W. H. (William Henry) Smyth correspondence, 1820-1864


Date: 1820-1864 | Size: 0.25 Linear feet, 123 items


This is a miscellaneous collection of letters, almost all written to Smyth by prominent scientists. The topics discussed include astronomy, microscopes, nautical almanacs, and submarine excursions. Also of interest is a letter from Thomas Graves, reporting what the Beagle (Charles Darwin's voyage) was encountering in South American waters.

Background note

William Henry Smyth was a British admiral and scientific writer.

Digital objects note

This collection contains digital materials that are available in the APS Digital Library. Links to these materials are provided with context in the inventory of this finding aid. A general listing of digital objects may also be found here.

Collection Information

Physical description

123 items.


Purchased from Sotheby & Co. and accessioned, 1966 (1966 1592ms). 36 letters purchased from John Wilson (L1250), Oxford, Eng., and accessioned, 1988 (1988 396ms). See in-house shelf list for additional accession numbers and information.

Naval History Note

Naval historians may be interested in correspondence relating to nautical almanacs and submarine expeditions, and in Thomas Graves' account of the voyage of HMS Beagle.

Early American History Note

This manuscript collection falls outside the geographic scope of the Early American guide (British North America and the United States before 1840). It may be of interest to scholars interested in global history, international relations, imperialism, or the U.S. in the world.

Indexing Terms

Corporate Name(s)

  • Hartwell Observatory.
  • Royal Astronomical Society.
  • Royal Observatory, Greenwich.
  • Royal Society (Great Britain)

Family Name(s)

  • Graves, Thomas.
  • Smyth, Annarella Warington


  • Almanacs.

Personal Name(s)

  • Airy, George Biddell, 1801-1892
  • Arnold, Thomas, 1795-1842
  • Beaufort, Francis, Sir, 1774-1857
  • Buckland, William, 1784-1856
  • Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882
  • Dawes, William, 1762-1836
  • Dollond, George, 1774-1852
  • Everett, Edward, 1794-1865
  • Grove, W. R. (William Robert), 1811-1896
  • Henderson, Thomas, 1798-1844
  • Henslow, J. S. (John Stevens), 1796-1861
  • Herschel, John F. W., Sir (John Frederick William), 1792-1871
  • Hopkins, William, 1793-1866
  • Kater, Henry, 1777-1835
  • Lassell, William, 1799-1880
  • Lubbock, John, Sir, 1834-1913
  • Maclear, Thomas, 1794-1879
  • Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871
  • Petermann, A. (August Heinrich), 1822-1878
  • Sheepshanks, R. (Richard), 1794-1855
  • Smyth, W. H. (William Henry), 1788-1865
  • Smyth, Warington Wilkinson, Sir, 1817-1890
  • Somerville, Mary (1780-1872)
  • Tindal, Nicholas Conyngham, Sir, 1776-1846
  • Vulliamy, Benjamin Lewis, 1780
  • Zach, Franz Xaver, Freiherr von (1754-1832 )


  • Astronomical instruments.
  • Astronomy.
  • Beyond Early America
  • Microscopy.
  • Nautical almanacs.
  • Submarines (Ships)

Detailed Inventory

 J.S. Henslow to William Hery Smyth, 1848 December 22
 J.S. Henslow to William Hery Smyth, 1849 January 3