“Vengeance in his aspect”: When a Whale Hunted a Ship

This post was written by Julia Blakely, special collections  cataloger. It previously appeared on the Smithsonian Collections Blog. The trailer for the big Hollywood movie of Nathaniel Philbrick’s book In the Heart of the Sea: the Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex (G530.E76 2000X NMAH) is out and it is terrifying. The true saga of the Essex inspired aspects of Moby Dick, or the title as it originally was published, The Whale, thirty more »

Both a Calendar and a Clock

With the New Year fast approaching, we took a look at the Trade Literature Collection to locate catalogs advertising clocks or calendars. As you might guess, there are quite a few catalogs about clocks. But some of these companies didn’t just sell clocks. They sold calendar clocks. One of these companies is the Ithaca Calendar Clock Co.

Brilliant Watercolors Light Up the Dibner Library

This post is submitted by Lilla Vekerdy, Head, Special Collections. The Dibner Library of the History of the Science and Technology has acquired a nineteenth-century manuscript with artistically and scientifically outstanding watercolor illustrations.

Discover and Connect but Don’t Steal this Book!

This post was written by Julia Blakely, Special Collections cataloger. It first appeared on the Smithsonian Collections blog here. Discovering an interesting mark of a former owner in a volume is one of the many great things about working with rare books. A signature of a famous person, a fun drawing, a gift presentation, marginal annotations revealing a reader’s thoughts, a memento laid-in, are not uncommon to come upon. Such additions after more »

Alchemy on the Cutting Edge: Theoretical Innovations and the Pursuit of Transmutation

Join us on Thursday, December 11, 2014 for a free lecture featuring Lawrence M. Principe, Drew Professor of the Humanities, Department of the History of Science and Technology, John Hopkins University.

Adopt a book this Black Friday!

Black Friday is upon us! The day American retailers look forward to all year long, expecting a surge in purchases as customers prepare for holiday gift-giving. But if you’re not interested in braving the crowded shopping malls (in fact, we hope you’re reading this in a comfy chair with a plate of leftovers!), consider gifting your loved ones with something you can purchase from home and that benefits generations to come. Take more »

A.W. Quilter journal added to Transcription Center

The travel journals of A.W. Quilter document his adventures in East Africa between 1909-1911, while on safari and engaging in big game hunting. These fascinating tales are now available in the Transcription Center for volunteers to read and review. While a great deal is still unknown about Quilter, for instance was he British or not, what is known from his journal was that he was a major in the military and embarked more »

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