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Publication InformationNo. 676 Smithsonian InstitutionWashington, D.C. April 8, 1859

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My Dear Mr. Marsh

The Presidentship of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia is now or will shortly be vacant and I want to know if you will consent to be a candidate for the place. The salary is $2500.00, and the duties by no mean onerous. We have just returned from Philadelphia and just before leaving Dr. Hodge asked me if I knew of any good man for the above place, to which Mary replied "yes, Mr. Marsh." We talked the Matter over and I went round to John Penington and found that he had had the same idea, and had written to Jewett. He showed me a letter on the subject and said he had already spoken to some persons about it. Now if you are willing to have the

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Matter pushed, I think the chances are quite favorable to success. The only candidates I hear of as at all prominent are John F. Frazer of Phila.-- and Rev. Dr. Spencer of New York

Please let me know at once about this.

Penington said that some one had objected to you on the score of your religious beliefs being tinctured with German mysticism, pantheism or something of that kind, to which in reply, I insisted on your being the [...] kind of an old straight up and down congregationalist, who went to church like a good boy when his wifes health would admit. (My own case exactly you know!).

With love to Mrs. M. I am

Ever YoursS. F. BairdGeo P MarshBurlington

You can live in Philadelphia for about one half of New York prices

References in this letter:

James Thatcher Hodge (1816-1871) was a mining engineer employed on the state geological survey of Maryland.

Charles Coffin Jewett (1816-1868), a distinguished librarian from Brown University, was appointed senior assistant secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in 1848. He and Joseph Henry were continually in conflict over the importance of the library within the Institution's mandate and he was fired by the Board in 1855. He later became superintendent of the Boston Public Library.

Professor of chemist and natural philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, John F Frazer (1812-1872) had been a student of Alexander Dallas Bache.

A Congregational minister, Theodore Spencer (1800-1870) wrote on theological subjects.