Der Weltkrieg: an Adopt-a-Book Story

  A scrapbook from the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology came to the book conservation lab though our Adopt-a-Book program. Through the program, patrons can adopt a book for preservation or acquisition. This unusual book is a scrapbook used to house collectible cards that were found in cigarette packets in Germany during the 1930s. The binding was stapled and difficult to open because the staples were attached to the paper about 2 cm from the spine. The staples had also begun to oxidize further endangering the brittle paper. Several of the collectible cards were missing and almost all of the cards were detached or loose. The cards had been affixed to the scrapbook with an adhesive that degraded, losing its ability to hold the cards on the pages. A further concern was that the cards had information on the back of them. While this information matched the information on the scrapbook page it was in a different script. The scrapbook pages were in Fraktur script but the cards in a modern German script. This was a more »

Adopt “Travels into North America”

Pehr Kalm (1716-1779), a Swedish-Finnish explorer and botanist, was a student of the great naturalist Carl Linnaeus. In fact, Kalm was one of the many “apostles” of Linnaeus sent out to explore the world, and one of the few who didn’t die in the process. To begin the research that later culminated in Travels into North America, Kalm arrived on the continent in 1748.  Based in Philadelphia, he worked and traveled with more »

The Fix – Ein Wintermärchen, an Adopt-a-Book Story

  Ein Wintermärchen (a winter story) is a children’s book from our Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Library. The library holds an extensive collection of children’s books, around 2,000, with 1,200 being pop-up books. This particular volume came to the Book Conservation Lab through the Adopt-A-Book program.     The book is lavishly illustrated by Ernst Kreidolf, a well-known Swiss children’s book illustrator. Many of his books depict fairies and other mythical creatures, more »

November twenty-six, nineteen hundred sixty-three.

  The assassination of President John F. Kennedy Jr. on November 22, 1963, ultimately ushered in a decade of turmoil and distress in the United States. The Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement for African Americans were two of many struggles facing the American people in the 1960s.

The Fix: Hidden Manuscripts

The conservation of special collections materials is rarely a straightforward endeavor. It’s important to treat each item as a unique object, and to let its particular history and condition drive the decision-making process. Often, the path forward is only revealed once treatment begins, as the conservator becomes more and more familiar with the book, sometimes through research and analysis, but often simply by observing and handling the book over a period of more »

Join us for Adopt-a-Book Evening

On October 8th, we invite you to enjoy an evening celebrating French food, wine and culture while exploring and adopting Smithsonian Libraries Rare Books. Guests will have the opportunity to browse a trove of remarkable and historic volumes and are invited to learn more about the Libraries’ special collections and why they must be preserved. Each book featured will be available for adoption. Gifts will benefit the Libraries’ rare books and preservation more »

The Gift of Adoption

This entry was written by Linda Blancato, book lover and Adopt-a-Book supporter. I’ve always been a librarian at heart. My father was a master bookbinder who owned a bindery in Baltimore, Maryland. He instilled in his family a love and respect for all things related to books: the cover, the bindings, the pages, and of course the content. From a young age, I’ve always appreciated that the real value of books includes more »

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