Explore Emil Schimpf’s airships on National Aviation Day

Today, August 19th, marks National Aviation Day and we’re celebrating with a lesser-known flying vehicle — the airship. Emil Schimpf’s ballooning manuscript Vorläufige Instruction über Zusammensetzung Gebrauch des Luftschifferparks was recently added to the Smithsonian Transcription Center and is available for crowd-sourced transcription.

A Parisian Souvenir

Before summer ends, it might be nice to take a little mental holiday. How about a tour of Paris, circa 1898? And why not throw in a book of pretty pictures with a built-in mini-mystery?  

“Every one knows what a bird is.” Or do they?

This post was written by intern Becca Greenstein. Becca is currently pursuing her Master’s in Library Science at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.  She has always had a passion for research, teaching/helping others and seeing the direct impact of her work, and collaboration across departments and institutions (and, of course, reading), so library school has been a good fit for her.  After she graduates, she hopes to continue honing these skills while more »

Time Flies in the SILRA Stacks

This post was written by Deborah Bauder, summer intern in the Smithsonian Libraries Research Annex (SILRA). Six weeks at the Smithsonian Libraries goes fast! I arrived here at the beginning of June excited and ready to tackle a project at the Smithsonian Libraries Research Annex (SILRA) under the guidance of Daria Wingreen-Mason. Now in my last week here, I can’t believe how time has flown. I’m a second year graduate student at more »

No Wheat Chex, and other scientific issues of the 1960s

This is the first post in a two-part series. Lawrence N. Huber devoted several pages of his journal lamenting the fact that the Navy vessel he was aboard had run out of Wheat Chex.  This comes from a young man who was out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, banding thousands of often rather uncooperative birds, making observations of any type of fauna he came across in the Pacific Islands, and swimming in more »

Shells and art in Recreatio mentis et oculi

The post was written by Daniel Euphrat, Digital Imaging Technician. The 1684 book Recreatio mentis et oculi by Filippo Buonanni is mainly a scientific text about mollusks. However, in addition to many informative illustrations of shells, there are a few more fanciful (and slightly terrifying) illustrations of Giuseppe Arcimboldo-style faces made out shells:  

Explore “The history of aquatic animals” this summer

As you head to the seashore or lakeside this summer, take a moment to consider the contributions of Ippolito Salviani to natural history. Salviani’s book on aquatic animals, Aquatilium animalium historiae (The history of aquatic animals), is one of a handful of 16th-century works that helped established ichthyology as a modern science. A professor of medicine at the University of Rome and physician to several Popes, Salviani collected fishes in the markets of Rome for more »

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