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Listen to the Dulcet Purr of a Wolf Spider

Smithsonian Magazine

The right kind of "purr" makes a female wolf spider go weak at the joints.

Biologists have known for awhile that wolf spiders (Gladicosa gulosa) can make sounds that humans can hear, explains Laura Geggel for Live Science. However, wolf spiders don't have ears themselves — at least in the traditional sense. Instead, the sounds are part of an elaborate communication system that male spiders use to woo females.

Male spiders actually produce vibrations, which hit surrounding dried leaves and cause them to vibrate. The vibrating leave produces a low "purring" sound audible to humans, and that sound travels. If it hits leaves near a female spider, causing them to vibrate, she can pick up on the vibrations.

For this to work, male and female spiders need to be on a good surface that can vibrate. Dead leaves, in particular, are ideal. Leaves serve as a sort of telephone line or radio wave through which the spiders call females, and they're essential to the wold spider communication system, as researchers reported May 20 at the Acoustic Society of America's annual meeting in Pittsburgh.

Instead of using an organ to produce a sound, like crickets or katydids, the spiders vibrate inanimate objects around them. "They're courting on dead leaves, and that leaf itself is what's resulting in the airborne sound," Alexander Sweger, a biology grad student at the University of Cincinnati, told Live Science. It's a bit of a roundabout way to flirt, but it could help researchers discern why some organisms communicate through sound, while others use vibrations.

Other wolf spiders are known to produce vibrations to communicate, but those vibrations don't come with audible sounds. Purring wolf spiders produce both. That made them an intriguing group for Sweger and his advisor George Uetz to study.

The spiders have specialized arm-like appendages called pedipalps, one on each side of the mouth. One has a rough tip, while the other is shaped for scraping. They rub the two limbs together to generate vibrations that hit nearby leaves.

To the human ear, the sound of the vibrating leaf sounds like a low purr, quieter than a cricket:

That the sound of the vibrating leaf travels to other leaves where females stand. When the sound waves hit those leaves, they vibrate, and the female picks up on the vibrations.

In the lab, Sweger and Uetz recorded male spiders making the vibrations and sounds on different surfaces: paper, which can vibrate, and granite, which can't vibrate. Using a special device, they were also able to convert the vibrations to audible sound, so here's what the direct vibrations themselves would sound like to us if we could hear them:

They found that the surface is key to the male's "purring" game. Males could only make the vibrations when standing on paper, and females could only receive the signal when standing on paper. When researchers just played the vibration sound, only females responded. That suggests this might be a communication style that's reserved for talking to females, but they don't know yet.

The study leaves a few key questions unanswered. Whether or not female spiders could hear other noises, like threatening bird calls, by this method also remains unclear. Because this leaf telephone system is a bit of a departure from typical spider communication, further examination of the species could lend insight into the evolution of communication through sound and vibration.

Routledge's picture book of birds / by the Rev. J.G. Wood ; with two hundred and forty-two illustrations by Wolf, Zwecker, Weir, Coleman, etc. ; engraved by the Brothers Dalziel

Smithsonian Libraries
Preface dated 1861.

Colophon (p. [248]): Dalziel Brothers, Camden Press.

Also available online.

SCNHRB copy (39088015709959) has bookplate: Smithsonian Institution Libraries, Alexander Wetmore.

SCNHRB copy inscribed in pencil on 1st front free endpaper: Laura Welsh.

SCNHRB copy in red publisher's cloth binding, stamped in black and gilt on front cover with colored illustration in center oval, blind-embossed on back cover, bevelled edges.


British birds in their haunts / by the Rev. C. A. Johns ; with illustrations on wood, drawn by Wolf, engraved by Whymper

Smithsonian Libraries
First published in 1862.

Index: p. [607]-626.

Also available online.


Portrait of Gui-Kati (Sleeping Wolf) with His Wife, Both in Partial Native Dress with Ornaments, He with Peace Medal 1872

National Anthropological Archives
Broken Negative; Pub: 17th Ann Rept BAE Plate LX (60) P 192

Black and white collodion glass negative

The new and heretofore unfigured species of the birds of North America / by Daniel Giraud Elliot

Smithsonian Libraries
Issued 15 parts in 14, 1866-1869, with cover-title "The birds of North America."

The 72 hand-colored plates indicate the images were drawn from nature and are variously attributed to D.G. Elliot, J. Wolf, or Edwin Sheppard.

All plates bear the imprint of Bowen & Co. litho. & col. Philada., except the "Lampronetta fischeri" plate, which was printed by D. McClellan & Bros. Some plates with the initials or signature of the lithographer, including C.P. Tholey.

With wood-engraved vignettes mounted throughout the introductory text.

Each plate accompanied by leaf with descriptive letterpress.

Dedicated to Alexander Wilson.

"List of subscribers."--Volume 1, page [5].

Two hundred copies printed--Cf. Sabin.

