“For the Increase and Diffusion of Knowledge:” from 18th-Century France to the Libraries’ Collections

+-*James Smithson, whose bequest led to the establishment in the mid-19th century of the American institution that now bears his name, famously stated in his will that funds should be used for the “increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.” This seemingly vague request is rooted in Enlightenment philosophy, the desire to create order and understanding in the world. As Heather Ewing wrote in The lost world of James Smithson, he was more »

Bloch’s Allgemeine Naturgeschichte der Fische

+-*For many Americans, mid-summer is best spent by the shore; beaches and lakes are traditionally packed this time of year. And if you’re lucky, that little time by the water will involve a glimpse at some aquatic life — a sand crab, a sea star, perhaps a fish or two. If your summer sightings have inspired an interest in fish (or perhaps you want to save yourself the sunscreen and view some more »

Vintage Fireworks for the Fourth

+-*This post was written by Adrian Vaagenes, intern in the National Museum of American History Library. The 4th of July is upon us, and for many of us this means, to borrow a quote from The Simpsons, it’s “time to celebrate the independence of our nation by blowing up a small part of it”. Just as we enjoy lighting roman candles, sparklers, cherry bombs, and m-80’s, these pieces of trade literature in more »

Celebrate America with Gibson’s “Americans”

+-*Charles Gibson (1867-1944) is one of the best known illustrators of the Gilded Age primarily due to his creation, the Gibson Girl, who became an icon of American beauty. As an illustrator he was talented in depicting relationships between men and women and submitted illustrations to such magazines as Harper’s Weekly, Life, and Harper’s Monthly. In 1890 he introduced a modernized beautiful female character with upswept hair, fashionable clothes, and imbued with more »

Now Open: Fantastic Worlds

+-*This post was written by Kirsten van der Veen, co-curator of “Fantastic Worlds.” When the west wing of the National Museum of American History reopens today,  July 1, after extensive renovations, a new Smithsonian Libraries exhibition will be opening with it: Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction, 1780-1910. It will be the first exhibition to debut in the newly refurbished Smithsonian Libraries Exhibition Gallery. On display will be some of the very works that exposed an eager and curious public to the wealth of new ideas and inventions of the 19th century (landmarks of scientific discovery, imaginative fictions, popular science, newspaper hoaxes, dime novels, and more). Showcased alongside selected historical artifacts from Smithsonian museum collections, the books on exhibition will trace the impact of the period’s science on the world of fiction.

Fall 2015 Internship Opportunities

+-*The Smithsonian Libraries is pleased to announce two opportunities for Fall 2015 internships. Each project offers a unique learning experience that would benefit any student interested in library work. For students in undergrad or graduate library and information science programs, we are happy to work with universities to help students obtain academic credit or fulfill practicum requirements. These projects are particularly well suited for students with enthusiasm for instructional design or collections more »

What’s in a Name? The Related Talents of Mark Catesby and Gertrude Jekyll

+-*The Catesby Commemorative Trust launched the publication of The Curious Mister Catesby with a program at the National Museum of Natural History this past April. Smithsonian Libraries’ own Leslie Overstreet, a contributor to these various perspectives on Mark Catesby’s The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama islands (London, 1729-1747), spoke on that work’s long, complicated printing history. Another speaker, E. Charles Nelson, presented his research into the naturalist’s biography. His more »

Follow Us

Latest Tweets

Categories

Archives