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 »

President’s Day

New York Postmark, 1756.-Addressed to Colonel George Washington The Postal Service in Colonial America: A Bibliography of Material in the Smithsonian Institution Libraries National Postal Museum Branch —Elizabeth Periale

Picturing Words posters

As you walk around the Mall be sure to check out the posters advertising our current exhibition, Picturing Words: The Power of Book Illustration. The posters can be seen near the Natural History Museum, National Museum of American History, National Air & Space Museum, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. Be sure to check out the exhibition, too! —Elizabeth Periale

Happy Valentines Day

The Geo. H. Mellen Co. Condensed Catalogue of Special Offers in Choise Plants, Seeds & Fruit, 1896 —Elizabeth Periale

Visual literacy

The concept of visual literacy is important today, as people absorb information from all kinds of media. Visual literacy involves understanding the meaning of images–sometimes multiple meanings– both in terms of integrating words and pictures, and ‘reading’ pictures separately from texts. The exhibition Picturing Words: the Power of Book Illustration focuses on the power of pictures to inspire, inform, and influence viewers. We explore the ways that pictures reach audiences, sometimes more directly than text alone. Illustrations can explain complicated ideas at a glance and can even take precedence over words. They extend the meaning of books beyond textual limits and invoke readers’ imaginative faculties. They aid the dissemination and acceptance of scientific discoveries, technical advances, and artistic innovations – all fields that are represented at the Smithsonian and supported by the holdings of Smithsonian Institution Libraries. In addition, the exhibit demonstrates how illustrations are produced from wood blocks, engraving plates, and lithographic stones, as well as the application of photography to pictorial printing. One of the most popular features more »

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