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The History of the Smithsonian: Letters and Documents From the First Three Heads of the Institution

The History of the Smithsonian

Librería: The Raab Collection (Ardmore, PA, Estados Unidos de America)

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Included is an original photograph of the hangar for Langley's Folly, an original aviation experimentIn his will, James Smithson left his fortune of £100,000 to his nephew. In the event of the nephew's death, Smithson stipulated, the estate would pass his children. But if his nephew died childless, he did “bequeath the whole of my property…to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase & diffusion of Knowledge among men.” This the U.S. did, and the institution opened in 1846.The pieces below, signed by every head of the organization in the 19th century, were recently deaccessioned by a historical society, where they have been for over a century.FIRST SECRETARY - JOSEPH HENRYThe first Smithsonian Secretary, Joseph Henry, served from 1846 to 1878. A professor at the College of New Jersey, he was a physicist who conducted pioneering research in electromagnetism and helped set the Smithsonian on its course.Joseph Henry handles the accounts of the Smithsonian with the museum’s bankerAutograph letter signed, January 24, 1872, to W.S. Huntington, Cashier, 1st National Bank. “My dear sir, I wrote to request that in the Bank Book of the Smithsonian account you enter the number of each check in the appropriate column which will facilitate the examination of the vouchers. Truly yours, Joseph Henry.” Henry’s letters are not common, the last appearing to have come up at public sale having been sold in the 1980s. Joseph Henry Prepares for the Institution's First Major Annual Report1854 marked the first year that the Smithsonian sent to scholars articles of general and scholarly interest, beyond simply a report of the previous year's activities. In a Smithsonian publication of 1867, it was written, "Up to the year 1854 these reports were published in a pamphlet form, and contained merely an account of the operations of the Institution for the year; but since that date an appendix has been added, principally consisting of translations, from foreign journals, of articles not accessible to the English reader, but of interest to our meteorological observers, and to persons generally who are interested in the progress of knowledge. With the addition of this appendix each report forms a volume of between 400 and 500 pages, bound in boards, with a cloth cover. The first volume of this series contains a reprint of all the previous reports of the Secretary, the will of Smithson, and the enactments of Congress in regard to the bequest, and hence in the full set of these reports a continuous history of the Institution is given from its organization to the present time."Printed document, being the document sent to offer that original publication, signed in print by Joseph Henry on Smithsonian Institution letterhead, April 4, 1854. “The Smithsonian Institution is now making preparations to send copies of its publications to different Libraries and Societies in Europe and other parts of the world, with which it is in correspondence. As in previous years, it will undertake the transmission and safe delivery of the publications of other American Institutions [the document then goes on to list the conditions under which such documents would be forwarded]…. Very respecfully, Joseph Henry [signed in print.]”SECOND SECRETARY - SPENCER BAIRDThe second Smithsonian Secretary, Spencer Fullerton Baird, served from 1878 to 1887. A naturalist, ornithologist, ichthyologist, and renowned collector, Baird dedicated his career to creating a strong U.S. National Museum at the Smithsonian. By the time Baird began work at the Smithsonian Institution in 1850, he was recognized as one of the world’s most distinguished naturalists.Second Smithsonian Secretary Spencer Baird Wants an Indian Relic Donated to the InstitutionLetter signed, Smithsonian Institution letterhead, Washington DC, November 25, 1878, to Frank Andrews of Vineland NJ. “Dear Sir, we are duly in re. N° de ref. de la librería 10901

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Título: The History of the Smithsonian: Letters and ...

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The Raab Collection buys and sells rare important historical documents, bring to its endeavors a passion not only for the manuscript but the history behind it. We've built important historical collections for institutions and historical enthusiasts. Our pieces have found homes in many major institutions devoted to preserving history.

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