Lighting the way with political torches

Halloween is just around the corner, and many libraries & archives are scouring their collection for fitting images for #PageFrights. I found this patent drawing for a Jack-a-Lantern torch in the 1966 Bulletin of the United States National Museum, no. 241 (Contributions from the Museum of History and Technology, papers 45-51 on History) and thought it was more than appropriate. It’s from the first paper, “Political Campaign Torches” by Herbert R. Collins: There are more »

Toriyama Sekien’s Spooky Parade

This post was contributed by Matt Alt. Matt is the co-founder of AltJapan Co., Ltd., a Tokyo-based localization company that specializes in producing the English versions of Japanese games, manga, and other entertainment. Together with Hiroko Yoda he is the co-author of Yokai Attack! The Japanese Monster Survival Guide, and the upcoming Japandemonium Illustrated: The Yokai Encyclopedias of Toriyama Sekien which features images from the Smithsonian Libraries volumes of Toriyma Sekien’s works. 

Eerie October happenings with Smithsonian Libraries

The month of October brings lots of some spooky good times for Smithsonian Libraries. Pumpkin carving patterns, the science of Frankenstein, a behind-the-scenes tour of rare anatomy books, and more!

Education Intern finds opportunity to See and Wonder

This post was written by Rachel Fletcher, education intern during the summer of 2016. During my six-week internship at the Smithsonian Libraries, I attained a deeper understanding of librarianship and a greater appreciation for the Smithsonian Institution. I am a special education teacher working in northern Virginia. I completed my undergraduate degrees in Special Education and Elementary Education in 2011, and, just this past summer, I obtained my Library & Information Sciences more »

Celebrating African American History and Culture

In celebration of the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture this weekend, we’ve put together a special digital collection of titles related to the African American experience.  Many of these books come from our National Museum of African American History and Culture Library, which will open in the museum later this year.  Below are a few highlights from the collection. To see the entire collection, visit Celebrating more »

Sleeping on Air: A 19th Century Air Mattress

Would it surprise you to know that air mattresses existed in the nineteenth century? That thought never occurred to me until I came across this trade catalog from 1896 advertising the “Perfection” Air Mattress.

Celebrate the Potato

September is National Potato Month. Almost all the potatoes grown in the United States are planted in the spring and gathered in the fall. It is the time of year that schools in northern Maine have “harvest break” when students work to dig and sort the season’s spud crop soon after summer vacation. Maine’s custom is one small part of the very long and interwoven agricultural, economic, social, culinary, medical, and ritual more »

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