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 »

“Vengeance in his aspect”: When a Whale Hunted a Ship

*+-This post was written by Julia Blakely, special collections  cataloger. It previously appeared on the Smithsonian Collections Blog. The trailer for the big Hollywood movie of Nathaniel Philbrick’s book In the Heart of the Sea: the Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex (G530.E76 2000X NMAH) is out and it is terrifying. The true saga of the Essex inspired aspects of Moby Dick, or the title as it originally was published, The Whale, thirty more »

Discover and Connect but Don’t Steal this Book!

*+-This post was written by Julia Blakely, Special Collections cataloger. It first appeared on the Smithsonian Collections blog here. Discovering an interesting mark of a former owner in a volume is one of the many great things about working with rare books. A signature of a famous person, a fun drawing, a gift presentation, marginal annotations revealing a reader’s thoughts, a memento laid-in, are not uncommon to come upon. Such additions after more »

A.W. Quilter journal added to Transcription Center

*+-The travel journals of A.W. Quilter document his adventures in East Africa between 1909-1911, while on safari and engaging in big game hunting. These fascinating tales are now available in the Transcription Center for volunteers to read and review. While a great deal is still unknown about Quilter, for instance was he British or not, what is known from his journal was that he was a major in the military and embarked more »

Visitors from Paradise: The Paradiseidae

*+-This post was written by Grace Costantino, Outreach and Communication Manager for the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). It first appeared on the BHL blog here. Deep within the rainforest canopy of the Aru Islands, just west of New Guinea, two male Greater Birds-of-Paradise dance among the branches in carefully coordinated steps, their magnificent yellow, white, and maroon plumage undulating gracefully to the rhythm of their own unique song.

Potawatomi Vocabulary Manuscript Added to Transcription Center

*+-J.N. Bourassa’s A Vocabulary of the Po-da-wahd-mih Language is the latest addition from the Libraries to the Smithsonian Transcription Center. The Vocabulary was transcribed around 1890 from the original, which dates to 1843. The Potawatomi have traditionally inhabited the Upper Mississippi River region as well as Indiana and Kansas, and are making efforts to promote the use of their native language, a sub-group of the Algonquian language family.

Libraries Acquires Salviani Book

*+-The Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library recently acquired Ippolito Salviani’s Aquatilium animalium historiae (Rome, 1554), a classic, foundational work on fishes. The book is one of three 16th-century works that established ichthyology as a modern science. The Libraries holds the other two – Belon’s De aquatilibus (1553, a Latin translation of his Histoire de la nature des estranges poissons marins, 1551) and Rondelet’s Libri de piscibus marinis (1554) – and has now completed more »

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