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About the Henry Papers Project

The Joseph Henry Papers Project is producing a multi-volume scholarly edition of the papers of nineteenth-century American physicist, educator, and administrator Joseph Henry. Henry is the only American scientist who is the subject of a major documentary edition. The project is sponsored by the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian hosts the project in Washington, D.C.

Initially under the editorship of Nathan Reingold, the project mounted a world-wide search for Henry documents to supplement those already held by the Smithsonian. Now under the editorship of Marc Rothenberg, the project has obtained copies of Henry documents from some 300 repositories in 17 nations. The staff has identified more than 100,000 Henry documents and has developed a computerized index to a majority of these. Eight volumes of The Papers of Joseph Henry have been published to date. The volumes are divided into three series: the Albany Years (1797-1832), the Princeton Years (1832-1846), and the Smithsonian Years (1846-1878). The first two series have been completed, and two volumes of the Smithsonian Years have appeared thus far.

Aside from serving the scholarly community, the Joseph Henry Papers Project has a broader outreach program. It has reached the general public through articles on Henry in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, and Weatherwise Magazine, and K-12 students through curricular materials published by the National Science Resources Center and by the "Mini Page," a child-oriented feature published in some 500 newspapers. The project's web site (, which has more than a dozen articles on Henry's legacy, is also designed with the general public in mind.

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This page updated 4 October 2000 by