Women’s Work in the Early Book Trade

In 16th-century Spain, manuals detailing the finer points of sailing and navigation were printed. It was the Age of Discovery and the country was establishing lucrative trade routes across the seas while expanding their colonial empire. Other nations were keen to tap into the Spaniards’ great expertise found in this literature, as there was little maritime information published elsewhere. Books were a means of developing knowledge of geography and voyaging to be more »

Botany and Horticulture at the Libraries

In honor of National Gardens Month (April), the Smithsonian Libraries’ 50th Anniversary and our exhibition, Cultivating America’s Gardens, we take a deeper look at the botany and horticulture collections in Smithsonian Libraries. I never expected that a position managing a small one person library at the U.S. National Arboretum would be my lucky break into what has become a wonderful 15 year—and counting—career in botanical and horticultural librarianship.     Since June 2008, I have managed the Botany and Horticulture Library, a branch of the Smithsonian Libraries’ Natural and Physical Sciences Department, located in the U.S. National Herbarium, Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural History. It is an ever growing, actively used collection, currently holding over 100,000 books and journals. The Library serves two different types of researchers whose commonality is plants: botanists and horticulturalists. Botanists primarily work with literature that is taxonomic in nature, but there is an increasing need to provide phylogenetic and genomic information across all the science libraries. Horticulturalists from the Smithsonian Gardens conduct research more »

Picasso’s Signature & Joe Hirshhorn’s Bow Ties: Gems in the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library

This post was contributed by Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library intern Marisa Herandez. The Smithsonian Libraries celebrates its 50th Anniversary with a year-long series of festivities and I remain bubbly and in awe from the recent March 6th Adopt-a-Book Evening soirée, where the Smithsonian Libraries branches showcased gems from their diverse holdings under the anniversary theme All that Glitters: Smithsonian Libraries’ 50th Anniversary. The Adopt-a-Book Program provides preservation, acquisition, and digitization more »

A Trip to the Library

Do you remember visiting your school library as a child? How did you check out a book? Was it by using a computer or on paper? Most libraries of today still have bookshelves but other things at libraries have changed over the years. In honor of National Library Week (April 8-14, 2018), we’re taking a look back. This trade catalog gives us an idea of what we might have seen if we more »

Elizabeth Gould: An Accomplished Woman

Author’s note: Elizabeth Gould was a 19th century artist responsible for some of the most historically significant images of birds ever published. She was also a devoted wife and mother. It is sometimes difficult to reconcile both of these aspects of her life through our modern lens of 21st century social issues and feminism; it can be tempting to paint her story as that of a woman repressed by antiquated gender roles, more »

The Fix: Removal of Pressure-Sensitive Tape

  In early March, the Smithsonian Libraries Preservation Department hosted the workshop: “Removal of Pressure Sensitive Tape and Tape Stains”. The instructors Linda Stiber Morenus and Elissa O’Loughlin have taught this course throughout the US and abroad for over 25 years. At our Smithsonian facility in Landover, Maryland, participants received in an overview of pressure-sensitive tapes, their production methods and manufacturing history, tape and adhesive identification, removal techniques, aspects of organic solvent more »

Historical Hoses: A Look Back at Firefighting

As might be expected, firefighting equipment from the late 19th Century was a bit different from what we are used to seeing today. This trade catalog takes us back in time for a glimpse of the uniforms, trucks, and other equipment firefighters might have used in that time period.

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