The Concord Grape and American Wine Making

  Now that the season for harvesting grapes in New England is here, let’s raise a glass to Ephraim Bull, the originator of the all-time popular grape in America, the Concord. Readily associated with juice and jelly and long out of favor in viticulture, Concord grape is having a bit of resurgence with the interest in DIY home brewing and fermenting. If faced with an abundance of the easily grown grape on more »

Rise and Shine: Pop Art Breakfast by Roy Lichtenstein

If life were like a work of art, what would it look like? How would you take the most ordinary daily routine, such as breakfast, and transform it into an artistic masterpiece? While looking through the Art and Artist Files at the Hirshhorn Museum and American Art/Portrait Gallery libraries, I was given a better idea of what it would be like to have breakfast in the boldly graphic world of Roy Lichtenstein, more »

A Visit to the Opera in 1886

At first glance, the front cover of this trade catalog shows an opera chair. But take a closer look and you might see something you didn’t expect to see. A hat appears to be attached to the bottom of the seat. That is just one of several special features built into these chairs.

A Real Life Wonder Woman Adventure

On January 24, 1944, 19 year-old Joye Kelly sat down to take a psychology exam final at the Katharine Gibbs School in New York, NY. As she pondered the test’s questions, she had no idea her answers would forever change her life.

The Fix: Flawless Fills with Paper Pulp

On September 9-11th, Smithsonian Libraries hosted the workshop: “Using Pigment-toned Paper Pulp to Create Flawless Fills for Works of Art on Paper and Archival Material,” instructed by Margo McFarland-Rothschild, who has taught these techniques previously at the Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies and has her own conservation and consulting practice in the Chicago area. At Smithsonian Libraries’ Book Conservation Lab participants prepared and pigmented paper pulp to use in concert with more »

Seeking the Ferns of Southern Mexico: on Oliver Sacks neurologist, bestselling author, and botanist

This post was written by Robin Everly, librarian in the Botany and Horticulture Library, with Spencer Goyette, contractor in the National Museum of Natural History’s Department of Botany. Working in the Botany and Horticulture library, I’m still surprised by the books I come across that I haven’t heard about. So when I came across Oaxaca Journal what caught my eye was the author’s name on the book’s spine- Oliver Sacks. Immediately, I more »

Director’s Message: Looking Forward

This piece was written by Nancy E. Gwinn, Director, Smithsonian Libraries, for our summer 2015 printed newsletter magazine. To obtain a copy of our printed newsletter, email  The Smithsonian Libraries has an updated look, as you may have noticed.  Recently, we simplified our name, dropping the word “Institution” for simplicity’s sake and because people always say “institute” instead.  So we are now Smithsonian Libraries. And we’ve rolled out our new brand, more »

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