Eyeglasses and Spectacles of the Past

April 14, 2014

Many of us who wear glasses everyday will probably find ourselves relating to these two sentences. “But take the subject all in all, and consider it in all its phases, it cannot be denied that the invention of spectacles was one of the most useful to the human family.” “Many a man and woman to-day in all quarters of the known world owes the pleasure of existence to the use of scientifically more »

Potawatomi Vocabulary Manuscript Added to Transcription Center

March 25, 2014

J.N. Bourassa’s A Vocabulary of the Po-da-wahd-mih Language is the latest addition from the Libraries to the Smithsonian Transcription Center. The Vocabulary was transcribed around 1890 from the original, which dates to 1843. The Potawatomi have traditionally inhabited the Upper Mississippi River region as well as Indiana and Kansas, and are making efforts to promote the use of their native language, a sub-group of the Algonquian language family.

Women’s History Month: An American in Paris, Thérèse Bonney

March 21, 2014

Born in upstate New York, Thérèse Bonney(1897-1978), was a photojournalist whose work reflected a wide variety of interests and subjects. She studied at the University of California at Berkeley and Radcliffe College in the 1910s. Bonney immigrated to France in 1919 where she became one of the first ten women to graduate from the Sorbonne and founded the first American illustrated press service in Europe, the Bonney Service, in 1924. 

A European Tour on Bicycle

March 20, 2014

While browsing the Collections Search Center for an interesting trade catalog to highlight on the Blog, I came across this one from 1894. The only illustration in the entire catalog is on the front cover but that’s not what caught my eye. Instead, it was two words in the first paragraph: “photographic souvenirs.”

Charming illustrations to cheer your spring

March 18, 2014

March 17th is widely celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day but it also happens to be the birthday of notable childrens’ book illustrator Kate Greenaway. Born in London in 1846, she studied art at various schools, such as the Heatherley School of Fine Art, and began her career in watercolors and cards.  She was a contemporary or Walter Crane and Randolph Caldecott and good friend to Victorian art critic John Ruskin.

Dressing the Interior: Philip Schwarz’s Novelties

March 7, 2014

This post was written by Mae Colburn,  a graduate student in the History of Decorative Arts and Design program at Parsons the New School for Design. Her focus is textiles. This post first appeared on the Cooper -Hewitt, National Design Museum’s Object of the Day blog. Novelties in Laces for Furniture and Decoration is a set of one hundred and fifty color lithographic prints depicting over one hundred and ninety unique tassel more »

Behind the Scenes on the Smithsonian-Gale Project

March 3, 2014

Last year, the Smithsonian began a partnership with Gale, part of Cengage Learning, to digitize content, package it, and make it available through libraries around the world. Gale debuted the first of these products with digital versions of the Smithsonian magazine and Air & Space magazine’s archive. The Smithsonian Libraries is excited to be a part of the second group of products, Smithsonian Collections Online: World’s Fairs & Expositions: Visions Of Tomorrow more »

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