The Papers of Joseph Henry: Volume 4
January 1838–December 1840, The Princeton Years

Editor: Nathan Reingold
Associate Editor: Arthur P. Molella
Assistant Editor: Marc Rothenberg
Staff Historian: Kathleen Waldenfels
Research Assistant: Joan F. Steiner

1981, 475 pp., illustrated, ISBN 0-87474-792-9, $40.00

The Papers of Joseph Henry: Volume 4

Volume 4, The Princeton Years: January 1838-December 1840 (Washington, 1981: ISBN 0-87474-792-9) demonstrates Henry’s growing concern with the nation’s intellectual image abroad. After returning from Europe, he was increasingly sensitive to American shortcomings, particularly to the problem of scientific charlatanism. His opposition to the physician-inventor Henry Hall Sherwood, documented in the volume, epitomized this delicate issue. His fears of quackery, as well as of well-intentioned but misguided amateurism, colored his views of scientific organization and imparted a preference for hierarchical forms in which serious professionals like himself remained in control.

In his research, Henry progressed steadily in his understanding of electromagnetic induction, and his investigations provided the basis for portions of his series “Contributions to Electricity and Magnetism.” His laboratory notebooks of this period also reveal an interest in metallic capillarity, electroacoustics, and optics. The entry containing the sketch at left reads: “Put helix of long wire wrapped around a glass rod into long gas pipe, which was magnetized.”


More Images

Sketch in entry April 6, 1838.

Also of Interest

A cumulative index, volume 12, was published in 2008. 320 pp., $49.95.

All other volumes in the series are still available. Click here for contents, prices and description information. Additional information is available from The Joseph Henry Papers Project: