The Art of Louis Agassiz Fuertes / El Arte de Louis Agassiz Fuertes

To celebrate Hispanic American Heritage Month, the Smithsonian Libraries is honoring Puerto Rican American natural history illustrator Louis Agassiz Fuertes with a blog post in both English and Spanish. The Spanish translation (bottom of page) is courtesy of Angel Aguirre, library technician at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) Library in Panama City, Republic of Panama.

Snow Angels

These wonderful children’s book illustrations make one yearn for snow. They were done by the artist Karl Mühlmeister, about whom very little seems to be known. He is believed to have been born in Hamburg in 1876, and died around 1942-45, location unknown. These simple print illustrations have a charm all their own.

There Are No Duplicates: APHA Visit

It is not hard to find special collections librarians who believe that there are no duplicates, meaning that no two printed items made by hand are the same, even if from the same type, plate, or press.

Gotta Dance

Hieronymus Bock, Kreütterbuch darin unterscheidt Nammen und Würckung der Kreütter [Herbal], 1587. The description for this page is dancing peasants and bagpiper under Linden Tree. This is just one of many images in the 16th century herbal from the Libraries' Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History. There is also a beautiful poppy, a lady standing under what appears to be some sort of nut tree, where the nuts look as large as coconuts (look out!), and what looks like a potential shipwreck scene, but this image is my favorite. —Elizabeth Periale Hieronymus Bock on Wikipedia

Illustrated Children’s Books from the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum Library Collection

Over the past several weeks, I explored the Cooper-Hewitt Museum Design Museum Library’s collection of illustrated children’s books…

Women’s History Month: Gerda Wegener

Journal des dames et des modes, 1914, Pl. 183: Costumes Parisiens. Petite robe de taffetas pour l'apres-midi, Illustration (plate 183) by Gerda Wegener (1885-1940) Artist Gerda Wegener is best known for her fashion illustrations in such publications as Journal des dames at des modes, found in the Libraries' special collecations, as well as Vogue and La Vie Parisienne. Her first husband, artist Einar Wegener, was her frequent and favorite (female) model, an alter-ego that they called "Lili". As Gerda became more and more successful in her artistic career, Einar did more modeling for her than his own artwork. He eventually, with his wife's support, had the first known sexual reassignment surgery to become a woman, Lili Elbe. Once the surgery was completed, the Danish government declared the Wegener's marriage null and void, as the government refused to recognize a marital union of two women. The Wegeners' lives have been fictionalized in the novel The Danish Girl, by David Ebershoff, which is also in development as a feature film. —Elizabeth Periale Related links: Gerda more »

Fortune Magazine – 80th Anniversary

Fortune Magazine was created as part of Henry Luce’s Time, Inc. publishing empire in February 1930, four months after the Stock market crash that started the Great Depression. It was created as an expanded and specialized publication drawn from the business section of Time magazine, written and designed with big executives and upper level managers in mind. The original prospectus stated that “business is the single common denominator of interest among the active leading citizens of the U.S . . . Fortune’s purpose is to reflect Industrial Life in ink and paper, and word and picture as the finest skyscraper reflects it in steel and architecture”.  Fortune’s annual listing of the 500 leading corporations, “the Fortune 500”, as it is known, became an American institution, against which all other businesses are measured.  Among its many innovative editorial approaches was to publish a standard feature article that examined different aspects of a single corporation, much like a biographical portrait. Henry Luce believed that all business was invested with a public interest, more »

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