Nineteenth Century Book Folders

We use books every day. But how is a book actually created? How are the pages folded? How are they cut? For a glimpse into making books in the late nineteenth century, take a look at this 1891-92 Dexter Folder Co. trade catalog titled Dexter Book Folding Machines.

“Fantastic Worlds” shirts available through TFund

In July 2015, the Smithsonian Libraries will debut an exciting new exhibit in our Exhibition Gallery in the National Museum of American History. “Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction, 1780-1910″ will explore the relationship between emerging scientific theories and fiction writers of the period. Although the “Fantastic Worlds” is many months away, we’ve recently launched a t-shirt campaign through TFund so that you can own an awesome piece of imagery from the exhibit more »

Wine and Washington

Now that the time of harvesting grapes for wine in the Northern Hemisphere is coming to a close, let’s raise an appreciative glass and toast John Adlum, known to a few as the “Father of American Viticulture.” The history of wine making in the United States is involved, to say the least (see Pinney’s magisterial work on the subject*) but it was Adlum who nurtured the first commercially viable vine in this more »

Visitors from Paradise: The Paradiseidae

This post was written by Grace Costantino, Outreach and Communication Manager for the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). It first appeared on the BHL blog here. Deep within the rainforest canopy of the Aru Islands, just west of New Guinea, two male Greater Birds-of-Paradise dance among the branches in carefully coordinated steps, their magnificent yellow, white, and maroon plumage undulating gracefully to the rhythm of their own unique song.

Mary in Miniature

This post was written by Lauren Eames. Lauren  was an intern with the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library, Summer 2014.  She is working on her B.A. in Religious Studies at the University of Chicago. NEW YORK, 1982 – “Recent gifts to the museum library include a 15th-century illuminated prayer book from Northern Europe, featuring five full-page illuminations, historiated and floriated initials, and elaborate border fantasies; it is the gift of Joseph Farber more »

The Fix – Atlas Science Tablet

It’s that back to school time of year with backpacks filled with new school supplies.  If you were a student in the 1890s you may have had a new “Atlas Science Tablet” in your school bag. This particular tablet was for botany with 28 pages for notes. However, the notes in this  tablet pertain to mathematics with entry titles such as “The Geometric Representation of Numbers.”     The tablet came to the book conservation more »

It’s Back to School in 1872

The new school year has begun. So we decided to search the Trade Literature Collection for catalogs showing school furniture or supplies. And we came across this Robert Paton catalog which shows the furniture students in 1872 might have seen on their first day of school.

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