Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Morse, Samuel Finley Breese (1791-1872) to John C. Spencer

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02112 Author/Creator: Morse, Samuel Finley Breese (1791-1872) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 19 January 1844 Pagination: 2 p. : docket ; 25 x 20 cm.

Summary of Content: States that the lead pipe delivered by F.O. J. Smith, the contractors with Mr. Tatham and his brothers, is defective. Describes the main problem, "I find it defective in many points but particularly in the destructive effect that has been produced upon the insulation of the wires by the hot process of manufacture." Informs that the wires will have to be removed from the pipes, re-varnished, and put back in the pipe. Estimates the cost of the repairs to be $500. States that the Tathams will credit $50 of the cost. Puts much of the blame on his Assistant Professor Fiskee, whom he has since dismissed from service.

Background Information: Morse is credited with inventing the telegraph and Morse code. In 1844, he sent the first telegraphic message, from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., "What hath God wrought!" He was also ...an accomplished artist and politician. Spencer was the Secretary of the Treasury.See More

People: Morse, Samuel Finley Breese, 1791-1872
Spencer, John C. (John Canfield)., 1788-1855

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: TelegraphScience and TechnologyIndustryFinance

Sub Era:

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