Smithsonian Libraries

Smithsonian Libraries Advancing knowledge at home and around the world.
(19)

Welcome to our page! We hope you’ll contribute to this interactive forum and to our ongoing conversation about the work we do to further the Smithsonian's mission to increase and diffuse knowledge. While on-topic discussion is encouraged, we ask that you express yourself in a civil manner and treat other users with respect. The Smithsonian also monitors and may remove posts consistent with its terms of use, as described at http://si.edu/Termsofuse#user-gen. For our Privacy Policy: http://www.si.edu/Privacy

Just a gorgeous fern to finish out your Friday🍃. Thanks to Historical SciArt for sharing, by way of Biodiversity Heritag...
02/21/2020

Just a gorgeous fern to finish out your Friday🍃.

Thanks to Historical SciArt for sharing, by way of Biodiversity Heritage Library:

Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina) for #FernFriday. #SciArt from Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz, Bd. 1 (1886) by Otto Wilhelm Thomé. View more in Biodiversity Heritage Library with thanks to Smithsonian Libraries for digitizing: http://ow.ly/HDR650yq08b

“Emancipation and the Freed in American sculpture” is a fascinating look into a rarely discussed segment of  black histo...
02/21/2020

“Emancipation and the Freed in American sculpture” is a fascinating look into a rarely discussed segment of black history. It examines how attitudes toward slavery and blackness manifested themselves in 19th and early 20th century sculpture. More interesting than the subject matter, is the fact that this book was written by black journalist and civil rights activist Freeman H. M. Murray, in 1915. Read more, here: http://ow.ly/XimB50ystWB

Thrilled to see this use of our digitized "Taxonomic Literature 2" (aka TL-2) by Kew Gardens staff, by way of Biodiversi...
02/20/2020

Thrilled to see this use of our digitized "Taxonomic Literature 2" (aka TL-2) by Kew Gardens staff, by way of Biodiversity Heritage Library:

TL-2 is a 15 volume guide to the literature of systematic botany published between 1753 and 1940. It serves as the standard by which authors’ names and titles should be abbreviated in works on systematic botany. The title is freely available in BHL thanks to Smithsonian Libraries.

How does access to this title through BHL support the work of the curation team for the International Plant Names Index at Kew Gardens? Find out! ➡️ https://s.si.edu/37FKbFx

The observant here on the Washington, D.C. area, which is where most of the Smithsonian museums (and the Smithsonian Lib...
02/20/2020

The observant here on the Washington, D.C. area, which is where most of the Smithsonian museums (and the Smithsonian Libraries!) are located, are beginning to notice a vague green-haziness in the trees of late. Leaves ... budding! Almost invisibly, but, yes, spring approaches. And, in the DC area, this also means flowering cherry tree time approaches. (If you ever have a chance to come here when those trees are their full pink glory, it's worth it. Crowded, but -- weather permitting -- sublimely beautiful.) Which, in turn, brings us thoughts of cherries, and (dare we hope?) cherry pie ... Do you like cherries? If you have a favourite way of eating them, please let us know. Recipes are always welcome!

Click on the images for links to and further information on the books in which they can be found. (The books are digitized! And downloadable!)

We think these animals offer a quick reminder of more pleasant weather, don't you?They're all from second series of  "Zo...
02/18/2020

We think these animals offer a quick reminder of more pleasant weather, don't you?

They're all from second series of "Zoological illustrations" by William Swainson, in particular a copy that was collected by William Healey Dall. Dall had many roles as explore and naturalist and one of them was the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History Curator of Mollusks. He was also a book collector and donated many books related to malacology to the Smithsonian Libraries.

Learn more about Dall and other book collectors in our exhibition, "Magnificent Obsessions: Why We Collect": https://s.si.edu/2IrF843

Browse all three volumes of this title 📖in Biodiversity Heritage Library: https://s.si.edu/2SDAdPl

Studying the narratives of enslaved people can be crucial to understanding the African American experience in America. O...
02/17/2020

Studying the narratives of enslaved people can be crucial to understanding the African American experience in America.

