She is known for her translation into French of Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica. Hers is one of many scientific portraits to be found in the Libraries' Scientific Identity: Portraits from the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology: Gabrielle-Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet (1706 – 1749), engraving by R. D'Elvaux based on original by M. A. Loir. The scientific portrait collection in the Dibner Library was assembled by Bern Dibner, who obtained most of the portraits during the 1940s from print dealers in Boston, London, and Paris. By 1950 he had about two thousand images and arranged them into ten scientific subdivisions: Botany, Chemistry, Electricity, Geology, Mathematics, Medicine, Philosophy, Physics, Technology, and Zoology. The portraits are of various types: woodcuts, copper and steel engravings, mezzotints, lithographs, oil paintings, and photographs. Many of them are images that were printed as separate items, used as gifts to send to colleagues and admirers. The exchange of portraits among scientists in the eighteenth century became a very popular more »
The Libraries has some wonderful digital collections, including the Bella C. Landauer Collection of Aeronautical Sheet Music. The collection features music about ballooning, aviation, and popular subject of aviation theme music, Amelia Earheart. From the introduction, by librarian Paul McCutcheon: Early development in aeronautics has been accompanied by great popular interest and media coverage. This widespread fascination with flight has inspired an enormous output of historical drawings, paintings, advertisements and illustrations for publications. Some of the most colorful illustrations are those which adorn sheet music. In the Bella Landauer collection, you can find illustrations that range from the bizarre to the commonplace, from the humorous to the mundane. But most are colorful and interesting. The earliest known aeronautical song was published in 1785. Entitled Chanson sur le Globe Aerostatique, it depicts a Montgolfier balloon ascending from the Tuilleries in Paris. This piece was followed by countless musical compositions dealing with all phases of aeronautics. "Wrong-Way" Corrigan had his bard, no less than Lindbergh. And there was always someone to opine more »
The Libraries latest published Dibner Library lecture is Benjamin Franklin's Political Arithmetic: A Materialist View of Humanity by Joyce E. Chaplin, the James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History at Harvard University. Dr. Chaplin received her B. A. at Northwestern University, her M. A. and Ph.D. at the Johns Hopkins University, and was a Fulbright Scholar to the United Kingdom in 1985-86. Her most recent book, The First Scientific American: Benjamin Franklin and the Pursuit of Genius (2006), was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and won the Annibel Jenkins Biography Prize of the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies. She is currently writing a history of around-the-world travel, from Magellan the Spanish explorer to Magellan the GPS. We would like to present the first of a few excerpts from the published lecture to pique your interest. if you would like to receive the lecture in print, please contact the Dibner Library. If you can't wait for the next installment, you may also view the PDF. more »
El 8 de marzo es el Dia Internacional de la Mujer: Es un honor felicitarlas por sus logros, visión, energía, y amor por la vida y la familia. March 8th is International Women’s Day: The Libraries honors all of you for your accomplishments, stamina, and love of life and family. To celebrate International Women's Day / Dia Internacional de la Mujer, here are two interesting items selected by Librarian Vielka Chang-Yau, from our Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Library: Guía para la confección del Catálogo colectivo de publicaciones periódicas existentes en Panama / / elaborada por Nitzia Barrantes y Yolanda Araúz The Latino Patient: A Cultural Guide for Health Care Providers The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Library, also known as the Earl Silas Tupper Library in Tropical Biology, is located in Panama City, Republic of Panama. The Branch has sublocations on the Island of Barro Colorado, on the Gatun Lake of the Panama Canal, and on Colón Island, at the research station in the province of Bocas del Toro. The Library more »
A wonderful new exhibit opened last month at the National Museum of Natural History, Written in Bone, Forensic Files of the 17th-Century Chesapeake. After viewing a real-life CSI just brimming with history, you might want to check out some related texts from (all over) the Libraries: From the National Museum of American History Library, two titles that provide historical background of this fascinating slice of local American history: A land as God made it: Jamestown and the birth of America The Jamestown project From the Smithsonian American Art Museum / National Portrait Gallery Library, two titles focusing on Pocahontas: The pilgrims and Pocahontas: rival myths of American origin Pocahontas and her world; a chronicle of America's first settlement in which is related the story of the Indians and the Englishmen, particularly Captain John Smith, Captain Samuel Argall, and Master John Rolfe From Special Collections, two titles from the 1907 tercentennial of Jamestown: 1607, Jamestown exposition, 1907, Hampton Roads, Virginia Jamestown tributes and toasts From the Research Annex, two titles on more »
The Libraries has partnered with the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center’s (SEEC) Kindergarten Program to bring excellence and innovation into early childhood education with a dynamic educational initiative in a museum-based setting. Led by master teacher Joshua Beasley, the kindergartners at SEEC are experiencing the Smithsonian’s primary mission of the “increase the diffusion of knowledge” in a hands-on, interactive way at the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History, located in the National Museum of Natural History. Beasley and Libraries curators Leslie K. Overstreet and Daria Wingreen-Mason facilitate the creative development of storytelling, drawing, and communication skills in the young students, using museum exhibition spaces, rare materials, and visual images for inspiration. The Cullman Library provides the perfect backdrop for this imaginative learning. As Beasley states, “The physical space and creative atmosphere of the Cullman – as well as the collection of historical and fictional literature, fine art, and natural history illustration – is conducive to the adaptation, invention, and rehearsal of [Kindergarten] enrichment cycles.” The cooperative project between the more »
Maria Sibylla Merian was the daughter, sister, and wife of artists and engravers. She lived a most unconventional life: she became an artist herself, left her husband to join a Protestant sect, and voyaged at the age of 50 to the Dutch colony of Surinam in South America. Merian, who worked professionally under her own name, spent two years in the rain forest observing, collecting, and drawing insects and plants. Despite a few errors, her Metamorphosis, published after her return, is a masterpiece of both art and science. In a vivid, pleasingly ornate artistic style, she was the first to record the full life cycle of many species of butterflies and moths.—Elizabeth Periale Maria Sibylla Merian Raupen wunderbare Verwandelung und sonderbare Blumennahrung, 1730.
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