America’s First Known African American Scientist and Mathematician

At the beginning of February, Black History Month, the former slave Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was much in the news. The most prominent African American of the 19th century, he first moved to Washington, D.C. in the early 1870s after his home in Rochester, New York burned down. Here he published his newspaper, The New National Era. From 1877 until his death in 1895, Douglass lived and worked in a stately Victorian house, more »

Donations Reveal a Family’s History

Last year, the Dibner Library for the History of Science and Technology received four unique donations by siblings James L. Cerruti and Vera V. Magruder (nee Cerruti): James Bishop’s musical Gamut of 1766, Uri Bishop’s Military Music from the War of 1812, and Jonathan Edwards’ Treatise on Religious Affections (New York: American Tract Society) and Sermons on Various Important Subjects (Edinburgh/Boston: Gray, 1785). These items provide fascinating glimpses into early American history more »

Catesby in the Classroom: Students Explore the Intersection of Art and Science

In the early eighteenth century, English naturalist Mark Catesby set foot in a New World. After spending the better part of ten years, spread across two separate trips, exploring and documenting North America’s rich biodiversity, he would eventually publish his research and original artworks as the first fully illustrated book on the flora and fauna of North America.    Published over eighteen years between 1729-1747, The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and more »

Help us discover #WhereDidWonderGo?

I See Wonder is a resource designed for educators that provides a wonderful way to spark inquiry, analysis, and discussion. By visually exploring our images, you can bring the Smithsonian Libraries collections into your classroom. Use I See Wonder as a morning exercise, a way to introduce a new topic, or to discover your students’ interests. Share what you See.  Awaken your Wonder. All through February start your journey and help us find our missing mascot, WONDER.  Jump into the scavenger more »

In Celebration of Charles Lindbergh and His Transatlantic Flight

This year, February 4th marks the 115th birthday of one of America’s heroes of flight: Charles Lindbergh. To commemorate his birthday, the Smithsonian Libraries examines The First Flight from New York to Paris by Colonel Ch. A. Lindbergh.

Le Garde-Meuble and Parisian Interior Design

This post was written by Brittney Falter, a graduate student at George Mason University and social media intern at the Smithsonian Libraries. Le Garde-meuble, ancien et moderne (Furniture repository, ancient and modern), was a bimonthly periodical published in Paris between 1839 and 1935. It contained many illustrations of furniture designs and room settings, created by Desire Guilmard. His drawings featured both historical revivals and styles that were modern at the time. The more »

Saved from Staples: Treating a metal-stapled pamphlet

Pamphlets, brochures, and other publications of thin width, are often bound with metal staples. The passage of time and environmental conditions, such as high humidity, may sometimes cause staples to corrode. Rust, flaking off of the metal, can stain and damage the integrity of the surrounding paper. To help maintain the longevity of an item that has suffered this type of damage, it is best to remove the staples and effect repairs more »

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