Soldini’s Commentary on the Souls of Animals

This post was written by Daniel Euphrat, Digital Imaging Technician and Leslie K. Overstreet, Curator of Natural-History Rare Books. The title of the book De anima brutorum commentaria by Francesco Maria Soldini translates to Commentary on the Souls of Animals in English and the text is about exactly that topic. When it came to the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History in 2015, it was a rather unusual and curious more »

Teratology in the Dibner: The Beckwith-Browning Collection

The Smithsonian Libraries’ Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology has received a significant book collection donated by J. Bruce Beckwith, MD, notable pediatrician, bibliographer, and book collector. The donation encompasses ca. 800 titles, most of them rare, in the field of teratology. Teratology, the science of birth defects, pediatric anomalies, malformations in humans, animals and plants—as the main subject of a rare book collection—understandably generates some resistance in some more »

The Great Halifax Explosion

Along with time, humankind invariably changes the landscape. The geography and a series of events and errors that occurred in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on December 6th, 1917, contributed to the most catastrophic and dramatic man-made violence to a surrounding area and its inhabitants before the Atomic Age. In the annals of disasters of the 20th century, including the Great War, the explosion that occurred at the Canadian harbor was particularly horrifying and more »

Dishing Out Ice Cream in 1912

Is a new kitchen gadget on your holiday wishlist? How about tools for making ice cream? Let’s look at a 1912 trade catalog illustrating some equipment for making and dispensing ice cream.

Preservation Outreach in Peru

​Due to the unusual amount of rain in March of this year, Peru experienced major flooding, particularly in the Northern providence of Lambayeque. Many cultural institutions were affected. As a result, Vanessa Wagner, the U.S. Embassy in Peru’s Senior Cultural Specialist, reached out to the Smithsonian to organize workshops and talks on the subjects of fire and flood safety & emergency response.

I See Wonder: Guiding Inquiry and Expanding Access

This post was written by Victoria Cunningham, summer intern in the Smithsonian Libraries’ Education office. This summer I had the pleasure of working on a team of interns under the direction of Education Specialist Sara Cardello to further expand the I See Wonder collection for the Smithsonian Libraries. I See Wonder is an excellent tool for teachers of all grades to help further extend students’ natural curiosity of the world. Children and more »

Native Fruit: Cranberry for all Seasons

Is there a food in North America more intrinsically linked with the landscape of the past and nostalgically intertwined with a holiday feast than the cranberry? From Cranberry Lakes in Nova Scotia, Cranberry River of West Virginia, Cranberry Pond in Sunderland, Massachusetts, the Cranberry Isles of Maine, Cranberry Mountain in New York, Cranberry Meadow in New Jersey, and many a Cranberry Bog dotting coastal areas, the plant deserves the appellation of First more »

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