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.

Gale launches new Smithsonian products

This past week at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference, Gale, part of Cengage Learning, launched two new products based on Smithsonian collections. The products, Trade Literature & the Merchandizing of Industry and World’s Fairs and Expositions: Visions of Tomorrow, featured many items from the Smithsonian Libraries.

Fashion for Hair – A creepiness I like

The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Library owns many types of pattern books for architecture, textiles, wall coverings, and ornament for use by designers. Among our more unusual “how to” pattern books and trade catalogs are two recently digitized hair jewelry pattern books – The jewellers’ book of patterns in hair work and Charles T. Menge’s price list of ornamental hair jewelry and device work.

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