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Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
A Cullman Library staff member at work with an object in a custom-made exhibit case and a matching storage box/case (below). These two items were made by the Cabinet Shop of the Office of Exhibits, Central to match the wooden decor of the Cullman rare book library in the Museum of Natural History building.

Smithsonian Institution Libraries: Creating the Digital Library

Smithsonian Libraries
Overview of the Smithsonian Libraries digitization process; includes images of scanning equipment and collections scanning.

National Rose Month image from Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Smithsonian Insider

In recognition of June as National Rose Month this hand colored plate (detail) is offered from an 1807 volume by Robert John Thornton in the collection of […]

The post National Rose Month image from Smithsonian Institution Libraries appeared first on Smithsonian Insider.

Smithsonian Institution Library Catalog

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Website allows visitors to search for onsite resources in the Smithsonian Institution Libraries.

Smithsonian Library in Smithsonian Institution Building West Wing

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
In "The Castle" the date of the West Wing rearrangement is listed 1857; Joseph Henry's desk diary of 1858 gives a more accurate date of January 19, 1858 (this would have still fallen in the 1857 annual report). The woodcut was probably executed in 1856 for publication in the first Smithsonian Guidebook (1857). Many of the woodcuts for that guide presented rooms in the SIB as they were planned, not as they appeared. See for example the Great Hall, which shows three tiers of exhibits, though it was never built that way.

Engraving of the Smithsonian Library located in the West Wing of the Smithsonian Institution Building (SIB), or "Castle." The engraving shows balconies, which were erected in 1858, to provide additional space for books. The engraving was published in the Guidebook of 1857.

Library, Lower Main Hall, Smithsonian Institution Building

Smithsonian Archives - History Div

The Library at the east end of Lower Main Hall, now called the Great Hall, of the Smithsonian Institution Building (SIB), also known as the "Castle." There is a woman reshelving (or retrieving) a book in the center of the photograph.

Library in the Smithsonian Institution Building

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
Print of an engraving of the library in the west end of the Smithsonian Institution Building, or "Castle." The engraving was published in the Smithsonian Guidebook of 1857. Men are looking at books and talking. Busts can be seen on the upper balcony.

SI Libraries Imaging Center

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
Staff at the opening ceremony for the Smithsonian Institution Libraries Imaging Center. Guests invited to the opening ceremony included Provost Dennis O'Conner, Smithsonian Institution Libraries National Board of Directors, and the Smithsonian Institution Libraries Executive Council. Staff pictured are, from left: Tom Garnett, Courtney Danforth, Susan Blaine Frampton, David Holbert, and Martin Kalfatovic.

The Renwick Gates in the Smithsonian Libraries

Smithsonian Libraries
 Morgan E. Aronson and Julia Blakely co-authored this piece.   James M. Goode, former Keeper of the Smithsonian Institution Building (affectionately known as “The Castle”) received this year the Individual more »

Smithsonian Libraries Research Opportunities 2015

Smithsonian Institution Libraries
Situated at the center of the world’s largest museum complex, the Smithsonian Libraries is a vital part of the research, exhibition, and educational enterprise of the Institution. Each Smithsonian scholar engages in an individual voyage of discovery using the artifacts and specimens of the Smithsonian Institution in conjunction with the Libraries’ written and illustrated record more »

Secretary Small with Rare Book from SI Libraries

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence M. Small with rare natural history books from the Smithsonian Institution Libraries Collection in the Secretary's Parlor, Smithsonian Castle.

Reading Room in the Smithsonian Institution Building

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
Print of an engraving of the reading room of the library in the west end of the Smithsonian Institution Building, or "Castle." The engraving was published in the Smithsonian Guidebook of 1857. Visitors are reading or walking around. This room is now known as Schermer Hall.

The Smithsonian Libraries Artists’ Books Collection Online

Smithsonian Institution Libraries
The Smithsonian Libraries is pleased to announce the new webpage of the Smithsonian Libraries Artists’ Books Collection! The Artists’ Books Collection includes hundreds of works of art in book form across numerous branches at the Smithsonian Libraries, spanning the 20th century through today, including works by artists such as Georges Adéagbo, Ida Applebroog, Julie Chen, Laura more »

Smithsonian Libraries Releases Courses on iTunes U

Smithsonian Institution Libraries
The Smithsonian Libraries today launched three courses of selected content on iTunes U that focus on topics in early aviation and space history. This release increases exposure of Libraries material and is an innovative way to reach new audiences. iTunes U is a dedicated area within iTunes that gives users public access to hundreds of more »

Happy Holidays from the Smithsonian Libraries!

