Terrific Textiles: Tasteful Turbans

Written by Jessica Masinter. She is an intern in the Cooper Hewitt Library and a literary studies major at Middlebury College. This follow up blog to “The Textile Thief and the Great British Manufacturers,” focuses on Watson’s samples of turban pieces and their significance in India in the mid-1800s. When J. Forbes Watson was collecting samples for his collection Textile Manufactures of India, turbans were worn almost universally throughout India. In Watson’s more »

‘The Whole Man at Once’: Scientific Identities at the Dibner Library – Antoine-François, comte de Fourcroy

This post was written by Michelle Farias, intern in the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology. For more in this series, see previous posts about Edward Jenner and Joseph Jerome Le Francais de Lalande by Morgan E. Aronson. The five portraits collected by Bern Dibner that feature Antoine-François, comte de Fourcroy, show the chemist in two distinct periods of his life. While the portraits are not dated, two of more »

Hawaiian Fishes: From science to souvenir

Hawaiian fishes is a diminutive book in our Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History, but its flashy red cover with gilt lettering certainly catches the eye. The interior, 12 plates of flamboyant tropical fish, is just as engaging. The book certainly piqued my interest when it was featured by the Biodiversity Heritage Library in social media posts last week.     It was produced by the Island Curio Company in more »

The ABC’s of the Corcoran Artist Files: the E’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 E.

Balancing the Books in Rare Books

As the old Sam Cooke song goes: Don’t know much trigonometry Don’t know much about algebra, Don’t know what a slide rule is for But I do know that one and one is two, And I do know something about early printing and history. And books of firsts are always fun. So there is much to love about Luca Pacioli’s Summa de arithmetica, geometria, proportioni et proportionalita (Summary of arithmetic, geometry, proportions more »

‘The whole man at once:’ scientific identities at the Dibner Library — Edward Jenner

“George Sarton, a founder of the history of science as an academic discipline, argued that scholars should pay close attention to portraits. These images, he said, can give you ‘the whole man at once.’ With a ‘great portrait,’ Sarton believed, ‘you are given immediately some fundamental knowledge of him, which even the longest descriptions and discussions would fail to evoke.’ Sarton’s ideas led Bern Dibner to purchase portrait prints of men and more »

John Lewis Childs: A Profile of an American Seedsman.

Cultivating America’s Gardens, our newest exhibition produced with Smithsonian Gardens is now open in the National Museum of American History and features many colorful seed catalogs from our collection. This post, highlighting seedsman John Lewis Childs,  was written by social media intern Trudi J. Antoine. While some children played games and chased the pavement, John Lewis Childs pursued a dream of playing in the dirt. Starting from the ground up, horticulturist and more »

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