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Alexander Dallas Bache Letters

An inventory of his letters at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: KM
Date: Apr 1989

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]

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.


Access Restrictions:

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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.

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




Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

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

Table of Contents


Selected index to correspondence


Selected index to correspondence