Thomas Jefferson Papers

Horace H. Hayden to Thomas Jefferson, 6 January 1821

From Horace H. Hayden

Baltimore Jany 6th 1821—

Dear Sir.

I am happy to have it in my power to offer for your perusal the result of my1 observations and remarks, on some of the geological phenomena of this continent, as well as those of some others—

Since the publication of this work (in octobr) I have been anxious to forward it to you by private conveyance; but no opportunity offering, I was induced to apply to Mr Skinner, P.M—who kindly offere’d to forward it to you by Mail; through the medium of which I hope you will receive it safe and without injury—

This work, Sir, has been written under all the inconveniences and disadvantages inseperable from a professional Vocation, in which, I may say, nearly the whole time allotted for active pursuits, has been engross’ed; consequently, subject to almost constant interruptions—To these may be attribut’ed many inaccuracies which, under more favourable circumstances, would not have escaped detection—These, however, it is hoped, will not lessen the importance of the subject, nor diminish the pleasures which the various phenomena2 of Nature are calculated to afford to the contemplative and phylosophic min’d—

Accept, Sir, the homage of unfeign’d respect and esteem from Your Very Obdt Servt

Horace H Hayden

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 19 Jan. 1821 and so recorded in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to John H. Cocke, 12 Mar. 1821, on verso; addressed: “Thos Jefferson Esqr Monticello Va”; franked; postmarked Baltimore, 7 Jan.

Horace H. Hayden (1769–1844), dentist, was born and educated in Windsor, Connecticut. At the age of fourteen he made two trips to the West Indies as a cabin boy on a brig. Two years later Hayden’s father began to teach him carpentry and architecture, and in his early twenties he made two more voyages to the West Indies before working as an architect in Windsor. Having moved to New York City, in 1792 Hayden decided to pursue a career in dentistry, a discipline in which he was largely self-taught. In 1800 he began a dental practice in Baltimore, and a decade later the state of Maryland licensed him as a dentist. During the War of 1812 Hayden served as a sergeant and assistant surgeon in the state militia. He gained respect in Baltimore both as a dentist and more broadly as a medical professional, and he published extensively in medical journals. In addition to dentistry, Hayden studied and published works on geology and botany, and he obtained patents for a tanning oil in 1823 and a dentifrice the following year. Having long advocated a professional dental association, he became the first president of the American Society of Dental Surgeons in 1840. Building on his own experience teaching dental students privately, that same year Hayden helped found the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery (later the University of Maryland School of Dentistry), reputedly the world’s first dental college. He served it both as president and as a professor until his death (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Charles R. E. Koch, ed., History of Dental Surgery [1909], 2:58–65; William M. Marine, The British Invasion of Maryland, 1812–1815 [1913], 317; List of Patents description begins A List of Patents granted by the United States from April 10, 1790, to December 31, 1836, 1872 description ends , 259, 266; Baltimore Sun, 27 Jan. 1844).

Hayden apparently sent separately for TJ’s perusal his Geological Essays; or, An Inquiry into some of the Geological Phenomena to be found in Various Parts of America, and Elsewhere (Baltimore, 1820; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 6 [no. 285]), because TJ acknowledged it on 15 Jan. 1821, before this letter reached him.

1Word interlined.

2Manuscript: “phemomena.”

Index Entries

  • books; on geology search
  • Geological Essays; or, An Inquiry into some of the Geological Phenomena to be found in Various Parts of America, and Elsewhere (H. H. Hayden) search
  • geology; books on search
  • Hayden, Horace H.; Geological Essays; or, An Inquiry into some of the Geological Phenomena to be found in Various Parts of America, and Elsewhere search
  • Hayden, Horace H.; identified search
  • Hayden, Horace H.; letter from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Skinner, John Stuart; as Baltimore postmaster search