Between Pages—the Art of Bill Traylor

On the occasion of Between Worlds: The Art of Bill Traylor, the first major retrospective ever organized for an artist born into slavery and the most comprehensive look at Bill Traylor’s work to date, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Sept. 28, 2018 – Mar. 17, 2019, we take a look at a special Traylor work in our library collections.  Bill Traylor’s art is colorful—floating silhouettes of yellow, red and purple dogs, more »

If Books Could Kill: A Deadly Secret in the Cullman Library

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 more »

Significant donation from the Art Students League of New York

The Smithsonian Libraries is pleased to announce the donation of research ephemera for more than 4,000 artists from the Art Students League of New York (ASL), to be housed at the American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library.

Catesby in the Classroom: Students Explore the Intersection of Art and Science

In the early eighteenth century, English naturalist Mark Catesby set foot in a New World. After spending the better part of ten years, spread across two separate trips, exploring and documenting North America’s rich biodiversity, he would eventually publish his research and original artworks as the first fully illustrated book on the flora and fauna of North America.    Published over eighteen years between 1729-1747, The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and more »

Eerie October happenings with Smithsonian Libraries

The month of October brings lots of some spooky good times for Smithsonian Libraries. Pumpkin carving patterns, the science of Frankenstein, a behind-the-scenes tour of rare anatomy books, and more!

Corcoran Artist Vertical File collection donated to the Smithsonian Libraries

The Smithsonian Libraries is pleased to announce the donation of research ephemera for more than 8,000 artists from the Corcoran Gallery of Art (CGA) in Washington, D.C., to be housed at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library. The Smithsonian AA/PG Library recently acquired the Artist Vertical File collection from the Trustees of the Corcoran, which encompasses a large collection of published ephemera related to artists, with particular more »

African American art and the Harmon Foundation

  When wealthy real estate developer William Elmer Harmon founded the Harmon Foundation in 1922, it originally supported causes as varied as playgrounds, biblical films and nursing programs. But it is better known today as one of the first major supporters of African American creativity and ingenuity.

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