Spotting a First Edition of Peterson’s A Field Guide to the Birds

Should you happen to spot—say, in a yard sale, thrift store or grandparent’s house—an old copy of that classic of ornithological literature, A Field Guide to the Birds, have a close look. The first printing of the first edition of 1934 is calling for prices well over $10,000 in the antiquarian book trade. One was recently spied by keen-eyed staff in an office at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park. This volume has more »

2018 Dibner Library Lecture: Medical book collecting and scholarship

The Smithsonian Libraries invites you to the 2018 Dibner Library Lecture, featuring Dr. Bruce Fye:   Medical book collecting and scholarship: A recovering bibliomaniac shares his perspective Thursday, December 6th, 2018, 5 pm National Museum of Natural History Q?rius Theater, Ground Floor W. Bruce Fye, MD, MA Emeritus Professor of Medicine and the History of Medicine Emeritus Consultant, Department of Cardiology Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota   In this talk, Dr. Fye will discuss more »

Smithsonian Libraries Opens “Magnificent Obsessions”

The Smithsonian Libraries presents a new exhibition, “Magnificent Obsessions: Why We Collect,” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History beginning Nov. 7. “Magnificent Obsessions” will be on display through July 1, 2020.     “Magnificent Obsessions” tells the captivating stories of the book collectors whose diverse interests and passions helped shape—and continue to contribute to—the Smithsonian Libraries. Through rare books, manuscripts and other intriguing items from across the varied Libraries of more »

An Ozzy Interview, or The Librarian and The Collector

The Smithsonian Libraries are contributing an Ozzy blog post in honor of The National Museum of American History’s kickstarter campaign to #Keep Them Ruby. Sometimes referred to as “the Harry Potter of its time”, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was an enormous success. Published in 1900, author L. Frank Baum and illustrator W.W. Denslow created what is widely regarded as America’s first fairytale. The popularity grew into a series of 40 stories, more »

A Surprising Discovery

The AA/PG Library staff is proud to have such treasures in our collection. Even so, it clearly remains to be seen how many other treasures are hiding in the stacks quietly waiting to be discovered.

The World’s Most Expensive Book, 2010

The Wall Street Journal did an extensive article on Birds of America, for which Libraries Director Nancy E. Gwinn was interviewed and quoted. Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History Rare Book Librarian Leslie Overstreet was featured in a BBC News video talking about Audubon and featuring the Libraries’ copy of the book.

Rare-book Detective Work: The Nuremberg Chronicle

Perhaps the quirkiest characteristic of the Chronicle is its inclusion of blank pages between the 1493 present and the anticipated Last Judgment. More than just a symbolic representation of the unknown future, the pages give owners of the Chronicle space to record the rest of history with their own pens. Evidently, the chroniclers believed that the Second Coming wasn’t far off, as they only left three blank leaves with which to complete the task.

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