Sabin, J. Dictionary of books relating to America from its discovery to the present time, 22227

Catalogue of the Edward E. Ayer Ornithological Library, page 205

Also available online.

SCNHRB copy (39088002872992, 39088004458303) three-quarters bound in green leather and cloth, title and decorations in gilt on spine, marbled endpapers.


Genome 10K: A Proposal to Obtain Whole-Genome Sequence for 10 000 Vertebrate Species

Smithsonian Libraries
The human genome project has been recently complemented by whole-genome assessment sequence of 32 mammals and 24 nonmammalian vertebrate species suitable for comparative genomic analyses. Here we anticipate a precipitous drop in costs and increase in sequencing efficiency, with concomitant development of improved annotation technology and, therefore, propose to create a collection of tissue and DNA specimens for 10 000 vertebrate species specifically designated for whole-genome sequencing in the very near future. For this purpose, we, the Genome 10K Community of Scientists (G10KCOS), will assemble and allocate a biospecimen collection of some 16 203 representative vertebrate species spanning evolutionary diversity across living mammals, birds, nonavian reptiles, amphibians, and fishes (ca. 60 000 living species). In this proposal, we present precise counts for these 16 203 individual species with specimens presently tagged and stipulated for DNA sequencing by the G10KCOS. DNA sequencing has ushered in a new era of investigation in the biological sciences, allowing us to embark for the first time on a truly comprehensive study of vertebrate evolution, the results of which will touch nearly every aspect of vertebrate biological enquiry.


Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Washington - Cultural Destinations

Smithsonian Magazine

Step inside a world of music at the Experience Music Project in Seattle and feel like a rock star. The brainchild of Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, this music museum is for anyone who rocks out in the car, relishes a new CD, or jams at a concert. This salute to music includes a collection of over 80,000 musical artifacts, including Bob Dylan's harmonica and the world's largest collection of Jimi Hendrix memorabilia. Visitors can also catch many national and regional acts at the museum's venue, Sky Church.

Art lovers will find much to enjoy at the Seattle Art Museum, the city's downtown art repository which underwent a massive expansion in May 2007, where more than 21,000 objects, from African masks to Northwest native creations, dazzle viewers. A famed aluminum and steel sculpture, lovingly called "Hammering Man," greets visitors out front standing 48-feet tall, weighing 13 tons, wearing a coat of black automobile paint and hammering around-the-clock.

Another recent extension of the Seattle Art Museum, the sprawling Olympic Sculpture Park, is a former industrial site transformed into a nine-acre sculpture garden. This new waterfront park allures visitors as well as residents with more than 80,000 plants, 554 trees and large sculptures by famed artists Richard Serra, Louise Bourgeois and Alexander Calder. Incredible views of Puget Sound surround the space while the magnificent Olympic Mountains loom majestically in the background.

A short walk away, you'll find the historic brick-and-block streets of Pioneer Square, Seattle's oldest and most colorful neighborhood. On roads where logs used to skid down to the waterfront, people now mill about in an exciting mix of art galleries, bookstores, restaurants and live music. There are many first-rate galleries to explore like Tashiro Kaplan Building, which provides affordable housing and studio space for artists and houses several galleries, including Gallery4Culture, which showcases work by emerging regional artists.

Atop First Hill, the Frye Art Museum offers free admission and a place to get away for a quiet afternoon of enjoyment and reflection. Featuring American and European painting and sculpture from the 19th century to the present, the elegant and tranquil ambience of this museum engages audiences and challenges perceptions.

Come face-to-face with robots and aliens and enjoy adventures into "alternative worlds" at Seattle's Science Fiction Museum. The world's first Sci-Fi museum, it will inspire you to think beyond the present, speculate on the future and explore the unlimited possibilities of our universe. The Hall of Fame honors the legends and visionaries shaping this far-reaching genre.

From the world of the Sci-Fi go 20,000 leagues under the sea and explore the underwater realm at Seattle Aquarium. A 12-foot crystal ring enables visitors to watch luminous moon jellyfish drift across the water crescent. Giant Pacific octopus and mysterious wolf eels captivate audiences, while exotic fish from the tropics and an array of creatures from Northwest waters dance inside exhibits. In its 40,000-gallon underwater dome, sharks, salmon, sturgeon and other species are constantly on the move.

South of downtown Seattle, the Museum of Flight allows visitors to experience the history and future of flight. Walk in the footsteps of four presidents in the original Air Force One, tour the only supersonic Concorde on the West Coast, fly on six different flight simulators and be dazzled by over 85 beautifully restored air and spacecraft.

Recently transformed by a cultural renaissance, the city of Tacoma now has three major museums that form an impressive Museum District: the Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum and Washington State History Museum.

The Museum of Glass is the Tacoma's architectural showpiece. Highlighting glass within a full range of media and illuminating trends in contemporary art, the museum's rotating exhibitions showcase works by internationally renowned artists. The museum also features a number of indoor and outdoor installations, as well as the Hot Shop Amphitheater which allows visitors to witness live, ongoing demonstrations of glasswork.

