Nineteenth Century Book Folders

We use books every day. But how is a book actually created? How are the pages folded? How are they cut? For a glimpse into making books in the late nineteenth century, take a look at this 1891-92 Dexter Folder Co. trade catalog titled Dexter Book Folding Machines.

It’s Back to School in 1872

The new school year has begun. So we decided to search the Trade Literature Collection for catalogs showing school furniture or supplies. And we came across this Robert Paton catalog which shows the furniture students in 1872 might have seen on their first day of school.

Ephemeral Thoughts during the Waning Days of Summer

This post was written by rare books cataloger Julia Blakely. It originally appeared on the Smithsonian Collections Blog. The spectacular display of the capital cherry trees of this year is but a happy, distant memory and the gardens of Washington have that hot, exhausted look of August, escaping into a rare gardening book is in order. The Cullman Library has a survivor of an ephemeral form of publication—nursery trade catalogs—that are valuable not more »

Labor Day

We hope you get a break from punching the clock and a chance to enjoy your time off, American workers! If you are looking for a little holiday reading, perhaps reflect on the origins of the day with this blog post from last year.  

“Pruning” at the National Museum of American History Library

This post was written by Jenn Parent, intern at the National Museum of American History Library. Jenn is a recent graduate from Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA with a BS in Anthropology.  She will be relocating and attending graduate school at University of Washington-Seattle for a Master’s in Library Science this September. I spent this summer as a library intern at the National Museum of American History and I have thoroughly more »

Cut-To-Fit Homes

If you were looking for a new home in the summer of 1919, you might have considered a Sterling Cut-To-Fit Home. This 1919 International Mill & Timber Co. trade catalog, Selecting Your Home, describes the Sterling System Homes. These houses came in different styles and sizes–one story, two story, large, and small. The catalog includes page after page of illustrations, floor plans, and descriptions.

Making Ice Cream in 1889

In June, we highlighted hand-folded ice cream containers. Because July is National Ice Cream Month, we decided to highlight another ice cream related item. This month we are highlighting an 1889 American Machine Co. trade catalog illustrating ice cream freezers.

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