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Tag: Smithsonian Transcription Center

America’s First Known African American Scientist and Mathematician

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.

Celebrating Our Man of Many Hats: William Henry Holmes

December 1st is the 170th birthday of William Henry Holmes, the Smithsonian’s own Renaissance man. Early in the Smithsonian’s history, Holmes served as the head of the Anthropology Department and later the first director of what would become the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Starting today, we’re celebrating his legacy.

Explore Emil Schimpf’s airships on National Aviation Day

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Cover of Vorläuflige instruction über zusammensetzung gebrauch des Luftschifferpark.

Today, August 19th, marks National Aviation Day and we’re celebrating with a lesser-known flying vehicle — the airship. Emil Schimpf’s ballooning manuscript Vorläufige Instruction über Zusammensetzung Gebrauch des Luftschifferparks was recently added to the Smithsonian Transcription Center and is available for crowd-sourced transcription.

Harrison Dyar: Personal meets Professional

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Harrison G. Dyar, Jr., third from right, with Entomology staff of the U.S. National Museum in 1905. Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Archives.

From May 13-20th, the Smithsonian Libraries is participating in the #DigIntoDyar campaign – encouraging the public to transcribe the field books of this remarkable entomologist in the Smithsonian Transcription Center and to learn more about his life and work. This post was written by Marc Epstein, Research Associate at the National Museum of Natural History and author of Moths, Myths and Mosquitos:The Eccentric Life of Harrison G. Dyar, Jr.. You can read Marc’s first post about Dyar here and second here.

Harrison Dyar’s scientific legacy has been overshadowed because he dug extensive underground labyrinths and because of his known bigamy (both explored in-depth in this Washington Post series).  His family wealth allowed him to either work gratis or for a pittance at the Smithsonian from 1897-1929.