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Author: Liz O'Brien

Donations Reveal a Family’s History

Last year, the Dibner Library for the History of Science and Technology received four unique donations by siblings James L. Cerruti and Vera V. Magruder (nee Cerruti): James Bishop’s musical Gamut of 1766, Uri Bishop’s Military Music from the War of 1812, and Jonathan Edwards’ Treatise on Religious Affections (New York: American Tract Society) and Sermons on Various Important Subjects (Edinburgh/Boston: Gray, 1785). These items provide fascinating glimpses into early American history as well as their own family tale.

Moving Pictures: Renaissance Painter-Engineers

Noa Turel in the Dibner Library vault.

This post was written by Noa Turel, Ph.D./Assistant Professor, Department of Art & Art History, University of Alabama at Birmingham and Dibner Library Fellow, January-March 2016. Applications are currently open for 2017 fellowship opportunities.

My three-month winter residency at the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology was tremendously helpful in shaping and grounding my book project Ingenious Secrets: Painting and Research in Fifteenth-Century Courts. Coming in, I had three bibliographies of Dibner Library special collections materials through which I sought to advance my understanding of the phenomenon at the heart of this book, the curious employment of painters as engineers in Renaissance courts. The rare books, manuscripts, and visual materials I found in the course of my residency far exceeded my original estimation in the proposal. I wound up consulting many more items as well as secondary sources, finding over 130 to be helpful for my research.

Secretary Skorton Adopts Books!

(L-R): Nancy E. Gwinn, Mary Augusta Thomas, Leslie Overstreet, Lilla Vekerdy, and Secretary Skorton.

Last February we welcomed Smithsonian Secretary David J. Skorton to the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library in the National Museum of Natural History. On behalf of his wife Dr. Robin Davisson and himself, the Secretary was on a mission to select books for conservation as part of the Libraries’ Adopt-a-Book Program. Lilla Vekerdy, head of special collections, and Leslie Overstreet, curator of natural history rare books, displayed special treasures dating back to the 16th century from our collection. While we may have enticed him with too many selections, the Secretary ultimately chose three books: