Joseph Henry and John Torrey correspondence, 1834-1861


Joseph Henry and John Torrey correspondence, 1834-1861

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Related/Analytical: New York Botanical Garden Archives

Series: John Torrey papers, series 1, correspondence


Henry, Joseph, 1797-1878




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Correspondence from Joseph Henry to John Torrey, dated 1834-1861. Beginning when Henry is a professor at Princeton University writing to Torrey in New York City, the early period of their correspondence brims with discussions of chemical and electrical experiments, news of family, friends, and favorite students, and chronicles of professional activities. In addition to a busy teaching schedule Henry spends a great deal of time researching available houses in Princeton for Torrey. His letters become slightly less frequent in the period when they are both living in Princeton, but pick up again after Henry has become Secretary of the new Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. Letter subjects turn from chemistry and academics to political negotiations and meetings with government officials. Henry's ambivalence about his new career and adopted city are palpable. While he enthusiastically champions Washington as a potential intellectual center ("No city in the Union in proportion to its inhabitants contains so many intelligent persons of moderate means..."), he clearly dislikes politics (as he wryly reports on one hotly contested appointment, "Our friend the cormorant ... did not swallow the Post Office") and admits to Torrey, "Still I cannot give up the idea of returning to Princeton and of resuming the quiet and tranquil life I led there." After a workman is accidentally killed at the Smithsonian in 1850 ("All the men have gone out with the body and I have seen nothing but the blood on the timbers..."), Henry reflects on his position: "My duties in connection with the Smithsonian are very arduous and in some cases very disagreeable. They require caution-- inflexible justice and in some instances moral courage. Still I do not think I did wrong to accept the position and I know that I am in the way of doing good." Later years bring an ongoing dispute with Samuel F.B. Morse and the looming threat of war. In 1860 he writes, presciently, "We have fallen on very dark tim

In English.


Alexander, James W. (James Waddel), 1804-1859 , Alexander, Stephen, 1806-1883 , American Association for the Advancement of Scienc , American Philosophical Society , Bache, A. D. (Alexander Dallas), 1806-1867 , Bailey, Jacob Whitman, 1811-1857 , Baird, Spencer Fullerton, 1823-1887 , Bartlett, John Russell, 1805-1886 , Beck, Lewis C. (Lewis Caleb), 1798-1853 , Berzelius, Jöns Jakob, friherre, 1779-1848 , Bosch, R. B. van den (Roelof Benjamin), 1810-1862 , Botanical specimens , Brackenridge, William D. (William Dunlop), 1810-18 , Butterworth, Samuel F. (Samuel Fowler), 1811-1875 , Carnahan, James, 1775-1859 , Chemistry , Chilton, James R , Columbia College (New York, N.Y.) , Correspondence , Courtenay, E. H , Dana, James Dwight, 1813-1895 , Dana, James Freeman, 1793-1827 , Dix, John A. (John Adams), 1798-1879 , Dod, Albert B. (Albert Baldwin), 1805-1845 , Durand, Elias, 1794-1873 , Easter, John D., Dr., active 1856 , Electric batteries , Electricity , Elements of chemistry , Ellet, William Henry, 1806-1859 , Emory, William H. (William Hemsley), 1811-1887 , Espy, James P. (James Pollard), 1785-1860 , Experiments , Faraday, Michael, 1791-1867 , Forbes, James David, 1809-1868 , Frelinghuysen, Theodore, 1787-1862 , Frémont, John Charles, 1813-1890 , G. & W. Endicott (Firm) , Girard College , Gray, Asa, 1810-1888 , Hare, Robert, 1781-1858 , Harvey, William H. (William Henry), 1811-1866 , Henry, Joseph, 1797-1878 , Hitchcock, Edward, 1793-1864 , Holton, Isaac F. (Isaac Farwell) , Humphreys, A. A. (Andrew Atkinson), 1810-1883 , James, Henry, 1811-1882 , Jewett, Charles C. (Charles Coffin), 1816-1868 , Johnston, Jas. F. W. (James Finlay Weir), 1796-185 , Lyell, Charles, Sir, 1797-1875 , Maclean, John, 1800-1886 , March, Alden, 1795-1869 , Marcy, William L. (William Learned), 1786-1857 , McCulloh, R. S. (Richard Sears), 1818-1894 , Morse, Samuel Finley Breese, 1791-1872 , Nott, Josiah Clark, 1804-1873 , Owen, Allen Ferdinand, 1816-1865 , Renwick, James, 1792-1863 , Robinson, Edward, 1794-1863 , Rush, Richard, 1780-1859 , Scoresby, William, 1789-1857 , Sickles, Daniel Edgar, 1819-1914 , Silliman, Benjamin, 1779-1864 , Smithsonian Institution , Snowden, James Ross, 1809-1878 , Stephens, John L., 1805-1852 , Sturgeon, William, 1783-1850 , Thurber, George, 1821-1890 , Torrey, John, 1796-1873 , Turner, Edward, 1798-1837 , United States and Mexican Boundary Survey , United States Exploring Expedition (1838-1842) , Varden, John, approximately 1790-1865 , Warren, John Collins, 1778-1856 , Whipple, Amiel Weeks, 1817?-1863 , Wilkes, Charles, 1798-1877

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John Torrey Papers

New York Botanical Garden




OCLC: 1014125312


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