On our blog, our rare book cataloger highlights a few and gives pointers for finding additional resources : https://s.si.edu/2Tk6DB6

📷 of Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture exhibit

#BlackHistoryMonth

For President's Day you can review and reflect on our nation's history with writings from Washington, Lincoln and others...
02/17/2020

For President's Day you can review and reflect on our nation's history with writings from Washington, Lincoln and others.

"The Ideals of the Republic, or Great Words from Great Americans" is a compilation of important American documents, including the Declaration of Independence and Gettysburg Address, and was published in 1900 by G.P. Putnam.

Read it in our Digital Library : https://s.si.edu/2Hfn5L1

Behold the graceful Art Deco antelope! When artists began to embrace this motif in the 1920s and  1930s, manufacturers f...
02/16/2020

Behold the graceful Art Deco antelope!

When artists began to embrace this motif in the 1920s and 1930s, manufacturers followed suit. This British Aluminum Co. catalog from 1931 is one example of Art Deco trade literature in our Cooper Hewitt Library.

Explore more examples in this recent blog post: https://s.si.edu/2SqIGqu

Today our Preservation team showed off their skills to a group of visitors from 中央研究院數位文化中心  Academia Sinica Center for ...
02/14/2020

Today our Preservation team showed off their skills to a group of visitors from 中央研究院數位文化中心 Academia Sinica Center for Digital Cultures .

Technician Keala Richard (in pink) demonstrated a variety of techniques used for exhibition materials and general collections, including the creation of custom cradles for books and the treatment of large fold-out maps.

Curious about our Book Conservation Lab? Learn more in their regular blog feature, "The Fix": s.si.edu/2UTBfJS

Does your valentine ❤️ old books as much as you do?  Honor a bibliophile in your life by adopting a book in their honor!...
02/14/2020

Does your valentine ❤️ old books as much as you do? Honor a bibliophile in your life by adopting a book in their honor!

"The Book of Trades", "L'art moderne en typographie" & "The Royal No. 10 Cook Book" are all available in our #AdoptABook program: https://s.si.edu/2g9ndin

It's Thursday the Thirteenth. Deadline looms for obtaining chocolates and roses for the loves of your life, or a bag ful...
02/13/2020

It's Thursday the Thirteenth. Deadline looms for obtaining chocolates and roses for the loves of your life, or a bag full of cheap cards to pass out to all your classmates -- for tomorrow, tomorrow is Valentine's Day. Cupid's Day. Cupid is an ancient figure: called Amor in Latin, Eros in ancient Greek, in some myths the son of Venus / Aphrodite, goddess of love, and Mars / Ares, god of war, which some would say comes as no surprise. Earlier Greek art depicts him as a lissome winged youth. During the Hellenistic period, he increasingly becomes the chubby little boy familiar today, as here in this illustration by English painter Philip Reinagle (1749-1833) for Robert John Thornton's work on plant reproduction according to Linnaeus. (Don't you just love the concept of Cupid's arrows causing plants to fall in love?) Thornton (1768-1837), a physician and an author of botanical books, had planned a three-volume work with numerous hand-colored plates on this subject, but few were interested in buying it; the costs of this project left him destitute. :(

Thornton, Robert John. New illustration of the sexual system of Carolus von Linnaeus ... (London: Printed, for the publisher, by T. Bensley ..., 1807), vol. 2, in the rare book collection of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. The Smithsonian Libraries has digitized its copy in its online library:
https://library.si.edu/digital-library/book/new-illustration-sexual-system-carolus-von-linnaeus

The image by itself can be found here:
https://library.si.edu/image-gallery/105886

Before you send your sweetheart roses for Valentine's Day, you might want to consult "The language of flowers" to make s...
02/12/2020

Before you send your sweetheart roses for Valentine's Day, you might want to consult "The language of flowers" to make sure you convey the right message.

Wouldn't want to send "Bashful Shame" when you really meant "Happy Love". . .

