Beautifully produced but small, the cookbook Home at the Range with George Rector packs a lot of material culture in its 140 pages. Anything but stuffy, this culinary artifact more »
Tag: Smithsonian Institution Libraries
Morgan E. Aronson and Julia Blakely co-authored this piece. James M. Goode, former Keeper of the Smithsonian Institution Building (affectionately known as “The Castle”) received this year the Individual more »
Rare book cataloging can require some detective work. A recent case for me involved a record of ancient coins in the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, transferred to the Smithsonian’s Dibner Library for cataloging from the National Museum of American History’s National Numismatic Collection. This is also a tale of how a book can reveal unexpected histories.
William Bond Walker, the first librarian of the Smithsonian American Art and Portrait Gallery Library, died on February 22, 2017 at the age of 86. Bill Walker was hired in 1964 to more »
At the beginning of February, Black History Month, the former slave Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was much in the news. The most prominent African American of the 19th century, he first moved to Washington, D.C. in the early 1870s after his home in Rochester, New York burned down. Here he published his newspaper, The New National Era. From 1877 until his death in 1895, Douglass lived and worked in a stately Victorian house, called Cedar Hill, overlooking the Anacostia River. The property is in the D.C. Southeast quadrant and has been maintained since 1988 as a National Historic Site by the National Park Service.
September is National Potato Month. Almost all the potatoes grown in the United States are planted in the spring and gathered in the fall. It is the time of year that schools in northern Maine have “harvest break” when students work to dig and sort the season’s spud crop soon after summer vacation.
Maine’s custom is one small part of the very long and interwoven agricultural, economic, social, culinary, medical, and ritual histories of this humble staple. It is a story that stretches from ancient gardens in the Andean Mountains 10,000 to 8,000 years ago … to perhaps Mars in the future? In the recent movie, The Martian, the stranded astronaut-botanist (played by Matt Damon), bases his long-term survival strategy on the Red Planet, not completely unfeasibly, on planting potatoes. But is the potato relevant for us today?
You may have noticed some exciting changes around the Smithsonian. The birth of a baby panda, the discovery of new mammal olinguito, and the display of Leonardo DaVinci’s Codex on the Flight of Birds are just a few of our recent accolades.