Smithsonian Libraries and Archives

Smithsonian Libraries and Archives The Smithsonian Libraries and Archives is a system of 21 branch libraries and an institutional archives that support the current work of the institution and researchers around the world.
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Happy Birthday to to Edgar Allan Poe, born on this day in 1809. Did you know that the author most known for ravens also ...
01/19/2021

Happy Birthday to to Edgar Allan Poe, born on this day in 1809.

Did you know that the author most known for ravens also wrote about shells? He wrote the preface and introduction to "The conchologist’s first book" in 1839. Learn more: https://s.si.edu/2FUvlj1

Find the book in Biodiversity Heritage Library : https://s.si.edu/2QYl7Eu

Laura Holloway Langford first wrote "The Ladies of the White House" in 1869 to address a gap in biographical coverage of...
01/19/2021

Laura Holloway Langford first wrote "The Ladies of the White House" in 1869 to address a gap in biographical coverage of the nation's First Ladies, which were limited to mostly "descriptions of personal appearances on public occasion".

"The Ladies of the White House" was a commercial success. This 1882 edition was updated to include every First Lady from Martha Washington to Lucretia Garfield.

Find it in our Digital Library: https://s.si.edu/3iqs1OY

"Heart and Soul" (2011), written by and illustrated with paintings by Kadir Nelson, includes a dynamic illustration of D...
01/18/2021

"Heart and Soul" (2011), written by and illustrated with paintings by Kadir Nelson, includes a dynamic illustration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivering his "I Have a Dream" speech.

Nelson's work is one of many illustrated children’s books on African American history and culture collected for our Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum Library.

Learn more in our online exhibition "Magnificent Obsessions: Why We Collect": https://s.si.edu/2H21g2Z

Benjamin Franklin was born on this day in 1706. Franklin began his experiments on electricity in the 1740s and communica...
01/17/2021

Benjamin Franklin was born on this day in 1706.

Franklin began his experiments on electricity in the 1740s and communicated his results to correspondents in Great Britain. In 1751, these various letters were compiled into a book, "Experiments and observations on electricity". The letters described Franklin's work on lighting strikes and lightning rods, and also discussed his positive and negative theory of electrical fluid.

Read it in our Digital Library: https://s.si.edu/3bHxGyU

🐉 It's  Appreciate A Dragon Day and it would seem that someone in the 17th century appreciated them a whole heck of a lo...
01/16/2021

🐉 It's Appreciate A Dragon Day and it would seem that someone in the 17th century appreciated them a whole heck of a lot.

These four examples are from "Historiae naturalis de quadrupetibus libri" by Johannes Jonstonus, available in Biodiversity Heritage Library : https://s.si.edu/2LB9Fiq

Learn more about mythical creatures, and how many may have been inspired by fossils, on the Biodiversity Heritage Library blog: :https://s.si.edu/3nJllg9

We present: a visual representation of our dedication to New Year’s resolutions, through the month of January. How are y...
01/15/2021

We present: a visual representation of our dedication to New Year’s resolutions, through the month of January. How are your resolutions going this year?

This image comes from “La cavalerie françoise et italienne” (1620), a horse training book based on military methods, by Pierre de La Noue. Find it in Biodiversity Heritage Library : https://s.si.edu/391kDpb

01/14/2021
At Home with the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives: Meet the Archives

We’re giving you the special opportunity to learn more about our new organization and to “Meet the Archives” of Smithsonian Institution Archives! Joining us are Ellen Alers, Reference Team Leader, Tammy Peters, Chief Archivist, and Jennifer Wright, Archives and Information Management Team Leader. They will share about what can be found in our archival collections, how we collect these materials, and how people all over the world can access these records for all kinds of purposes.

⏰ In ONE HOUR (5pm ET) ,you can join us for a Facebook Live to get to know our colleagues at Smithsonian Institution Arc...
01/14/2021

⏰ In ONE HOUR (5pm ET) ,you can join us for a Facebook Live to get to know our colleagues at Smithsonian Institution Archives

Have questions about the records that built our Institution? Join us Live here on Facebook to ask.

(Will also be recorded for later viewing.)

The 2021 astronomical forecast is full of eclipses, planetary conjunctions and meteor showers. Get prepped with a few am...
01/13/2021

The 2021 astronomical forecast is full of eclipses, planetary conjunctions and meteor showers.

