Featured: Trade Literature

The National Museum of American History Branch Library houses the Trade Literature Collection, an extraordinary collection of over 430, 000 pieces of manufacturing and product catalogs comprising a broad range of American industrial output, from 1875 to 1950. Today's featured item is fairly typical of the collection as a whole: a straightforward catalog sent to the company's jobbers, distributors, and retailers: the " trade." But within its pages are some hidden nuggets that reveal an unusual path to a practical innovation. The catalog is entitled “Lamson Wire Line Carriers”, from the Lamson Company, based in Syracuse, New York. Lamson was a pioneer in the development and manufacture of pneumatic tube systems of document delivery, used in offices, factories, and even libraries. This conveying system was devised by William Stickney Lamson, who was based in Lowell, Massachusetts. Lamson became impatient with the time-consuming process of clerks having to walk paperwork and money back from cash registers and front offices to the payroll or purchasing or other back office locations. He devised more »

Women’s History Month – Marie Curie

Portrait of Marie Curie (1867-1934), PhysicistOriginally uploaded by Smithsonian Institution Among the many interesting photos in the Dibner Library's collection of portraits of scientists is this 1934 photo of Marie Curie (1867-1934). Curie was the only woman to win two Nobel prizes – the 1903 award in Physics, along with her husband Pierre, for research on radiation phenomena, and the 1911 award in Chemistry for her studies in radium and polonium. Marie was also mother to Irène Joliot-Curie, the recipient of the 1935 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Marie Curie died in 1934 from aplastic anaemia, a blood condition often associated with exposure to large amounts of radiation. We invite you to join the conversation about Marie Curie on Flickr, or view our entire portrait collection, "Scientific Identity: Portraits from the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology" on our webpage. —Erin Clements Rushing

2009 Dibner Library Resident Scholar

Meghan Doherty, one of Smithsonian Libraries 2009 Dibner Resident Scholars, began her studies at the Dibner Library in the National Museum of American History on January 5.  Her research tenure will extend through March, and she will return again for the month of June.Meghan is working on her doctoral dissertation “Carving Knowledge: Engraving, Etching, and Early Modern Science,” which focuses on how tools used in printmaking played a role in the creation of knowledge.  She is researching the engraver’s burin and the etcher’s needle, and the use of these tools in the making of printed images by and for members of the Royal Society of England in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.  Meghan plans to use several rare books from the Dibner Library’s collection to aid with two chapters of her dissertation, including Robert Hooke’s “Micrographia” and two of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek’s “Anatomia” texts.Meghan is a PhD candidate in Art History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  She also earned an M.A. in Art History from the University more »

More web features for Picturing Words

Libraries exhibit Picturing Words: The Power of Book Illustration is being pointed to in the blogosphere via its mention in The Librarian's Internet Index "New this Week" feature.—Elizabeth Periale

Libraries exhibition featured on Art Daily.org

Art Daily.org, "The First Art Newspaper on the Net" recently featured two Libraries exhibitions, Picturing Words: The Power of Book Illustration and The Art of African Exploration on its website. —Elizabeth Periale

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 »

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