Willie Vocalite and The Electrical Circus

This post was written by Tracee Haupt, an intern at the National Museum of American History Library. Tracee is a graduate student in the University of Maryland’s dual-degree master’s program for History and Library Science. At six and a half feet tall and three hundred and fifty pounds, Willie Vocalite was an imposing figure. “The Man Who Isn’t a Man,” as a 1934 booklet uncovered in our Trade Literature Collection described him, more »

‘The whole man at once:’ Scientific identities at the Dibner Library – Maria Gaetana Agnesi

“George Sarton, a founder of the history of science as an academic discipline, argued that scholars should pay close attention to portraits. These images, he said, can give you ‘the whole man at once.’ With a ‘great portrait,’ Sarton believed, ‘you are given immediately some fundamental knowledge of him, which even the longest descriptions and discussions would fail to evoke.’ Sarton’s ideas led Bern Dibner to purchase portrait prints of men and more »

The Comforts of Camping

When we think of summer, many of us think of traveling and vacations. The Trade Literature Collection includes quite a bit of travel related catalogs. As you might expect, there are catalogs advertising luggage and ones showing different modes of travel, like steamships or the railway. There are also catalogs about camping and everything you would need for a vacation in the outdoors.

Saving Endsheets during spine covering repair

Endsheets at the front and back of most hardcover books serve as a protection and an attachment device. The outermost sheet, or pastedown, is typically glued to the interior of the cover board, while the pastedown’s other half, known as the flyleaf, serves as a shield between the board and the first and last leaves of the textblock. Pastedowns may be blank; marbled with a colorful design; or illustrated. If an illustration 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?

‘The Whole Man at Once’: Scientific Identities at the Dibner Library – Antoine-François, comte de Fourcroy

This post was written by Michelle Farias, intern in the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology. For more in this series, see previous posts about Edward Jenner and Joseph Jerome Le Francais de Lalande by Morgan E. Aronson. The five portraits collected by Bern Dibner that feature Antoine-François, comte de Fourcroy, show the chemist in two distinct periods of his life. While the portraits are not dated, two of more »

On Book Puzzles and Hot Air Balloons

While at the Smithsonian Libraries Research Annex (SLRA) during the second week of my Smithsonian Libraries internship, I was asked to select and research texts in SLRA’s collection for the Adopt-a-Book Program. Adopt-a-Book is an opportunity for bibliophiles to “adopt” a book from one of the Smithsonian Libraries’ twenty-one branches, granting them acknowledgement through a virtual bookplate in the SIL online catalog, SIRIS. Potential donors can view the books up for adoption more »

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