12 Days of Smithsonian Libraries Collections

Just in time for the holidays, we’ve scoured our collections to find you some appropriate imagery to go along with that beloved carol, “The 12 Days of Christmas”.   This post was written and compiled by Mario Rups, cataloger in our Resource Description unit. We hope you enjoy the delightful selection!

Crepe Paper Creations

With just a few days left until Christmas, everyone is rushing around trying to accomplish last minute things, like finding the perfect gift. The Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library includes several Dennison Mfg. Co. catalogs which give ideas for homemade party decorations and even handmade gifts.

Tired of Poinsettias? Bah, Humbug!

  Our friends at The Biodiversity Heritage Library asked this question in social media last year and offered up vibrant, joyful portraits of the amaryllis instead. But one commentator declared “Poinsettias rule!” And indeed poinsettias do reign as an economic powerhouse of the nursery industry, cultivated all over the world. The public areas of the various Smithsonian museums and the neighboring Botanic Gardens on the Mall in Washington now have abundant, seasonal more »

The brief and entertaining history of the Second Army Air Service

The Second Army Air Service was a unit of the United States Army  stationed on the Western Front during World War I. The Second Army Air Service Book, from the collections of the National Air and Space Museum Library, offers a purposely light-hearted account of the unit’s brief history. The group’s arrival in France came a mere month before an armistice was signed ending the war on November 11th, 1918.  

A notable autograph for National Aviation Day

In honor of National Aviation Day, Smithsonian Libraries (SIL) turns to a piece of history found in the Ramsey Room. Established by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1939, National Aviation Day is celebrated every year on August 19th, which is also the birthday of Orville Wright.

Charting the Chesapeake from a Civil War Map

Familiar with its waters, I was delighted when an early chart of the Chesapeake Bay, entitled Map of part of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware of 1861, appeared in my cataloging queue. But then who doesn’t like looking at old maps? Getting absorbed in what is fanciful, long-gone or merely changed, and finding remnants of the well-known from a long association with the landscape. And reading any map on paper doesn’t happen every more »

Vintage Fireworks for the Fourth

This post was written by Adrian Vaagenes, intern in the National Museum of American History Library. The 4th of July is upon us, and for many of us this means, to borrow a quote from The Simpsons, it’s “time to celebrate the independence of our nation by blowing up a small part of it”. Just as we enjoy lighting roman candles, sparklers, cherry bombs, and m-80’s, these pieces of trade literature in more »

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