And a Book is Made…in 1892

It’s easy to take a book for granted and not think about the machines and time it took to make the book, especially in the nineteenth century. The Trade Literature Collection includes catalogs for bookbinding and printing machinery. Some of those machines are shown in this 1892 Montague & Fuller trade catalog.

Harrison Dyar: Personal meets Professional

From May 13-20th, the Smithsonian Libraries is participating in the #DigIntoDyar campaign – encouraging the public to transcribe the field books of this remarkable entomologist in the Smithsonian Transcription Center and to learn more about his life and work. This post was written by Marc Epstein, Research Associate at the National Museum of Natural History and author of Moths, Myths and Mosquitos:The Eccentric Life of Harrison G. Dyar, Jr.. You can read more »

Salad Days (and Months) in Rare Books

My salad days, when I was green in judgement This common, if well-worn, phrase first appeared in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra of 1606. At the end of Act One of the play, recalling a youthful affair with Julius Caesar, Cleopatra refers to a time of innocence, silliness or indiscretions. Since May is National Salad Month, let us celebrate the greens by looking at the work of another Englishman, John Evelyn (1620-1706). His more »

Ramayana of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha

This post was written by Leila Prasertwaitaya, a library specialist working at Virginia Commonwealth University. Hidden amongst the Freer | Sackler Library’s much larger collections on East Asian, South Asian and Islamic art is a small gem-like group of books on Thai art and architecture.  Many of these books are in Thai, but with their magical illustrations of Dvarapala (guardians), gold-painted, bell-shaped chedi, five-headed stone nagas, a 70 cm. tall bronze Buddha more »

American Art and Portrait Gallery Library Celebrates their Volunteers and the Allentown Art Museum Vertical File Donation

April is volunteer appreciation month and the American Art and Portrait Gallery (AAPG) Library would like to take the opportunity to highlight both the completion of a project as well as the volunteers that made it happen. The Allentown Art Museum donated their collection of artist vertical files to the AAPG Library in early November 2014 that consisted of ephemeral materials related to nearly 4,600 artists. The AAPG library was especially interested more »

When New England was New

This post was first featured on the Biodiversity Heritage Library blog.     It is a small book, palm-size, with pages of less-than-fine paper, the well-worn letters of the type sometimes carelessly inked. The sparse woodcut illustrations are child-like in their simplicity and straight-forwardness. Yet John Josselyn’s New-Englands rarities discovered, printed in London in 1672, drew me in as I went about cataloging the work. Intrigued by the title and the early more »

The Fix – Manuscript Conservation

The conservation of manuscript pages can be very tricky. In the case of the McAuley Diary, from our Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology, there were many issues. The manuscript consisted of multiple sized unbound sections housed together in a leather cover that was far too small for its contents. The pages were nearly all crumpled and torn and many pages had areas of loss. In this condition the text was more »

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