Find the book📖 in our Digital Library: https://s.si.edu/2SpPjb8

Roses 🌹 from McGregor Bros. Co. 1896. "Floral Gems no. 1896" in our Image Gallery: https://s.si.edu/31tNPAR

Hey, we recognize those fantastic beasts from our collections! And we know where to find them - Biodiversity Heritage Li...
02/12/2020
Biodiversity Heritage Library

Hey, we recognize those fantastic beasts from our collections! And we know where to find them - Biodiversity Heritage Library:

Mother Nature Network highlights some fantastic creatures from our collection! 🐉

For #WomenInScienceDay, meet Mary Agnes Chase. Chase collected books to advance her research, working her way up from a ...
02/11/2020

For #WomenInScienceDay, meet Mary Agnes Chase. Chase collected books to advance her research, working her way up from a job as a botanical illustrator at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to USDA’s senior botanist and curator of the Smithsonian’s U.S. National Herbarium.

An outspoken advocate for women’s rights, she was jailed several times and threatened with dismissal from USDA for her role in the women’s suffrage movement.

See Chase's books in "Magnificent Obsessions: Why We Collect": https://s.si.edu/2IrF843

📷 of Chase: Smithsonian Institution Archives

🖼️ : "Beschreibung der Gräser"

Want to help tip the gender imbalance on Wikipedia and enjoy special tours of local museums? For Women’s History Month, ...
02/11/2020

Want to help tip the gender imbalance on Wikipedia and enjoy special tours of local museums?

For Women’s History Month, our librarians will help host Wikimedia District of Columbia edit-a-thons at several @Smithsonian museums!

Join us at the first one, at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden on February 29th, 2020: https://s.si.edu/AFDC2020

Ready to watch some stars during #Oscars2020?  You might not recognize the famous actors of "Yakusha Sanjūrokkasen" (Thi...
02/09/2020

Ready to watch some stars during #Oscars2020?

You might not recognize the famous actors of "Yakusha Sanjūrokkasen" (Thirty-six Popular Actors) today, but they were the Brads & Leos of 1830s Japan.

Artist Toyokuni III (1786-1864), also known as Kunisada was a prolific, and commercially successful producer of actor prints or yakusha-e which portrayed popular kabuki actors of his time. Yakusha Sanjūrokkasen was modeled after the tradition of “Thirty-six classical poets,” a theme frequently used in Japanese painting as early as the 13th century and later in prints.

From our Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art Library, you can find it fully digitized in our Digital Library: https://s.si.edu/31tA2ui

When Elleanor Eldridge, a successful African American woman in 1800s Rhode Island, fell victim to an unscrupulous mortga...
02/09/2020

When Elleanor Eldridge, a successful African American woman in 1800s Rhode Island, fell victim to an unscrupulous mortgagee, her "Memoirs" sought to right this wrong & fund-raise for her.

Learn more: s.si.edu/2vPgoNv
#BlackHistoryMonth #BecauseofHerStory

Edward Donovan's "Epitome of the insects of New Holland" (1805),  described the insects of Australia, New Zealand, and n...
02/08/2020

Edward Donovan's "Epitome of the insects of New Holland" (1805), described the insects of Australia, New Zealand, and neighboring islands.

Donovan, an entomologist and illustrator, both wrote and illustrated the book but he did so without even leaving England! He later opened his own museum.

Find this book in Biodiversity Heritage Library : http://s.si.edu/2m4ebYb

Did you know that Benjamin Banneker, an African American scientist & mathematician, helped map DC in the late 1700s 🗺️? ...
02/08/2020

Did you know that Benjamin Banneker, an African American scientist & mathematician, helped map DC in the late 1700s 🗺️?

On our blog, our rare book cataloger discusses Banneker's work and publications, including this 1792 almanac in our Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology: https://s.si.edu/37M0b9Y

#BlackHistoryMonth

Sanford Biggers is an interdisciplinary African-American artist who has shown his work in some of the world's biggest mu...
02/07/2020

Sanford Biggers is an interdisciplinary African-American artist who has shown his work in some of the world's biggest museums. He's also created pieces that can fit in the palm of your hand, like "The Afronomical Way."