Smithsonian Institution Libraries
Please enjoy our video holiday card! Created by graphic design intern, Jae Ra Li.

Smithsonian Libraries Announces 2014 Professional Development Internships

Smithsonian Institution Libraries
The Smithsonian Libraries will offer new, paid internships for the Professional Development Program in the summer of 2014. These internships are open to graduate students interested in working in research and museum libraries. The Libraries will award up to three paid summer internships this academic year.             For the summer of 2014, internships are available in more »

Smithsonian Libraries hosts Catesby Commemorative Trust Book Launch

Smithsonian Institution Libraries
Before John James Audubon, Englishman and naturalist Mark Catesby (1682-1749) was documenting the natural world.  His etchings of flora and fauna in the “new world”  of America are treasured by many. The Smithsonian Libraries is pleased to host the launch of The Catesby Trust’s book tour for  The Curious Mr. Catesby: a “truly ingenious” naturalist more »

Smithsonian Library Transfers to Library of Congress

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
For Henry's discussion of the benefits of transferring the Smithsonian's library to the Library of Congress, see,, and

Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds. The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 11, January 1866-December 1878: The Smithsonian Years. Washington, D.C.: Science History Publications, 2007, p. 135.

Oehser, Paul H. The Smithsonian Institution. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970, p. 167.

Goode, George Brown, ed. The Smithsonian Institution, 1846-1896, The History of Its First Half Century. Washington, D.C.: De Vinne Press, 1897, p. 286, 287, 817, 823-825, 837.

Rhees, William Jones. The Smithsonian Institution: Documents Relative to Its Origin and History: 1835-1899, Vol. 1, 1835-1887. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1901, p. 661-2.

Smithsonian Annual Report for 1865, p. 70.

Smithsonian Annual Report for 1866, pp. 13-16.

Smithsonian Annual Report for 1867, p. 56-57.

The United States Congress passes an act transferring the custody of the library of the Smithsonian Institution to the Library of Congress (Stat., XIV, 19). The library turns over approximately 40,000 volumes of scientific works to form the basis of the "Smithsonian Deposit." By the law authorizing the transfer, the Institution is at liberty to draw any books it may require for its use either from its own collection or from those of Congress. Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry had used the January 1865 fire at the Smithsonian Building to strengthen his long standing contention that the Institution's library should be deposited in the Library of Congress, which had just finished constructing new fireproof quarters.

Leila Clark Appointed Director the Smithsonian Library

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
Image is from Smithsonian Archives negative # SIA-SIA2011-0756.

Blog: The Muse of Scientific Literature, Leila Gay Forbes Clark,

Leila Gay Forbes Clark is appointed director of the Smithsonian Library in 1942 during World War II. For the Smithsonian's centennial in 1946, she prepared a history of "The Library of the Smithsonian Institution" for the journal Science's issue celebrating the anniversary. She oversaw the merger of the central Smithsonian Library with the U.S. National Museum Library, a major change in operations to centralize services and improve efficiency. Her retirement in 1957 was marked by a large party in the Regents Room of the Castle.

In 1929 she came to the Smithsonian as assistant librarian in charge of reference at the Smithsonian Library where she spent the rest of her career. In 1933, she married echinoderm curator Austin Hobart Clark. She is the second woman to serve as director the Library. Jane Wadden Turner had served as director from 1859 to 1887.

Holiday Greetings from Smithsonian Libraries!

Smithsonian Libraries
We wish you warm tidings from all of us at Smithsonian Libraries this holiday season! Within the snow globe is an image of the Smithsonian Institution Building (the Castle) from more »

Directions to Smithsonian Libraries Interlibrary Loan Office

Smithsonian Libraries
How to get to the Smithsonian Institution Libraries Interlibrary Loan Office.

Smithsonian Libraries Observes the 70th Anniversary of V-E Day

Smithsonian Institution Libraries
History in the Making… In addition to rare books and special collections housed in the DeWitt Clinton Ramsey Room, one of the valuable resources located in the National Air and Space Museum’s Library is its rich and diverse collection of books and journals which focus on the meteoric rise and advances in the field of more »
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