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Smithsonian Institution Archives

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Operating as usual

All of us at Smithsonian Libraries and Archives mourn the loss of our dear friend and colleague Effie Kapsalis.Effie mad...
12/21/2022

All of us at Smithsonian Libraries and Archives mourn the loss of our dear friend and colleague Effie Kapsalis.

Effie made a LOT of things happen at the Archives, Smithsonian , and the sphere at large, but one of our all-time favorites is the Archives’ series. Since Effie created the blog feature in 2016, we’ve highlighted over 200 Smithsonian women groundbreakers, past and present.

Today, we wanted to honor Effie with her own ➡️ https://s.si.edu/kapsalis

“March 17 will be remembered affectionately... as the day the Museum came to a complete standstill for an hour.”–The Tor...
12/12/2022

“March 17 will be remembered affectionately... as the day the Museum came to a complete standstill for an hour.”
–The Torch employee newsletter, April 1976

National Museum of American History curator Ellen Roney Hughes thought Muhammad Ali was going to mail in his gloves. Instead, himself showed up.

We hope attendees of the Opening Festival feel a little less cramped during their visit to the new culture wing. Don’t miss Ali’s autographed boxing robe in the new exhibit!

“March 17 will be remembered affectionately... as the day the Museum came to a complete standstill for an hour.”–The Tor...
12/12/2022

“March 17 will be remembered affectionately... as the day the Museum came to a complete standstill for an hour.”
–The Torch employee newsletter, April 1976

National Museum of American History curator Ellen Roney Hughes thought Muhammad Ali was going to mail in his gloves. Instead, himself showed up.

We hope attendees of the Opening Festival feel a little less cramped during their visit to the new culture wing. Don’t miss Ali’s autographed boxing robe in the new exhibit!

Now Workhouse Arts Center and the Lucy Burns Museum, the Lorton Reformatory in Lorton, VA was the subject of one of the ...
12/07/2022

Now Workhouse Arts Center and the Lucy Burns Museum, the Lorton Reformatory in Lorton, VA was the subject of one of the earliest exhibits at Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum. Traversing 20 miles west of the Anacostia neighborhood, the show focused on the creativity, activism, and social lives of those incarcerated at Lorton.

Museumgoers saw performances by the Gospel Giants, the D.C. Lorton Band, and the theatrical company Inner Voices. Visitors could also read excerpts from Time and Tide, the prison’s house publication, and participate in panel discussions with activist groups at Lorton.

Read more on our blog ➡️ s.si.edu/3iOLPQg

How do you photograph archival materials that are simply TOO shiny? This was the bedazzling question facing Miguel Resen...
12/02/2022

How do you photograph archival materials that are simply TOO shiny? This was the bedazzling question facing Miguel Resendiz during his Archives conservation internship in late 2019. Read on for the 📀 brilliant 💿 details ➡️ s.si.edu/3ugsWZj

Surprise party vibes. 50 years ago, Ann S. Campbell’s colleagues in the Management Analysis Office feted her 25 years at...
11/29/2022

Surprise party vibes.

50 years ago, Ann S. Campbell’s colleagues in the Management Analysis Office feted her 25 years at the Smithsonian. Get to know Ann, one of the Institution’s first women managers, on the blog ➡️ s.si.edu/3UgbfDF

Have some family downtime this Thanksgiving weekend? Break out a mic (or smartphone) and record an oral history!Whether ...
11/25/2022

Have some family downtime this Thanksgiving weekend? Break out a mic (or smartphone) and record an oral history!

Whether the vibe is more Ripley-fancy or more Walcott-rustic, our institutional historians have five easy tips to get started ➡️ s.si.edu/3ibdRoX

Charles Darwin’s landmark work on evolution, On the Origin of Species, was published 163 years ago tomorrow.But some thi...
11/23/2022

Charles Darwin’s landmark work on evolution, On the Origin of Species, was published 163 years ago tomorrow.

