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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/303

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plants of North America, and form a grand contribution to knowledge. His collections, on which these researches arc based, were annotated and arranged by him with scrupulous care and exactness, and are treasured as among the most important of all scientific material in America.



Joseph Henry




This time, one hundred years ago, Joseph Henry, whose name and fame we honor to-day, was a lad seven years of age. He was born at Albany, New York, of Scotch parentage, his grandparents on both sides having come from Scotland in the same ship to the Colony of New York, in 1775.

Doubtless he had himself in mind when in his mature years he affirmed that "The future character of a child, and that of a man also, is in most cases formed probably before the age of seven years."

At any rate, he found himself early, for at the age of sixteen he had determined to devote his life to the acquisition of knowledge. Thus be became, in turn, student, teacher, civil engineer in the service of his native state, professor of mathematics and natural philosophy in the Albany Academy, professor of natural philosophy in the College of New Jersey—now Princeton University—and a pioneer investigator and discoverer of the first order before he was thirty-three years of age.

His inventions and discoveries in electromagnetism especially art of prime importance. They include the inventions of the electromagnetic telegraph and the electromagnetic engine, and the discovery of many of the recondite facts and principles of electromagnetic science.

From the age of thirty-three, when he took up the work of his professorship at Princeton, till the age of forty-seven, when he was called to the post of secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, he pursued his original investigations with untiring zeal and with consummate experimental skill and philosophic insight. It was during this period that Henry and Faraday laid the foundations for the recent wonderful developments of electromagnetic science. The breadth as well as the depth of Henry's learning is indicated by the fact that he found time during this busy period for excursions and for lectures in the fields of architecture, astronomy, chemistry, geology, meteorology and mineralogy, in addition to his lectures and researches in physics.

He was a man rich in experience and ripe in knowledge when, in 1846, he assumed the administative duties implied by the bequest of James Smithson. "To found at Washington, under the name of the