A treasure in the Hirshhorn Library's collection, this artist’s book is a limited edition set of 43 printed cards through which Biggers explores ritual, belief, and the African diaspora. "The Afronomical Way" is a part of SIL's Adopt-a-Book program. Learn more about it, here: http://ow.ly/PM0v50ygwYV

Today, we at the Smithsonian Libraries decided we'd show you a couple of sea ducks from the northern coasts of North Ame...
02/06/2020

Today, we at the Smithsonian Libraries decided we'd show you a couple of sea ducks from the northern coasts of North America, Europe, and eastern Siberia: a black and white male and brownish female Somateria mollissima. This scientific name is derived from the ancient Greek soma (body) + erion (wool) and the Latin molissimus (softest, or very soft), thus called because of the soft, downy feathers that the female plucks from her own chest to line her nest. After the chicks have grown up and left, humans have historically gathered the feathers to stuff into pillows, comforters, or puffy winter coats, although today synthetic materials are more often used. These ducks nest in colonies that can sometimes grow to some 15,000 individuals, and often brood and raise the chicks cooperatively. Two common names for this bird are Cuthbert's duck and Cuddy's duck (Cuddy being a nickname for Cuthbert), after St Cuthbert, who in 676 CE established laws to protect this species. But by what name do we more commonly know them? What -- you don't know Eider? ;)

Martinet, François Nicolas. Ornithologie (Paris: François Nicolas Martinet?, 1773-1792); a.k.a. Histoire des oiseaux peints dans tous leurs aspects apparents et sensibles. Plate 61: Eider Duck, Male; Plate 68: Eider Duck, Female; in the Smithsonian Libraries, Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History. The plates are engraved and colored by hand. We've uploaded a digital copy for you in our online library:
https://library.si.edu/digital-library/book/ornithologie1mart

It is also available via the Biodiversity Heritage Library:
https://doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.61476

The images were selected from our image gallery:
https://library.si.edu/image-gallery/107692
https://library.si.edu/image-gallery/107699

#FeaThursday

These beautiful pochoir butterfly images always send our hearts fluttering! 💓🦋Smithsonian highlights our copy of E. A. S...
02/05/2020

These beautiful pochoir butterfly images always send our hearts fluttering! 💓🦋

Smithsonian highlights our copy of E. A. Séguy's "Papillons", digitized for Biodiversity Heritage Library:

How to pick the best wallpaper for your home:
☐ Dark rooms: select wallpaper that reflects light
☐ Small rooms: create a spacious feel with lighter colors
☐ All rooms: spark immediate joy with splashy butterflies

Created by designer and artist Emile-Allain Séguy, these designs were intended for wallpapers and textiles. Learn more (and even download the images to decorate your own spaces) from our Biodiversity Heritage Library: https://s.si.edu/2v1JRmT

Elleanor Eldridge was a successful African American women in 1800s Rhode Island and the victim of an unscrupulous mortga...
02/05/2020

Elleanor Eldridge was a successful African American women in 1800s Rhode Island and the victim of an unscrupulous mortgagee. Though she had earned enough to buy her own property, it was sold out from under her by the mortgage holder.

"Memoirs of Elleanor Eldridge" by activist Frances H. Green sought to right this wrong and help fund-raise for Eldridge. It became a popular best seller and helped regain much of Eldridge's income.

Rare book cataloger Julia Blakely explains more in a new blog post: https://s.si.edu/2vPgoNv

#BlackHistoryMonth

We still have summer internships available! Come work with us this summer and gain experience in donor stewardship, educ...
02/04/2020

We still have summer internships available! Come work with us this summer and gain experience in donor stewardship, education program development and map collections.

Plus! A special opportunity for HBCU Computer Science students:

https://s.si.edu/35XMCSS

#inalj #lisjobs

Rosa Parks was born on this day in 1913. This image of Parks is from the bold cover design of Douglas Brinkley's biograp...
02/04/2020

Rosa Parks was born on this day in 1913. This image of Parks is from the bold cover design of Douglas Brinkley's biography "Rosa Parks" (2000) in our American Art/Portrait Gallery Library.

