Interested in exploring books and archives dating back to the 13th century? Join our summer rare book school! The Smithsonian Libraries and Archives, in collaboration with UCLA’s California Rare Book more »
Tag: rare books
Join us for a virtual tour on Tuesday, November 15th! The Smithsonian Libraries and Archives presents a new exhibition, “Nature of the Book,” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural more »
The Smithsonian American Art and Portrait Gallery Library has in its collection a book of poetry bound in a beautiful hand-painted vellum cover, with scrolling Celtic calligraphy and designs of more »
Magnificent Obsessions Speaker Series – Beyond Brontë: The Essential Act of Collecting Books by Women
The Smithsonian Libraries invites you to the third in a series of talks related to our newest exhibition, Magnificent Obsessions: Why We Collect: Beyond Brontë: The Essential Act of Collecting Books more »
The Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History’s 1602 edition of Ulisse Aldrovandi’s De animalibus insectis has always been a favorite of mine, and the rest of our special collections staff. Aside from being the first European work dedicated solely to the natural history of insects and featuring numerous incredible woodcut illustrations, it also retains its beautiful contemporary binding. But this binding is just as dangerous as it is lovely: the green paint adorning the vellum of the front and back boards is laced with arsenic.
In the Book Conservation Lab we sometimes treat books requiring intricate repairs. In November, Kaigara Danmen Zuan printed in Kyoto in 1913 and authored by Yoichiro Hirase came to us for repair work. It was recently adopted through an Adopt-a-Book event hosted at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. The book itself is from that museum’s library.
Hirase was a prominent malacologist (mollusk scientist) in Japan who collected over 3,500 seashells, 1,000 of which were new discoveries at the time. The idea for this book came from his experimentation with cutting shells at different angles producing cross sections that, when inked, produced interesting stamps.
‘So you don’t have to go to the trouble of reading:’ Indexing, note-taking, and correction-making in Pliny’s 1491 Naturalis Historia
“Do your reading!” and “Don’t write in your books!” are two oft-echoed directions from schoolteachers. A 1491 edition of Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historia housed in our Joseph F. more »