Connecting the Museum of Glass to Tacoma's waterfront is the Chihuly Bridge of Glass, a 500-foot pedestrian walkway. Showcasing many of the studio glass pioneer and native-son, Dale Chihuly's, stunning glass creations, the bridge is a magical tunnel of brilliant light and color created by Chihuly's glass forms.

Find traveling exhibitions, Northwest Art and Dale Chihuly glass always on view in the Tacoma Art Museum. The museum also features framed views of Mt. Rainier and a series of elegant galleries that wrap around an open-air interior stone garden.

At the nearby Washington State History Museum, the state's past comes to life through fascinating permanent exhibits and exciting traveling displays. Explore multimedia and interactive exhibits, become enthralled by theatrical storytelling and explore dramatic artifacts. Gain insight into Washington's history and be amazed by its impact on the country and the world beyond.

Bibliophiles will find sanctuary at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in Tacoma which showcases original handwritten letters, drafts and documents of historical significance penned by some of the world's most famous individuals such as Napoleon, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. This small, fascinating facility is one of eight Karpeles museums around the U.S. that rotate exhibits every three months. The privately funded Karpeles is also free to the public—it won't even accept donations.

Spokane's Smithsonian-affiliated Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, known as the MAC, features five galleries focusing on three main disciplines: the American Indian, regional history and visual art. Next door is Campbell House, a Tudor Revival mansion offering interactive tours and educational programs.

Explore the ocean depths at Keyport's Naval Undersea Museum, which showcases exhibits covering naval history, undersea technology and marine science. The museum also features the largest U.S. collection of naval undersea artifacts.

A short and picturesque ferry ride from downtown Seattle, West Seattle or Tacoma takes commuters and visitors to quiet, rural Vashon Island, a gathering place for hundreds of artists, musicians and actors. Galleries, performances, waterfront parks and quiet country roads make Vashon a popular day trip and weekend escape.

Smithsonian’s 2010 Notable Books for Children

Smithsonian Magazine

In the pages of this year’s titles, one may travel backward—or forward—in time; find the rewards of courage, hope and creativity; observe what it means to beat the odds or make a difference. Conjuring up settings from a Maine cottage, shuttered snug against winter, to the forests of Kenya or the hidden mountain canyons of Tibet, each book evokes a world where we may discover our shared humanity.

The age categories listed below are, of necessity, arbitrary. Adjust any choices to the age and reading level of the individual child.

For the Youngest Readers
(Ages 1-6)

Madeline at the White House by John Bemelmans Marciano
The “twelve little girls in two straight lines” troop straight into the Oval Office.

Beaver Is Lost by Elisha Cooper
Adrift on a log, stranded in the maze of city streets: Will he ever make his way back to the den on a lake deep in the forest?

Who’s in the Garden? By Phillis Gershator, illustrated by Jill McDonald
An inventive lift-the-flap book reveals the creatures hidden in the green world of furrows, blossoms and flourishing vegetables.

Boo Cow by Patricia Baehr, illustrated by Margot Apple
Down on Chicken Noodle Farm, everyone is at a loss when a benevolent bovine ghost suddenly melts into thin air.

How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills
An affectionate paean to reading readiness.

Sleepover at Gramma’s House by Barbara Joosse, illustrated by Jan Jutte
It’s every toddler’s dream destination—and in these pages, we understand why.

The Chicken Thief by Beatrice Rodriguez
A dreamily compelling—and wordless—picture book contemplates the essence of friendship.

Tuck Me In by Dean Hacohen and Sherry Scharschmidt
A turn-the-flap tome recreates a reassuring nighttime ritual.

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein
Fractured fairy tales pepper an uproarious take on the bedtime book.

Creak! Said the Bed by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Regan Dunnick
On a cold and windy night, you might think that there couldn’t possibly be room for one more—but there you would be wrong!

Mr. Putter & Tabby Clear the Decks by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Arthur Howard
Four irrepressible friends head out to sea in the latest installment in a first-reader series that has no equal.

What’s the Big Idea, Molly? By Valeri Gorbachev
Creativity and persistence go hand in hand, as a young poet and her artist friends discover.

Slow Down for Manatees by Jim Arnosky
A dramatic rescue saves a mother and calf from disaster.

A Balloon for Isabel by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Laura Rankin
What’s a spiky hedgehog girl to do when she sets her sights on an all-too-fragile toy? A case study in thinking outside the box.

Grandma Drove the Snowplow by Katie Clark, illustrated by Amy Huntington
When Christmas celebrations are jeopardized, not even the heaviest snowfall of the year stands in the way of Grandma once she resolves to bring yuletide cheer to the Maine town she calls home.

The Lonely Phone Booth by Peter Ackerman, illustrated by Max Dalton
That plexiglass enclosure on the corner might seem a forlorn anachronism—until an unexpected crisis strikes an urban neighborhood.

Side by Side/Lado a Lado by Monica Brown, illustrated by Joe Cepeda
How Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez joined forces to improve conditions for farmworkers.

