Beer on Board in the Age of Sail

Brewing and seafaring are mainstays of ancient human endeavors. Beer was first fermented by at least the 5th millennium BC in Mesopotamia. From the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers of the Fertile Crescent, the grain beverage either traveled along trade routes or was spontaneously developed in other ancient civilizations (including Egyptian, Grecian, Roman, Norse, Aztec, Chinese) before landing in northern Europe in the early medieval period. Producing beer became a more »

Cooling Off at a Soda Fountain from 1920

As the weather gets hot, let’s look at a catalog to encourage thoughts of something a bit cooler in temperature. Perhaps a trade catalog related to soda fountains?

Cultivating America’s Gardens: Upcoming Events

Mark your calendars! In conjunction with Smithsonian Gardens, Smithsonian Libraries is pleased to present the first two events in our Cultivating America’s Gardens programming. Explore and celebrate the history of American gardening with us!

Cooling Food with Early Refrigeration

Refrigerators are part of everyday life, but we probably don’t think much about them except when we’re hungry. But without them, we wouldn’t be able to keep our food fresh or our beverages cold. The Trade Literature Collection includes a number of refrigeration related catalogs which can give us an idea of how refrigeration has changed over the years.

The Wondrous Winter Wonderland that was 16th-Century Sweden

An entry into this magical season can be gained through the Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus (History of the Northern Peoples) by Olaus Magnus, first published in Rome in 1555. It is a work greatly valued by Smithsonian curators and researchers and other scholars, since the author – a true Renaissance man – wrote down his geographical, anthropological and naturalistic observations of a land unknown to much of Europe of the time. In more »

Setting the Table

The big Thanksgiving meal is fast approaching and for many that means a well-dressed table, perhaps with heirloom china. What would your dinner table have looked like for a nice meal or tea over a hundred years ago, maybe back when Great-great Aunt Agnes first started filling her china cabinet? The Trade Literature Collection includes catalogs illustrating dinnerware, glassware, cutlery, and cooking utensils which can give us a glimpse into the past. more »

Cooking up some fun with Adopt-a-Book

On Wednesday, November 16th, the Smithsonian Libraries will once again hold its annual Adopt-a-Book Evening and you’re invited! Join us for food and merriment, all while supporting the Libraries’ collections. Visit the event page for additional details and to purchase your tickets. Can’t make it to DC next week or just want a preview of the evening’s menu of books? Enjoy this “appetizer”, a mere sample of the 80+ items that will more »

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