Movable London

Elizabeth Broman and Julia Blakely co-authored this post The plot of the recent film, “Paddington 2,” revolves around a one-of-a-kind pop-up book. In a wonderful scene, the good-souled, marmalade-loving bear is transported after opening the covers to movable parts within, unfurling into a dream of London (link here). Paddington declares it is the perfect gift (“like she were finally here”) for his adored Aunt Lucy in “Darkest Peru.” The volume is for more »

New “World’s Fairs” Collection in our Digital Library

Explore one of our newest collections in our digital library containing books, catalogs and ephemera from 19th and 20th century World’s Fairs and Expositions. The majority of the items in this collection were digitized by an outside vendor as part of a special project. Pieces in this collection date from the mid 1800’s to the early 1900’s, highlighting experiences from different fairs that took place all over the world, from America to Europe and more »

Women’s Work in the Early Book Trade

In 16th-century Spain, manuals detailing the finer points of sailing and navigation were printed. It was the Age of Discovery and the country was establishing lucrative trade routes across the seas while expanding their colonial empire. Other nations were keen to tap into the Spaniards’ great expertise found in this literature, as there was little maritime information published elsewhere. Books were a means of developing knowledge of geography and voyaging to be more »

Teratology in the Dibner: The Beckwith-Browning Collection

The Smithsonian Libraries’ Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology has received a significant book collection donated by J. Bruce Beckwith, MD, notable pediatrician, bibliographer, and book collector. The donation encompasses ca. 800 titles, most of them rare, in the field of teratology. Teratology, the science of birth defects, pediatric anomalies, malformations in humans, animals and plants—as the main subject of a rare book collection—understandably generates some resistance in some more »

The Fix: Treating Historic Sheet Music

Earlier this year, two music manuscripts arrived in the book conservation lab from the Dibner Library for the History of Science and Technology. These two small items, James Bishop’s musical Gamut of 1766, and Uri Bishop’s Military Music from the War of 1812, were part of a donation earlier in the year by James L. Cerruti and his sister Vera V. Magruder. The generous gift was featured in a Smithsonian Libraries blog more »

Wonder Woman investigated: National Comic Book Day at the Dibner Library

Amid the manuscripts, incunabula and early modern texts at the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology are two bright blue binders that don’t seem to quite fit, in every sense of the word. Too big for the shelf and too 20th century for the Dibner, don’t judge these books by their covers! In honor of National Comic Book Day we would like to highlight two of the Dibner’s most popular more »

‘The whole man at once:’ scientific identities at the Dibner Library – Augustin-Louis Cauchy

“George Sarton, a founder of the history of science as an academic discipline, argued that scholars should pay close attention to portraits. These images, he said, can give you ‘the whole man at once.’ With a ‘great portrait,’ Sarton believed, ‘you are given immediately some fundamental knowledge of him, which even the longest descriptions and discussions would fail to evoke.’ Sarton’s ideas led Bern Dibner to purchase portrait prints of men and women of science and technology. Many of these are now in the Smithsonian’s Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology.” – Deborah Jean Warner, Curator, Physical Sciences Collection A picture may tell 1000 words, but another 500 for context can add depth to the image. Follow this blog series to discover the people behind the portraits available online in the Scientific Identity collection.  

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