Little Wolf’s Song by Britta Teckentrup
It’s up to a cub to find his own special howl.

For Middle Readers
(Ages 6-9)

The Inside Tree by Linda Smith, illustrated by David Parkins
Large-hearted Mr. Potter never wants any living thing to be left out in the cold.

A Boy Named FDR: How Franklin D. Roosevelt Grew Up to Change America by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
From his childhood on, compassion and determination were watchwords for the boy who would one day see the nation through the Great Depression.

The Humblebee Hunter by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Jen Corace
At his lively country house, Charles Darwin enlisted his children as helpers in his hands-on natural history experiments: an ingenious introduction to the scientific method.

Wolf Pie by Brenda Seabrook, illustrated by Liz Callen
Can three little pigs and a sworn enemy ever be friends? Only time will tell in this clever chapter book.

Big Night for Salamanders by Sarah Marwil Lamstein, illustrated by Carol Benioff
On early spring nights across North America, a network of volunteers fans out to help the spotted amphibians cross roads during spring migration. The authors celebrate that annual community effort to save a species.

Yasmin’s Hammer by Ann Malaspina, illustrated by Doug Ghayka
On the streets of Bangladesh, a girl devises a secret plan to seek her heart’s desire: a chance to attend school.

Henry Aaron’s Dream by Matt Tavares
One of baseball’s all-time greats started out on sandlots where he had little more than his dreams—and a burning love for the sport.

The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough by Katie Smith Milway, illustrated by Sylvie Daigneault
In the hills of Honduras, a visionary teacher forever alters the lives of villagers.

The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco
The author—a national treasure if ever there were one—turns to another chapter in her autobiography, recalling the talented misfit kids she met in an extraordinary teacher’s classroom.

Henry Knox: Bookseller, Soldier, Patriot by Anita Silvey, paintings by Wendell Minor
Critical to the success of the Revolution, but lesser known today, the fearless and fiercely intelligent Knox was an unlikely hero beloved by General Washington.

Everything But the Horse by Holly Hobbie
The artist recalls her family’s move to the country in an homage to her happy childhood.

Seeds of Change by Jen Cullerton Johnson, illustrated by Sonia Lynn Sadler
How Wangari Maathai overcame every obstacle to save the landscape of Kenya—one tree at a time.

The Can Man by Laura E. Williams, illustrated by Craig Orback
Simple acts of reciprocal kindness transform two lives.

Game Set Match: Champion Arthur Ashe by Crystal Hubbard, illustrated by Kevin Belford
The traits of perseverance and empathy defined an athlete who defied barriers to become the top-ranked tennis player in the world.

Lilly and the Pirates by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Rob Shepperson
A delightful read-aloud and imaginative recital of high adventure on the seven seas.

The Taxing Case of the Cows: A True Story About Suffrage by Iris Van Rynbach and Pegi Deitz Shea, illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully
In 1869, when a pair of sisters refused to pay a property tax levied by a town council they couldn’t elect, the two of them set America’s women on the path to winning the vote.

Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey, illustrated by Floyd Cooper
In the early 1950s, an African-American family traversing the Jim Crow South makes its way to Alabama with the help of an indispensable travel guide, and the kindness of strangers.

The Chiru of High Tibet: A True Story by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Linda Wingerter
A thrilling recent interlude in the history of field science recounts the expedition of wildlife biologist George Schaller and his companions, who faced down hardship and danger to locate the remote calving grounds of the endangered goat-antelopes prized for their wool.

Image by Candlewick Press. "Creak!" Said the Bed by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Regan Dunnick. (original image)

Image by Boxer Books. Little Wolf's Song by Britta Teckentrup. (original image)

Image by Harper. The Inside Tree by Linda Smith, illustrated by David Parkins. (original image)

Image by Boyds Mills Press. Big Night for Salamanders by Sarah Marwil Lamstein, illustrated by Carol Benioff. (original image)

Image by Kids Can Press. The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough by Katie Smith Milway, illustrated by Sylvie Daigneault. (original image)

Image by Philomel Books. The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco. (original image)

Image by Carolholda Books. Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey, illustrated by Floyd Cooper. (original image)

Image by G.P. Putnam's Sons. Hope for Haiti by Jesse Joshua Watson. (original image)

Image by Barefoot Books. The Arabian Nights by Wafa' Tarnowska, illustrated by Carole Hénaff. (original image)

Goal! By Mina Javaherbin, illustrated by A. G. Ford
In a dusty South African township, an ordinary soccer match represents far more than a simple game.

Rain School by James Rumford
The author drew on his experience of teaching in Chad to portray a village’s commitment to educating its children—against all odds.

Lucky Beans by Becky Birtha, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell
In the depths of the Depression, times are hard and getting harder for a struggling family—until young Marshall applies his talent in math to save the day.

