Elliott, correspondence

Scope and Content

  • MS 902/3/6/1-3;D Letters (3) to Dr Ball, W H Dall and Professor Joseph Henry, 1866 [Regarding the Western Union Telegraph Expedition, 1865-1868] 3 leaves, holograph (Xerox)

Administrative / Biographical History

The Western Union Telegraph Expedition, 1865-1867 Alaska division (leader Robert Kennicott) 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 letters 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 015 Robert Kennicott, GB 015 Charles Bulkley, GB 015 William Dall, GB 015 Henry Elliott, GB 015 Joseph Rothrock.

Additional Information

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