Swahili Coast: Exploration by French Captain Charles Guillain, 1846-1848

This post, one of three, was written by Xavier Courouble, volunteer at the National Museum of African Art. Part 1, Re-building an Empire and Emancipating Slaves Recovering from loss of empire following Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815, the French sought to re-establish commerce and colonies in the Indian Ocean.  The task fell to Charles Guillain, who led a French expedition to the Swahili coast of Eastern Africa in 1846-1848.  Our record more »

Cooking the Majestic Way

Thanksgiving is almost here. That means getting together with family and friends and, of course, lots of great food. Here is a catalog from the Trade Literature Collection that might get you in the cooking or baking mood. Or maybe the recipes will just make you hungry.

Lepidochromy: Butterfly Transfer Prints

In honor of Halloween and the very last day of Archives Month, we present you with this creepy cool look at an unusual printing example in our collection, one that uses the wings of real butterflies. This post was written by Daria Wingreen-Mason, Special Collections Technical Information Specialist in the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History.

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.

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