Black Friday is upon us! The day American retailers look forward to all year long, expecting a surge in purchases as customers prepare for holiday gift-giving. But if you’re not interested in braving the crowded shopping malls (in fact, we hope you’re reading this in a comfy chair with a plate of leftovers!), consider gifting your loved ones with something you can purchase from home and that benefits generations to come. Take a look at our Adopt-A-Book offerings!
We think you’ll find something for just about everyone on your list. And while you can’t wrap your adopted books up and put them under the tree (have you seen what tape can do to books anyway?!), your purchase will be honored with a book plate and the warm feeling of knowing you’ve helped further important research at the Smithsonian Institution and, ultimately, around the world.
For the Modern Art Lover:
The catalog is a collaboration between the poet Robert Creeley (1926-2005) and the influential American pop artist Robert Indiana (1928- ) (best known for his Love graphic and sculpture). The book contains 10 screen-printed number designs by Indiana and 10 accompanying poems (one for each number) by Creeley printed in both English and German.
For the Space Geek:
Smith’s Illustrated Astronomy
Asa Smith, the Principal of a New York City public school, felt there was a need for an introductory astronomy textbook both affordable and accessible to “common readers” who may lack the mathematical background presumed by more sophisticated options. Smith’s goal was to “present all distinguishing principles in physical Astronomy with as few words as possible; but with such ocular demonstrations, by way of diagrams and maps, as shall make the subject easily understood.” The woodcut diagrams that face the Q&A-style lessons were drawn on the blocks by Smith himself, and then engraved, and he felt these “ocular demonstrations… shall make the subject easily understood.” Interest in astronomy had grown in the United States in the years leading up to 1848, when the first edition appeared. This copy is the 4th edition (New York, 1849), but Smith’s successful work would be reprinted and put to use in schools for nearly two decades.
For the Design Fanatic:
Hand blocked wall papers
Wallpapers by Edward Bawden printed at the Curwen Press by David McKitterick ; with an introduction by Edward Bawden, the Whittington Press. Andoversford, Gloucestershire : Printed and published by the Whittington Press …, 1988, c1989. f NK3447.6.B35 A4 1988. Cooper-Hewitt National Design Library. For a few years after 1926, the Curwen Press produced a series of wallpapers. They were designed principally by Edward Bawden, whose linocuts were transferred to lithographic plates for printing. Unlike most modern wallpapers, printed on long rolls of paper, these were printed in the traditional manner as sheets. Very This limited edition contains some of the surviving wallpaper design sheets, none of which have been reprinted in modern times.
For the Aspiring Poet:
One Way Ticket: Poems by Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes (1902-1967) is arguably the most famous poet of the Harlem Renaissance and Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000) is among the most famous artists from this movement. This book is a collaboration of two great African American masters with Lawrence illustrating themes of the poems. The book is signed by both Hughes and Lawrence to Edith Halpert a New York City art dealer who showcased many important modern American artists including Lawrence.
For the World Traveler:
A narrative of travels in Northern Africa, in the years 1818, 19, and 20
The 17 hand-colored prints of early 19th century Northern and Western Africans are not only elegant, but are also valuable historical documents on clothing, headgear, jewelry, and weaponry of that era. “Camel conveying a bride to her husband” (opposite page 299) is one of the most dramatic images, but all provide a wealth of information for the historian and art historian. George Francis Lyon’s clear narrative is a remarkable interweaving of history, geography, and ethnography of a part of the world virtually unknown at the time of his travels in 1818-1820.
For the Sci-fi Fan:
Lunar discoveries of Mr. Herschel…
These rare hand-tinted lithographs by Italian artist Leopoldo Galluzzo illustrate what became known as “The Great Moon Hoax of 1835.” In what was intended as a satirical newspaper article, New York Sun newspaper writer Richard Adams Locke boldly claimed that famed British astronomer Sir John Herschel had discovered life on the moon. This incredible news story, which ran over several issues, detailed a fantastic and lush lunar landscape inhabited by bipedal beavers, single horned bison, and winged extraterrestrials with an advanced civilization. Locke’s satirical story lampooned religious theories of extraterrestrial life (the “plurality of worlds” question was hotly debated at the time). It was, however, widely believed to be true and even inspired calls for balloon travels to the moon for exploration and missionary work. The story quickly spread, in spite of its being fictional, and by 1836 had found its way around the globe through international newspapers, and into the public’s imagination.
And on this, the day after Thanksgiving, we would like to take a moment to note how thankful we are for those that have adopted books from our program. Thanks to you, hundred of items have been either added to our collection or carefully conserved for future use. To learn more about the benefits of our Adopt-A-Book program and to see many, many more books available for adoption, please visit our webpage here.