A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down

This is the second post in a two-part series. Catch up on the first part here.  Allegra Tennis interned with the Field Book Project and Metadata Services over the summer to investigate Smithsonian research related to countries with populations of under a million. I came to the field of librarianship from a scientific background.  The processes, details, and discoveries to be made have always held a magical quality for me.  As I more »

The Fix: Spine Covering Repair

Older hardcover books within the Smithsonian Libraries’ circulating collections often contain unique information which serve staff and patrons over the course of many years.  With age and use, these items sometimes begin to break along the hinges. The book cloth becomes frayed, torn, or cracked and the spine piece may separate completely from the boards. This damage necessitates a repair which will conserve and recreate the original binding structure as much as more »

No Wheat Chex, and other scientific issues of the 1960s

This is the first post in a two-part series. Lawrence N. Huber devoted several pages of his journal lamenting the fact that the Navy vessel he was aboard had run out of Wheat Chex.  This comes from a young man who was out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, banding thousands of often rather uncooperative birds, making observations of any type of fauna he came across in the Pacific Islands, and swimming in more »

Shells and art in Recreatio mentis et oculi

The post was written by Daniel Euphrat, Digital Imaging Technician. The 1684 book Recreatio mentis et oculi by Filippo Buonanni is mainly a scientific text about mollusks. However, in addition to many informative illustrations of shells, there are a few more fanciful (and slightly terrifying) illustrations of Giuseppe Arcimboldo-style faces made out shells:  

Fold-Outs: Unfolding and Unfolding…

As stated in the Fix’s previous post, “Fixing a Fold-Out Plate” fold-outs are commonly used to feature important illustrations and diagrams in books.  Unfortunately, they are also common sights in book conservation labs, as they are frequently damaged in the process of folding and unfolding  into and out of the book.     Recently a book with a uniquely large (and damaged) fold-out illustration that was in the process of being digitally more »

Bond, James Bond: the Birds, the Books, the Bond

It is well-known that author Ian Fleming appropriated the name of his Secret Agent 007 from a book in his library, Birds of the West Indies by James Bond. The first to connect the two in print was an anonymous reviewer of a then-new edition of the title (1960) in the sober Sunday Times (London), of all places. That writer had fun and ran with it: “To show maybe that his life more »

For Camping Month: How to Share a Tent with a Smithsonian Secretary

What are your plans for National Camping Month? Thinking of bringing along a sketchbook? You’d be in good company. Mary Vaux Walcott (1860-1940) was undoubtedly a pro at camping. The naturalist and botanical illustrator spent the summers of her youth in the Canadian Rockies with her well-to-do family, where she became an active mountain climber, outdoorswooman, photographer, and started her first forays into botanical illustration. It was later in life, in her mid more »

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