As a preeminent American literary figure, Edgar Allan Poe is widely known for his tales of horror and the macabre. Less well known about Poe is his place in literary history as inventor of detective fiction, his contributions to the emergence of science fiction, and as editor of a textbook on conchology (The conchologist’s first book). It is through his work as science fiction writer that Poe found his way into Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction 1780-1910, a Smithsonian Libraries’ exhibition, now on display at the National Museum of American History in the Smithsonian Libraries gallery space located in One West.
Month: October 2015
Want more creepy skeletons? Join us for a live Periscope tour on Thursday, October 29th at 1pm!
Halloween is quickly approaching and with it come the traditional decorations of bats, pumpkins, ghosts and of course, skeletons. Back in the 1500’s, one man changed the way the medical world saw the skeletal and muscular systems of the human body. That man, Andreas Vesalius, illustrated anatomical features in his De humani corporis fabrica (On the structure of the human body) in a way never before seen. Although the pages below may seem pretty gruesome they come from one of the most influential anatomy books of all time.
With Halloween just around the corner, this is the perfect time to flip through candy-related trade catalogs. Today, with the mass production of products, we might not think about how things were made in the past. To make candy, ingredients needed to be grated, peeled, granulated, and cut. What machines performed that work? And how long did it take?
The conservation of special collections materials is rarely a straightforward endeavor. It’s important to treat each item as a unique object, and to let its particular history and condition drive the decision-making process. Often, the path forward is only revealed once treatment begins, as the conservator becomes more and more familiar with the book, sometimes through research and analysis, but often simply by observing and handling the book over a period of time.
The Smithsonian Libraries is currently accepting applications for Spring 2016 internships. These projects would be great educational experiences for library science students performing work for practicum or field study requirements. more »
Readers of the Sunday Washington Post are familiar with the weekly feature called, ‘5 Myths” where misconceptions about certain timely topics are discussed and debunked. (A recent issue clarified some popular myths about giant pandas, calling on the expertise of Dr. Bill McShea of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute). It may be helpful to point out some things about the Smithsonian Research Online (SRO) program that might be misunderstood by researchers and Smithsonian staff.
The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library recently obtained this renowned example of early 20th century book and graphic design entitled Dlja golosa (For the Voice), published in Berlin in 1923. The sixty-one page softcover work, a collaboration of Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930) and designer El Lissitzky (1890-1941), rhythmically interlaces innovative constructivist style layouts and patterns with thirteen futurist poems.