But some things never change. Like trying to explain where you put your boxes of specimens when you returned from South America. And maybe the boxes are labeled “Patagonia,” or perhaps “Tierra del Fuego”? 🤔

Anyway, that’s what happened to Darwin when his collecting specimens came to the U.S. National Museum. ➡️ s.si.edu/3tTEMIx

As you browse the web today, you might notice today's  featuring oceanographer Marie Tharp: google.com/doodles/celebrati...
11/21/2022

As you browse the web today, you might notice today's featuring oceanographer Marie Tharp: google.com/doodles/celebrating-marie-tharp.

In addition to her solo work, Marie Tharp was a close colleague and collaborator of Smithsonian Institution Archives favorite Bruce C. Heezen!

It's rare to find 3D objects in the Archives, but six globes made by Tharp and Heezen are a very notable exception.🌎🌍🌏🌎🌍🌏 ➡️ s.si.edu/3ER1pnc

Read more about Heezen and Tharp's work through the Biodiversity Heritage Library: s.si.edu/3EsY5NO.

S. Dillon Ripley: eighth Secretary of the Smithsonian and TV superstar. 🌟   in 1978, the Office of Telecommunications’ f...
11/09/2022

S. Dillon Ripley: eighth Secretary of the Smithsonian and TV superstar. 🌟

in 1978, the Office of Telecommunications’ film, “The Smithsonian Institution with S. Dillon Ripley,” won a prize 🏆 at the International Film and Television Festival of New York. Watch as part of Smithsonian Institution Archives’ own 175th Film Fest ➡️ https://youtu.be/x_jtsNjjKPA?t=761

New on the blog: "How do you feed a crayfish if you're wearing a bowtie?", plus many other questions our reference team ...
11/04/2022

New on the blog: "How do you feed a crayfish if you're wearing a bowtie?", plus many other questions our reference team tackled recently ➡️ https://s.si.edu/3NDnJmU

CALENDAR OF THE UNKNOWNS. It sounds like the name of a fantasy trilogy--but decades ago, this was the collection guide f...
11/02/2022

CALENDAR OF THE UNKNOWNS. It sounds like the name of a fantasy trilogy--but decades ago, this was the collection guide for the Joseph Henry Collection, the personal papers of the Smithsonian's first Secretary.
For a sigh of relief, check out Record Unit 7001's big glow-up. (Psst: we've even got some digitized materials now.) ➡️
https://s.si.edu/3sZTBsp

What's that sound?? Is it a ghost, or is it a Smithsonian Sidedoor ghost podcast??? 🎃🎧Tune into "Spooked at the Smithson...
10/31/2022
Spooked at the Smithsonian | Smithsonian Institution

What's that sound?? Is it a ghost, or is it a Smithsonian Sidedoor ghost podcast??? 🎃🎧

Tune into "Spooked at the Smithsonian" for a few eerie tales…plus words of skepticism from Smithsonian Institution Archives's own Pam Henson.

Happy Halloween! ➡️

Why is the Smithsonian home to countless tales of unexplained phenomena and—dare we say—ghost sightings?

Still need a Halloween costume for this year? You’re in luck! We’ve put our heads together 💀💀💀 to come up with a shortli...
10/28/2022

Still need a Halloween costume for this year? You’re in luck! We’ve put our heads together 💀💀💀 to come up with a shortlist of the best costume ideas from 176 years of Smithsonian history.

In no particular order:

1️⃣ Carcinologist and Galapagos expert 𝕎𝕒𝕝𝕕𝕠 𝕊𝕔𝕙𝕞𝕚𝕥𝕥. White tank; jeans; cool boots; safari hat. Confuse your friends who thought you were going as the OTHER Waldo.
👒🥾👖

2️⃣ Paleontologist, Tuskegee Airman, and National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution curator 𝕃𝕠𝕦𝕚𝕤 ℙ𝕦𝕣𝕟𝕖𝕝𝕝. Airman’s hat; pilot uniform; subtle mustache. And don’t forget your basket full of unclassified shells.
👨🏽‍✈️🐚

3️⃣ Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art curator 𝔾𝕣𝕒𝕔𝕖 𝔻𝕦𝕟𝕙𝕒𝕞 𝔾𝕦𝕖𝕤𝕥. Scarf; cardigan; art catalogs; fancy jewelry: pearls, heirloom rings, what-have-you.
🧣💍

4️⃣ Legendary forensic ornithologist ℝ𝕠𝕩𝕚𝕖 𝕃𝕒𝕪𝕓𝕠𝕦𝕣𝕟𝕖. Lab coat; big glasses; pockets full of feathers and fragments of plane fuselage.
🥼👓⚙️

5️⃣ Lovers of pandas might consider going as 𝕃𝕚𝕤𝕒 𝕊𝕥𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕟𝕤. Zookeeper onesie; carabiner holding a hundred keys; stuffed baby panda.
🔑🔑🔑🐼

6️⃣ Finally, for the ultimate Halloween aficionados: 𝕰𝖒𝖎𝖑 𝕭𝖊𝖘𝖘𝖊𝖑𝖘. Faux fur jacket; faux fur pants; clip-on beard. Hide a vial of poison in your coat. ➡️ s.si.edu/3DHeDlX

What kind of spooky sampling is even going on in our lab this week? Take a peek inside…if you dare. 👀While a box of audi...
10/27/2022

What kind of spooky sampling is even going on in our lab this week? Take a peek inside…if you dare. 👀

While a box of audio reels was in transit, some residues mysteriously appeared on its inside walls! Our conservator is taking samples for analysis to see if it what she suspects or something…weirder.

While deftly wielding the scalpel, our conservators were equally charmed and creeped out by some vintage slide holders!

And, no, we’re not putting them in the mail, lest something else be made manifest… 👻

She's angular. She undulates in a vertical plane. She is Chessie: the Chesapeake Bay's answer to the Loch Ness Monster. ...
10/26/2022

She's angular. She undulates in a vertical plane. She is Chessie: the Chesapeake Bay's answer to the Loch Ness Monster.


On a Friday in August 1982, Chessie - yes, like Nessie - was the subject of an Enigma Project meeting at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Eyewitnesses, cryptozoological researchers, and herpetology curator George Zug gathered in the Naturalist Center to pore over video footage, photos, and descriptions of the Chessie phenomenon.

Their findings? 🎃 Wouldn't you like to know. 🎃

Just kidding (sort of): you can come check out George Zug's sea monster records in the Archives reading room ➡️ https://s.si.edu/3EPQQBt

What's cooler: an IMAX movie at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution or witnessing the first-ever ...
10/24/2022

What's cooler: an IMAX movie at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution or witnessing the first-ever moving picture screening at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in 1914?

Walter Forsberg, Curator of Recorded Media, tackles some of the hard-hitting questions facing the in the latest blog post from Smithsonian Libraries and Archives ➡️ s.si.edu/3ySvBLp

The cub, the bear, the legend. 🐻🔥For the 100th anniversary of , we’re looking back at the wildfire prevention icon Smoke...
10/20/2022

The cub, the bear, the legend. 🐻🔥

For the 100th anniversary of , we’re looking back at the wildfire prevention icon Smokey Bear: a longtime resident of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, avid swimmer, and lover of peanut butter sandwiches.

Learn the story of the real-life Smokey on our blog ➡️ https://s.si.edu/3TxdwKw

Tiny sketches on tiny notebooks: an appreciation.📸: Record Unit 7181, box 3, folder 2, two Alaskan field notebooks of Fr...
10/17/2022

Tiny sketches on tiny notebooks: an appreciation.

📸: Record Unit 7181, box 3, folder 2, two Alaskan field notebooks of Frederick William True, 1895 ➡️ https://s.si.edu/3Csgx8g

10/12/2022
Warm up room Pennsy.mp4

SKREEEEEK. Brrrrrrrrr skreek brrrrrrrrrr.

Oh, don’t mind us—we’re just over here, outside the cold storage area, approaching that ideal temperature and humidity for Day.

Got a question about doing research, or archival processing, or conservation, or digitization, or Smithsonian history, or--? Fire away! ⬇️

Video description: Video pans around the entrance to a cold storage area, with a text overlay reading “ Day.” There is an audible buzz in the background.

Raise your hand if you’ve been a Mary Vaux Walcott stan since 1939. 🙋No? Just us???No matter how long you’ve been follow...
10/11/2022

Raise your hand if you’ve been a Mary Vaux Walcott stan since 1939. 🙋

No? Just us???

No matter how long you’ve been following , we can all get behind the 250 botanical plates featured in 📚🌷 “Wild Flowers of North America: Botanical Illustrations by Mary Vaux Walcott,” out today from Smithsonian Libraries and Archives and Prestel Publishing, and authored by the Archives’ own Pam Henson.

And while we’re on the 📖 🌼 train, don’t forget to sign up for the virtual release party on October 28 at 12 pm ET ➡️ s.si.edu/walcott-event

In our latest blog post, longtime Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service curator Fredie Adelman revisits t...
10/09/2022

In our latest blog post, longtime Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service curator Fredie Adelman revisits the groundbreaking 1987 exhibit “Field to Factory.” Read about the team of curators and artists who brought the exhibit to life at National Museum of American History and all around the country ➡️ https://s.si.edu/3T3KbqV

We asked a whole bunch of Archives staff members to tell us a fun, medium, or boring fact about their job. Here’s what t...
10/07/2022

We asked a whole bunch of Archives staff members to tell us a fun, medium, or boring fact about their job. Here’s what they said…

🪘 Stefaan Hurts, digital imaging tech: “When you digitize page after page, it can all become a bit of a blur, but sometimes something catches your eye. Whether they were ecstatic about getting funds for musical instruments or for African antelopes, I leave up to your imagination.”

🎙️ "Did you know that the Archives collected 231 from staff during the 1996 Folklife Festival & 150th Anniversary Celebration?" asks Carmen Bolt, who just happens to be managing SI's . Learn more about the : https://s.si.edu/3fNvCcR

📦 Tatiana Swann, a member of our Archives and Information Management team, points out the importance of records disposition schedules: keeping things AND throwing things away. “The AIM team has processed an average of almost 923.5 cubic feet of new archival records per year between 2009-2019. During that time, the average cubic feet of temporary records destroyed per year was 789.46.”

🦕 Reference archivist Richard Gilreath says, “Did you know we have materials from Smithsonian events in other states? For example, the Archives has this image of a paleontology exhibit from the 1936 Texas Centennial Exhibition.” (Did we mention that Richard is from Texas?)

💾 Did you know how many web pages the Archives crawls in a year?
A thousand? 💿
Ten thousand? 💿💿
No, but nice try! 💿💿💿 According to Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig, digital archivist, we crawled 1.2 TB from October 2021 to September 2022--more than NINETEEN MILLION websites and social media pages.

Senator John Brooks Henderson joined the Smithsonian Board of Regents in 1892. But it’s his mother-in-law, Eunice Newton...
10/05/2022

Senator John Brooks Henderson joined the Smithsonian Board of Regents in 1892. But it’s his mother-in-law, Eunice Newton Foote, who achieved ✨ iconic Smithsonian legend status ✨ as a climatologist.

