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Smithsonian Institution Libraries Opportunities for Research 2012

Situated at the center of the world’s largest museum complex, the Smithsonian Libraries is a vital part of the research, exhibition, and educational enterprise of the Institution. Each Smithsonian scholar engages in an individual voyage of discovery using the artifacts and specimens of the Smithsonian Institution in conjunction with the Libraries’ written and illustrated record of the past. The Libraries is uniquely positioned to help scholars understand the continuing vitality of this relationship, via exceptional research resources ranging from 15th-century manuscripts to electronic journals.

John James Audubon The birds of America : from drawings made in the United States
and their territories
, 1840-1844, Ruby throated hummingbird.

The Spencer Baird Society Resident Scholar Program

Stipends of $3,500 per month for up to six months are available to support scholarly research in the Special Collections of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries in Washington, DC and New York, NY, in an extensive range of subject areas. Historians, librarians, doctoral students, and postdoctoral fellows are welcome to apply.

These collections include rare books in the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History (pre-1840 works on topics such as botany, zoology, travel & exploration, museums & collecting, geology, anthropology, and James Smithson’s library); World’s Fairs printed materials from the 19th and early 20th centuries (located at the Dibner Library, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and National Museum of American History libraries); manufacturers’ commercial trade catalogs at the National Museum of American History Library; rare materials in the history of ballooning, rocketry, and aviation from the late 18th to the early 20th centuries at the National Air and Space Museum Library’s Ramsey Room; European and American decorative arts, architecture, and design collections from the 18th to the 20th centuries at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum Library’s Bradley Room; and rare materials on the history of art and artists, exhibition catalogs, catalogues raisonnés, and artists’ ephemera at the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library.

This award is supported by the many annual donors to the Smithsonian Institution Libraries.

Johannes Hevelius, Machinae Coelestis Pars Prior [and Posterior] [Celestial machines, or astronomical instruments], 1673-79, Four male figures (including Tycho Brahe, Copernicus, and possibly Ptolemy and Aristotle) contemplate a celestial globe; allegorical figures surround them.

The Dibner Library Resident Scholar Program

Stipends of $3,500 per month for up to six months are available to support scholarly research using the history of science and technology rare books and manuscripts at the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Historians, librarians, doctoral students, and postdoctoral fellows are welcome to apply.

The collection of the Dibner Library contains over 20,000 rare books and 1,800 manuscript groups covering a wide variety of subject areas and time periods. The strengths of the collection are in the fields of the physical sciences, particularly mathematics, astronomy, classical and Renaissance natural philosophy, theoretical and experimental physics (especially electricity and magnetism), engineering technology, as well as scientific apparatus and instruments. The periods covered range from early printed works of ancient Greek and medieval scholars through the Renaissance and Early Modern eras up through the 19th century. The collection includes significant holdings of works by Aristotle, Euclid, Ptolemy, Sacrobosco, Regiomontanus, Apian, Galileo, Kepler, Descartes, Newton, Laplace, Euler, Gauss, Oersted, and many others. The core of the holdings of the Dibner Library is the approximately 10,000 rare books and manuscripts that were generously donated by the Burndy Library (Bern Dibner, founder) to the Smithsonian Institution on the occasion of the nation’s bicentennial. The Dibner Library is located in the National Museum of American History on the Mall in Washington, DC.

The Dibner Library Resident Scholar Program is supported by the family of Frances K. Dibner.

For further information about the Resident Scholar Program, including application forms and procedures, please visit the SI Libraries’ website.

Additional inquiries may be addressed to: or Smithsonian Institution Libraries / Resident Scholar Programs / P.O. Box 37012 / NMAH 1041 MRC 672 / Washington, DC 20013-7012. The Margaret Henry Dabney Penick Resident Scholar Program will be on hiatus during 2012. Resident Scholars are required to be in residence during the award period, which must be taken during the 2012 calendar year. All application materials must be submitted by March 15, 2011.

Liz O'Brien

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