Here are some of the newest additions to the National Museum of American History Library.
Knights of the razor: black barbers in slavery and freedom. Douglas Walter Bristol, Jr. Johns Hopkins University Press, c2009.
Contents: The origins of black barbers — Becoming knights of the razor — Caught between regional origins and the barber's trade — Self-improvement and self-loathing before the war — Defining the meaning of freedom — From barbershops to boardrooms.
Subject: African American barbers — History. Free African Americans — History. African American businesspeople — History. African American business enterprises — History. United States — Race relations — History. HD8039.B32 U6195 2009
A most magnificent machine: America adopts the railroad, 1825-1862. Craig Miner. University Press of Kansas, c2010.
Summary: Traces the growth of railroads from their origins in the 1820s to the onset of the Civil War and also examines the cultural, economic, and political aspects.
Subject: Railroads — United States — History — 19th century. Railroads — Social aspects — United States — History — 19th century. HE2751 .M56 2010
The poisoner's handbook: murder and the birth of forensic medicine in Jazz Age New York. Deborah Blum. Penguin Press, 2010.
Summary: The untold story of how poison rocked Jazz Age New York City. A pair of forensic scientists began their trailblazing chemical detective work, fighting to end an era when untraceable poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime. Chief medical examiner Charles Norris and toxicologist Alexander Gettler investigate a family mysteriously stricken bald, factory workers with crumbling bones, a diner serving poisoned pies, and many others. Each case presents a deadly new puzzle and Norris and Gettler create revolutionary experiments to tease out even the wiliest compounds from human tissue. From the vantage of their laboratory it also becomes clear that murderers aren't the only toxic threat–modern life has created a kind of poison playground, and danger lurks around every corner.
Subject: Poisoning — New York (State) — History. Forensic toxicology — New York (State) — History. Forensic sciences — New York (State) — History. HV6555.U62 N373 2010 NMAH MEDICINE & SCIENCE
A companion to American immigration, edited by Reed Ueda. Blackwell Pub., 2006.
Table of contents http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/toc/fy0709/2005019818.html
Subject: United States — Emigration and immigration. JV6465 .C74 2006
Voices from the edge: narratives about the Americans with Disabilities Act, edited by Ruth O'Brien. Oxford University Press, 2004.
Table of contents http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/enhancements/fy0614/2003004242-t.html
Subject: People with disabilities — Legal status, laws, etc. — United States — Popular works. KF480.Z9 V65 2004 NMAH MEDICINE & SCIENCE
The Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library includes a number of school related trade catalogs. This catalog by J. L. Hammett entitled Illustrated Catalogue of School Merchandise 1872-1873 w/1874 cover and price list of school furniture includes desks and chairs for students and teachers. Some of the desk styles have a chair attached to a desk while others have a separate desk and chair.
The Patent Gothic Normal Desk is one of the styles that has a desk attached to the back of the chair. The desk comes with a foot rest and the chair has a curved back and folding seat. The desk has a "Patent Ink Well," a pencil shelf, and a lifting lid so that students can store materials inside the desk.
J. L. Hammett, Boston, MA. Illustrated Catalogue of School Merchandise 1872-1873 w/1874 cover and price list of school furniture, 1872-1874, page 7, Patent Gothic Normal Desk.
The Standard High School Desk has a separate desk and chair. The desk comes with the Patented Silvered Ink Well and has a book shelf that is extra wide and deep. The desk can be used by one or two students. The chair that goes along with the desk is "Smith's Patent."
J. L. Hammett, Boston, MA. Illustrated Catalogue of School Merchandise 1872-1873 w/1874 cover and price list of school furniture, 1872-1874, page 11, Standard High School Desk ; Standard Normal School Desk.
This catalog and others by J. L. Hammett are located in the Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library. Take a look at the Galaxy of Images to see more images of school furniture from this catalog.
The National Museum of American History (NMAH) Library initiated a summer weeding project that will create a better meeting space for researchers to use reference materials and work collaboratively. As the Reference Intern, I was responsible for reviewing the reference collection and identifying any materials that were duplicate copies, under-used by patrons, or have been made available online for free. By weeding these items from our collection, we could eventually re-arrange the way the books are stored to make the room a functional workspace.
While reviewing the NMAH Library reference collection, I found the U. S. Patent Office documents most difficult to locate online. I was able to find a few of the other reference materials using online digital libraries such as Internet Archive.org, HathiTrust.org, WorldCat.org and Google Books.com. However, I constantly ran into the issue of materials being scattered across multiple digital library databases. In cases like this, I would find that for a series that spans over four years:
- Year 1849 could be found on Google Books
- Year 1850 could be found on Hathi Trust
- A digital copy of 1851 is not made available online
- Year 1852 can be found on Internet Archive
It was my concern that the inconsistency in location, format, and usability of materials would become an obstacle in our transition from physical material to online material. With each of the four volumes being scattered across the web, a library patron would have to flip back and forth between differently formatted resources to get the information they needed. When information is dispersed in that way it becomes difficult to navigate, or (as I mentioned in my example) some of the information could be missing completely.
With these issues in mind, I asked my supervisor if it was possible to have some parts of the NMAH Library reference collection digitally scanned and made available online. That way, we would have a complete online collection that is presented consistently, and all in one location.
After doing a little research, I discovered SIL’s existing account with Internet Archive.org and proposed that we have our U. S. Patent Office documents scanned and added to the online collection.
After two weeks of going through the necessary channels, the proposal was approved and the real fun began. I packed 210 books into 21 boxes and sent them to our book scanning lab.
In an effort to create a better physical library space for our patrons, we will continue to make contributions to the online collection.
—LaShawntay M. Tinker
The Libraries is delighted to announce that Bill Baxter has been appointed Head of the History and Culture Department. Bill has been the acting Head since late December. As Head of History and Culture, Bill oversees and coordinates the Libraries' research support and collections in the National Museum of American History, the National Air and Space Museum, the National Postal Museum, the Anacostia Community Museum, and the National Museum of the American Indian libraries.
Bill joined the Libraries in 1995, when he was appointed Head of Special Collections and Exhibitions Officer; since 2001 he has served as the Librarian at the National Air and Space Museum Library. Bill has a Master of Arts in American History from St. Louis University and a Master of Science in Library Science from Drexel University.
In addition to his duties in History and Culture, Bill will be helping Deputy Director Mary Augusta Thomas with Libraries-wide collections management and collections space planning issues. Bill will be moving to the National Museum of American History Library in September.
—Mary Augusta Thomas