Archives researcher John Perlin explores Foote's legacy in a recent piece from BBC World Service. Learn more ➡️ https://t.co/xJAQ8KYHnx

Today is the 80th birthday of Smithsonian emeritus curator Bernice Johnson Reagon! Dr. Reagon’s career has spanned civil...
10/04/2022

Today is the 80th birthday of Smithsonian emeritus curator Bernice Johnson Reagon! Dr. Reagon’s career has spanned civil rights activism, musicology, music composition, singing, teaching—plus a 10-year stint as Director for the National Museum of American History Program in Black American Culture.
Future biographers, see below for a mini research guide! 👩‍🏫

📜Visit the Archives to check out Dr. Reagon’s curatorial files ➡️ s.si.edu/3Cvzzvt
🔊 We also have a set of oral history interviews conducted with Dr. Reagon in 1986 ➡️ s.si.edu/3CvZiE5
🎉 And just for fun: don’t miss the new biopic-comic created by Smithsonian Libraries and Archives and Smithsonian Folklife ➡️ s.si.edu/reagon-comic

When you research birds in the rainforest, your field notes might end up with a little more material than you bargained ...
10/03/2022

When you research birds in the rainforest, your field notes might end up with a little more material than you bargained for. In our latest blog post, conservator Nora Lockshin shares how SLA interns tackled mold growth within the research records of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.

Read on ➡️ https://s.si.edu/3Edrxce

Here at the Archives, we love the Hungerford Deed—both the document and the April episode of the Smithsonian Sidedoor po...
09/30/2022

Here at the Archives, we love the Hungerford Deed—both the document and the April episode of the Smithsonian Sidedoor podcast. For , enjoy the family drama, the historical puns, and host Lizzie Peabody’s valiant attempts at reading 18th-century legal scrawl. Take a listen ➡️ https://s.si.edu/3LTtM

Cartoons on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service letterhead? Must be J.N. “Ding” Darling.Darling penned this drawing in 1934 w...
09/28/2022

Cartoons on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service letterhead? Must be J.N. “Ding” Darling.
Darling penned this drawing in 1934 while Chief of the Bureau of Biological Survey. Found in the Archives’ Record Unit 7174, the cartoon captures his unqualified success at appeasing a disgruntled hunter from Chicago.
Learn more about “Ding” here ➡️ https://s.si.edu/3rfxSfp

Hey Smithsonian Gardens, what if we met in front of the 🌾Palace of Horticulture 🌝 at night in 1915?This postcard was pri...
09/27/2022

Hey Smithsonian Gardens, what if we met in front of the 🌾Palace of Horticulture 🌝
at night in 1915?
This postcard was printed to promote the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, California.

We’ll practice safe situational awareness and hang out on the other side of the screen from this poison dart frog—unlike...
09/26/2022

We’ll practice safe situational awareness and hang out on the other side of the screen from this poison dart frog—unlike Carl C. Hansen, the photographer who snapped this shot at Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in 1989.

Why does this photograph of a tiny echidna bring us so much joy?! ⁠⠀E.F. Keller, the official photographer of the New Yo...
09/23/2022

Why does this photograph of a tiny echidna bring us so much joy?!
⁠⠀
E.F. Keller, the official photographer of the New York Zoological Society, captured this photograph of the spiny anteater during his visit to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in 1903. ⁠

We can smell the PSLs from a mile away. We’d like to think Dr. Leo J. Hickey understood the  hype. A curator with Smiths...
09/22/2022

We can smell the PSLs from a mile away.

We’d like to think Dr. Leo J. Hickey understood the hype. A curator with Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, he revolutionized the study of fossil leaves by conducting a comprehensive study of leaf vein patterns in living plants.

Happy 18th anniversary to Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, which opened  in 2004.Celebrations that ...
09/21/2022

Happy 18th anniversary to Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, which opened in 2004.

