JOSEPH HENRY - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 08/22/1862 - HFSID 80719
Sale Price $450.00
Joseph Henry asks Samuel Felton if he has received the package of articles that were sent to him.
Autograph Letter Signed: "Joseph Henry", 1p, 8¼x10½. Smithsonian Institution, 1862 August 22. To Samuel Felton Esq, President of the Philadelphia & Baltimore Railroad. Begins: "My Dear Sir". In full: "About a month ago we sent to your address by the Express line to Chester Penna a package containing one hundred and fifty copies of Dr. Woolsey's Eulogy on your lamented Brother and I now write to enquire (sic) whether the package was received. If it has not we can send you another lot from the extra edition we had printed in pamphlet form. The Eulogy forms part of the annual Report of the Institution to Congress & of this ten thousand extra copies were ordered to be published. We shall send copies of them as well as those of the Extra Edition to all our correspondents abroad, so that the article will have a wide circulation. I think the Eulogy on the whole is well done, although in some respects it does not do justice to your incomparable Brother. With kind regards to Mrs Felton I remain very truly your Friend & servt." JOSEPH HENRY (1797-1878), a physicist and scientific administrator, discovered electromagnetic induction and self-induction. He is also credited with the invention of the electric motor (1829) and later invented low-resistance and high-resistance galvanometers. In 1893, his name was given to the standard electrical unit of inductive resistance, the henry. In 1846, Henry became the first Secretary of the newly organized Smithsonian Institution, where he established a continuing tradition of research. Under his leadership, weather reporting stations were connected by telegraph in the U.S. In the spring of 1863, Henry was one of the founding members of the National Academy of Science and served as Academy President from 1867. He was both President of the National Academy of Science and Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution until his death. SAMUEL MORSE FELTON (1809-1889), a civil engineer, became President of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad (PWBRR) in 1851. The year before this letter was written, Felton had been instrumental in getting Abraham Lincoln to Washington, D.C. for his inaugural, and the railroad was of great strategic importance to the Union during the Civil War. In 1865, Felton left the railroad to become President of Pennsylvania Steel Co., a pioneer in the "bessamer" process in the U.S. and the first company to make railroad rails commercially. His brother mentioned in this letter was CORNELIUS CONWAY FELTON (1807-1862), who was President of Harvard University at the time of his death. A scholar, educator and translator, Cornelius had made trips to Greece to study art and antiquities and published a number of scholarly works. There was also a third Felton brother, JOHN BROOKS FELTON (1827-1877), an attorney and linguist, who later served as Mayor of Oakland, California. Two generations of Felton family papers are kept at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American History archives. A rare and important letter. Ink blots at some words. Lightly shaded at folds and left and right edges. Chipped at 3 places at left blank edge. Show through of ink of docket (unknown hand, possibly Felton's) on verso. Overall, fine and interesting.
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