Smithsonian Libraries Presents: 50th Anniversary Lecture Series

  In 2018, the Smithsonian Libraries will celebrate 50 years as a unified library system. In honor of this special anniversary, the Libraries will host a lecture series celebrating the history of the Smithsonian and the role that books and literature have played in its growth over the years. These lectures are free and open to the public with the first on January 18th, 2018 (details below). We invite you to come more »

Smithson’s Cookbook: English Curry

The origin of curry, the saucy, spiced dish celebrated in India and Great Britain, is not exactly known.   But it is now thought that similarly spiced dishes were developed concurrently, but independent of each other, in England and in India thanks to the spice routes that spanned from Asia and into Europe.   Exotic spices like turmeric and pepper made their way into England during the conquests of the Romans in 40 AD and the Moors in 711 AD, and came in handy during Middle Ages when highly seasoned meats could make aging meat more palatable.

Around the Libraries in 180 Days (Give or Take): An Intern Recaps Her Libraries Experience

It’s hard to believe that my time at the Libraries has come to an end! Since there was a post about me here when I began my internship back in January, I thought I’d give a summary of what I’ve done since then.

National “Joe” Day

For National “Joe” Day, the Libraries would like to feature some digital collections from its Joseph F. Cullman 3rd, Library of Natural History.

It’s Not Called Washington for No Reason …

As noted by Smithsonian namesake James Smithson in his personal copy of Travels through the states of North America: and the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, during the years 1795, 1796, and 1797, 1807 by Isaac Weld: Thanks George, for this capital city and happy birthday! —Elizabeth Periale

Happy Birthday Smithsonian Institution!

On August 10, 1846, Congress passed an act establishing the Smithsonian Institution, named in honor of James Smithson, a British mineralogist and chemist who unexpectedly bequeathed a fortune to the United States government for “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”

July 14 is Bastille Day

Images: Smithson letter of “May 9, Year 4” Bastille Day, a French national holiday, commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison by the populace of Paris to free political prisoners of the royal government (and obtain a supply of ammunition and gunpowder) on July 14, 1789. It symbolizes the start of the French Revolution, more formally initiated in August when feudalism was abolished and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was proclaimed. A young man named James L. Macie traveled to Paris two years later. He had been born there in 1765 to a wealthy English widow and her lover Hugh Smithson, who later became the Duke of Northumberland, but as an illegitimate son James was never acknowledged by his father and was barred by English law and custom from certain professions, rights, and privileges. He was therefore understandably thrilled by the winds of democratic change and social progress that were sweeping away age-old inequalities and injustices in France. In May of 1792—which he mistakenly more »

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