Libraries Receives Combined Federal Campaign Merit Award

During the Fall 2008 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), many Smithsonian Institution Libraries staff members gave generously. Library staff contributed to a variety of charities via payroll deduction and one-time giving. Because of this generosity, and because the Libraries exceeded its CFC goal, the Libraries was one of eleven Smithsonian units to be given a Merit Award at the CFC awards ceremony on March 19th. This award is given to units where there is either 50% employee participation or gifts equaling $125 per capita. The Libraries had 106 potential donors with a goal of $9,500 – and actually raised $14,689 from 21 donors. Congratulations! The 2008 CFC coordinator for the Libraries was Alvin Hutchinson, who is seen here receiving the Merit Award from Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough.—Elizabeth Periale

Thomas Sully carte-de-visite – AA/PG Library

recto: Thomas Sully(born Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England, 1783; died Philadelphia, PA,1872) rear: Carte-de-visite photographer: H.G. DeBurlo, Philadelphia, PA During his lifetime, Thomas Sully was one of the most prominent portrait painters in the United States with over two thousand portraits attributed to him.  After the death of Gilbert Stuart, he was probably the United States' most prominent American portrait painter. Born in England, Sully emigrated to the United States in 1792. He established his first studio in Richmond, Virginia by 1804 and subsequently moved to New York City (where, for a time, he worked as a studio assistant for John Trumbull, the American artist), then Hartford, Connecticut (during which he went up to Boston, Massachusetts to meet Gilbert Stuart). He finally settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1807 where remained for the rest of his life. Sully attracted notice for his new studio by announcing to paint thirty portraits for the first thirty customers for thirty dollars each. From this humble start, Sully's reputation as a portrait painter grew which brought him more »

BHL Book of the Month – The Entomologist

Then Entomologist, Volume 10, 1877Originally uploaded by Smithsonian Libraries Fancy a bit of poetry with your entomology? In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the British journal The Entomologist began each volume with a sampling of verses related to nature. In this page from Volume 10 (1877), a passage from the Bible is quoted alongside the work of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.—Erin Clements Rushing

Dreaming of cherry blossoms

According to the National Park Service, the blossoms should be peaking this weekend. Wm. Elliott & Sons, 50th Annual Edition, 1895. One of the fabulous seed catalogs from the Libraries' Galaxy of Images. —Elizabeth Periale

OCLC’s Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records

The Smithsonian Institution Libraries' response. On November 4, 2008, OCLC announced the release of its new Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records as a replacement for the Guidelines for the Use and Transfer of OCLC-Derived Records (November 16, 1987).  The new policy has elicited concern and generated much discussion in the library community.  In response to the largely negative reaction on the part of the library community,  OCLC withdrew the policy and on January 13, 2009, announced the creation of a Review Board of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship whose charge is to  “Consult with librarians and member representatives as appropriate; review reports, letters and comments including blog and listserv messages from the global library community regarding the revised Policy; and recommend principles of shared data creation and changes in the Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records that will preserve the community around WorldCat infrastructure and services, and strengthen libraries.”   A final report is due at the May Members Council meeting. The implementation of a new more »

New notable additions to AA/PG library in March

Clair, Jean, ed.  The 1930s: The Making of “The New Man”.  Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 2008. N6493 1930 .N38 2008 Catalog of an exhibition held at the National Gallery of Canada.  Between the stock market crash of 1929 and the beginning of World War II in 1939 artists were fascinated with biology and many used biomorphic forms, images of cells, and the idea of the primordial egg.  Inspiration by the idea of generation and metamorphosis helped develop a new aesthetic revival.  However these same issues were also reflected in politics which resulted in a new interest in eugenics and racism which had unprecedented consequences for society.  This exhibition addresses the issue of biology in both art and politics during this turbulent decade. Goldstein, Ann.  Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective.  Los Angeles: MOCA, 2008. N40.1.K573 M87 2008 Catalog of an exhibition held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. German artist Martin Kippenberger (1953–1997) who started as a painter but then moved to painting, photography, and collage, created a more »

Smithsonian Scientists Discover Sea Monsters!

…April Fools! But there was a time when science wasn't so exact.  In the 16th century when the natural sciences were just beginning to be developed and scientists were just beginning to venture farther out, the scientific rage was to compile encyclopedic tomes of all known animals and plants.  In those volumes hearsay would oftentimes be used in place of direct observation.  When an animal could not be directly observed, images would be copied from other sources.  The result would be exaggerated, and sometimes fantastical, images that were quite removed from what the actual beast looked like. Sort of like playing the game "Telephone" where the message becomes diluted and misinterpreted with each transmission.   For instance, Swiss naturalist Konrad Gesner (1516-1565) in his Icones Animalium (Animal Icons), shown to the left, copied some of his images of whales from Swedish historian Archbishop Olaus Mangus's (1490-1557) Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus (History of the Northern People).   So what looks like a sea monster to us is really a rendering of a more »

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