Kennicott, correspondence

Scope and Content

  • MS 902/3/7/1-19;D Letters (19) to Spencer Fullerton Baird, 1865 [Relating to the Western Union Telegraph Expedition, 1865-1868] 124 leaves, holograph (Xerox)

Administrative / Biographical History

The Western Union Telegraph Expedition, 1865-1867 aimed survey a route for, and to construct, a telegraph line between the United States and Europe by way of British and Russian America, Bering Strait, and Siberia. The expedition was organized on a quasi-military basis under the general command of Charles Bulkley (who served as engineer-in-chief), and divided into four divisions. In 1867, news that North Atlantic Telegraph Company had successfully laid a cable from Newfoundland to Ireland the previous year, caused the Western Union Telegraph Company to abandon its enterprise. Nevertheless, the scientific and geographical results of the expedition, especially in Alaska, were of great value.



Alternative Form Available

These are copies

Related Material

The Institute holds several archival collections containing material relating to the Western Union Telegraph Expedition, 1865-1867 and its personnel, See SPRI collections GB 15 Robert Kennicott, GB 15 Charles Bulkley, GB 15 William Dall, GB 15 Henry Elliott, GB 15 Joseph Rothrock.

Location of Originals

Original letters held by the Natural History Library, Smithsonian Institute, Washington (1982)