Lincoln Tells a Joke by Kathleen Krull & Paul Brewer, illustrated by Stacy Innerst
A humanizing glimpse of the 16th president reveals his capacity to laugh—even at himself.

That Cat Can’t Stay by Thad Krasnesky, illustrated by David Parkins
There’s really no point in putting your foot down, when the entire household is bent on taking in just one more stray. This droll tribute to dads who are softies at heart is sure to become a family favorite.

Eight Days: A Story of Haiti by Edwidge Danticat, illustrated by Alix Delinois, and Hope for Haiti by Jesse Joshua Watson. Two picture books convey the indomitable spirit of islanders rebuilding a future in the wake of the devastating earthquake.

The Arabian Nights by Wafa’ Tarnowska, illustrated by Carole Henaff
The Lebanese-born author offers a magnificent new translation of eight tales from the legendary story cycle, based on a 14th-century manuscript.

Lafayette and the American Revolution by Russell Freedman
Invincible and deeply admired by General Washington, the young marquis made a new nation’s cause his own.

Come See the Earth Turn by Lori Mortensen, illustrated by Raul Allen
On February 3, 1851, Leon Foucault, a genius laboring in obscurity, unveiled an experiment that proved what no other scientist had succeeded in demonstrating: that the earth spins on its axis.

The Birthday Ball by Lois Lowry, illustrated by Jules Feiffer
Wit and whimsy abound in a tale of a princess who throws off the shackles of a stultifying existence.

Blue Jay Girl by Sylvia Ross
The vivid novel evokes the lost world of California’s Yaudanchi tribe and honors its legacy of traditional healing.

Cloud Tea Monkeys by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham, illustrated by Juan Wijngaard
In a Himalayan kingdom long ago, a young girl seeks her fortune with the help of kindly monkeys—and magic.

Our Earth: How Kids Are Saving the Planet by Janet Wilson
From a self-taught Malian boy who built a windmill to generate electricity for his village, to a Costa Rican girl who founded a rainforest-preservation NGO, it’s kids to the rescue.

Dinosaur Mountain: Digging Into the Jurassic Age by Deborah Kogan Ray
In 1908, adventurer and field scientist Earl Douglass set off for a remote corner of northeastern Utah—and became a renowned paleontologist.

Movie Maker: Everything You Need to Know to Create Films on Your Cell Phone or Digital Camera! By Tim Grabham et al. For the aspiring director on your list, whether the goal is creating dramas, documentaries or animation, an amazing hands-on kit. For all ages, 8 or so and beyond.

Theodore Roosevelt for Kids by Kerrie Logan Hollihan
The life and times of the ebullient 26th president, with activities to bring history alive.

For Older Readers
(Ages 10 and up)

Scumble by Ingrid Law
The Wild West—and the lexicon of the tall tale—form the backdrop for the heroics of 13-year-old Ledger Kale, who hasn’t quite grown into his magical powers.

A Gift From Childhood: Memories of an African Boyhood by Baba Wagué Diakité
The author recalls the Malian village that nurtured him and sustains him today.

As Easy as Falling Off the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins
The novelist brings her prodigious talents to the tale of Ry, a teenager who meets up with a good Samaritan in the nick of time, after he is stranded in what seems the middle of nowhere.

Penny Dreadful by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Abigail Halpin
For 10-year-old Penelope Grey, cosseted her entire life, the real saga commences only when everything has been lost.

The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan and Peter Sis
A phantasmagorical rumination on the childhood of the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda is rooted in a belief that words possess the power to mend the spirit and change the world.

Smells Like Dog by Suzanne Selfors
The whimsical tale turns on droopy-eared Dog—and two resourceful siblings who leave their farm in search of a secret society of explorers. A winner, first page to last.

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
The author based this novel on the childhood experiences of Salva Dut, born in Sudan but now living in the United States. It is a testament to undaunted courage. (Contains mature content)

Around the World in 100 Days by Gary Blackwood
The springboard for this rip-roaring historical novel was an actual globe-spanning automobile race of 1908.

Northward to the Moon by Polly Horvath
Horvath’s inimitable voice, sense of fun and quiet belief in the power of tolerance—here applied to the odyssey of a plucky young heroine and her family—showcase the writer at the height of her powers.

Crunch by Leslie Connor
The Marriss family’s bike-repair business is not exactly a going concern—until the day that the gas pumps run dry across the nation. Connor’s high-spirited romp pays tribute to the rewards of a can-do spirit.

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm
Rollicking good fun, Holm’s touching novel transports readers to the Depression-era Florida Keys, where 11-year-old Turtle finds a whole new world after her aunt Minerva Curry takes her in.

Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers
There is nothing more difficult than turning your back on the past and the choices one made, as Reese discovers when he is sent to a juvenile facility. Myers has few peers in summoning the world of at-risk kids who are trying to make their way toward a better future. (Contains mature content)

Ashes by Kathryn Lasky
In a novel set in 1932 Berlin, 13-year-old Gabriella Schramm perceives the burgeoning threat shadowing their neighbor, a physicist named Albert Einstein, and her own scientist father.

