteorological observations in the department's monthly bulletin on crops and the weather. In 1860, the Smithsonian devotes some $4,400, or thirty percent of its research and publication budget, to meteorology. Its network of weather observers has expanded to five hundred people throughout the country..
The Smithsonian purchases a collection of prints and fine books on art from George Perkins Marsh, a member of the Smithsonian Board of Regents. This is the first purchase made for the art department. There are thirteen hundred European engravings and three hundred reference works in the collection, which is placed on display in the library and attracts interest "not from undiscriminating idlers, but from men of taste and particularly from artists." It is the first collection purchased for the Smithsonian and among the earliest exhibits at the Institution..
Secretary Joseph Henry suspends publication of the "Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections" because of the increased cost of printing the lengthy papers due to the financial strains of the Civil War..
On January 13, 1855, Smithsonian Regent Rufus Choate sends a letter of resignation from the Board of Regents to the two Houses of Congress, giving as the reason his "inability to acquiesce in the interpretation" by a majority of the Board of Regents of the Act of Congress organizing the Institution, namely the resolution to base the apportionment of appropriations on the judgment of the Regents. On January 17th, Mr. Choate's letter of resignation is referred to a House committee inquiring into the management of the Institution..
Acting under legal counsel, Joseph Henry discharges meteorology assistant Lorin Blodget by locking him out of his office. Blodget had been hired in December 1851 to reduce the meteorological data collected by the Smithsonian and to conduct the institution's correspondence with its volunteer weather observers. At the 1853 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Blodget had presented three papers that, in Henry's opinion, failed to give the Smithsonian due credit for providing the data Blodget had analyzed. When informed of his dismissal, Blodget refused to turn over a list of the Smithsonian's meteorological observers and his record of correspondence with them. Blodget would go on to publish a meteorological report for the Surgeon General's Office of the Army containing data for which, Henry insisted, the Smithsonian and its observers should have be credited..
The building committee of the Board of Regents reports on their efforts to select an appropriate plan for a building to accommodate the functions of the Smithsonian. After visiting buildings in a number of cities and reviewing plans submitted by various architects, the committee recommended a plan submitted by architect James Renwick, Jr., in the later Norman, or more strictly Lombard style, as it prevailed in Germany, Normandy, and Southern Europe in the 12th century..
In a letter to the New York Daily Times responding to an editorial praising the Smithsonian and Joseph Henry, Samuel F.B. Morse writes that "the magnetic telegraph owes little, if anything, to Prof. Henry's labors or discoveries, notwithstanding the labored and reiterated efforts to make that impression." Morse's attack comes in the wake of controversy over Henry's dismissal of Assistant Secretary Charles Coffin Jewett and contradicts earlier statements by Morse. Henry had provided legal testimony for a telegraph entrepreneur contesting Morse's patents..
Joseph Henry presents a paper to the Albany Institute describing the benefits of an electromagnet recently created by English experimenter William Sturgeon. Henry discusses how further modifications to the magnet will allow for the use of smaller batteries and will show the effect of the earth's magnetic field. Sturgeon's electromagnet requires only a modest galvanic battery to create significant power, whereas prior to this, demonstrating electrical current required equipment too cumbersome and delicate to be practical for teaching or demonstration. Henry's paper is published in the first volume of Albany Institute's Transactions, issued in 1830. In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
Joseph Henry unveils a powerful new electromagnet during the College of New Jersey's (now Princeton University) commencement exercises, and demonstrates its ability to support up to 3,600 pounds. He would later note that "with a proper sized battery" it was capable of supporting over 4,000 pounds. In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
A circular "Queries Relative to Tornadoes" is sent to meteorological observers. Secretary Joseph Henry reports on some of the responses in the Annual Report for 1862 (page 29)..
Secretary Joseph Henry has devoted a considerable portion of his time over the past year to performing, gratis, investigations for the revenue service, light-house board, and other branches of government. These and similar services in previous years are intended to repay, in some degree, the care bestowed on the Smithson trust by the government..
In his annual report for 1848, Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry writes: "The objects of the Smithsonian Institution are not educational." He observes that the country "already teems with elementary works on the different branches of knowledge" and that for the Institution to engage in that sort of publishing would "dissipate [Smithsonian funds] without perceptible effect." He views the Smithsonian reports on the "progress of knowledge" as being useful to teachers. The current topics for reports are: agricultural chemistry; North American forests, their history, uses, and propagation; lightning and the best means of guarding against accidents; current astronomical discoveries; and the use of meteorological instruments..
In preparation for the bicentennial celebrations of James Smithson's birth, Secretary S. Dillon Ripley has the statue of Joseph Henry turned to face out (north) towards the other museums on the Mall. Since the installation of the statue in 1883, the statue of the first Secretary has faced the original building, the Castle. The three-day job of turning the statue is completed on May 24..
Alexander Dallas Bache, a member of the first Smithsonian Board of Regents as well as a scientist and close friend of physicist Joseph Henry, writes to Henry urging him to accept the Secretaryship of the Smithsonian Institution. Due to Bache's efforts, Henry accepts the position, and as a result, the Institution's first years are dedicated primarily to scientific research..
Physicist Joseph Henry (1797-1878) writes to Benjamin B. French, Secretary pro tempore, informing him of his acceptance of the office of Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. His letter is read before the Board of Regents on December 14, 1846..
Smithsonian Regent Louis Agassiz asks the Board of Regents to consider "the propriety of asking the government to take charge of the museum, the library, and the building." Agassiz argues that if the Smithsonian were not relieved of the burden of its collection and exhibition responsibilities, "many valuable contributions to science offered for publication would have to be postponed or refused." Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry had long argued that the Institution should not be saddled with caring for and exhibiting the national collections, and expresses his support for Agassiz's recommendation. Agassiz was seeking federal support for his own Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. Agassiz's report would be destroyed by a fire at the Smithsonian Building in 1865..
At the request of Assistant Secretary Spencer Fullerton Baird, Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry issues a circular to entomologists, listing the authors of several catalogues underway for different orders of North American insects, and requesting the help of collectors to provide examples of specimens for these catalogues..
Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry reports to the Board of Regents to refute charges made by Samuel F. B. Morse in an article in "Shaffner's Telegraph Companion" in 1855. He outlines the early researches in electromagnetism, including his own research in electromagnetic induction. Dr. Leonard Gale, who advised Morse on his first model of an electromagnetic telegraph, was able to correct imperfections in the model because of his knowledge of Henry's principles. The Board of Regents resolves that Morse has not proved any of his accusations against Henry nor disproved any of his own admissions regarding the importance of Henry's discoveries in electromagnetism to his own invention..
The United States Congress appropriates $3,000 to begin preparation of a catalogue of its library on the Smithsonian plan proposed by Charles C. Jewett..
Joseph Henry and eight other men spend four months traveling across southern New York charting compass directions, distances, and elevations of a proposed road. Henry would later use his report on this project, along with field notes from other surveys, to prepare an introduction to the Atlas of the State of New York (1829). The road would never be constructed. In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry gives all of the Smithsonian's linguistic materials and questionnaires on Indian life to John Wesley Powell, director of the United States Geological Survey. Three years later, the materials come back to the Institution when Powell is appointed to direct the newly established Bureau of American Ethnology at the Smithsonian..
A system of electric bells and telephones is established throughout the Smithsonian Institution Building, the Castle. The system connects several office and work rooms in the building to provide instant communication between the rooms so as not to loose the time required to go from one room to another..
Nathan 'Nate' Reingold in his office at the Joseph Henry Papers Project in the Smithsonian Institution Archives, located in the Arts and Industries Building shortly before leaving for the National Museum of American History, where he became a senior historian..
Born in Albany, New York, Joseph Henry is sent to live with his maternal uncle's family when he is around eight years old. His father's alcoholism and the birth of Henry's younger sibling James are likely factors in his parents' decision to send Henry to live with his uncle, John Alexander. The Alexanders live 36 miles away in the small town of Galway, New York. In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
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..
The Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections begins as a publications series. They are a series of publications in octavo that include bibliographies, tables, proceedings of Washington, D.C., societies, and papers on scientific topics of interest to scholars, yet do not as a rule add to the sum of human knowledge. Rather, they are "a series of manuals, intended to facilitate the study of different branches of natural history." In the 1864 Annual Report, Secretary Joseph Henry writes that work on these publications was planned and commenced before the Civil War..
Thomas William Smillie is hired on contract as a Smithsonian Institution photographer. A photographic apartment is fitted up in 1870, under the charge of Smillie, to take photographs of specimens of archaeology and of natural history to illustrate the publications of the Institution and for distribution to other museums..
Joseph Henry is born in Albany, New York to William Henry (1764-1811) and Ann Alexander Henry (1760-1835). Although Henry himself believed he had born in 1799, a record of his baptism shows he was born in 1797 (Register of Baptisms, First Presbyterian Church, Albany, New York). Henry was baptized in January of 1798. In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
Alexander Graham Bell demonstrates his telephone for Secretary Joseph Henry and his daughters at the Smithsonian, and at a meeting of the Philosophical Society of Washington that evening. Bell's first telephone patent had been issued on March 7, 1876, and a month later, Bell transmitted the first intelligible human speech over the telephone. As a judge for the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Henry submit a report praising Bell's invention. Bell's second patent, covering the "box" phone as transmitter and receiver that he demonstrates during his visit to Washington, would be issued January 30, 1877..
Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry dies at 12:10 pm at his residence in the Smithsonian Building. His health had rapidly deteriorated in the wake of his December 1877 paralytic attack. A private service would be held at the Henry residence on May 16, followed by a funeral at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. The funeral would be attended by President Rutherford B. Hayes, Vice President William A. Wheeler, members of the Cabinet, the Supreme court, and Congress, diplomats, military officers, scientists, Princeton alumni, and so many other eminent individuals that "only a small portion of the vast concourse of citizens and strangers could gain access to the church." Henry had served as the first Secretary of the Smithsonian from the time of its establishment in 1846 until his death. He would immediately be succeeded by Assistant Secretary Spencer Fullerton Baird..
Secretary Joseph Henry sends Major General Joseph K. Barnes, Surgeon General U.S. Army, a request to distribute copies of a circular of "Instructions for research relative to the Ethnology and Philology of America" to the Medical Officers of the Army stationed at Frontier posts. These instructions were originally prepared by Smithsonian ethnologist George Gibbs, and published in 1863..
The United States Congress passes an act transferring the custody of the library of the Smithsonian Institution to the Library of Congress (Stat., XIV, 19). The library turns over approximately 40,000 volumes of scientific works to form the basis of the "Smithsonian Deposit." By the law authorizing the transfer, the Institution is at liberty to draw any books it may require for its use either from its own collection or from those of Congress. Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry had used the January 1865 fire at the Smithsonian Building to strengthen his long standing contention that the Institution's library should be deposited in the Library of Congress, which had just finished constructing new fireproof quarters..
At the direction of Secretary Joseph Henry, the National Herbarium, containing 15,000 to 20,000 specimens, is transferred to the Department of Agriculture. The terms of transfer include approval of the botanist in charge by the Smithsonian Institution, accessibility to the collection by the Institution for scientific investigation, and the transfer of specimens by the Department of Agriculture to the Smithsonian Institution that "are not necessary to illustrate agricultural economy." Duplicate specimens are distributed to researchers worldwide, subject to recall by the Smithsonian. It is Joseph Henry's goal to remove from the Smithsonian what he feels is the burden and expense of caring for the national collections, particularly when there are other federal entities devoted to the research and preservation of such items..
After two months of debate, President James K. Polk and other officials agree to give the Smithsonian Institution a site on the south side of the National Mall between 9th and 12th streets for construction of the Smithsonian Institution Building or Castle..
Joseph Henry (1797-1878), physicist and professor at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), successfully repeats an experiment first described by Michael Faraday to the Council of the Royal Institution in London on November 5, 1845. Faraday had, for the first time, demonstrated a strong correlation between light and magnetism. This crucial discovery in nineteenth-century electromagnetism became known as the Faraday effect. Henry's research in this field had been repeatedly interrupted by his duties as a professor at the College of New Jersey. A year later, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, where his pursuit of basic research would be eclipsed by professional demands..
The Smithsonian is notified that owing to the death of Madame (Marie) de la Batut (a.k.a. Mary Ann Coates), it may petition to have the residual bequest of James Smithson paid out, in the amount of 5,015 pounds and the arrears of dividends due thereon..
Joseph Henry (1797-1878) participates in a group boat tour of notable geological sites along the Erie Canal, from the Hudson River to Lake Erie, led by geologist Amos Eaton. As assigned, Henry keeps a detailed journal on the geological features he observes. After completing the outgoing journey, Henry leaves the group to take a train back to Albany in time for a two-week visit to West Point Academy. During his trip home, he continues to record geological observations and collect specimens for Eaton. In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
In August 1893, an International Congress of Electricians meets in Chicago during the World's Columbian Exposition. Scientists and engineers at the congress adopt names and definitions for eight units of electrical measure: the ohm, the ampere, the volt, the coulomb, the farad, the joule, the watt, and the henry..
Joseph Henry is a formal participant in the seventh meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, held in Liverpool, England. He gives a paper on static-electric lateral discharge, participates in a discussion on cast-iron magnets, and makes a presentation on U.S. canal and railway systems. He is one of four foreign participants honored by special recognition. In 1846, Henry is appointed the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
Joseph Henry Medal was created to honor Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian from 1846 to 1878. The likeness of Henry is probably based on the bust of Henry by sculptor Clark Mills. The medal was molded in 1879, by William Barber, born in London, England, in 1807, and died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1879, and Charles Barber, born in London, England, in 1840 and died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1917. The medal is gold-plated bronze, 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 1/8 in. (6.3 x 6.3 x 0.4 cm). One of the medals is located at the Smithsonian American Art Museum..
Contract is awarded to build a fence around the portion of the Mall to be occupied by the Smithsonian Institution (nineteen acres). According to Goode (p. 834), work begins the following day, and trees and shrubs are to be planted as well..
The Board of Regents authorizes the expenditure of $1,100 to build a magnetic observatory on the Smithsonian grounds. It will consist of a small underground room, twelve by sixteen feet, and an above-ground portion, constructed of wood and designed to correspond somewhat to the architecture of the Smithsonian Institution Building..
The following resolutions are adopted by the Board of Regents: "Resolved, That while the Board regret the necessity of Mr. [Charles Coffin] Jewett's removal, they approve of the act of the Secretary [Joseph Henry]." "Resolved, That the approval by the Board is not deemed by them to be essential to the validity of the act of the Secretary in so removing Mr. Jewett.".
Reverend T. J. Bowen's "Grammar and Dictionary of the Yoruba Language" is published in volume 10 of Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge. First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry considers the study of languages as key to understanding the origins and history of different human societies..
Joseph Henry, physicist and professor at the College of New Jersey, is notified that he has been elected to the American Philosophical Society, the oldest continuously existing scientific body in the United States. In 1846, Joseph Henry would become Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
In response to a petition requesting Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry to establish a local scientific society, Henry presides over a meeting to create the Philosophical Society of Washington. Henry is elected president and gives a presidential address on November 18, 1871. In it, he explains that Washington needed "a society for the advancement of science" because such a large proportion of the city's residents were engaged in scientific pursuits as employees of federal entities devoted to various branches of science..
Secretary Joseph Henry reports to the Board of Regents that he has deemed it his duty since the last session of the Board [July 1854] to remove Charles Coffin Jewett from the office of Assistant to the Secretary in charge of the library. As of July 10th, 1854, Henry has personally supervised the library. During the last six months of 1854, 2,576 persons signed the visitors' register and 150 individuals read or consulted 742 books..
Samuel F. B. Morse publishes "A Defence Against the Injurious Deductions Drawn from the Deposition of Prof. Joseph Henry" in the journal "Shaffner's Telegraph Companion." Henry had provided legal testimony countering Morse's claims to have discovered the scientific principles upon which the telegraph was based..
First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry and Coast Survey Superintendent Alexander Dallas Bache ask Navy Secretary John Pendleton Kennedy to support Elisha Kent Kane's proposed expedition to the Arctic. As a result, Kane is assigned to carry out the scientific work recommended by Henry and Bache with the assistance of a naturalist and an astronomer. The Smithsonian provides the expedition with apparatus for capturing and preserving marine specimens and for recording magnetic observations. Kane's observations are later published in volumes 10-13 of Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge..
First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry writes to renowned British scientist Edward Sabine to request magnetic instruments for two Pacific Railroad Surveys recently authorized by Congress. Sabine sends the instruments, but they are not received by the Smithsonian in time to be given to the exploring parties. These surveys consist of six major expeditions extending from the Great Plains to the west coast with the purpose of determining a transcontinental railroad route..
Joseph Henry delivers his first public scientific lecture, a discussion of the properties of steam entitled "On the Chemical and Mechanical Effects of Steam." In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
At the request of Spencer Fullerton Baird, Assistant Secretary in charge of the U.S. National Museum, and over the signature of Secretary Joseph Henry, the National Academy of Sciences asks the U.S. President to recommend to the U.S. Congress the transfer to the Smithsonian at Washington of the Government collection at the Centennial Exhibition as well as the continued support of the collection. Eventually some 20 railroad cars of materials from the exhibition will be transferred to the Smithsonian..
At the request of John F. Hartley, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry sends suggestions for collecting activities that would be helpful to scientific investigations, to be distributed to members of an expedition to Russian America. Henry prepared the meteorological suggestions, the ethnological suggestions were done by George Gibbs, and those relating to natural history by Spencer F. Baird..
First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry publishes "Atmospheric Electricity," the fifth installment in his series "Meteorology in Its Connection to Agriculture" for the Patent Office's annual reports. It includes a discussion of three effects of lightning: its sudden repulsive impact on air and objects, especially in the direction of its passage; its attraction to tall metallic objects due to the emission of static charges by storm clouds prior to lightning strikes; and the process of lateral discharge, allowing sparks to be drawn from lightning rods even when they are well-grounded. Henry's work draws upon observations made during his years in Princeton as a physics professor at the College of New Jersey, where he observed buildings struck by lightning and interviewed witnesses to lightning strikes..
The Smithsonian Annual Reports of the Board of Regents commence publication..
The residuary legacy of James Smithson, on account of the death of the annuitant, Madame Marie de la Batut (a.k.a. Mary Ann Coates), is received by the Smithsonian Institution. The amount, equivalent to $26,210.63 in gold, is converted into United States bonds, which when sold at the current premium, yielded $54,165.38 in United States currency. The Secretary of the Treasury claims the funds are not under the control of the Smithsonian Board of Regents inasmuch as the original act of Congress of 1846 referred only to the bequest of James Smithson which was then in the Treasury of the United States, and claims that a special act of Congress would be required to apply this money to the uses of the Institution..
Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), inventor of the telephone, is appointed to the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution as a Citizen from the District of Columbia. Bell had been influenced in his research by the Smithsonian's first Secretary, Joseph Henry, especially his work on electromagnetic induction. Bell served four terms until shortly before his death in 1922..
Joseph Henry (1797-1878), physicist, marries his cousin Harriet Alexander (1808-1882) at the Reformed Dutch Church in Schenectady, New York. The first mention of their engagement appears in a letter from Henry to Harriet's brother, Stephen Alexander, written December 5, 1829. She was the daughter of his maternal uncle, Alexander Alexander. Both sides of Joseph Henry's family were of Scottish descent and settled in upstate New York. They had four children: William Alexander (1832-1862), Mary Anna (1834-1903), Helen Louisa (1836-1912), and Caroline (1839-1920). In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
In Secretary Joseph Henry's annual report to the Board of Regents, he argues against acceptance of collections belonging to the United States government, fearing that the resulting solution of seeking annual appropriations to support the museum would subject the Institution to political influence and control. The government collections, including those from the United States Exploring Expedition (1838-1842) were currently on display in the Patent Office Building..
Secretary Henry sends a circular to meteorological observers to request copies of registers for the year 1860, because the originals were destroyed in 1865 fire in the Smithsonian Institution Building. The Institution is currently engaged in analyzation and discussion of the observations, especially those relative to rain and temperature..
Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry issues a memo stating "the Assistant Secretary shall have special charge of the collections of the Institution, and of the National Museum, and shall direct the operations connected with them subject to the approval of the Secretary." One of the foremost naturalists in the United States, Baird would devote his career to the creation of a great national museum at the Smithsonian. Baird would succeed Henry as Secretary of the Smithsonian after Henry's death in 1878..
A bronze statue of Joseph Henry is unveiled on the Smithsonian grounds. The government closes early for the dedication, and a crowd of more than 5,000 gather approximately 45 meters (150 feet) from the northwest corner of the Castle, where the statue had been placed. The Smithsonian Regents, members of the National Academy of Sciences, and Cabinet members are among the dignitaries in attendance. A chorus of 200 participates. In one of the highlights of the ceremony, John Philip Sousa leads the Marine Band in its inaugural performance of "The Transit of Venus March," which he had composed for the occasion. The date for the event had been selected to coincide with the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences, of which Henry had been president at the time of his death..
In late September 1846, the Smithsonian Institution's Site and Planning Committee travels to Philadelphia, New York, and Boston to see buildings and to meet with potential architects in preparation for the construction of the Smithsonian Institution Building. This subcommittee of the Building Committee, was charged with determining the most cost effective materials, methods of lighting, temperature control, ventilation, and construction for the new building. The committee is comprised of three men from the Board of Regents: Robert Dale Owen, a social reformer and Representative from Indiana who had introduced the 1845 bill to charter the Smithsonian Institution; William J. Hough, a lawyer and Representative from New York; and Colonel Joseph G. Totten, a soldier, scientist, and engineer with distinguished service to the country in that capacity. While in New York they meet with the young architect James Renwick, Jr., who was eventually chosen for the project..
During 1854, collections come to the Smithsonian from the following expeditions: the U.S.-Mexican Boundary Commission; the survey of route for the railroad to the Pacific; the exploration of the coast of California; and the exploration of the La Plata. Private expeditions also furnish specimens. Assistant Secretary Spencer F. Baird writes to his mentor, George Perkins Marsh, that the natural history operations are expanding prodigiously, despite Secretary Joseph Henry's opposition to a museum as part of the Smithsonian..
The first guidebook to the Smithsonian, illustrating many of the building's interior spaces and exhibits, is published. The content of the guidebook is divided up into sections that discuss the history, purpose, and possessions of the Smithsonian Institution. A brief outline of James Smithson's bequest to the United States and the subsequent founding of the Smithsonian Institution to meet the terms of the will, which stated using the money for the creation of "an Establishment for the increase & diffusion of knowledge among men," is followed by an outline of the purpose that the Institution followed in its early days under the leadership of Secretary Joseph Henry..
In a letter to Lewis C. Beck, Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry discusses the need for comprehensive index to scientific articles, but notes that "no one who is fit to direct such a business would be willing to submit to the drudgery of making a list of papers from the various periodicals" and that it would very costly. Henry would later be credited by the Royal Society of London for suggesting, in 1855, that such an index be created. This resulted in the Royal Society's publication of the six-volume Catalogue of Scientific Papers (1800-1863)..
After setting up his laboratory and constructing apparatus at the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University, Joseph Henry resumes his research on electromagnetic induction. He begins recording his experimental research in what would become a series of three large volumes of laboratory notes. In 1846, physicist Joseph Henry would be appointed the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
On April 13, 1872, James Meredith Toner established a semi-annual lecture series on medical science to be supported by his donation of approximately $1,100 in cash and securities and about $2,900 in real estate. Interest earned from these assets would also enable the lectures to be printed in the Smithsonian's series of miscellaneous publications. The endowment was to be administered by Toner and four other trustees: the Secretary of the Smithsonian, the Surgeon General of the Army, the Surgeon General of the Navy, and the President of the Medical Society of the District of Columbia. Joseph Janvier Woodward gave the series' inaugural address, "On the structure of cancerous tumors, and the mode in which adjacent parts are invaded," on March 28..
