Reviews for The Papers of Joseph Henry

“…Joseph Henry was at the heart of critical institutions that controlled resources both tangible and intangible which were critical to the promotion and support of scientific activity in the United States. These volumes provide unique access to the primary documents and to the contextual analysis that tell the story of the rise of science to a place of political influence and cultural importance in a nation that (now) thinks of itself as a scientific world power.”—Documentary Editing, vol. 31 (2010)

Excerpts from reviews of prior volumes:

The following excerpts are taken from reviews of prior volumes that appeared in a wide variety of journals, including the library journal, Choice, general science journals such as ScienceNature,New Scientist, and Annals of Science, physics journals such as The American Journals of Physics, history of science and history of technology journals such as Isis and Technology and Culture, history journals such as the Journal of American History and theAmerican Historical Review, and education journals such as theHistory of Education Quarterly and Physics Teacher.

“An invaluable aid to any college library that is concerned with the relationship between science, politics, and the public. Too little is known about the scientific leaders of America, and this series begins to fill the obvious gap. While research scholars will go on to consult the full collection of Henry materials, graduates and undergraduates will find this volume rewarding for reading and research on American culture.”
Choice, 1973 [vol. 1]

“A model of what such a collection of papers should be.”
Science, 1973, [vol. 1]

“One might expect then that while filial piety might move those at the Smithsonian Institution to publish Henry’s papers, the resulting volume would be of small interest to any but specialists. This would be quite wrong; for Nathan Reingold and his associates have produced a work which should be of great interest to all those concerned with science and its development. They have shown . . . the close study of a scientist against his background can illuminate the way science works, in ways that the enumeration of major contributions to modern science cannot.”
Nature, 1973 [vol. 1]

“Indispensable reference book for the specialist in early 19th-century history of science but will be of interest to those scholars concerned with American social and intellectual history.”
Technology and Culture, 1974 [vol. 1]

“There is no questioning the fact that every physics departmental library in the country will want to arrange for all fifteen volumes when they appear.”
American Journal of Physics, 1973 [vol. 1]

“A primary source for cultural history . . . the level of scholarly editorship of this volume is exceptionally high.”
American Historical Review, 1975 [vol. 1]

“The exceptional documentary history, engaging and absorbing . . . unparalleled insight into America’s changeover from the status of dependency to that of a world power in science . . a noteworthy contribution to both the social history of science and to the intellectual history of nineteenth-century America.”
American Scientist, 1973 [vol. 1]

“A splendid achievement.”
New York History, 1974 [ vol. 1]

“The series is especially recommended to all research and graduate libraries but will also serve undergraduates well.”
Choice, 1976 [vol. 2]

“A gold mine of information and social, scientific, and historical commentary, which should prove of great interest and value to many because of the wide variety of Henry’s activities. Reading it is like browsing in library stacksunexpected treasures appear frequently, making it impossible to read just a little.”
Isis, 1976 [vol. 2]

“Will supply historians with research aids for years to come.”
Journal of the History of Medicine, 1976 [vol. 2]

“An impressive resource for interested scholars of the period.”
Annals of Science, 1977 [vol. 2]

“The editors of the Henry Papers . . . add significantly to our understanding of science, its role in history, and ultimately to our understanding of what we are as a society.”
History of Education Quarterly, 1983 [vol. 2]

“A major project superbly realized . . . its completion will represent a landmark in our understanding of nineteenth-century American science and the community from which it emerged.”
New York History, 1977 [vol. 2]

“This record of Henry’s first European visit has value far beyond the history of science; it is an important piece of cultural history that will be used by many scholars for a long time to come.”
Isis, 1982 [vol. 3]

“The most outstanding example of conscientious scholarship that I have ever encountered as a reviewer.”
New Scientist, 1980 [vol. 3]

“It is impossible to do justice to the richness of material in these papers . . . invaluable to social historians as well as historians of science working on that period.”
Nature, 1980 [vol. 3]

“Perhaps the premier letterpress edition in the history of American science.”
Isis, 1987 [vol. 5]

“These papers are a must for any library covering the history of science and technology.”
New Scientist, 1993 [vol. 6] 

“It has been accepted by historians for some time past that some of these notes contain the most useful discussions currently available of some historical issues. Not only for the history of American science, but also for the history of nineteenth-century science generally, these volumes are an important resource.”
Annals of Science, 1994 [vol. 6] 

“A unique source of information about the scientific, intellectual, and social history of the United States in the 19th century.”
American Studies International, 1997 [vol. 7]

“Simply put, the volume is an essential reference source for anyone interested in the historical roots of Washington’s unique nexus of politics and culture (including state-funded scientific inquiry).”
Washington History, Fall/Winter 2001-2002 [vol. 8]

Posted review from Annals of Science of volumes seven and eight (PDF).