Earth Heroes: Champions of the Wilderness by Bruce and Carol L. Malnor, illustrated by Anisa Claire Hovemann; Earth Heroes: Champions of the Ocean by Fran Hodgkins, illustrated by Cris Arbo; Earth Heroes: Champions of Wild Animals by Carol L. and Bruce Malnor, illustrated by Anisa Claire Hovemann.
The series on conservationist scientists continues with profiles of figures from pioneering environmentalist Aldo Leopold to ichthyologist Eugenie Clark and ethologist Jane Goodall.

The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt
When his older brother returns from a tour of duty as a Marine in the Middle East, high-school age Levi leaves everyday life behind to help his brother begin to heal from post-traumatic stress disorder. (Contains mature content)

Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl by Daniel Pinkwater
Wacky, big-hearted and wildly original, the novel unspools the escapades of big Audrey, whose feline lineage takes her far after a UFO touches down behind the big stone barn.

Efrain’s Secret by Sofia Quintero
For a gifted high-school student in the South Bronx, the yearning to escape the streets and attain an Ivy League education can become a dangerous aspiration. Quintero’s sensitive and fast-paced novel depicts the daunting challenges facing a boy who is attempting to transcend his circumstances. (Contains mature content)

And Both Were Young by Madeleine L’Engle
In the mountains of Switzerland in 1949, a boarding-school student meets a mysterious boy—and soon finds herself enmeshed in the aftermath of the war. L’Engle’s novel, re-issued in a new edition, contains an introduction by her granddaughter.

Flash by Michael Cadnum
A meditation on unintended consequences and the cost of violence explores dual narrative threads, the first involving brothers who set themselves on a self-destructive trajectory, and the second introducing a pair of siblings who thwart the mayhem before it can be fully unleashed. (Contains mature content)

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman
At the fantastical New York Circulating Material Repository—which lends out objects rather than books—magical artifacts from the Brothers Grimm fairy tales begin to disappear. That’s when our heroine begins hurtling into an alternative reality, in a tour-de-force fantasy novel also grounded fully in the here and now.

The Hopeful Mid-Century Conservation Story of the (Still Endangered) Whooping Crane

Smithsonian Magazine

By the time ornithologist Robert Porter Allen was born on this day in 1905, the whooping crane was already in trouble. Hunting and habitat loss had reduced the bird’s numbers, even though the species was once found across North America, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

By 1941, when conservationists became concerned about the species, the whooping crane population had dwindled to the double digits. The white-feathered birds, the tallest species in North America, were critically endangered. But thanks to Allen’s obsessive research and the concern of the conservation community, today the whooping crane—while still an endangered species—has a population in the hundreds, rather than the tens.

"The bird has become the emblematic endangered species, thanks in part to its fierce char­isma," writes Jennifer Holland for National Geographic. "Standing nearly five feet tall, it can spy a wolf—or a biologist—lurking in the reeds. It dances with springing leaps and flaps of its mighty wings to win a mate. Beak to the sky, it fills the air with whooping cries."

In the '40s, the remaining flock of cranes migrated every year from the Gulf Coast of Texas to somewhere in the north of Canada to breed. The conservation community didn’t know where the birds went. The wetlands where they wintered were growing scarcer and scarcer as they were drained and built on, while the birds were dying in large numbers on the migration flight. A tiny, non-migrating group of whooping cranes was alive in Louisiana in 1941, but the group had disappeared by the time Allen started his research.

Before the war, Allen had done important work for Audubon on the roseate spoonbill, so he was put on the whooping crane project, moving with his family to a small town on the Gulf Coast, writes Alexander Sprunt IV in The Auk. "Over the next three years, he did almost constant field work that took him from Texas up the cranes’ migration route to Nebraska, on into Saskatchewan, and beyond into the arctic in search of the elusive nesting ground of the whoopers,” writes Sprunt.

Studying the bird in its breeding habitat and seeing how many birds were born would allow conservationists to understand how to help the birds on their journey. But finding the whooping crane's nesting site meant “difficult and fruitless air searches over northern Canada,” Sprunt writes.

In 1952, Allen authored Audubon’s report on the whooping crane. The definitive report was a call to arms for the conservation community. Among its grim findings: only 33 migratory "whoopers" remained, and their nesting site still hadn’t been found.

Then in 1954, the whooping crane’s breeding grounds in Canada's Wood Buffalo National Park were finally discovered, and Allen headed north to study them firsthand, an “incredibly difficult journey,” in Sprunt’s words. Allen wrote a followup to his whooping crane report that laid the groundwork for conservationists to save the bird.

“Their efforts paid off slowly as the numbers reached 57 by 1970 and 214 by 2005,” writes the National Wildlife Federation. Today, the whooping crane is still listed as endangered, but as of 2017 there are roughly 600 birds alive in the wild and in captivity. Almost half that number, according to Rick Callahan for IndyStar, are part of the migratory colony Allen studied.