More about Parks & Brinkley's book: https://s.si.edu/2tZce5f

#BlackHistoryMonth

Booker T. Washington was born into slavery, but through education, hard work, and his own determination, he became one o...
02/04/2020

Booker T. Washington was born into slavery, but through education, hard work, and his own determination, he became one of the most prominent men in American history as an educator, orator, and advisor to U.S. Presidents. This title is a sequel to Washington’s signature, autobiographical book, “Up From Slavery;” however, this time Washington’s focus is more on the institute of higher learning he founded in 1881, the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now Tuskegee University) in Alabama. Washington, who had been educated at Hampton Institute, used it as a model for Tuskegee, which became a training ground for teachers, as well as a vocational school that educated the formerly enslaved and free people of color, teaching the students how to sustain themselves through “social, academic and vocational” efforts. An excerpt from the book reflects the title and Washington’s philosophy in a fitting way: “Mere hand training without moral, religious, and mental education, counts for very little. The hands, the head, and the heart together should be so correlated that one may be made to help the others.” This book is in the National Museum of African American History and Culture Library’s collection.

Happy Groundhog Day!This image comes from an issue of "Birds and all nature", which has a charming story of a tame groun...
02/02/2020

Happy Groundhog Day!

This image comes from an issue of "Birds and all nature", which has a charming story of a tame ground hog named Chuck. Chuck would only eat bread if sprinkled with sugar. Did you know your favorite weather predicting rodent had such a refined palate?

See more of "Birds and all nature" in @BioDivLibrary: https://s.si.edu/359kYC4

This #OTD is, appropriately, brought to you by the letters O, T & D. On this day in 1485, what is thought to be the firs...
01/31/2020

This #OTD is, appropriately, brought to you by the letters O, T & D.

On this day in 1485, what is thought to be the first visual alphabet in a book was printed in Venice. The book represented letters with items of similar shape.

Giacomo Publicio's "Oratoriae artis epitoma" can be found in our Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology: https://s.si.edu/2tNl8lU

Address

10 St At Constitution Ave, NW
Washington D.C., DC
20560

General information

At the center of research across the Smithsonian are the specialized branches and librarians of the Smithsonian Libraries. The contents and staff of the Libraries play a key role in helping the Smithsonian’s research and curatorial staff makes sense of the museums’ almost innumerable, often unique, objects and their cultural and historical contexts. The Smithsonian Libraries are a hidden national treasure, where experts come to test and expand knowledge and where America and the world can turn for authentic answers. The Smithsonian Libraries is a network of 20 specialized research libraries supporting each of the Institution’s museums and initiatives. The subjects comprehended by this globally unique complex of libraries and librarians are as diverse and deep as the collections, exhibits, and scholarship they support. They truly span the range of scientific and cultural pursuits of humanity from aerospace, anthropology, astronomy, astrophysics, and art history to biology and botany, to cultural history, portraiture, philately, zoology, and much, much more.

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(202) 633-2240

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Smithsonian Libraries posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Videos

Category

Our Story

Nearby museums


Comments

I have a set of Louis Agassiz Fuertes lithographs (numbered) “Album of Abyssinian Birds and Mammals. They have been in my family for decades and I am interested to know what (if anything) they are worth. They are in individual protective sleeves and in in fair to good condition. Would love to know if I should hang on to them. They are very beautiful.
Whats God have to do with it. Thoughts from FLYOVER country. Here in the America. The one I used to live in. Yes. You could think and say things, that were in disagreement with the perception of others. This was called free agency or simply freedom. Yes, you could say lots of things. Things that were in poor taste, things that were rude, things that no other person wanted to hear. Yes. You had that right. And you still do. Until the leftist PC Gestapo gets through with you. Remember although you are born free. The government if not kept in check, could clean your clock. And that is why "In God We Trust". Without his help this nation could not have made as far as it has. Thankyou for not believing, that the lord, in heaven is working in mysterious ways. You are special to someone. Possibly someone you do not believe in. But that is ok. We think you are so very special to. Steven Herndon 09112019
To what extent can we identify with certainty the causal factors leading to some particular event? While technologies have assuredly evolved at warp speed, humanity most certainly hasn’t, and the deliberate adoption of a historical mindset will provide some much-needed context to help us grapple with our own issues of the day, whatever they might be.