‘The whole man at once:’ scientific identities at the Dibner Library – Augustin-Louis Cauchy

“George Sarton, a founder of the history of science as an academic discipline, argued that scholars should pay close attention to portraits. These images, he said, can give you ‘the whole man at once.’ With a ‘great portrait,’ Sarton believed, ‘you are given immediately some fundamental knowledge of him, which even the longest descriptions and discussions would fail to evoke.’ Sarton’s ideas led Bern Dibner to purchase portrait prints of men and women of science and technology. Many of these are now in the Smithsonian’s Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology.” – Deborah Jean Warner, Curator, Physical Sciences Collection A picture may tell 1000 words, but another 500 for context can add depth to the image. Follow this blog series to discover the people behind the portraits available online in the Scientific Identity collection.  

Repairing “Home Life in Tokyo”’s Original, Protective Portfolio Enclosure

A few months ago, a book from the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Library came for treatment to the Book Conservation Lab: Home Life in Tokyo.  Our copy, printed in 1911, is a softback binding, common for Japanese publications, and according to the bibliographic record, it was “issued in a portfolio.” The book itself was in very good condition, however, after many years of protecting the soft-backed book, more »

New Dazzling Diversity Exhibition Open Now!

This post was written by Abigail Espiritu, a summer intern focusing on social media and the Libraries’ blog. This fall, Abigail will be entering her freshmen year at the University of Maryland where she will be majoring in journalism. On August 8th, 2017, the Smithsonian Libraries opened their newest exhibition in the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Dazzling Diversity: The Insect World. The exhibition is located on the Ground Floor of more »

Support the Warren M. Robbins Library at the National Museum of African Art

Every day, librarian Janet Stanley and the staff of the Warren M. Robbins Library at the National Museum of African Art work tirelessly in support of the Smithsonian’s guiding purpose: to foster the increase and diffusion of knowledge. This African Art Library plays an essential role in connecting colleagues, researchers, and artists around the world to engage in promoting the critical work that ensures a future of knowledge and discovery of African more »

Outreach and Oral History: My time at the Smithsonian Libraries

Interested in learning more about libraries and museums with a Smithsonian Libraries internship? Fall applications are open until August 15th! More information here: https://library.si.edu/GeneralInternships As I reflect back on my internship appointment at the Smithsonian Libraries, I am left feeling entirely overwhelmed at the unique and enriching nature of this experience. Being mentored by Daria Wingreen-Mason of the Smithsonian Libraries Research Annex was invaluable to my growth as both a student and more »

“The Sinking of the Titanic” and the sensationalism of Jay Henry Mowbray

“PANIC STRICKEN MULTITUDE FACING SURE DEATH! HUNDREDS WERE DOOMED TO WATERY GRAVES! TERRIBLE HORROR OF THE BRINY DEEP!”   Look no further than the title page of the “Memorial Edition” of The Sinking of the Titanic to find these pieces of purple prose. But if you keep looking, you’ll find that author, journalist, and potential fraudster Jay Henry Mowbray keeps his foot on the accelerator of sensational language for nearly 300 pages more »

The ABC’s of the Corcoran Artist Files: the F’s

In the series called “The ABCs of the Corcoran Artist Files” the American Art and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library will explore artists through the materials from the recent Corcoran Vertical File Collection donation by featuring artists whose surnames begin with that letter. This time we are looking at the artists whose last names that start with F.

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