How Curators Wrestled With the Complex Story of American Business

Smithsonian Magazine

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History opened just over a half century ago as the Museum of History and Technology. Its history collections focused on everyday life in America's past, from clothing and household goods, education and community. Its technology collections included steam engines, early computers and the instrumentation of the physical sciences.

After 1980, when the museum became officially designated by presidential signature as the National Museum of American History, the curators expanded their collecting efforts to gather the material reflecting the country's multicultural story including among other things, slave life, Hispanic culture in the Southwest, relics from the Japanese internment era, pins and banners from the women's movements, and other artifacts telling the stories of immigrants arriving from Latin America, Europe and Asia, as well as the great migration of African Americans to the northern states and the Civil Rights movement.

But only now has the museum—which draws 4 million visitors a—dedicated a permanent exhibition and gallery to the full range of U.S. business.

“American Enterprise,” the 8,000-square-foot anchor of the museum’s brand new Innovation Wing, includes more than 600 objects, images, interactive stations and video—a new take on the role that businesses play in America's history from 1770 to present day.

“Here, visitors will learn how businesses affected the nation’s history as well as their own lives,” says John Gray, the museum’s director. “‘American Enterprise’ shows how the United States has moved from being a small dependent nation to being one of the world’s most vibrant and trend-setting economies.” As such, he says, “understanding the business development of the nation and the corresponding social effects is fundamental to the lives of the American people, the history of the United States and the nation’s role in the world.”

Inside are the kinds of singular historical artifacts visitors come to the Smithsonian to see, from Eli Whitney’s cotton gin to Alexander Graham Bell’s experimental phone to Thomas Edison’s lightbulb. 

Image by Jaclyn Nash, NMAH. "American Enterprise" is now on view at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. (original image)

Image by Jaclyn Nash, NMAH. (original image)

Image by Jaclyn Nash, NMAH. (original image)

Image by Jaclyn Nash, NMAH. (original image)

Image by Jaclyn Nash, NMAH. (original image)

Image by Jaclyn Nash, NMAH. (original image)

Image by Jaclyn Nash, NMAH. (original image)

Image by Jaclyn Nash, NMAH. (original image)

But it also has many items common to American households, from Barbie dolls to early cell phones and popular ad campaigns that combine to tell a story of business that has never been told at the Smithsonian in quite the same way.

With the new exhibition, which has been several years in the making, the museum is aligning itself with how American history is taught in classrooms, says David Allison, the museum's associate director for curatorial affairs, “If you look at how people learn history in schools, it’s mostly taught to American people through the lens of business, with technology being a piece of that, rather than technology per se.”

“We thought it would be best to align the museum with what’s taught in history curricula across the country and also thought: That’s how the subjects affected all of our visitors," says Allison. "Because we also told the story not just from the perspective of producers but also consumers, and how producers and consumers interact on the market place.”

The museum had a lot of artifacts already on hand to tell that story. But, Allison adds, “we have definitely done some new collecting as part of this, and a lot of reinterpretation of things we had, bringing in things that you not necessarily would have thought of as a part of a story on business.”

So there are more stories about women and about business rising in the African-American and Hispanic communities. There are new ways of interpreting things that may be unexpected, such as an exhibition label describing slavery as creating “enormous profits not only for Southern planters and slave traders, but also for Northern cotton mill owners and investors.” 


American Enterprise: A History of Business in America

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“We actually think the fact that many museums present slavery as a moral evil in some ways misses the point,” Allison says. “Slaves were mistreated, but by and large they were seen as great investments, especially as the cotton grew…they took insurance policies on them. They were treated as [a] means to make money.”

Their approach was discussed with colleagues at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, who he said wanted to make sure they depicted slavery as more than a story of the South. 

“From our perspective it’s a business history exhibition, telling the story that slavery was big business—not just in the South but across the country—which is a different story and in some ways I really think a more riveting and troublesome story.”

It may also explain why a display wall of otherwise familiar industrialists like the Astors or the Vanderbilts, there is one James De Wolfe, “a notorious slave trader and a U.S. senator from Rhode Island” whose “commerce in slaves, along with his cotton manufacturing interests, brought him great wealth and political prominence.”

Some might think he’s getting a place of honor alongside all of the other industrialists, but Allison says “Our goal is not to pick winners and losers, or heroes and villains. I mean, we have Ponzi on the wall.” And there he is—Charles Ponzi, whose cheating ways made him the namesake for the kind of scheme that bilked thousands of investors of billions of dollars, in the manner of Bernard Madoff. 

“Their stories are part of the American framework,” Allison says of Ponzi and De Wolfe. “We’ve become judgmental looking back. But I don’t know if it’s our job to condemn or raise up people, but to show people that shaped our past and to engage you in the debate and what do you think about them?”

Says Allison: “We’re not taking a position on the history of business, we’re creating an environment for [visitors] to explore this subject with us, to see how it’s debated across time as it was in the beginning.”

