A Squirrel’s Life

It’s springtime in DC. That means squirrels are everywhere on the National Mall. Take a walk around the Mall and you are bound to see a squirrel or two run across your path. Sit on a bench for a few minutes and you might hear a rummaging sound and then see a squirrel pop up out of a trash can. And you are sure to see a squirrel or two getting their more »

Eyeglasses and Spectacles of the Past

Many of us who wear glasses everyday will probably find ourselves relating to these two sentences. “But take the subject all in all, and consider it in all its phases, it cannot be denied that the invention of spectacles was one of the most useful to the human family.” “Many a man and woman to-day in all quarters of the known world owes the pleasure of existence to the use of scientifically more »

A European Tour on Bicycle

While browsing the Collections Search Center for an interesting trade catalog to highlight on the Blog, I came across this one from 1894. The only illustration in the entire catalog is on the front cover but that’s not what caught my eye. Instead, it was two words in the first paragraph: “photographic souvenirs.”

A Look Back at Sleds

With large parts of the U.S.  experiencing so much snow recently, this seemed like the perfect time to take a look at one of our trade catalogs about sleds. Catalogue of Paris Manufacturing Co. is from 1890 and shows several pages of sleds. Though these have a slightly different appearance than sleds of today, some of us might remember ones that looked similar to these.

Thirty years in Washington

In honor of George Washington’s Birthday and President’s Day, we’d like to highlight this charming little history of our Nation’s Capital, which pays special attention to the White House.

Holiday Costumes: The Snowball, Fairy, and Poinsettia

What holiday do you think of when someone mentions costumes? Halloween? But have you ever thought of a costume for the holiday season at this time of year? The 1923 Dennison’s Christmas Book by Dennison Mfg. Co. gives three suggestions for holiday costumes.

Mind your manners this holiday season

With holiday parties and visiting relatives, December can be hectic and nerve-wracking for all. The Smithsonian Libraries comes to the rescue with a stockpile of works to help you navigate the muddy waters of social and familial obligations! As part of the Cultural Heritage Library, the Smithsonian Libraries has digitized at least nine etiquette books from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These¬† precursors to Emily Post, the grande dame of more »

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