Another Picturing Words gem

Picturing Words: the Power of Book Illustration is currently on display in the National Museum of American History. From the Illustrating Natural History section: Das Mineralreich (The Mineral Kingdom) Reinhard Brauns (1861-1937) with additions by Leonard J. Spencer Esslingen a. N.: J. F. Schreiber, 1912 At the end of the 18th century, a growing popular interest in natural history resulted in an increase of illustrated field guides and collectors' manuals. Images of plant and mineral specimens, drawn from nature, were printed for study and comparison. Improvements in color printing allowed artists, scientists, and publishers to include intricate details. Images of mineral specimens were accurately drawn and colored to illustrate Reinhard Brauns’ Das Mineralreich (The Mineral Kingdom). The plates were issued bound in the book and separately. —Elizabeth Periale

Lighting New York, 1895-1946: Edward F. Caldwell & Company

The Cooper-Hewitt Library is celebrating the release of Shedding Light on New York: Edward F. Caldwell Collection, a new online database on Saturday, February 28th. Margaret Caldwell, great granddaughter of E. F. Caldwell, will also talk about the firm’s origins, craftsmanship, clients, and importance in the decorative arts world. Select original drawings and photographs from the Caldwell Archive will be on display. Caldwell & Co. was America’s premier producer of lighting and more »

Is that a zebra?

No, it's a quagga! From the Libraries' current exhibition, The Art of African Exploration: Quaggas were frequently confused with zebras in early explorers’ accounts. Unlike zebras, a quagga’s stripes are most distinct on the neck and head, and its coat is tawny. When first described in 1788, the quagga was regarded as a separate species. Modern genetic studies indicate that they are likely related to the plains zebra. Their fewer stripes may be an adaptation to the open grassland of the south. Just one of the interesting features in this exhibit on display in the National Museum of Natural History Constitution Avenue lobby until August 2009. —Elizabeth Periale

Libraries tweets

Smithsonian Libraries is blogging, tweeting and facebooking. It's a 2.0 world and the Libraries is a part of it. If you'd like to keep up with the collections, events around the National Mall and beyond, please sign up as a fan or to follow our blog our twitter page. —Elizabeth Periale

Lucy?

As you browse the Libraries extensive image site, Galaxy of Images, you might run across this Baedeker from the online exhibition Nile Notes of a Howadji: American Travelers in Egypt. The title page is inscribed "Lucy H. Baird." Why would the Smithsonian Libraries have this particular travel guide book of this particular lady? Lucy H. Baird was the daughter of the Institution's second Secretary, Spencer F. Baird. Baird became Secretary in 1878 and was instrumental in establishing a United States National Museum which would eventually become the Smithsonian Institution. The Libraries has also named its donor recognition group the Spencer Baird Society in honor of this Secretary and his support of libraries. All gifts are welcome, but donors of $500 or more take advantage of special Baird Society tours and events throughout the course of the year. There are many interesting images and links to explore throughout Galaxy of Images that will tell you more about the Libraries. Give it a try! —Elizabeth Periale

Rain, rain go away

Picturing Words: The Power of Book Illustration is currently on view at the National Museum of American History. The exhibition includes many outstanding illustrated books from the Libraries' collections, including the Nuremberg Chronicle, or Liber Chronicarum (Book of Chronicles)  by Hartmann Schedel (1440–1514),Illustrated by Michael wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff (Illustrator), Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, 1493. , Gift of the Burndy Library.—Elizabeth Periale

Head of Special Collections

Smithsonian Libraries is pleased to announce its new Head of the Special Collections Department, Lilla Vekerdy. Vekerdy has over 20 years of experience in rare books preservation and management. She will oversee the Libraries’ special collections in all 20 branches, most notably the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology in the National Museum of American History and the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History in the National Museum of Natural History. Originally from Hungary, Vekerdy has lived in the United States for 17 years.  She earned a B.A. in Literature, Linguistics and Library Sciences, an M.A. with a Teaching Certificate in Literature and Linguistics, and an M.L.S. with a concentration in early prints and manuscripts from the Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary. Vekerdy has also completed doctoral studies in Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern History at St. Louis University in St. Louis, Mo. Vekerdy joins the Libraries after serving for 17 years as a rare book librarian and coursemaster at Washington University School of more »

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