“The Sinking of the Titanic” and the sensationalism of Jay Henry Mowbray

“PANIC STRICKEN MULTITUDE FACING SURE DEATH! HUNDREDS WERE DOOMED TO WATERY GRAVES! TERRIBLE HORROR OF THE BRINY DEEP!”   Look no further than the title page of the “Memorial Edition” of The Sinking of the Titanic to find these pieces of purple prose. But if you keep looking, you’ll find that author, journalist, and potential fraudster Jay Henry Mowbray keeps his foot on the accelerator of sensational language for nearly 300 pages more »

On Book Puzzles and Hot Air Balloons

While at the Smithsonian Libraries Research Annex (SLRA) during the second week of my Smithsonian Libraries internship, I was asked to select and research texts in SLRA’s collection for the Adopt-a-Book Program. Adopt-a-Book is an opportunity for bibliophiles to “adopt” a book from one of the Smithsonian Libraries’ twenty-one branches, granting them acknowledgement through a virtual bookplate in the SIL online catalog, SIRIS. Potential donors can view the books up for adoption more »

Preserving “Nimm Mich Mit!”

This blog post was written by Noah Smutz, book conservator. Nimm Mich Mit! by Lothar Meggendorfer is a lovely early 20th century German visual dictionary filled with colorful illustrations. They include everyday objects including geometric shapes, kitchen utensils, clothing, plants, animals, people at work, and house interiors (learn more in a recent blog post ). This book is part of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum National Design Library collection in New York City.  

Nimm mich mit!

This post was contributed by David Holbert, Digital Imaging Specialist at the Smithsonian Libraries Digital Imaging Center. A wonderful German children’s book came through the Smithsonian Libraries’ Imaging Center recently for digitization.  It was a beautiful, but oddly shaped (9 x 24cm), picture book from the early twentieth century.  The book, Nimm mich mit!, was recently adopted through our Adopt-a-Book program by Linda and Jay Freedman, in honor of Miles & Lola more »

Secretary Skorton Adopts Books!

Last February we welcomed Smithsonian Secretary David J. Skorton to the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library in the National Museum of Natural History. On behalf of his wife Dr. Robin Davisson and himself, the Secretary was on a mission to select books for conservation as part of the Libraries’ Adopt-a-Book Program. Lilla Vekerdy, head of special collections, and Leslie Overstreet, curator of natural history rare books, displayed special treasures dating back to the more »

Cooking up some fun with Adopt-a-Book

On Wednesday, November 16th, the Smithsonian Libraries will once again hold its annual Adopt-a-Book Evening and you’re invited! Join us for food and merriment, all while supporting the Libraries’ collections. Visit the event page for additional details and to purchase your tickets. Can’t make it to DC next week or just want a preview of the evening’s menu of books? Enjoy this “appetizer”, a mere sample of the 80+ items that will more »

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 »

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