Filed away: Office equipment of the late 19th century

Today, in the 21st Century, it is commonplace to find a computer on a desk in an office. In the late 19th Century, workers did not have the convenience of our modern office equipment. So how did they file papers, write documents, or make copies of documents?

Jihad in 19th Century Sudan, Part III

Egypt, Sudan, and Jihad are much in the news today. What follows is a brief overview of some of the history behind the news. We began with “Part I: The Mahdi’s world: Social and Political Conditions”.  followed by Part II:  The Mahdi’s World: Slavery, Bedrock of Sudan’s Economy.  This is the third and final installment. This blog series was written by Judith Schaefer, volunteer in the Warren M. Robbins Library, National Museum more »

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.

Choosing Passion Over Expectations: Matilda Betham and her Fight for Women’s Rights

This post was written by Brittney Falter, a graduate student at George Mason University and social media intern at the Smithsonian Libraries. Matilda Betham was born in 1776 and raised in Suffolk, England. She learned portrait painting as a means to support herself and moved to London when her family faced financial troubles. Betham showed her art work at the Royal Academy and painted portraits of poets like George Dyer and Robert more »

Jihad in 19th Century Sudan, Part II

Egypt, Sudan, and Jihad are much in the news today. What follows is a brief overview of some of the history behind the news. We began with “Part I: The Mahdi’s world: Social and Political Conditions”. This installment, Part II, will be followed by “Part III: The Mahdi:  The Rise and Fall of the Mahdist State”. This blog series was written by Judith Schaefer, volunteer in the Warren M. Robbins Library, National more »

The Fix: Pest Damage

A book, The Flying Spy,  from the National Air and Space Museum Library came to the Book Conservation Lab with a unique, though not exactly rare, problem: Pest Damage.   As book lovers and good library patrons, we all know the importance of the proper handling of books. For example, we know to store them properly (up off the floor, away from damp conditions), handle them gently, and to not eat nor more »

A Concealed Reality: Léopold Sédar Senghor’s years in captivity

 The blog post was written by Xavier Courouble for the Warren M. Robbins Library, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Léopold Sédar Senghor’s release from World War II internment camps.   A Concealed Reality: Léopold Sédar Senghor’s years in captivity “Il faut longtemps, très longtemps, pour que resurgisse à la lumière ce qui a été effacé”[1] –Patrick Modiano, in Dora Bruder, 1997 In more »

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