Viewing the Universe from the Dibner Library

The Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology was created from a gift by Bern Dibner, electrical engineer, inventor, collector, and science historian. At the heart of this collection are Dibner’s “Heralds of Science” ,  200 seminal works that Dibner himself believed marked significant scientific advancement in their respective fields. One area that is particularly fascinating is the astronomy section.

Digitization Dispatch: Selections from the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology

Greetings! The Smithsonian History, Art, and Culture digital collection recently added a number of titles from the special collections housed at the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology.

Two-Tailed Mermaids and Dog-Headed Men: Looking at a 15th Century Herbal

The most interesting thing about the text, at least to me, is its variety of bizarre illustrative woodcuts. The first half of the text, “De Herbis,” contains many woodcuts of various plants. Three more sections follow, including the next section, “Tractatus de Animalibus,” which focuses on animals both real and imagined. Prüss immediately catches the reader’s attention with a detailed, labeled woodcut of a human skeleton, then continues with hundreds of odd woodcuts, some of which depict animals that the artist had clearly never seen.

Smithsonian Institution Libraries Opportunities for Research 2012

Each Smithsonian scholar engages in an individual voyage of discovery using the artifacts and specimens of the Smithsonian Institution in conjunction with the Libraries’ written and illustrated record of the past.

Dibner Library is Open!

Originally published on the Collections Search Center  (SIRIS Smithsonian Institution Research Information System) blog . . . Galileo Galilei, Sidereus Nuncius Magna, Longeque Admirabilia Spectacula Pandens, Suspiciendaque Proponens Unicuique [The great starry messenger], 1610 The Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology, located in the National Museum of American History, Behring Center, in Washington, D.C., has reopened after a recent renovation. One of the Special Collections in the Libraries system, the Dibner Library was established in 1976 with a gift of thousands of rare books and manuscripts from the Burndy Library (the personal library of electrical engineer, inventor, and philanthropist Bern Dibner). The crown jewels of the Dibner Library are known as the Heralds of Science, a group of 200 landmark publications in the history of science and technology, including first editions by such renowned authors as Sir Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and Galileo. The reopening of the Dibner Library was celebrated with a symposium, The Era of Experiments and the Age of Wonder: Scientific Expansion in the more »

A Second Look Uncovers a First Edition: a Manuscript Page from Darwin’s Origin of Species

Within the span of about a month, the Dibner Library received two separate inquiries about our lone manuscript page from the draft of the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. His popularity is unsurprising, especially during this anniversary year: 2009 is the year Darwin would have been 200, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his Origin of Species, events which are being actively commemorated here. One inquiry was from a gentleman named Milton D. Forsyth, Jr., who has been tracking down all extant leaves of the first draft of the Origin within his reach; the other from David Kohn, Director and General Editor of the American Museum of Natural History’s Darwin Manuscripts Project (currently called the Darwin Digital Library of Evolution, a project linked to the Biodiversity Heritage Library). Both were seeking pages of the original draft, so I was disappointed to see the note on the back by Darwin’s daughter Henrietta Litchfield, describing the page as containing “the passage… from Chapter VII, p 264 of 5th edn, 1869…” more »

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