The Smithsonian Libraries Artists’ Books Collection Online

Anne Evenhaugen : February 4, 2015 9:00 am : Art and Design, Collection Highlights, homepage, Special Collections

The Smithsonian Libraries is pleased to announce the new webpage of the Smithsonian Libraries Artists’ Books Collection! more »


Creating Meaning Together: A Selection of Collaborative Artists’ Books

Anne Evenhaugen : July 11, 2014 9:00 am : Art and Design, Collection Highlights, Exhibitions, homepage, Intern and Volunteer Updates

Creating Meaning  (5)

“Creating Meaning Together” Collaborative Artists’ Books Exhibition

—This post was contributed by Rita Sausmikat and Maya Riser-Kositsky, interns at the American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library summer 2014.

An “artist’s book” can generally be defined as a work of art in book form, though this guideline is interpreted and finessed to fit the artist’s vision. Commonly, artists’ books are portable and interactive, and utilize a plethora of methods, technologies, and materials. Just as with artwork, artists’ books often tell a story, stir emotion, or convey a purpose. more »

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Surf’s Up in Rare Books

Julia Blakely : July 2, 2014 9:00 am : Collection Highlights, Discovery Services, History and Culture, homepage, Research, Special Collections

Ellis 1831 v4.FullPgWhile cataloging Polynesian Researches during a Residence of Nearly Eight Years in the Society and Sandwich Islands (London: 1831-1833; DU510 .E47 1831 SCNHRB), a transfer from the Department of State’s library to the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History, I was intrigued by the title page vignette in the fourth volume of the set. Depicted in this little engraved scene is a group of surfers riding a break on narrow planks. Wondering if it was an early representation of the sport, I naturally turned to Google, where a search turned up the information that it is often cited as the first illustration of surfing, at least in the Western Hemisphere. more »

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Discovering the artwork of the original AA/PG Library

Anne Evenhaugen : May 30, 2014 9:00 am : Art and Design, homepage, Intern and Volunteer Updates

~This post was written by Katherine Williamson, an intern at the American Art/ Portrait Gallery library.

Smithsonian NCFA/NPG Library c. 1975. Photo by Wolfgang Freitag

Cast-iron Eagle in the Smithsonian NCFA/NPG Library c. 1975. Photo by Wolfgang Freitag

Smithsonian NCFA/NPG Library, 1975. Photo by Wolfgang Freitag

Smithsonian NCFA/NPG Library, 1975. Photo by Wolfgang Freitag

As part of my work as an American Art/Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG) intern, I answer reference questions from patrons that involve some type of research, either within our collection or using  online sources that the library subscribes to. One of the most interesting reference questions I have received actually came from our Head Librarian, Doug Litts. Through his own research involving the original location of the AA/PG library – Room 331 of the main museum building – he came across a list of paintings, a marble bust and a cast iron sculpture, that were located in what was known as the NCFA/NPG Library when it was housed in the museum. Through circumstances unknown to us, those artworks were never transported to the Victor Building when the library moved here in 2000. He became very interested in the history of the artworks, as well as where they are now, and recruited me to help him in his research. more »

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OneSearch – The Digital Front Door to Our Libraries

Trina Brown : May 16, 2014 9:00 am : Discovery Services, Education and Outreach, homepage, Library Hacks, Research

Not to brag, but we’ve got a pretty cool new research tool to show off:  OneSearch. more »

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