Joseph Henry: The Rise of an American Scientist

By Ryan C. MacPherson

Rev. of Joseph Henry, by Albert E. Moyer, New York History 80, no. 4 (1999): 488-91.



... Focusing exclusively on Henry's pre-Smithsonian years (1797-1846), Moyer draws from recently published volumes of the Henry papers in an attempt to account for the unprecedented homage paid him after his death in 1878. For example, the United States Congress held a three-hour memorial service, with both houses and the president and vice president in attendance. Two years later Congress commissioned a bronze statue to immortalize Henry's image at the Smithsonian's "Castle" where he had worked. Moyer argues that such acclaim stemmed not only from his administrative funneling of American scientific energy through the Smithsonian during his three decades as secretary, but largely from his previously acquired reputation as a working natural philosopher. ...

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