Celebrate the Rhubarb

-+*Rhubarb, that harbinger of spring for many, is honored in the United States on January 23rd with National Rhubarb Day. Having let National Rhubarb Vodka Day (first Saturday in December) pass without note, I wanted to bake a pie in preparation. Thanks to the generosity of a neighbor and his bountiful garden last spring and summer, I had plenty set by. Rhubarb does freeze well. Inspired by the scholars transcribing, as well more »

Amaryllis for Christmas

-+*All I want for Christmas (really) is an amaryllis in full bloom. It is lovely to see poinsettias, beautiful products of the Smithsonian Gardens Greenhouse in Suitland, Maryland, placed about the museums, but there is something special about the amaryllis as a seasonal plant. Poinsettias have become too traditional, too expected, too (well) durable.

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 »

Surf’s Up in Rare Books

-+*While cataloging Polynesian Researches during a Residence of Nearly Eight Years in the Society and Sandwich Islands (London: 1831-1833; DU510 .E47 1831 SCNHRB), a transfer from the Department of State’s library to the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History, I was intrigued by the title page vignette in the fourth volume of the set. Depicted in this little engraved scene is a group of surfers riding a break on narrow more »

Polly Khater Named Assistant Director for Discovery Services

-+*The Smithsonian Libraries announces Polly Khater as the Assistant Director for Discovery Services. Khater has served as Discovery Services Manager since 2011, and was the Serials Cataloging Coordinator from 2008 to 2011. In her new position, Khater will direct and coordinate the efforts of the Discovery Services Division. She will provide oversight and support for resource acquisitions and work with her staff to provide access to the Libraries’ rich and unique collections more »

OneSearch – The Digital Front Door to Our Libraries

-+*Not to brag, but we’ve got a pretty cool new research tool to show off:  OneSearch.

Philatelic literature at the National Postal Museum Library

-+*This post was contributed by Michael O’Connor, contract cataloger. Directly across the street from DC’s Union Station is the spectacular 1914 neoclassical structure that houses the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum (NPM).  Since July of 2013 I have worked as a project cataloger on NPM Library’s Small Journals Project, an effort to catalog thousands of rare periodicals from the 1800s to the present.

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