The Libraries has a very well-developed exchange program, in which we receive print serials from organizations in the U.S. and abroad in return for their receipt of our Smithsonian Contributions monographic series. Many of these exchange partnerships go back to the beginning of the twentieth century, some even further.
One of the Libraries’ long-standing exchange partners is the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum located in Frankfurt, Germany. The Senckenberg Museum is currently owned and operated by the Senckenberg Nature Research Society. The German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe founded the Research Society during his 1815 visit to his hometown of Frankfurt. The society is named after the medical doctor Johann Christian Senckenberg, who was an important Frankfurt benefactor in the eighteenth century. The Society now has some 4,000 members.
The first museum building was opened in 1821, and is today one of the largest natural history museums in Germany and in the world, focusing on the fields of anthropology, botany, geology, paleontology, and zoology. Its researchers and scientists ultimately work toward environmental protection and sustainability and biodiversity management.
Two titles the Libraries receive are Senckenbergiana Lethaea (as of 2009 called Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments) and Senckenbergiana Maritima (as of 2009 called Marine Biodiversity) dealing with paleontology and marine biology and geology.
We have been corresponding and exchanging with the Society since at least the 1920’s. Below are some of the early exchange letters the Libraries has on file.—Polly Khater
Top: 1921 letter in German
Middle: Translation of 1921 German letter
Bottom: Letter from 1926