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Month: August 2013

Labor in America


Preamble and Declaration of Principles of the Knights of Labor of America
Preamble and Declaration of Principles of the Knights of Labor of America

In 1894, Labor Day, celebrated on the first Monday in September, was officially established and signed into law by President Grover Cleveland (1837-1908) to recognize the contribution of American workers. The day is usually associated with trade unionism and its historic appeals for the right to organize in the workplace, the eight hour workday, the five day work week, workman’s compensation, the abolishment of night work without compensation, equal pay for equal work, and the abolishment of child labor. These hard fought for rights which are currently viewed as given conditions in the workplace were won through the organizational skills and spilled blood of labor leaders and the rank and file  The Smithsonian houses many volumes dealing with labor history; the following monographs are located in the American Art/National Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG).

Great Moon Hoax Continues: Lunarians Discovered

Moon Hoax image from Italian Newspaper
Moon Hoax image from Italian Newspaper depicting missionaries aiding the Lunarians.

The Great Moon Hoax continues. During the following days, Herschel’s new found discoveries were astonishing New Yorkers as the story spread like wild fire and was starting to find an audience beyond New York City itself including a number of scientist some of whom bought into the story, while others were fascinated but not so easily convinced. As a matter of fact, several scientists from Yale traveled to New York City in search of the truth behind the report. Back to the story at hand, Herschel’s subsequent nights of observations found him discovering even more astonishing flora, fauna, and geological marvels. 

The Moon Hoax of 1835: Great Astronomical Discoveries

Man Bats on the Moon
Man Bats Discovered on the Moon

During this week in 1835, an incredible story broke in the Sun Newspaper, New York City, which reported that the famed astronomer Sir John Herschel had made Great Astronomical Discoveries. While cataloging and mapping nebulae in the night sky at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, Herschel trained his reportedly hyper powerful telescope on the Moon. The specifics of the telescope was covered in the first day’s article. 

Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Walt Kelly

This post was written by Leslie K. Overstreet, Curator of Natural-History Rare Books.

Walt Kelly, famed field naturalist of the Okeefenokee Swamp, was born on Aug.25, 1913.

He first revealed Okeefenokee’s extraordinary zoological community to the world in 1949.  It included an alligator, turtle, owl, porcupine, skunk, three bats, even worms on occasion, and various others.  Contrary to basic scientific protocols, Kelly tended to personalize, even anthropomorphize, his research subjects: He named them, for example, and published a series of illustrations of their behavior and interactions that ran in newspapers nationwide for decades. 

Description of adorable new mammal in Smithsonian Research Online!

In case you missed the news last week, a Smithsonian scientist has identified a new mammal species, one that is particularly fuzzy and cute. Meet the olinguito!

We are pleased to tell you that the paper describing the species, first published in the open access journal ZooKeys, can be found in the Libraries’ Digital Repository .

Olinguito by Mark Gurney
Olinguito. Photo by Mark Gurney

Air & Space Library Interns Create Cool New Tools!

Kari Dalane and Maggie Lisman: Lockheed Martin Interns

Did you know that today, August 19th, is National Aviation Day? This day, the birthday of Orville Wright, was chosen to celebrate flight.  In honor of the day, we’d like to give you a sneak peek at an exciting new project from our National Air and Space Museum Library and introduce you to the two intrepid interns making it possible. This project was generously funded by Lockheed Martin.