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Alexander Dallas Bache Letters

An inventory of his letters at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Bache, A. D.(Alexander Dallas), 1806-1867.
Title: Alexander Dallas Bache Letters
Inclusive Dates: 1848-1860
Quantity: 1 folder (SC)
Abstract: Papers of the American physicist, Superintendent of the United States Coast Survey, 1843-1867. Grandson of Benjamin Franklin. Eight outgoing letters, including five to explorer and physicist I.I. Hayes; with one each to explorer Charles Wilkes and politician Millard Fillmore.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Alexander Dallas Bache was born in Philadelphia on July 19, 1806 to Richard Bache Jr. and Sara Bache, and was a great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1825 and then remained there as assistant professor for some time. As a lieutenant in the corps of engineers he was engaged for a short time in the erection of coastal fortifications.

He taught natural philosophy and chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania (1828-1841 and 1842-1843) and from 1839 to 1842 served as the first president of Central High School of Philadelphia, the second oldest public high school in the United States. From 1836 to 1838 he travelled Europe on behalf of the trustees of what later became Girard College; during this time he also studied European systems of education and on his return to the United States published his conclusions in a report. In 1843 he was appointed superintendent of the United States Coast Survey and in this capacity carried out a comprehensive survey, mapping out the entire coast and amassing a vast collection of magnetic and meteorological data. He held this post until his death in Newport, Rhode Island on February 17, 1867.

[Portions of this biographical sketch adapted from "Alexander Dallas Bache," Wikipedia article, retrieved 6 Apr 2007]

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Alexander Dallas Bache Letters consist of eight items of outgoing correspondence written between 1848 and 1860 while he was superintendent of the United States Coast Survey. His correspondents included politician Millard Fillmore, physicist and explorer I.I. Hayes, and explorer Charles Wilkes.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Bache, A. D. (Alexander Dallas), 1806-1867.
Fillmore, Millard, 1800-1874.
Hayes, I. I. (Isaac Israel), 1832-1881.
Wilkes, Charles, 1798-1877.


Physicists, United States.
Scientists, Correspondence.

Genres and Forms




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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Bache A D Letters
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: KM
Date: Apr 1989
Revision history: 6 Apr 2007 - converted to EAD (MRC)

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SC 91 1848-1853 (4 items)
SC 91 1858-1860 (3 items)
SC 91 undated (3 items)

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Selected index to correspondence

  • Bond, William & Son : 22 Jan 1850
  • Fillmore, Millard : 15 Sep 1858
  • Hayes, Isaac Israel : 4 Dec 1851; 12 Sep 1853; 30 Nov 1858; 12 Jun 1860; undated
  • Wilkes, Charles : 14 Mar 1848

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