The Anniversary of Museum Cats Day – Cats in Art!

-+*Almost a year ago, the Libraries celebrated “Museum Cat Day”, a social media celebration of cat-related objects in museums which was organized by  Culture Themes.  To see the Libraries’ contributions to Museum Cat Day, check out our Storify account of the action.  On the anniversary of such a fun social media event, we take a look at more cats in art!  This post was contributed by Ria Witteman, intern at the American more »

Staying cool for a 19th Century picnic

-+*Today, many of us are probably familiar with insulated bags that help keep food cold, or even warm, until you get to your destination. But did you know there was a picnic basket in the nineteenth century that did something similar?

Increasing accessibility with the “MARC cocktail”

-+*This post was written by Lesley Parilla, database manager and cataloger for the Field Book Project. What is a library to do when it has fabulous materials to share with users, but making library records for each item requires significantly more time than a typical collection? This was the challenge of the Russell E. Train Africana collection. It contained materials with both broad public appeal and significant historical value, however content and more »

“For the Increase and Diffusion of Knowledge:” from 18th-Century France to the Libraries’ Collections

-+*James Smithson, whose bequest led to the establishment in the mid-19th century of the American institution that now bears his name, famously stated in his will that funds should be used for the “increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.” This seemingly vague request is rooted in Enlightenment philosophy, the desire to create order and understanding in the world. As Heather Ewing wrote in The lost world of James Smithson, he was more »

Bloch’s Allgemeine Naturgeschichte der Fische

-+*For many Americans, mid-summer is best spent by the shore; beaches and lakes are traditionally packed this time of year. And if you’re lucky, that little time by the water will involve a glimpse at some aquatic life — a sand crab, a sea star, perhaps a fish or two. If your summer sightings have inspired an interest in fish (or perhaps you want to save yourself the sunscreen and view some more »

Vintage Fireworks for the Fourth

-+*This post was written by Adrian Vaagenes, intern in the National Museum of American History Library. The 4th of July is upon us, and for many of us this means, to borrow a quote from The Simpsons, it’s “time to celebrate the independence of our nation by blowing up a small part of it”. Just as we enjoy lighting roman candles, sparklers, cherry bombs, and m-80’s, these pieces of trade literature in more »

Celebrate America with Gibson’s “Americans”

-+*Charles Gibson (1867-1944) is one of the best known illustrators of the Gilded Age primarily due to his creation, the Gibson Girl, who became an icon of American beauty. As an illustrator he was talented in depicting relationships between men and women and submitted illustrations to such magazines as Harper’s Weekly, Life, and Harper’s Monthly. In 1890 he introduced a modernized beautiful female character with upswept hair, fashionable clothes, and imbued with more »

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