National Library Workers Day

Today is National Library Workers Day. The Smithsonian Libraries would like to celebrate its entire staff and all they do, every day. The Libraries updates its public and patrons with posts on this blog, website, Galaxy of Images, as well as through Web 2.0 applications such as twittter, facebook and flickr. Check us out and leave a comment to say hello to a librarian or staff member who helps make your day a little easier. —Elizabeth Periale

Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday

Thomas Jefferson was born today in Shadwell, Virginia in 1743. The Libraries has a variety of interesting titles about this former governor of Virginia, minister of France, Secretary of State, principal author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States: Thomas Jefferson : a brief biography / / Dumas Malone ; preface by Merrill D. Petersonfrom the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library, Washington, D.C. Thomas Jefferson and the University of Virginia. / With authorized sketches of Hampden-Sidney, Randolph-Macon, Emory-Henry, Roanoke, and Richmond Colleges, Washington and Lee University, and Virginia Military Institutefrom the National Museum of American History Library, Washington, D.C. Jefferson's Monticello / / by William Howard Adams ; with principal photography by Langdon Clayfrom the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum Library, New York, New York Adams and Jefferson: the story of a friendshipfrom the Vine Deloria, Jr. Library, National Museum of the American Indian, Suitland, Maryland Undaunted courage : Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the opening of the American West / / Stephen E. more »

Chocolate Rabbits and…Elephants!

The Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library includes a catalog from the company that first created a popular Easter candy called Marshmallow Peeps.  The trade catalog is entitled Chocolate Covered Cocoanut Cream Easter Eggs and Easter Specialties, from the R. E. Rodda Candy Company of York, Pennsylvania.  Marshmallow Peeps are not included in this catalog, but it does show their line of decorated chocolate in the shape of eggs, crosses, bunnies, elephants, and other animals. They even created a chocolate covered rabbit playing a guitar and bunnies decorated as cowboys and golfers. The company also produced “The Celebrated” Jelly Egg, known as “The Jelly Egg with the Real Jelly Center.” According to the Just Born, Inc. website, R. E. Rodda Candy Company was acquired by Just Born, Inc. of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1953. R. E. Rodda Candy Co. had been making Peeps by squeezing marshmallow through pastry tubes by hand. It took them 27 hours to make just one Marshmallow Peep! Just Born decided to more »

Tune in tomorrow…

On February 2nd, the Smithsonian Institution Libraries welcomed a film crew into the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History. The purpose of the shoot was to tape a segment about photographer Jonathan Singer’s Botanica Magnifica for an upcoming broadcast of CBS News Sunday Morning. CBS Senior Correspondent Rita Braver and four members of the production team spent four hours in the Cullman Library conducting interviews with Singer, Smithsonian Libraries curator Leslie K. Overstreet, and Dr. John Kress, a curator in the Museum of Natural History’s botany department. The CBS cameraman panned the pages of the beautifully photographed Botanica Magnifica, as well as one of the John James Audubon’s Birds of North America folios. Rita Braver also joined Overstreet for a tour into the library’s rare book vault, where volumes dating back to the 15th century are carefully monitored at controlled temperature and humidity levels. Botanica Magnifica is a five-volume, double elephant folio that holds 250 detailed shots of rare flowers.  Most of the vibrantly-colored photographs were taken in more »

Spring Intern Diane Kaczor

For the last week in March, the Libraries hosted spring intern Diane Kaczor.  Kaczor is a student in the graduate program of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She received a B.A. in communications with a business minor from Northwestern University in 1997, and holds a digital strategy and innovation certificate and an e-business strategy certificate from the University of Chicago. Kaczor is currently employed at SRDS in Des Plaines, IL, as a Special Projects Coordinator and Archivist, where she performs editorial and data analysis projects, completes market research and consulting for clients, and manages archives dating back to 1918. Kaczor’s internship with the Libraries took her to several branches in Washington, DC and Suitland, MD. She met with librarians in the National Museum of American History Library, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library, the Museum Support Center Library, and the American Art and National Portrait Gallery Library. Kaczor also spent time viewing special collections in the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural more »

The Food of the Gods

Brandon Head, The food of the gods, a popular account of cocoa, 1903 The National Museum of American History blog recently ran a post on a candy maker. Being good librarians, we tried to check and see if we had any additional information on Mrs. Ora Snyder and sadly, didn't. But the National Museum of American History Library does have many trade literature items that feature candy and candy making. Items include catalogs from the Confectioners’ Machinery & Mfg. Co. and the Cutler-Hammer Mfg. Co., which feature candy making and chocolate machinery. C-H Electrical Appliances for Candy Makers, a 1919 catalog from Cutler-Hammer Mfg. Co., includes an item called the Radiant Batch Heater which was used to make hard candy. The catalog from the Confectioners’ Machinery & Mfg. Co., entitled Machinery for the manufacture of confectionery 10th ed., also includes candy machinery such as the Springfield Marshmallow Beater and Springfield Cream Beater. Yummm!!! —Elizabeth Periale

Patty Stonesifer, Smithsonian Board of Regents Chair, visits Pennsy Drive

Patricia Stonesifer, chair of the Smithsonian Board of Regents, visited Pennsy Drive on March 30th.  The Libraries took part in the fast talking/walking tour for all Smithsonian unit residents. Deputy Director Mary Augusta Thomas had the pleasure of welcoming the visitors and pointing out that this is the first time the Libraries has been able to rationally arrange off-site collections in an environmentally sound space. Research Annex Technician Mike Hardy led a whirlwind tour of the stack areas and answered questions about capacity of the stacks for the future, and the current use of the collections housed there. When the group reached the Book Conservation Lab, Book Conservator Vanessa Haight had on display a stellar example of a 19th century pop-up book as a good teaser for our next exhibition on moveable books. Examples of the work that is done by interns and volunteers were also on display, highlighting the Libraries' dedication to education and to using interns and volunteers in significant projects. The tour finished in the Imaging  Center more »

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