Celebrations that day began with a Native Nations Procession in which 25,000 Native people from the U.S., Canada, Central America, and South America walked to the entrance. More history: s.si.edu/3qrH0Nt

In 1972, “The Right to Vote” opened at National Museum of American History. The exhibition traced the history of voting ...
09/20/2022

In 1972, “The Right to Vote” opened at National Museum of American History. The exhibition traced the history of voting rights in the U.S. and emphasized the power of the young, since the voting age was lowered to 18 just one year earlier. More → s.si.edu/2GkaRUD

Dorothy Rosenberg earned the Secretary's Gold Medal for Exceptional Service, the highest honor presented to staff, on th...
09/16/2022

Dorothy Rosenberg earned the Secretary's Gold Medal for Exceptional Service, the highest honor presented to staff, on this day in 1979.

She served as a liaison to the Smithsonian Board of Regents, where she was often the only woman at the table. More → s.si.edu/3zraMnT

Cuban zoologist Dr. Isabel Pérez Farfante’s journey to the Smithsonian was far from typical.She was working as a profess...
09/15/2022

Cuban zoologist Dr. Isabel Pérez Farfante’s journey to the Smithsonian was far from typical.

She was working as a professor and biologist in Cuba when she and her husband learned they had been blacklisted by the government. → s.si.edu/3D2GVEb

Fearing for their safety, the family fled to the US, where Farfante had already established ties to the scientific community. In 1966, she joined NOAA Fisheries Service at its Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History lab, and 20 years later, she took on a research associate role with the Museum’s division of crustacea.

Tomorrow is Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum’s birthday!We can’t celebrate the Museum’s anniversary without talk...
09/14/2022

Tomorrow is Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum’s birthday!

We can’t celebrate the Museum’s anniversary without talking about its founding director, John Kinard. At age 31, the minister and activist became the first African American director of a Smithsonian museum. → s.si.edu/35CdjjG

It’s flu shot szn. If you were a Smithsonian employee in the ‘70s or ‘80s, Verdine Frederick may have administered your ...
09/13/2022

It’s flu shot szn. If you were a Smithsonian employee in the ‘70s or ‘80s, Verdine Frederick may have administered your flu shot.

And she did so much more. She created a group for staff struggling with alcohol use and founded an HIV/AIDS support group → s.si.edu/3wZJFi9

We remember Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning British Monarch. In 1976, she visited the Smithsonian as part of he...
09/08/2022

We remember Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning British Monarch.

In 1976, she visited the Smithsonian as part of her U.S Bicentennial trip. She toured the Castle, accepted the James Smithson Medal, and explored exhibits. More: http://si.edu/spotlight/queen-elizabeth-ii

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June 9: International Archives Day… Archives are a Heritage and a Sun.
https://www.facebook.com/gerardo.bendecido/posts/10158314169866325
FYI: SUMMER 2021
Get Ready for a Mind-Expanding Adventure!
“GOD TALKS TO ME:
A Working Definition of God”
This book answers Albert Einstein’s most profound question, ” I want to know God's thoughts; the rest are details." Albert Einstein
https://www.facebook.com/GodTalkstoMeBook
Hey Smithsonian Institution Archives, I wish you should upload "Conquest Of The Land" and "For Want Of Plankton The Mosasaur Was Lost" on YouTube.
Que voulez-vous dire ?tt.pe
President John F. Kennedy
By Artist Chester Davis
Good morning, I am looking for pictures of the soldiers during the First and Second World War of Andernach during the occupation were made! Can you help me with this ?! Thanks Andreas Heissbach
A Civil War era letter that appears to describe the January 1865 Smithsonian fire is up for auction on eBay:
Secrets of Physical Radiesthesia /The Roman Rod/
Thought you guys might enjoy this rendition of America's oldest murder ballad, Omie Wise. Happy Halloween from Banjo Earth!
I should think that, with digital technology as good as it is and widely available and easy to use, the Smithsonian could digitally catalog everything in its vast warehouses and make it all available for free online viewing. If it's just a matter of photographing it all and scanning it, I'm sure you could find hundreds of people who would volunteer to do it--including me!
x

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