On February 2nd, the Smithsonian Institution Libraries welcomed a film crew into the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History. The purpose of the shoot was to tape a segment about photographer Jonathan Singer’s Botanica Magnifica for an upcoming broadcast of CBS News Sunday Morning. CBS Senior Correspondent Rita Braver and four members of the production team spent four hours in the Cullman Library conducting interviews with Singer, Smithsonian Libraries curator Leslie K. Overstreet, and Dr. John Kress, a curator in the Museum of Natural History’s botany department. The CBS cameraman panned the pages of the beautifully photographed Botanica Magnifica, as well as one of the John James Audubon’s Birds of North America folios. Rita Braver also joined Overstreet for a tour into the library’s rare book vault, where volumes dating back to the 15th century are carefully monitored at controlled temperature and humidity levels.
Botanica Magnifica is a five-volume, double elephant folio that holds 250 detailed shots of rare flowers. Most of the vibrantly-colored photographs were taken in the Smithsonian Department of Botany Research Greenhouses, located in Suitland, Md. Singer donated this unique copy of Botanica Magnifica to the Cullman Library in May of 2008.
Please tune in on April 12 to watch this segment! —Liz O'Brien
Jonathan Singer, CBS Senior Correspondent Rita Braver and CBS
production staff/crew. Photograph by Leslie K. Overstreet