Two Dibner Library Manuscripts Published

The proceedings of the symposium we held to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Dibner Library have now been published. Called The Era of Experiments and the Age of Wonder: Scientific Expansion from the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Centuries, it features the keynote address of Richard Holmes, a well-known British biographer. We have also published Engineering Romance in Late 19th Century Literature by Rosalind Williams, Bern Dibner Professor of the History of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Jules Verne (1828-1905) and Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) were well-known writers of romance in the late l9th century. They were also fascinated by engineering, both as well-informed observers and as lay engineers. This manuscript describes this convergence of engineering and romance in their lives and times and reflects upon its implications for our own lives and times. To request a published copy of our Dibner manuscripts, call 202.633.1522. Save

Monique Libby Receives ARL Scholarship

Monique Libby, digital library technician, has been selected by the Association of Research Libraries Committee on Diversity and Leadership as a scholar in the Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce. She is one of only 18 candidates chosen, and will complete her Master of Library Science at the University of Maryland, College Park. Monique also received a 2016-2017 Spectrum Scholarship from the American Library Association’s Office of Diversity. Congrats, Monique! Save Save Save

Moving Pictures: Renaissance Painter-Engineers

This post was written by Noa Turel, Ph.D./Assistant Professor, Department of Art & Art History, University of Alabama at Birmingham and Dibner Library Fellow, January-March 2016. Applications are currently open for 2017 fellowship opportunities. My three-month winter residency at the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology was tremendously helpful in shaping and grounding my book project Ingenious Secrets: Painting and Research in Fifteenth-Century Courts. Coming in, I had three bibliographies more »

Secretary Skorton Adopts Books!

Last February we welcomed Smithsonian Secretary David J. Skorton to the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library in the National Museum of Natural History. On behalf of his wife Dr. Robin Davisson and himself, the Secretary was on a mission to select books for conservation as part of the Libraries’ Adopt-a-Book Program. Lilla Vekerdy, head of special collections, and Leslie Overstreet, curator of natural history rare books, displayed special treasures dating back to the more »

“The Curious Mr. Catesby” Receives 2016 Annual Literature Award

Congratulations to Leslie Overstreet! The Catesby Commemorative Trust’s The Curious Mr. Catesby: A “Truly Ingenious” Naturalist Explores New Worlds book has been awarded the 2016 Annual Literature Award by the Council of Botanical and Horticultural Libraries. Leslie, Curator of Natural-History Rare Books in the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History, authored the chapter titled “The Publication of Mark Catesby’s The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands.”

Passenger Pigeon Lands a Permanent Perch

The Smithsonian Libraries and Smithsonian Gardens presented The Lost Bird Project exhibition from March 2014 – May 2015. Housed in the Smithsonian’s gardens, it featured large-scale bronze sculpture memorials of five extinct North American birds: the Carolina parakeet, the Labrador duck, the passenger pigeon, the great auk, and the heath hen. The Lost Bird Project dedicated one bird, the passenger pigeon, to remain permanently with the Smithsonian – in front of the more »

Burpee Foundation: Cultivating America’s Gardens

For as long as he can remember, George Ball, Chairman and CEO of W. Atlee Burpee and Chairman of the Board of the Burpee Foundation, has been gardening. As a young boy, his grandmother would send him to the yard to weed, watching him from her rocking chair on the porch. As George recalls, at the beginning of one spring, tulips popped up and he was enraptured by their beauty – he’d never seen anything like them. Curious, he put his nose into a tulip; he was so small that the flower engulfed his entire face. George remembers feeling absorbed by the wonder of the tulip; it was like a little world, with the petals enveloping his cheeks and an ant crawling around inside. A fascination, love, and reverence for flowers was born, as the tulip encounter tickled his senses of sight, smell, and touch. George was hooked, and gardening eventually became his lifelong work and passion.

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