Get prepped with a few amateur astronomy books in our Digital Library: https://s.si.edu/3bBf2bZ

🖼️: Eclipse of the Moon from "The beauty of the heavens" (1842) by Charles Blunt: https://s.si.edu/2odVkcY

🤝 For our next Facebook Live event, we’re getting to know our colleagues at Smithsonian Institution Archives ! 📺 Join us...
01/12/2021

🤝 For our next Facebook Live event, we’re getting to know our colleagues at Smithsonian Institution Archives !

📺 Join us January 14th at 5 pm ET as we learn about their collections and work: https://fb.me/e/bnbqBoqzB

(📼 Will also be recorded for later viewing)

Kala Bagai was one of the first South Asian women to arrive in San Francisco in 1915. She became an advocate for South A...
01/12/2021

Kala Bagai was one of the first South Asian women to arrive in San Francisco in 1915. She became an advocate for South Asian American’s rights, fighting for citizenship.

Find Bagai and other extraordinary women in "Women in America", our latest educational resource: https://library.si.edu/WomenInAmerica

Reaching out to an archives for the first time can be intimidating. Fortunately, the Smithsonian Institution Archives’ R...
01/11/2021

Reaching out to an archives for the first time can be intimidating. Fortunately, the Smithsonian Institution Archives’ Reference Team is welcoming, encouraging, knowledgeable, and well-prepared to investigate whatever your curiosity may be. The five archivists on the team field thousands of questions each year.

Learn about their work and the types of topics they dive into → s.si.edu/ReferenceTeam

Want to ask them for yourself? Join us here on Facebook Thursday, January 14th at 5pm: https://fb.me/e/bnbqBoqzB

#MeetTheArchives

Twelfth Night, Epiphany, Three Kings Day, el Día de los Reyes Magos. Celebrations on January 6, twelve days after Christ...
01/06/2021

Twelfth Night, Epiphany, Three Kings Day, el Día de los Reyes Magos. Celebrations on January 6, twelve days after Christmas, have as many names as traditions. Some use it to celebrate the arrival of the Magi, some use it to guide when their holiday decorations are put away.

Dennison’s Christmas Book from 1923 suggests a festive party where a bean and pea in to a cake. The guests who find the hidden legumes are crowned King and Queen

Learn more: https://s.si.edu/2LnTowL

For #NationalBirdDay, we're highlighting Daniel Elliot's "The new and heretofore unfigured species of the birds of North...
01/05/2021

For #NationalBirdDay, we're highlighting Daniel Elliot's "The new and heretofore unfigured species of the birds of North America" (1869).

Elliot, who was an ornithologist and a founder of American Museum of Natural History , provided text. The beautiful illustrations were by Elliot himself, as well as Joseph Wolf, Edwin Sheppard and others. It includes species not previously found in works by either Alexander Wilson or John James Audubon

Find our copy in Biodiversity Heritage Library : https://s.si.edu/2LmpSHI

Let’s continue to #MeetTheArchives with Smithsonian Institution Archives Digital Services Division. The team is responsi...
01/04/2021

Let’s continue to #MeetTheArchives with Smithsonian Institution Archives Digital Services Division.

The team is responsible for digitization, digital asset management, accessioning born-digital records and email accounts, web development, photography, & social media. Did you know they archive the email records of retiring Smithsonian employees and the Institution’s many social media accounts?

Read about their work → s.si.edu/DigitalServices

Interesting in meeting our archivists? Tune in on January 14th for "At Home with the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives: Meet the Archives": https://fb.me/e/bnbqBoqzB

✍️One New Year's Resolution we can always support?  Read more!📚Our digitized books in Biodiversity Heritage Library & ou...
01/03/2021

✍️One New Year's Resolution we can always support? Read more!

📚Our digitized books in Biodiversity Heritage Library & our Digital Library can help. Find thousands of free, downloadable titles in a variety of subjects.

📖Not sure where to start? Here are a few staff faves to get you browsing: https://s.si.edu/38LlU3D

Happy National Science Fiction Day 🚀One of the most famous examples from the 19th century is Jules Verne's "From the Ear...
01/02/2021

Happy National Science Fiction Day 🚀

One of the most famous examples from the 19th century is Jules Verne's "From the Earth to the Moon" (1865). Verne’s writing combined elements of both the science and fiction of the time. This beautiful cover is from an 1874 edition in our National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution Library.

