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To a classmate who became a noted naturalist re: work at the Smithsonian Institution.
ALS: "J.A. Garfield", 3p, 5x7¾, front and verso. Washington, D.C., 1866 February 16. On stationery of the 39th Congress, vignette of the U.S. Capitol, the future President writes to "Orton". In full: "Your welcome favor of Jan 18th came duly to hand and would have been acknowledged at once but for the great press of business upon me - I was very glad to hear from one whom I so well & so pleasurably remember as yourself. I am rejoiced to hear that you have risen to a place of such solid honor and distinguished usefulness in the Church - one which must bring you far more satisfaction than a life in the storm & whirl of war and politics. In regard to your scientific tendencies and wishes I am glad to tell you that I am now a Regent of the Smithsonian Institution and will cheerfully do all I can to secure what tasks I can for you. It will be difficult to get back numbers-but I will send your list to Prof Henry and ask him to lend you all he can spare. I shall be glad to hear from you at any time. I send you a copy of my speech lately made in the House of Representatives on Restoration of Rebel states. Please send me any sermons & addresses you may publish." JAMES ORTON was a classmate of Garfield's at Williams College in 1854 and 1855 and later attended Andover Theological Seminary. He was an ordained pastor, and in the year of this letter was appointed instructor in Natural Sciences at the University of Rochester. In 1867, Professor Orton visited South America as the head of an expedition of students that was sent out under the auspices of Williams College. He made a second journey in 1873. In 1877, while on a journey to explore the Gret Beni River, he died on Lake Titicaca, Peru at the age of 47. Professor Henry was American physicist JOSEPH HENRY. Henry, who had built the first electric motor in 1829, became the first Secretary and Director of the Smithsonian Institution in 1846, serving until his death in 1878. The unit of electrical inductance was named "Henry" in his honor. Lightly smudged by Garfield in some areas, horizontal fold through signature, else in fine condition.

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Born: November 19, 1831
Died: September 19, 1881

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