Welcome, Field Book Project interns!

The Smithsonian Libraries is thrilled to host over 20 interns this summer, in departments and branches throughout our system. The Field Book Project in particular is working with three students this summer. Please take a moment to help us welcome Nura, Allegra and Conal! The interns are primarily working on cataloging field book collections and expanding biographical descriptions for field book creator records. Field Book Project / Biodiversity Heritage Library cataloging intern: Nurganym Agzamova Nurganym (Nura) Agzamova is a Foreign Fulbright Scholar from Kazakhstan. She is currently a second year graduate student in the Library and Information Science program at Syracuse University. Prior to starting her Fulbright experience, she worked as a librarian at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan where she worked as a Subject Librarian for the Foundation Program. She started her library career at National Academic Library of Kazakhstan in Patron Services back in 2008. Nura is a native speaker of Kazakh and Russian, and was involved in translation projects as a freelance interpreter and translator. Nura sees the Field Book as more »

The Girl Who Changed Ornithology Forever

It’s rare for the questions posed by seven-year-olds to result in more than a hurried answer from mom or dad, let alone  anything with lasting beauty and utility. But seven-year-old Genevieve Jones is one of the exceptions. While making the journey to her grandmother’s house with her family, she encountered a bird’s nest. Showing it to her father, she posed a simple question: why wasn’t there a book she could use to more »

The Season of Caps and Gowns

Graduation season is upon us! Some students have already graduated. Others are just about to graduate. Ever wonder if academic regalia looked any different in the past? Let’s take a look at caps, gowns, and hoods in a Cotrell & Leonard trade catalog from the early twentieth century. 

Bond, James Bond: the Birds, the Books, the Bond

It is well-known that author Ian Fleming appropriated the name of his Secret Agent 007 from a book in his library, Birds of the West Indies by James Bond. The first to connect the two in print was an anonymous reviewer of a then-new edition of the title (1960) in the sober Sunday Times (London), of all places. That writer had fun and ran with it: “To show maybe that his life more »

Upcott and the Early History of Aeronautics

This post was also featured on the blog of the National Air and Space Museum. Among the treasures found within the special collections of the DeWitt Clinton Ramsey Room, a branch of the Smithsonian Libraries located at the National Air and Space Museum, is a collection of oversized scrapbooks with an interesting and complicated history. Originally bound in one volume, William Upcott’s Scrapbook of Early Aeronautica captures the history of lighter-than-air aircraft more »

Da, De, Di, Du, La, Le, Van, Von…

—This post was written by Elsa Miller, Spring 2016 intern at the American Art & Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG).  The American Art and Portrait Gallery Library  (AA/PG) has an extensive vertical file collection, consisting of 150,000 files on more than 75,000 artists and institutions. These Art & Artist Files contain ephemera such as newspaper clippings, brochures, exhibition announcements, and magazine articles and are frequently used to answer reference questions. As an actively-used more »

For Camping Month: How to Share a Tent with a Smithsonian Secretary

What are your plans for National Camping Month? Thinking of bringing along a sketchbook? You’d be in good company. Mary Vaux Walcott (1860-1940) was undoubtedly a pro at camping. The naturalist and botanical illustrator spent the summers of her youth in the Canadian Rockies with her well-to-do family, where she became an active mountain climber, outdoorswooman, photographer, and started her first forays into botanical illustration. It was later in life, in her mid more »

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