Joseph Henry and his family move from Albany to New Jersey, where he takes up new duties as professor of Natural Philosophy at the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University. During his tenure there, in addition to teaching duties, Henry continues his researches in electromagnetism, including construction of an electromagnet which can sustain over 3,000 lbs., further work on the electromagnetic telegraph, research into electro-dynamic induction, researches to produce inductive currents of different orders and compare currents of intensity to currents of quantity, and the discovery that the discharge of electricity from a Leyden jar is of an oscillatory character. He also continues his interest in the study of meteorology, molecular physics, and heat and light..
The upper story of the East Wing of the Smithsonian Institution Building is converted into a residence for Secretary Joseph Henry and his family. Work on the main building is completed, and the final report of the architect approved by the Building Committee. During the year all costs paid for the building, including furniture, fixtures, and grounds, total $19,312.87, bringing the final total spent on the building to $318,727.01..
The magnetic observatory is discontinued at the Smithsonian Institution and the instruments are sent to Ft. Taylor, Key West, Florida, in care of the tidal station of the United States Coast Survey. During 1861, despite its proximity to active warfare, the observatory's work continued at the joint expense of the Coast Survey and the Smithsonian..
Using a self-made electromagnet, Joseph Henry arranges a small intensity magnet, which works well at low power over great distances, to control a much larger quantity magnet supporting a load of weights. By breaking the intensity circuit, he also de-energizes the quantity circuit, causing the weights to crash to the floor. Students who witnessed such demonstrations by Henry at the College of New Jersey, later recalled that Henry described the arrangement as a means to control mechanical effects at long range, such as the ringing of distant church bells. In other words, Henry had demonstrated that an electromagnetic telegraph was possible. In 1846, Joseph Henry would become Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
Secretary Joseph Henry issues a circular requesting specimens for the Smithsonian Institution's collections that illustrate the history of the American Indian tribes. He refers to the earlier circulars by Smithsonian ethnologist George Gibbs, which give instructions on collecting, and offers to make return in the form of publications of the Institution, and if possible, specimens of natural history..
In his annual report to the Board of Regents, Secretary Joseph Henry again proposes that the U.S. Congress accept the Smithsonian Building and its collection of specimens as a gift, thus freeing the Institution of the cost of supporting the National Museum..
A letter to Richard Rush from Francis Markoe, Jr., is the first recorded mention of physicist Joseph Henry's candidacy for Secretary of the Smithsonian. Markoe, the Corresponding Secretary of the National Institution for the Promotion of Science, hoped to attain the Secretaryship himself. He expressed regret at Alexander Dallas Bache's selection to the Board of Regents because he expected Bache would exert his influence to secure the appointment for Henry..
The National Academy of Sciences is established by an act of the U.S. Congress. The purpose of the Academy is to advance science and to advise the federal government on scientific matters. Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry is named as one of the academy's fifty members and chairs its inaugural meeting in New York. He initially declines a leadership position due to his role at the Smithsonian, but would become the Academy's president in 1868, upon the death of its founding president Alexander Dallas Bache. The Smithsonian furnishes rooms to the organization for its meetings and library..
Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry visits Europe on behalf of the Smithsonian Institution, arriving in London on June 11. The Smithsonian's Board of Regents had surprised Henry with this idea, in part to restore his health and provide him with a vacation from his duties in Washington. Henry's daughter Mary accompanies him. In London, Henry testifies before a British government scientific commission regarding the objects and methods of the Smithsonian. On August 8, Henry represents the United States, by appointment of President Ulysses S. Grant, at an international commission to consider the best means of making copies for distribution of the original meter preserved in the French archives. From September 14 to September 21, Henry attends a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in Liverpool, where he spends time with the British scientist John Tyndall. He also visits museums and observatories in Ireland, Scotland, Belgium and Germany, and makes a brief excursion to the Swiss alps. Joseph and Mary Henry returned to New York on the "Russia," arriving October 13 after a twelve-day journey and taking a train to Washington the next day..
Secretary Joseph Henry reports that the Commissioner of Patents suggests that a part or the whole of the Smithsonian Institution Building or Castle be purchased for the deposit of the collection of the national museum in the Patent Office. Henry agrees with the proposal so long as the Smithsonian does not bear the expense of collecting and maintaining the museum..
The U.S. Congress appropriates no funds specifically for the continued improvement of the grounds which Secretary Joseph Henry describes as being in a "neglected condition." Andrew Jackson Downing's landscape plan has not been continued since his death..
With an appropriation from the U.S. Congress, the public grounds, including the Smithsonian grounds, commonly called the Mall, are laid out anew under the direction of Andrew J. Downing. His plan for converting the entire Mall into an extended landscape garden includes graveled walks and carriage drives, along which are planted labeled specimens of all varieties of trees and shrubs which will flourish in this climate..
Joseph Henry (1797-1878), physicist and professor at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), delivers his premier theoretical paper on electrodynamic induction, marking the completion of research he had begun in April 1838. The fifth in a series of papers on electricity and magnetism for the American Philosophical Society, it was never published in full. A summary appears in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 2, pp. 193-96. In 1846, Joseph Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
Secretary Joseph Henry issues a circular to the officers of the Hudson Bay Company requesting their assistance to extend the network of volunteer observers across the Hudson Bay Territory. The circular provides an outline of the type of information desired, and is accompanied by a package containing detailed instructions and blanks for recording data..
Smithsonian activities during 1850 as described in the annual report include the printing or preparation of seven original memoirs of scientific research and other papers that have been printed and are ready for distribution. Of the papers on the "progress of knowledge" cited in last year's report, only one has been published as of this date due to lack of funds. The policies governing distribution of publications are still being worked out. Assistance to natural history and geology explorations begins in a modest way. Secretary Joseph Henry urges a conservative approach toward accepting or purchasing natural history collections and library volumes..
Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry's son, William Alexander Henry, born in 1831, becomes sick after returning to the Smithsonian from a vacation with his family. Will had returned to his duties as a clerk and copyist for the Smithsonian's library, but is struck by a "bilious attack," or jaundice. Shortly after the arrival of his parents and sister Mary, he dies at the Henry residence in the Smithsonian Building..
For the Smithsonian, ethnologist George Gibbs produces a circular in 1865 with instructions for collecting North American Indian vocabularies. It contains 211 words in four languages and blank forms for recording additional words. It is widely disseminated and becomes the most important resource for collecting Indian vocabularies over the next twelve years. It would later be expanded to become John Wesley Powell's 1877 field guide, "Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages." First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry considered the study of Indian languages key to understanding the origins and history of North American Indians..
Eleven lectures or courses of lecture are given at the Smithsonian during the current session of Congress. Secretary Joseph Henry observes: "Although the lectures appear to the public one of the most prominent objects of the Institution, ... they really form the least important feature of the plan adopted." Henry preferred to focus on basic scientific research, rather than public dissemination of knowledge. The first lecture was given on January 16, 1850, by Dr. George Washington Bethune on Holland..
Reverend Stephen R. Riggs' "Grammar and Dictionary of the Dakota Language" is published as volume 4 of the Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge. The publication is jointly sponsored by the Historical Society of Minnesota, the American Board of Missions, and the Smithsonian. The vocabulary in this volume was collected by Riggs and his fellow missionaries over the course of eighteen years. First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry considers the study of Indian languages as key to understanding the origins and history of North American natives..
Joseph Henry visits Washington, D.C., where he observes John Quincy Adams participate in a debate on the floor of the House of Representatives, and meets Senator John C. Calhoun and President-elect Martin Van Buren. Van Buren provides Henry with letters of introduction to U.S. diplomatic ministers in London and Paris, where Henry planned to travel the following spring. Calhoun would later oppose the United States' acceptance of James Smithson's bequest, which resulted in the establishment of the Smithsonian Institution. Joseph Henry would become the Smithsonian's first Secretary in 1846..
Congress passes a bill that puts storm and weather predictions in the hands of the U.S. Army's Signal Service. Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry had first called for the federal government to establish a national weather service capable of issuing storm warnings and other weather predictions in his annual report for 1865. By 1874, Henry would convince the Signal Service to take over the Smithsonian's volunteer observer system as well. Under Henry, the Smithsonian had been the first institution to undertake systematic weather reporting and analysis, beginning in 1848. In 1870, 515 observers report meteorological data to the Smithsonian and 140 reports are received from military posts..
During a visit to Staten Island where he planned to conduct experiments for the Light-House Board, Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry awakes to find his "right hand in a paralytic condition." In addition to the paralysis, Henry experiences "paroxysms of pain through the region of the heart" and difficulty breathing. The initial diagnosis is a stroke but it is soon revised to a kidney problem (Bright's Disease). On December 19, Henry would write that his hand was gradually getting better and that he could now "make a legible scrawl.".
The American Ethnological Society publishes a circular entitled "Indian Languages of North America." First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry reports that he has helped distribute the circular to missionaries, government agents, and soldiers to facilitate the collection of Indian words. Henry considers the study of Indian languages as key to understanding the origins and history of North American natives..
In his annual report, Secretary Joseph Henry mentions that, during the past year, the John Mix Stanley collection of Indian portraits has been increased by a number of new pictures, and expresses again his hope that the U.S. Congress will appropriate funds for purchase of the collection, to keep it from being dispersed. In the 1858 annual report, he mentions the addition of portraits, painted at the expense of the government, of Indians who have visited Washington. These, with the Stanley paintings, now form perhaps the most valuable collection in existence of illustrations of the native inhabitants of the country. In addition, busts of distinguished individuals which are in the Patent Office collection are added to the exhibit in the Smithsonian gallery..
The Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents proceeds to consider resolutions accompanying report of Committee on Organization, first presented by Robert Dale Owen, chairman, on December 1. The resolutions adopted on December 4 are: invitation to the U.S. Secretaries of State, Treasury, War, and Navy for suggestions as to additions to the museum; invitation to the public to furnish contributions to the museum; appropriation of $1,000 for laying out of grounds, $4,000 for purchase of philosophical and chemical apparatus, and $20,000 for library; and resolutions that call for plans to include a library with a 100,000 volume capacity (capable of being further extended as needed) and a series of "popular lectures." Resolutions pertaining to lectures outside Washington, research, publications, and the Secretary's role in Board meetings are postponed. The next day, resolution on lectures is also postponed in order to give Secretary Joseph Henry a chance to comment..
An application is made by the Smithsonian Institution to the North American Telegraphic Association, which covers the entire United States and Canada, for free use of its lines for the scientific objectives of the Institution. The application is subsequently granted..
Due to a sudden resignation at Albany Academy, and through the influence of the school's principal and his mentor T. Romeyn Beck, Joseph Henry was offered and accepted a professorship in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy. He would begin at the commencement of the following school year in September 1826. He had previously studied there from 1819 to 1822, and teaches there until he is offered a position at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), in 1832. In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
Second Smithsonian Secretary Spencer F. Baird (1823-1887) dies at the age of sixty-four, at the headquarters of the United States Fish Commission at Wood's Hole, Massachusetts, on August 19, 1887. An ornithologist, Baird was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian in charge of the United States National Museum in 1850 and succeeded the first Secretary, Joseph Henry, in 1878. Assistant Secretary Samuel P. Langley had been serving as Acting Secretary since February 10, 1887, when Chancellor Morrison R. Waite appointed him, in consequence of the forced absence of Secretary Spencer F. Baird, by reason of sickness. Langley served as Acting Secretary until his election by the Board of Regents as Secretary on November 18, 1887..
United States Congress appropriates $15,000 for a bronze statue of the first Secretary, Joseph Henry, and sculptor W. W. Story of Rome, is commissioned to do the work. On January 16, 1882, The Executive Committee will recommend to the Board of Regents the selection of the triangular plot to the northwest of the Smithsonian Institution Building, the statue to face to the south, as a site for the memorial. Mr. Story's opinion will be solicited before the final site selection is made..
Board of Regents passes a resolution approving alterations to the East Wing of the Smithsonian Institution Building or "Castle" to convert it into a residence for Secretary Joseph Henry and his family. Originally the East Wing had contained a lecture room..
The Board of Regents requests the Secretary to nominate an assistant who shall be librarian. First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry nominates Charles Coffin Jewett for Assistant Secretary, acting as librarian, whereupon Jewett is elected. His salary is to begin when a building is ready for reception of the library. At this time, Jewett is librarian as well as professor of modern languages and literature at Brown University..
"A Scientist in American Life: Essays and Lectures of Joseph Henry," edited by Arthur P. Molella, et al, is published by the Smithsonian Institution Press. Joseph Henry, a noted physicist, was the first Secretary of the Smithsonian from 1846 to 1878..
Joseph Henry joins Princeton Professor of Anatomy and Physiology Samuel L. Howell and three of his pupils in performing experiments in galvanic induction with the body of Antoine LeBlanc, who had just been executed in Morristown, New Jersey. In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
The Board of Regents passes a resolution accepting the Norman plan and design of New York architect James Renwick, Jr., for the Smithsonian Institution Building (the Castle). The Board also decides that the western range and western wing of the building are to be reserved for a gallery of art..
Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry agrees to chair the U.S. Light-House Board, on which he had served since its establishment in 1852. In addition to his role as chairman of the board's committee on experiments, Henry was now responsible for overseeing the board's $1.6 million budget and a work force which included more than 800 lighthouse keepers. Henry arranges to devote one day a week to his new duties, in addition to his established practice of spending vacations conducting experiments and investigations in lighthouses or at sea. He fills this position until his death in 1878..
Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry is elected President of the newly-established American Association for the Advancement of Science at its first annual meeting in Philadelphia. His term would officially begin at the second annual meeting, to be held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, starting on August 14, 1849..
Secretary Joseph Henry issues a circular requesting help to complete the Smithsonian's collection of the quadrupeds of North America. It includes instructions for the preservation of specimens. An 1854, 2nd edition of Spencer F. Baird's circular, "Directions for Collecting, Preserving, and Transporting Specimens of Natural History," is referenced in the 1855 circular. The complete text for Baird's directions is published in the 1856 Annual Report (pp.235-253). In his report for that year, Baird states that the museum's "...collection of the vertebrate animals of North America, including skins, specimens entire in alcohol, and skeletons and skulls, is in every department, the richest in the world in materials for illustrating species and their geographical distribution." (p. 59).
First Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution Joseph Henry writes to Representative, later President of the United States, James A. Garfield to urge that Congress fund John Wesley Powell's continued exploration of the Grand Canyon. Later, Congress appropriates $12,000 for Powell's expedition..
"Circular on Meteorology," by Secretary Joseph Henry and James P. Espy is published. They announce the establishment of a system of meteorological observations, particularly with reference to American storms, and request those interested in signing up as volunteer observers to contact the Navy Department. Henry's "Programme of Organization," published in the Institution's first annual report (for 1847), called for "a system of extended meteorological observations for solving the problem of American storms." The Smithsonian's second annual report includes the plan for a system of meteorological observations. Secretary Henry proposes to use the magnetic telegraph to notify distant observers of approaching storms. The system of telegraphic dispatches of weather conditions would begin the next year..
Alexander Dallas Bache, Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Survey and President of the National Academy of Sciences, dies after becoming incapacitated by a brain disorder more than two years earlier. Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry had held leadership roles in the nation's scientific community with Bache, a close friend and mentor. Henry worked to secure Bache's successor at the Coast Survey and reluctantly agreed to succeed Bache as president of the National Academy of Sciences..
Reconstruction of the Smithsonian Institution Building is begun to repair the damage suffered during the fire of January 24, 1865. Fireproof materials are being used, in accordance with the plans and under the supervision of architect Adolf Cluss..
First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry and Assistant Secretary Spencer Fullerton Baird provide detailed scientific instructions and equipment for the Mexican Boundary Survey, conducted from 1848 to 1855, and have five field collectors appointed. Although the expedition's primary purpose is to establish the U.S. - Mexican border, over 2,600 specimens are collected and deposited at the Smithsonian..
