Thomas Jefferson Papers

Henry R. Schoolcraft to Thomas Jefferson, 5 January 1822

From Henry R. Schoolcraft

Albany January 5th. 1822.

Henry R. Schoolcraft presents his respectful compliments to Thomas Jefferson Esqr., and solicits the honor of his acceptance of the accompanying memoir.

RC (CSmH: JF-BA); dateline at foot of text; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr. Virginia”; endorsed by TJ as received 17 Jan. 1822 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Schoolcraft, A Memoir, on the Geological Position of a Fossil Tree, discovered in the Secondary Rocks of the River Des Plaines. read before the American Geological Society (Albany, 1822).

Henry Rowe Schoolcraft (1793–1864), geologist, Indian agent, and ethnologist, was born near Albany, New York, and attended school in Hamilton. He moved with his family in 1808 to Vernon, Oneida County, New York, and managed glassworks in New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont until 1817. Schoolcraft spent the next two years in Missouri and Arkansas studying mining operations, giving his observations in A View of the Lead Mines of Missouri (New York, 1819). After accompanying an expedition through the upper Great Lakes as mineralogist, he wrote a Narrative Journal of Travels, through the northwestern regions of the United States (Albany, 1821). Schoolcraft was appointed Indian agent at Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, in 1822 and began collecting ethnographic information on the Ojibwa language and oral literature, which he eventually published in his two-volume Algic Researches (1839). He sat on the Michigan territorial council for four sessions, 1828–31. Schoolcraft led an expedition to the headwaters of the Mississippi River in 1832. Appointed Indian agent at Mackinac in 1835, the following year he also became the superintendent of Indian affairs in Michigan. Schoolcraft was removed for partisan political activity in 1841, at a time when he was already under investigation for misappropriation of funds. He moved in 1842 to New York City, where he lectured and published Notes on the Iroquois (1847). From 1847 until 1857 Schoolcraft again worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and produced a six-volume work entitled Historical and Statistical Information respecting the History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States (1851–57). He died in Washington, D.C. (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, repr. 1968, 20 vols. in 10 description ends ; Richard G. Bremer, Indian Agent and Wilderness Scholar: The Life of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft [1987]; DLC: Schoolcraft Papers; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 3:307, 310, 4:459, 477 [7, 8 May 1822, 15 Jan., 26 Feb. 1835]; Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter and John Porter Bloom, eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States, 1934–75, 28 vols. description ends , vols. 11–2; Schoolcraft, Narrative of an Expedition through the Upper Mississippi to Itasca Lake, the actual source of this river [1834]; Washington Daily National Republican, 12 Dec. 1864; gravestone inscription in Congressional Cemetery, Washington).

On this day Schoolcraft also sent his memoir to John Adams and James Madison (MHi: Adams Papers; Madison, Papers, Retirement Ser., 2:455).

Index Entries

  • Adams, John; works sent to search
  • A Memoir, on the Geological Position of a Fossil Tree, discovered in the Secondary Rocks of the River Des Plaines (H. R. Schoolcraft) search
  • books; on geology search
  • fossils; study of search
  • geology; books on search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); works sent to search
  • Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe; A Memoir, on the Geological Position of a Fossil Tree, discovered in the Secondary Rocks of the River Des Plaines search
  • Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe; identified search
  • Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe; letter from search