The write stuff for National Handwriting Day

It’s National Handwriting Day! The Smithsonian Field Book Project, a joint initiative between the Smithsonian Libraries, Smithsonian Institution Archives, and National Museum of Natural History to uncover, catalog, digitize, and share online the primary source records of scientific research done at, by, and for the Institution, celebrates this day with a showcase of some of the handwriting samples encountered during the project work. The Project works with materials stretching back almost 200 more »

Celebrate the Rhubarb

Rhubarb, that harbinger of spring for many, is honored in the United States on January 23rd with National Rhubarb Day. Having let National Rhubarb Vodka Day (first Saturday in December) pass without note, I wanted to bake a pie in preparation. Thanks to the generosity of a neighbor and his bountiful garden last spring and summer, I had plenty set by. Rhubarb does freeze well. Inspired by the scholars transcribing, as well more »

“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 »

GIF IT UP Contest Winners Announced

It was a very pleasant day when yours truly, Richard Naples, was announced as one of the winners of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and Digital New Zealand (DigitalNZ) GIF IT UP contest. My entry, a flittering butterfly adapted from Maria Sibylla Merian’s Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium, won in the Nature and Environment category of the recent contest. This international competition to find the best GIFs reusing public domain and openly licensed digital video, images, text and other material was a great way for DPLA and DigitalNZ to show off their amazing collections.

Amaryllis for Christmas

All I want for Christmas (really) is an amaryllis in full bloom. It is lovely to see poinsettias, beautiful products of the Smithsonian Gardens Greenhouse in Suitland, Maryland, placed about the museums, but there is something special about the amaryllis as a seasonal plant. Poinsettias have become too traditional, too expected, too (well) durable.

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 »

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