Leslie K. Overstreet came to the Libraries in 1980. After eight years in the anthropology and zoology libraries in the National Museum of Natural History she moved to the Special Collections Department, where she served as the Reference Librarian from 1990 to 1997 in the Dibner Library for the History of Science & Technology. In October 1997, she was named Curator of Natural History Rare Books and now heads the Libraries’ new rare-book room, the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History.
For the opening of the Cullman Library in 2003 she curated a small exhibition, Wonder Bound, in the National Museum of Natural History on early natural-history cabinets of curiosities. Her primary research interest is the 18th-century naturalist Mark Catesby; she served as a consultant to, and appears in, the film The Curious Mr. Catesby, broadcast on PBS stations in 2009, and is preparing for publication a census and bibliographic study of the first edition of his The Natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands. In addition, she has written numerous essays accompanying the Libraries' digital editions, has co-authored two articles in the archives of natural history, and has given talks and published articles on the personal library of James Smithson. She also wrote the text for the book Botanicals: Butterflies and insects, published in 2008 by Assouline.
Overstreet holds a B.A. (1971) in English literature from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and a M.L.S. degree (1988) in rare-books librarianship from the University of Maryland.—Liz O'Brien