Significant donation from the Art Students League of New York

The Smithsonian Libraries is pleased to announce the donation of research ephemera for more than 4,000 artists from the Art Students League of New York (ASL), to be housed at the American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library.

America’s First Known African American Scientist and Mathematician

At the beginning of February, Black History Month, the former slave Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was much in the news. The most prominent African American of the 19th century, he first moved to Washington, D.C. in the early 1870s after his home in Rochester, New York burned down. Here he published his newspaper, The New National Era. From 1877 until his death in 1895, Douglass lived and worked in a stately Victorian house, more »

Donations Reveal a Family’s History

Last year, the Dibner Library for the History of Science and Technology received four unique donations by siblings James L. Cerruti and Vera V. Magruder (nee Cerruti): James Bishop’s musical Gamut of 1766, Uri Bishop’s Military Music from the War of 1812, and Jonathan Edwards’ Treatise on Religious Affections (New York: American Tract Society) and Sermons on Various Important Subjects (Edinburgh/Boston: Gray, 1785). These items provide fascinating glimpses into early American history more »

Catesby in the Classroom: Students Explore the Intersection of Art and Science

In the early eighteenth century, English naturalist Mark Catesby set foot in a New World. After spending the better part of ten years, spread across two separate trips, exploring and documenting North America’s rich biodiversity, he would eventually publish his research and original artworks as the first fully illustrated book on the flora and fauna of North America.    Published over eighteen years between 1729-1747, The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and more »

Two Dibner Library Manuscripts Published

The proceedings of the symposium we held to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Dibner Library have now been published. Called The Era of Experiments and the Age of Wonder: Scientific Expansion from the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Centuries, it features the keynote address of Richard Holmes, a well-known British biographer. We have also published Engineering Romance in Late 19th Century Literature by Rosalind Williams, Bern Dibner Professor of the History of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Jules Verne (1828-1905) and Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) were well-known writers of romance in the late l9th century. They were also fascinated by engineering, both as well-informed observers and as lay engineers. This manuscript describes this convergence of engineering and romance in their lives and times and reflects upon its implications for our own lives and times. To request a published copy of our Dibner manuscripts, call 202.633.1522. Save

The ABC’s of the Corcoran Artist Files: the D’s

    In the series called “The ABCs of the Corcoran Artist Files” the American Art and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library will explore artists through the materials from the recent Corcoran Vertical File Collection donation by featuring artists whose surnames begin with that letter. This time we are looking at the artists whose last names that start with D.

Moving Pictures: Renaissance Painter-Engineers

This post was written by Noa Turel, Ph.D./Assistant Professor, Department of Art & Art History, University of Alabama at Birmingham and Dibner Library Fellow, January-March 2016. Applications are currently open for 2017 fellowship opportunities. My three-month winter residency at the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology was tremendously helpful in shaping and grounding my book project Ingenious Secrets: Painting and Research in Fifteenth-Century Courts. Coming in, I had three bibliographies more »

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