Learn more about Verne's role in the creation of the science fiction genre in our online exhibition, "Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction, 1780-1910": https://library.si.edu/exhibition/fantastic-worlds

🐧 On this day in 1908, Ernest Shackleton and crew set off aboard the Nimrod as the British Antarctic Expedition. It was ...
01/01/2021

🐧 On this day in 1908, Ernest Shackleton and crew set off aboard the Nimrod as the British Antarctic Expedition. It was the first of three successful trips to the Antarctic led by Shackleton. This illustrations depicts an autumn sunset with penguins.

Read Shackleton's account, "The heart of the Antarctic" (1909) in Biodiversity Heritage Library : https://s.si.edu/3aP5YQn

Rabbit🐰, rabbit🐰, rabbit🐰! Supposedly, if your first words of a new month are about bunnies, you'll bring yourself good ...
01/01/2021

Rabbit🐰, rabbit🐰, rabbit🐰!

Supposedly, if your first words of a new month are about bunnies, you'll bring yourself good luck. In 2021, we're not taking any chances. Happy New Year🎉!

If nothing else, this assortment of bunnies is a darn cute way to ring in the New Year 🥕

All bunnies via Biodiversity Heritage Library:
https://s.si.edu/2WGeZ65
https://s.si.edu/3awLkV3
https://s.si.edu/34C6vkM

So what if you're overdressed for the living room? 2020 has been a crazy year and we hope you find a special way to ring...
12/31/2020

So what if you're overdressed for the living room?

2020 has been a crazy year and we hope you find a special way to ring in the new one! These elegant gowns by Worth may provide some last minute inspiration.

Found in our digital copy of the 1922 Gazette du Bon Ton: https://s.si.edu/2QsRKqL #NYE

12/30/2020
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Run out of holiday movies to watch this week? Smithsonian Institution Archives shares a few of ours! Learn about the recently digitized series "Here at the Smithsonian":

For the first time, we’re sharing short video features from the series

✨ Here at the Smithsonian ✨

Produced from 1982 to 1989, these videos were aired during commercial newscasts in order to circulate information about Smithsonian happenings. 🎥: s.si.edu/2WW05Zo

Our face this week when someone asks what day it is. I wanna say . . . Decembrary? Find this "long-armed gibbon" and mor...
12/29/2020

Our face this week when someone asks what day it is.

I wanna say . . . Decembrary?

Find this "long-armed gibbon" and more oddly illustrated animals in "Musei Leveriani Explicatio" (1792) in Biodiversity Heritage Library: https://s.si.edu/2KIrNGq

If you have a question related to Smithsonian history, Smithsonian Institution Archives Institutional History Division l...
12/28/2020

If you have a question related to Smithsonian history, Smithsonian Institution Archives Institutional History Division likely has your answer.

Led by Dr. Pamela Henson, historian for the history of the Institution since 1974, the small, but mighty team manages an oral history program and provides reference services to fellows, scholars, and Smithsonian staff. Additionally, the Division produces publications, bibliographies, chronologies, image databases, research guides, and exhibits around the Smithsonian.

Dive into some of their work → siarchives.si.edu/history

#MeetTheArchives

For the Christmas holiday and a merry #FloralFriday, a lovely amaryllis bloom from "The floral magazine" (1872) in Biodi...
12/25/2020

For the Christmas holiday and a merry #FloralFriday, a lovely amaryllis bloom from "The floral magazine" (1872) in Biodiversity Heritage Library : https://s.si.edu/34ySwfH

When grown as a houseplant, the bulbs usually flower around Christmas, making them synonymous with the holiday. Celebrate with more amaryllis examples on our blog: https://s.si.edu/3arCwjg

Ho Ho Didya Know: Many of Santa's attributes were formed by the classic Clement Moore story first published as “A Visit ...
12/24/2020

Ho Ho Didya Know: Many of Santa's attributes were formed by the classic Clement Moore story first published as “A Visit from St. Nicholas” in 1823. Moore is responsible for not only naming Santa’s reindeer but also the visual idea of the jolly old elf himself.

This 1901 edition of "The Night Before Christmas" is held by our Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Library: https://s.si.edu/3h8elaH

Excited for the latest adventures of Wonder Woman? Meet the  writer who helped bring early stories of Diana Prince to li...
12/23/2020

Excited for the latest adventures of Wonder Woman? Meet the writer who helped bring early stories of Diana Prince to life - Joye Kelly.

