A Temple of the Useful Arts: Highlights from the History of the Patent Office Building

There was always going to be something beautiful at the corner of 8th and F Streets in northwest Washington D.C. Pierre L’Enfant, in his earliest plans for the city, originally designated the site for a hall of American heroes. Nearly fifty years later, in 1836, President Andrew Jackson authorized the construction of the United States Patent Office Building as a tribute to American innovation. It was given the nickname “temple of the more »

Exploring Our Collections with “Bill T. Jones”

This year is Smithsonian Libraries is celebrating 50 years as  a unified system. While each museum has (at least) one library dedicated research material on items related to the museum’s collection; as a branch system, The Libraries’ help researchers explore any part of a question that interests them. This sounds pretty straightforward, but what does it look like in real life? To find out, this post explore how one item from a more »

One intern’s trip around the World’s Fairs

–This post was written by Jenna Fattah, a Summer 2017 intern at the American Art & Portrait Gallery Library. She is a junior at Indiana University Bloomington studying History. She hopes to continue on to get her Masters in Library Science. Interested in interning with Smithsonian Libraries? Check out our internship opportunities for Spring 2018. As an American Art & Portrait Gallery Library intern, I was lucky to spend my summer surrounded more »

The ABC’s of the Corcoran Artist Files: the G’s

In the series called “The ABCs of the Corcoran Artist Files” the American Art and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library will explore artists through the materials from the recent Corcoran Vertical File Collection donation by featuring artists whose surnames begin with that letter. This time we are looking at the artists whose last names start with G.

The Fix: Preservation and “Principles of Beauty Relative to the Human Head”

Principles of Beauty Relative to the Human Head by Alexander Cozens was published in 1778 by James Dixwell in London. It is a large book measuring 55 by 38 centimeters (21.5 by 15 inches) and is part of the American Art and Portrait Gallery Library collection. It came to the Book Conservation Lab as part of Smithsonian Libraries Adopt-a-Book program. The content includes printed drawings of women’s heads and their various facial more »

Finding family ties in the American Art and Portrait Gallery Library

On a rainy April morning, Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board member Amy Threefoot Valeiras and her family visited the American Art and Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG). What they found surprised everyone! Anne Evenhaugen and Alexandra Reigle, staff at the AA/PG Library, selected a variety of books and artists’ books to show our visitors. One of these was a carte de visite book, featuring photographic trading cards for nineteenth-century American painters. (What is a more »

Hard-edged, Bright Color: Beyond the End

In conjunction with the recent exhibition “Hard-edged, Bright Color: The Washington Color School” produced by Angelique Roy at the American Art and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library, the blog has been exploring the group of color artists featured in the exhibition. 

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