At Princeton's commencement, Joseph Henry exhibits the large galvanic battery he had begun constructing in early 1833. It would become one of the most important scientific instruments in Henry's Princeton laboratory, and its completion was an essential first step for the resumption of his electrical research. It is described in Henry's "Contributions I: Battery," a paper read before the American Philosophical Society in January 1835. In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
Samuel Foster Haven's "Archaeology of the United States," a comprehensive survey of American anthropology to-date prepared "by special request of the [Smithsonian] Institution," is published in volume 8 of Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge. First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry sees this survey as an important synthesis of work that had been done in this area, and ensures that it is free of speculation regarding the widely-held theory that a distinct race of mound-builders, separate from North American Indians, had once existed..
The Great Hall of the Smithsonian Institution Building is opened to the public, occupied by the Metropolitan Mechanics' Institute fair. Secretary Joseph Henry is the president of the Institute..
The Smithsonian initiates full-scale operation of its international publications exchange, whereby it ships its own reports along with scientific publications from other American scientific organizations to Europe and in exchange receives scientific publications from abroad and distributes them within the United States. In 1852, the Smithsonian would transmit nearly eight thousand volumes and receive over four thousand foreign publications. The exchange system was eventually extended to Asia, Africa, Mexico, and South America. This program exemplifies Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry's belief that "the worth and importance of the institution is not to be estimated by what it accumulates within the walls of its building but by what it sends forth to the world.".
The Board of Regents considers the report of the Committee on Organization as resubmitted on January 25, and, on the 26th and 28th, adopts resolutions to carry out the intention of the Act of Congress. Providing support for publication and lectures on original research forms one essential feature of the plan to increase knowledge; the other is through accumulation of collections of natural history and art, as well as the formation of a library. They further resolve that the two principal modes of executing the plan will be equally funded out of the accruing interest that remains from the bequest, once the buildings of the Institution are completed..
United States Congress approves a "joint resolution giving the consent of Congress to Professor Joseph Henry, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to accept the title and regalia of a Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olaf, conferred upon him by the King of Sweden and Norway, grand master of said order.".
Per Secretary Joseph Henry's request, the United States Congress appropriates $4,000 for the preservation of the collections of government exploring and surveying expeditions, and an additional $1,000 for the transfer and new arrangement of the collections. Congress would continue to provide about $4,000 a year for the Smithsonian's care and exhibition of the national collections. The annual appropriation is under the charge of the Secretary of the Interior, relieving the Institution of the necessity of making an annual application to Congress. The actual work of transferring the collections from the Patent Office would be completed in July 1858. These would then represent about one-fifth of of the Institution's collection..
Recommendations by a committee of the Smithsonian Board of Regents formed to determine the mode of communication to be used between the "Establishment" and the Board of Regents lead to a resolution that all correspondence of the Institution shall be conducted by the Secretary, and no assistant or employee shall write or receive any official letter except under the authority of the Secretary. Previously, on December 15, 1847, the Board had resolved that the Chancellor be the organ of communication between the Smithsonian Institution and the public, and that the Secretary be the organ of communication between the officers of the Institution and the Board..
In a ceremony attended by six to seven thousand people, the cornerstone of the Smithsonian Institution Building is laid. The occasion is regarded in Washington as a public holiday. Festivities include a mile-long procession from City Hall at Judiciary Square to the White House and then via Pennsylvania Avenue to the south side of the site. The procession from the White House to the building site was led by President James K. Polk and his cabinet, Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry, and Smithsonian Chancellor and Vice President George Mifflin Dallas. They are followed by the Smithsonian Board of Regents, diplomats, local officials and the military..
The Smithsonian participates in the International Electrical Congress in Paris, and is awarded one of the highest awards, the Diploma of Honor, for its publications and research by Professor Joseph Henry. The Smithsonian participated through October 5th..
The east wing of the Smithsonian Institution Building or "Castle" is completed and is occupied by a lecture room, a laboratory and apparatus rooms. James Renwick, Jr., a New York architect known for his ecclesiastical designs, is the architect. Secretary Joseph Henry calls it "an example of the most striking kind of failure of attempting to adopt the architecture of the middle ages to the wants and usages of the 19th century." By year's end, the west wing would also be completed, and plans were made to house the library in the west wing until the main building was finished..
"Joseph Henry Papers" exhibit opens in the Great Hall of the Smithsonian Institution Building or "Castle." The exhibit contains rare books, pictorial material and original manuscripts illustrating the scientific career of the American physicist who was the first Secretary of the Smithsonian. The exhibit marks the publication by the Smithsonian of the first volume of "The Papers of Joseph Henry.".
In a November 21, 1849, letter to his friend, Asa Gray, and in the annual report for 1849, Secretary Joseph Henry outlines his plan for the continued publication of scholarly memoirs. As of the second volume of Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge, each memoir is to be published with separate title and paging, so they can be distributed separately. Henry lists the topics of the papers so far submitted to the commissioners for inclusion in the second volume. When published in 1851, volume 2 includes 9 separate memoirs on a wide range of topics..
A system of telegraphic announcement of astronomical discoveries is inaugurated at the Smithsonian. Through an arrangement concluded between the Smithsonian and the Atlantic cable companies, free transmission is guaranteed by telegraph between Europe and America of astronomical discoveries which require immediate announcement for the purpose of cooperative observation..
Helen Louisa, Joseph and Harriet Henry's third child, is born in Princeton, New Jersey. Joseph Henry's correspondence from this period indicates she was most likely born in February or March. In 1846, the family would move to Washington, D.C., where Joseph Henry became the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry sends a circular to meteorological observers to explain that although the Commissioner announced in the last Bulletin of the Department of Agriculture that monthly publication of meteorological tables had been discontinued, the observers were still to send their registers to the Commissioner of Agriculture, who would transmit them to the Smithsonian Institution. In this way they would save postage costs. The Smithsonian plans to take over publication of the tables as rapidly as their means will permit..
A project is initiated to collect, edit, and publish the Papers of Joseph Henry (1797-1878), a physicist and the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Co-sponsors of the project are the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Historic Publications and Records Commission. Nathan Reingold is appointed the first Editor of the project..
The chemical and physical apparatus of Dr. Robert Hare of the University of Pennsylvania is presented by him to the Smithsonian Institution. They are placed on display in the Smithsonian Castle. Secretary Joseph Henry hopes the gift will set a precedent for other potential donors and sees it as supportive of his plan for the Institution..
The system of international exchanges begins, with the Smithsonian providing a clearinghouse function for the exchange of literary and scientific works between societies and individuals in this country and abroad. In his fifth Annual Report, Secretary Joseph Henry describes the exchange system, under charge of Professor Spencer F. Baird, as an extension of one operated by American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences..
The United States Congress passes an act requiring that James Smithson's residual legacy of $26,210.63 be added to the Smithson bequest in the United States Treasury. This includes both a residual bequest and the amount remaining of interest earned on the Smithson bequest prior to 1846. The act also allows the Board of Regents to increase the Smithson bequest through savings, donations, and other sources, to a sum not exceeding one million dollars. Within less than two years of the end of the Civil War, first Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry has increased the Institution's endowment from $515,000 to $650,000..
Board of Regents passes resolution selecting the south half of the "Mall," between Ninth and Twelfth streets, as the site for the Smithsonian Institution Building. A committee is appointed to communicate this resolution to the President of the United States..
Volume 1 of "The Papers of Joseph Henry," documenting the first Smithsonian Secretary's early years in Albany, New York, edited by historian Nathan Reingold, is published in 1972..
Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry and Assistant Secretary Spencer Fullerton Baird attend President Abraham Lincoln's funeral in the East Room of the White House. They are among 600 people who attend the service. Lincoln had been assassinated on April 14, the same day that the end of the Civil War was marked by the raising of a Union flag over Fort Sumter. In a letter to his daughter, Henry laments Lincoln's death and says he believes Lincoln was trying to end the war "as humanely as possible." In regard to his successor, he prays "that the mantle of Lincoln may fall upon him, that he may be imbued with the same honesty of purpose, the same kindness of heart, and the same moderation and prudence of action.".
Caroline, Joseph and Harriet Henry's fourth child and third daughter, is born in Princeton, New Jersey. In 1846, the family would move to Washington, D.C., where Joseph Henry became the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry gives Mrs. John Connor permission to sell articles of refreshment, exclusive of intoxicating liquors, to the visitors to the U.S. National Museum in the Smithsonian Institution Building. Her late husband, John Connor, had been an employee of the Smithsonian for fifteen years prior to his sudden death in 1864, leaving his widow and daughters destitute. Secretary Henry wanted to provide a way for Mrs. Connor to earn income to support her family, and none of the proceeds came to the Smithsonian. Secretary Henry also asked the Board of Regents to use Smithsonian funds to pay for John Connor's funeral, which they did..
Fielding B. Meek and Ferdinand V. Hayden's "Paleontology of the Upper Missouri" is published in volume 14 of Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge. It is based on geological collections gathered by Meek and Hayden during expeditions made over the previous twelve years. Meek joined the staff of the Smithsonian Institution in 1858 as the Institution's first full-time paleontologist. In lieu of salary, Joseph Henry allotted Meek living quarters in the Smithsonian Institution Building, where he lives until his death in 1876. Hayden also resides in the Smithsonian Institution Building at various times during his career..
Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry, acting in his role as the President of the National Academy of Sciences, and George M. Robeson, Secretary of the Navy, transmit instructions to Captain Charles F. Hall for the scientific operations of the Polaris Expedition (1871-1873) toward the North Pole, which is authorized by Congress and carried out under the direction of the U.S. Navy. The Smithsonian is especially involved in meteorological observations. Henry provides twenty-one pages of instructions contributed by specialists in astronomy, magnetism, geology, and other subjects to Hall and his director of scientific operations, Emil Bessels. Although they succeed in reaching "the most northerly point ever attained by civilized man," Henry later writes, relatively few specimens are brought back to Washington, D.C., because the crew ultimately has to abandon its ship, which is damaged by ice. After his return from the Arctic, Emil Bessels is given space in the Smithsonian Building for compiling the Polaris Expedition's scientific results..
Assistant Secretary Spencer Fullerton Baird unpacks his office and begins his career as Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. In the Annual Report for 1850, he sets forth a museum program to Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry. Acknowledging Henry's stated policy of gathering only materials not previously collected by others, Baird proposes concentrating on collections illustrating the natural history of North America. He supports a system of exchanges using duplicate specimens and proposes to furnish travelers the means of "determining the character of objects collected in various part of North America." Baird sees the Smithsonian as the custodian of all objects of natural history belonging or to belong to the United States..
Joseph Henry is appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy at The College of New Jersey, later Princeton University. In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry becomes the second president of the National Academy of Sciences. Henry had agreed to become vice-president after the Academy's first president, Henry's close friend and mentor Alexander Dallas Bache, became incapacitated by a brain disorder in 1864. Henry was reluctant to serve as the Academy's president because he felt his role as Smithsonian Secretary would present a conflict of interest, but he agreed to serve at the urging of Bache's widow. Henry was elected during a meeting held at the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., from January 22 to January 25, chaired primarily by himself. Of sixteen votes cast, Henry received fifteen. He cast his own vote for Louis Agassiz..
Secretary Joseph Henry and Chancellor Salmon P. Chase use the term castellated to describe the Smithsonian Building, but do not yet refer to it as the Castle..
William Alexander Henry, Joseph and Harriet Henry's first child, is born in Albany, New York. The family would soon move to Princeton, New Jersey, and later to Washington, D.C., where in 1846, Joseph Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
Ground is broken for construction of the U. S. National Museum building. Concrete foundations are begun on April 29th and the brick-work of the walls on May 21st. The main walls will be completed by November 1. The building was designed in High Victorian style by architect Adolf Cluss of Cluss & Schulze, with a symmetrical design and large open halls. It is situated to the west of the Smithsonian Institution Building or "Castle." This building is now known as the Arts and Industries Building..
Alfred Vail, partner of Samuel F. B. Morse, publishes a book on the development of the telegraph and with only a passing reference to the work of Joseph Henry (1797-1878), physicist and professor at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). Although Vail claims this to be an unintentional oversight and Morse insists he has nothing to do with the book's contents, their private correspondence indicates otherwise. Vail and Morse do not want the book to interfere with Morse's application for a patent on two crucial components of the telegraph by crediting Henry with their invention. While Henry had willingly advised and publicly endorsed Morse up until this point, this marks the end of cordial relations between the two..
The Board of Regents resolves that, while the Board reserves the power to remove both the Secretary and his assistants, power nevertheless remains with the Secretary to remove his assistants..
Joseph Henry (1797-1878), physicist and professor at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), delivers the first part of a paper on the continuation of research described in his Contributions III, published the previous year. He remains focused on galvanic induction and develops a framework for understanding both galvanic and static induction through the application of a few simple laws. Henry would present the second part of Contributions IV on November 20, 1840. This is his fourth in a series of articles on electricity and magnetism for the American Philosophical Society. His complete findings are published in 1843 in Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 8, pp. 1-35. In 1846, Joseph Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
Joseph Henry returns to Albany, New York, after living with his uncle's family in Galway, New York for about ten years. A paternal cousin, William Selkirk, hires Henry as a silversmithing and watchmaking apprentice. Henry works in this field for the next two years, later commenting that it was through this experience that he developed "skill in manipulation & some knowledge of metals." In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
The Smithsonian 's lecture room is destroyed in the January 24, 1865 fire that struck the Smithsonian Institution Building. Secretary Joseph Henry decides to not to reconstruct it, happy to be free of conflicts over the use of the space by outside groups and the burden of providing lectures for the public..
Secretary Joseph Henry states in the Annual Report for 1875 that the international exchange system as originally set up in 1867 met unforeseen difficulties and certain exchanges have never been fully carried into effect, although attempts were made to do so. In October 1874, the first shipments are made to Canada, Japan, and Germany. Also in October, Henry issues a circular sent to foreign ministers in Washington, announcing the terms of the exchange..
Lewis Henry Morgan's "Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family" is published in volume 17 of Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge. At over six hundred pages, this memoir is the Smithsonian's most expensive to date, and becomes a seminal work in American ethnology. First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry recognizes such studies as essential to understanding the origins and history of North American natives, and promotes scholarly work in this field. Morgan's work will later shape the theoretical framework underlying the Bureau of American Ethnology, established at the Smithsonian in 1879. That year, Morgan is also elected to lead the American Association for the Advancement of Science..
United States Congress repeals the copyright provision of the Smithsonian Act of Organization (Stat., XI, 380, Sec. 6). Secretary Joseph Henry comments that comparatively few of the books which had been received under the terms of the copyright law were of any scientific value; yet, they cost the Institution for postage, certificates, entries, care, etc..
Joseph Henry demonstrates an "electro-magnetic machine" powered by the continuous reversal of polarity through magnets connected to two batteries. The batteries are wired to two vertical magnets which alternately attract and repel the ends of an electromagnet positioned in between them, making the electromagnet rock back and forth at 75 vibrations per minute. He publishes this discovery in Silliman's American Journal of Science in July 1831. In 1846, Henry will become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
In the Annual Report for 1869, Secretary Joseph Henry makes a distinction between the collections of the Smithsonian Institution and the National Museum under its charge. The collections of the Institution are for study and would be important parts of the operations of the Institution were it entirely disconnected from the National Museum. He states that the National Museum's only claim on the Institution is for a series of all the duplicates collected, and that it is too much to ask that the Smithson fund continue to provide it with house-room and, to a large degree, attendance..
In December 1860, Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry writes to a friend that the government has stopped providing its $4,000 annual payment to the Smithsonian for the care of the national museum collections. This important source of income for the Institution is the first segment of the Smithsonian's funds to be affected by the impending Civil War..
Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry issues instructions for observations of the Aurora Borealis, accompanied by a map of the stars near the North Pole, to the Smithsonian's network of meteorological observers. The instructions are adopted from those used by the Toronto Observatory in Canada. The instructions are also included in the Annual Report for 1855..
Joseph Henry and fellow scientist Lewis C. Beck construct a scale of chemical equivalents under the direction of English chemist William Hyde Wollaston, who published the first such scale in 1814. Henry's and Beck's scale is said be "nearly twice the length of Wollaston's" with "the names of more than double the substances," and to be far more precise. Its formal publication date is September 1827. In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
The museum in the Smithsonian Institution Building or Castle, later known as the U.S. National Museum, opens to the public. In 1857, the United States Exploring Expedition or Wilkes Expedition collections had been transferred from the Patent Office to the Smithsonian..
Joseph Henry becomes the first to construct an electromagnet formed by tightly wrapping multiple coils of an insulated conducting wire around an iron bar. He demonstrates it at a regular meeting of the Albany Institute on April 15, 1830. Henry would later remark that it "possessed magnetic power superior to that of any before known." In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
Professor Joseph Henry (1797-1878) of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) receives seven out of twelve votes cast by the Smithsonian Board of Regents for the position as the first Secretary (the executive officer of the Smithsonian Institution), on December 3, 1846. The Board then unanimously passes a resolution approving the election of Henry, who went on to serve a 32-year term from 1846 until his death in 1878. The 49-year-old Henry is well known in the scientific world as a "natural philosopher" because of his basic discoveries in the field of electromagnetism..
Joseph Henry travels to Albany, New York, where the Dudley Observatory had been established in 1856. As a member of an advisory body of the observatory known as the Scientific Council, Henry must help resolve a conflict that has developed between the Council's chosen director for the observatory, Benjamin Apthorp Gould, and the observatory's Board of Trustees. Although Henry is initially able to help broker an agreement between Gould and the trustees, Gould is ultimately fired. Other members of the Scientific Council, including Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Survey and Henry's friend Alexander Dallas Bache, respond with angry letters, a public protest meeting, and an appeal to the state legislature. Henry prefers to handle the matter more quietly, in part because he fears that the controversy could endanger appropriations to the Coast Survey, the Smithsonian, and the Light-House Board, on which he serves. The trustees are able to successfully influence newspaper coverage of the controversy, resulting in public disapproval of the Scientific Council..
William Henry dies in Albany, New York at age 47. His eldest son, Joseph, had been sent to live with relatives at age 5 and was now 13 years old. In 1846, Joseph Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
In his annual report to the Board of Regents, Secretary Joseph Henry states that no arrangements were made for public lectures on the part of the Smithsonian Institution for the winter of 1861-62. However, an outside organization, the Washington Lecture Association, was given permission to use the lecture room, but did not adhere to the rule that sectarian and political subjects not be discussed. Instead, the lectures addressed the issue of slavery from an abolitionist point of view. Vain attempts were made to quell the ensuing controversy by stating that the Institution was not responsible for the political character of these lectures. Secretary Henry concluded it was necessary to restrict use of the lecture room to events directly under the auspices of the Institution, provoking offence to those who desired to respond to the political views presented. Henry decided to make up for dissatisfaction by arranging, under Institution auspices, a more extended series of lectures for the winter of 1862-63, on a variety of scientific and/or educational subjects..
Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry is summoned to Boston and reluctantly provides a deposition in an appeal of a patent infringement case won the previous year by Samuel F. B. Morse. He provides a history of discoveries in electromagnetism upon which Morse's telegraph is based, including his own work, and credits Morse not with any original discovery but only with "the invention of a particular instrument and process for telegraphic purposes" (Annual Report 1857, p. 113)..
For his students at Albany Academy, Joseph Henry uses a battery and electromagnet to transmit a current through a 1,060-foot wire, causing a bar magnet suspended on a pivot to strike a bell..
First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry provides advice on protecting the United States Capitol Building from lightning, in response to a query from Vice President George Mifflin Dallas. A gaslight entrepreneur had proposed the outside of the building be lit by attaching a massive lantern to an eighty-foot mast extending from the dome's center. In his formal reply to Dallas, Henry remarks that such a mechanism will surely attract lightning, but that properly grounding the lantern will prevent damage to the building. With modifications recommended by Henry, the mast is erected. The following summer, however, Henry is asked to inspect the mast and discovers that lightning has struck it several times. The mast is then removed..
Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry travels to California via the transcontinental railroad completed just two years earlier. His daughter Helen accompanies him. As chairman of the U.S. Lighthouse Board's Committee on Experiments, Henry spends most of his time in San Francisco inspecting lard oil for lamps. During the six to seven day journey from Washington to California and back, Henry and Helen stop in Council Bluffs and Omaha, Nebraska, Salt Lake City, and Chicago..
Mary Henry, daughter of the first Smithsonian Secretary, Joseph Henry, reported in her diary for June 1, 1863, that they "had found an addition to the family in the shape of an infant which had been left at the door of the Institution." The infant's parents were never located, but the event occurred during the Civil War, creating major disruption in the City of Washington. The Henry family kept the baby boy for a few weeks in their quarters in the East Wing of the Smithsonian Castle, but then took him to an orphanage. He would occasionally visit the Henrys over the course of the next two years, but then is not mentioned again. The Henrys had recently lost their only son, William, to what was probably typhoid, but did not keep the foundling..
Joseph Henry (1797-1878), physicist and professor at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), is appointed to chair a Franklin Institute committee to investigate the explosion of the "Peacemaker," a wrought-iron cannon on the experimental steam frigate, the U.S.S. Princeton. The accident occurred during a demonstration cruise on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., and killed six men, including the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Navy. The committee concluded that the metal used to construct the gun was of poor quality, that the strength of the iron had been compromised by the welding process, and that the welding had been imperfect. The Navy undertook its own research on the cast and wrought iron used in making cannon, and on the fabrication of large guns. As a result, a moratorium was declared on wrought iron guns and thereafter, weapons were made of cast iron or steel. The Franklin Institute committee was discharged after its report was approved on August 8, 1844. In 1846, Joseph Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
The medical collections, including a large collection of human crania as well as specimens relating to anatomy, physiology, medicine and surgery, are transferred to the Army Medical Museum. In return, the Surgeon General agrees to send to the National Museum any ethnological artifacts in their collections. It is Joseph Henry's goal to remove from the Smithsonian what he felt is the burden and expense of caring for the national collections, particularly when there are other federal entities devoted to the research and preservation of such items..
Joseph Henry is nominated by the Royal Society of London's Committee of Physics to receive the Copley Medal for his contributions to electrical science. His recent article, "Contributions to Electricity and Magnetism. No. III. On Electro-Dynamic Induction," is cited in the nomination as especially valuable. Although Henry did not receive the award, the Copley Medal is one of the most prestigious scientific awards in the world and to be nominated is a great honor. In 1846, Henry is appointed the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution..
Joseph Henry (1797-1878), physicist and professor at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), is elected a corresponding member of the National Institution (later Institute) for the Promotion of Science, established in May 1840 in Washington, D.C. The Institute's immediate goals were to establish a museum for the collections of the U.S. Exploring Expedition (1838-1842) and to acquire the James Smithson (c. 1765-1829) bequest left to the United States for the "increase and diffusion of knowledge among men." The Institute's ultimate ambition was to be nationally recognized as an authority on scientific matters. Although it lasted twenty years, the Institute struggled to achieve its goals from the beginning..
The firing on Fort Sumter by Confederate soldiers on April 12, 1861, marks the beginning of the Civil War. The Smithsonian's annual report for 1861 describes some of the effects of the war on the Institution. The meteorological program, reports Secretary Joseph Henry, "has suffered more...than any other part of the operations of the Smithsonian establishment." Urgent public business has forced weather information off the telegraph lines, and secession divides the Smithsonian from its network of weather observers in Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri. Reports from the North have been disrupted by observers leaving for military duty on short notice without getting substitutes. Due to the withdrawal of troops from posts in the West, the number of observers reporting weather conditions to the Army's Surgeon General has also decreased..