Kelly was a former student of Wonder Woman creator, Dr. William Marston Moulton, impressing him with answers to a psychology test. She worked with Moulton for six months to create positive stories, drafted in detailed scripts.

Kelly shared her memories, and memorabilia, with us in 2015: https://s.si.edu/34yH5o0

#BecauseOfHerStory

12/22/2020

❄️Wishing you a very happy holiday season!❄️

Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley (1865–1931), a pioneer in photomicrography, captured these detailed images of individual snowflakes, now in the collections of @SmithsonianArch . Learn more & find a holiday craft: https://s.si.edu/38nevHq

Lydia Maria Child's best known publication, "The Frugal Housewife", was first printed in 1829 and went through 33 editio...
12/22/2020

Lydia Maria Child's best known publication, "The Frugal Housewife", was first printed in 1829 and went through 33 editions, providing domestic guidance to a generation of American women.

But her lifetime of activism also helped advance causes like abolition and suffrage. She edited the "National Anti-Slavery Standard", wrote about women's history and pleaded for the rights of Native Americans.

Learn more about Child and her literary legacy: https://s.si.edu/2KgqgHO

(📸: Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture : https://s.si.edu/2KHJ5TW)

#BecauseOfHerStory

Offering some magical light on this darkest day of Winter Solstice ✨.  "Thirty plates illustrative of natural phenomena,...
12/21/2020

Offering some magical light on this darkest day of Winter Solstice ✨.

"Thirty plates illustrative of natural phenomena, etc" was published by Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge in 1846. In addition to the Aurora Borealis, the book also describes waterfalls, coral reefs and natural bridges with accompanying illustrations. The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge was founded in 1698 as an arm of the Church of England. The Society produced not only theological books but also works on popular science, travel, biography, and fiction.

Find it in our Digital Library: https://s.si.edu/2GObpAx

What happens when a high-level or long-term Smithsonian employee retires or leaves the Institution? Smithsonian Institut...
12/21/2020

What happens when a high-level or long-term Smithsonian employee retires or leaves the Institution? Smithsonian Institution Archives' Archives and Information Management team is on it.


Our archivists advise Smithsonian staff on the daily management of active records, provide guidance on the disposition of records, assist in the transfer of permanent records, and manage storage for temporary records. The team is responsible for arranging these new accessions and creating finding aids for researchers.

Learn a little more about what they do: s.si.edu/ArchivesInfo
#MeetTheArchives

Abolitionist and suffragist Amy Post was born on this day in 1802. Post was a founding member of the New York Western An...
12/20/2020

Abolitionist and suffragist Amy Post was born on this day in 1802. Post was a founding member of the New York Western Anti-Slavery Society, attended the Seneca Falls Convention and the cellar of her Rochester, New York home was used as a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Post was also a friend of Frederick Douglass. This portrait of her is featured in "Frederick Douglass The Orator", a book in our Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum Library.

Read it online: https://s.si.edu/1bCNDAO

For the Baby Guttenberg on your gift list: a child's printing press. Excelsior Printing Press, with its "solid, strong, ...
12/19/2020

For the Baby Guttenberg on your gift list: a child's printing press.

Excelsior Printing Press, with its "solid, strong, rigid casting" and working parts, was listed with toys in the 1907 Herr, Thomas & Co catalog. Next to the sleds and child's tea set: https://s.si.edu/2KczhkY

🌲It's a holly jolly Floral Friday!  We're enjoying some seasonal favorites from Mary Vaux Walcott's "North American wild...
12/18/2020

🌲It's a holly jolly Floral Friday! We're enjoying some seasonal favorites from Mary Vaux Walcott's "North American wild flowers" (1925).

Find the White Spruce, American Holly and more native plants in Biodiversity Heritage Library : https://s.si.edu/2FYG0M4

Learn more about the "Smithsonian process", an unusual printing process Walcott used to illustrate her book, on our blog: https://s.si.edu/38fbzMU

✈️ On this day in 1903, the Wright brothers successfully took to the skies with the first machine powered air flight in ...
12/17/2020

✈️ On this day in 1903, the Wright brothers successfully took to the skies with the first machine powered air flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

How did they accomplish this feat? "The Wright Flyer: an engineering perspective", published by National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution in 1987, explains the technological achievements of the Wrights, with perspectives from five engineers.

Read it online: https://s.si.edu/2p73nrN

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

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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.