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 »

Women’s History Month: Grace Rogers Cooper

The Libraries' The Sewing Machine: Its Invention and Development is a wonderful digital edition of the classic by Grace Rogers Cooper. From the introduction by Barbara Suit Janssen, Museum Specialist, Textile Collection, Natural Museum of American History: The Smithsonian Institution's mission of "diffusion of knowledge" is well suited to this web publication of a museum reference work. This pairing with the sewing machine trade literature already available in Sewing Machines: Historical Trade Literature in Smithsonian Collections adds the documented history of sewing machines to its paper ephemera. Cooper's book provides a photographic guide to significant sewing machines and patent models in the collections of the National Museum of American History. Grace Rogers Cooper was the curator of the Division of Textiles from 1948 to 1976. She was responsible for many exhibitions on textile history, including the opening show in the new National Museum of History and Technology in 1964 (now the National Museum of American History.) She was also the author of The Copp Family Textiles, 1971, and Thirteen-Star Flags: more »

Smithsonian Contributions

The Libraries has been digitizing the entire corpus of Smithsonian serial publications for the past few years. We’re getting very near to completion of the first phase of the project, but there will always be more to do! The first phase in this effort was digitizing the new “Smithsonian Contributions” series. These are now complete (with new publications being added upon publication by the Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press) and include the following series: Smithsonian Annals of Flight (1964 – 1974) Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology (1965 – present) Smithsonian Contributions to Astrophysics (1956 – 1974) Botanical Series Contributions to Botany (1969-present) Smithsonian Contributions to History and Technology (1969 – present ; formerly Smithsonian Studies in History and Technology) Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology (1969 – present) Smithsonian Contributions to the Earth Sciences (1969 – 2002) Smithsonian Contributions to the Marine Sciences (1977 – present) Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology (1969 – present) Smithsonian Folklife Studies (1980 – 1990) Smithsonian Studies in Air and Space (1977 – 1990) All above publications are available at: more »

Women’s History Month: Genevieve Estelle Jones

In the Libraries' wonderful Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio, with an essay by Joy Kiser and introduction by Leslie K. Overstreet, we learn about Genevieve Estelle Jones and her determination to study and illustrate the birds of Ohio: At the age of twenty-nine Genevieve visited the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia where she saw an exhibition of the paintings from Audubon's Birds of America. She returned to Circleville determined to create a book that would provide the missing details of the nests and eggs of these birds. At first she envisioned illustrating the nests and eggs of all the birds in North America. But her father, daunted by the time and expense involved with such an under-taking, persuaded her to limit the number to the 130 species of birds that nested in Ohio. (Nearly all of these birds are also seen in most of the contiguous United States.) Illustrations of the nests and eggs of birds of Ohio was published in the small town of more »

Let’s go fly a kite

The Smithsonian's Kite Festival is today. Head on down to the Washington Monument and check it out. You might even see a kite like the one pictured below, from the Libraries' digital collection, Ornithologie (1773-1792) by François Nicolas Martinet [Histoire des Oiseaux Peints dans Tous Leurs Aspects Apparents et Sensibles] [Ornithology], 1773-1792. —Elizabeth Periale

Historic Smithsonian publications available

bulletinunitedst361889unit_0001Originally uploaded by Smithsonian Libraries Historic publications of the Smithsonian Institution are being scanned as part of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). There are still gaps in the series as the Libraries works with volumes that were difficult to digitize (tightly bound, containing large foldouts, etc.) Missing volumes will be completed as technology permits. The four largest of these series are currently available only through the BHL web interface. As time permits, they will be integrated into a unified Smithsonian publications site. • Bulletin – United States National Museum http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/7548• Smithsonian contributions to knowledge http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/7997• Smithsonian miscellaneous collections http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/8128• Proceedings of the United States National Museum http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/7964 An additional publication, long sponsored by the Smithsonian, is also available:• Atoll Research Bulletin http://www.sil.si.edu/digitalcollections/atollresearchbulletin/index.cfm All titles are (or will be shortly) available via the E-journal A-Z List as well as through links in the SIRIS records for the titles. —Elizabeth Periale

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