“American Enterprise” is on view at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. as part of the new Innovation Wing.  

Totem Pole

NMNH - Anthropology Dept.

From 2009 exhibit labels: Pole is identified as carved from Western red cedar (Thuja plicata). Haida totem pole, carved at Kasaan, Alaska. This pole was commissioned in 1876 [sic, should be 1875] for the Philadelphia Exposition. Crests, from top: Possible wolf, unknown, Bear Mother with cub, Bear Mother with cub. A separate label for the pole tells the story of the Bear Mother, and identifies the lowest crest on the pole again as a crest of Bear Mother holding one of her cubs. It also identifies the pole as carved at Kasaan, Alaska in 1875; commissioned for the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876. "Story of Bear Mother. Bear spirits captured a young girl gathering berries. After turning her into a bear, they forced her to marry one. She gave birth to twin cubs - half human, half bear. The girl's brothers rescued her by killing the bear husband. Before dying, he taught his wife ritual songs. Bear Mother's children and brothers became skilled bear hunters. They and their descendants always sang ritual songs over bears they killed."

See the letter in the Smithsonian Institution Archives from James G. Swan to Spencer Baird, written at Port Townsend, Washington Territory, and dated November 5, 1875, where Swan notes: "Another [totem pole] has been carved expressly for me at Kazaan [Kasaan], Alaska and will be brought here by the Steamer to arrive Dec. 1st."

Illus. Fig. 4.33, p. 208, and discussed p. 206-208 of Wright, Robin Kathleen. 2001. Northern Haida master carvers. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Wright identifies as "Pole commissioned by James G. Swan through Charles Baronovich for the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, 1876 ... possibly was carved by Dwight Wallace." [Dwight Wallace (gid k'waajuss) of Klinkwan.] See pp. 121 - 126 in Jonaitis, Aldona, and Aaron Glass. 2010. The totem pole: an intercultural history. Seattle: University of Washington Press. See especially "The Swan Pole" by Robin Wright, on pp. 124 - 125. Wright notes "The first known person to commission a full-size pole for an outside audience was James G. Swan, on his Centennial Exposition collecting trip to Alaska in 1875. Having failed to purchase an existing pole on his trip [Swan] wrote a letter on July 15 [1875] to the trader Charles Baranovich, who had a store at Karla Bay that he had visited near the village of Kasaan .... In the letter, Swan ordered a new pole to be carved and sent to him at Port Townsend. ... It tells the story of Ku.l qe, who had an encounter with land otters. This is the same story recorded on a pole carved by Dwight Wallace for Kusqwa'i, John Wallace's mother's brother, that once stood in the village of Sukkwan. ... It is likely, given both the story and the similarity in carving styles, that Dwight Wallace was the carver commissioned by Baranovich to carve the pole for Swan. ... His son, John Wallace, would have been about fifteen years old at the time of this commission, and may have assisted his father. John Wallace also carved a copy of this pole in 1941 for Mud Bight Park north of Ketchikan...."

This pole appears to be the one on the left in engraving shown on p. 100 and captioned "The Indian Department, in the United States Government Building", in Norton, Frank H., and Frank Leslie. 1877. Frank Leslie's historical register of the United States Centennial Exposition, 1876. Embellished with nearly eight hundred illustrations drawn expressly for this work by the most eminent artists in America. Including illustrations and descriptions of all previous International exhibitions. New York: Frank Leslie's Pub. House. The pole or house post on the right in the same engraving appears to be E54301. The Library of Congress has a copy of this engraving and a thumbnail image is shown on their website here: .

A photo of this pole on display at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876 is in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution Archives: Photo ID 90-7265, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 61, Folder: 5, . Pole partially visible in back left of photo.

Rapt at Rappaport's

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Photographs of America’s Eastern Treasures Finally Have Their Moment in the Limelight

Smithsonian Magazine

One of the first-known photographs of Niagara Falls looks fragile and faded. The silvery photo of the thunderous falls, captured by British chemist Hugh Lee Pattinson in 1840, sits within a glass case at the National Gallery of Art, just one floor below Frederic Edwin Church’s majestic Niagara. Despite not being nearly as entrancing as Church’s masterpiece, the Pattinson image offers a jumping off point to tell the story of an important yet neglected period of American photographic history.

Hugh Lee Pattinson American Falls, 1840 daguerreotype (Robinson Library, Newcastle University, England)

Like so many other world travelers of his era, Pattinson visited Niagara Falls to take in its natural beauty. With his daguerreotype camera, which had only just been invented a year earlier, Pattinson would have used his chemistry skills to develop the first series of images that showed views of the American and Horseshoe Falls.

The advent of photographic technology, first the daguerreotype, followed by processes like salted paper prints, albumen prints, cyanotypes, heliotypes, tintypes and platinum prints leading up to the Kodak in 1888, would make the great spectacles of the American West famous. But neglected in this version of American photographic history are the early images that capture the landscapes of the eastern United States.

That’s why Diane Waggoner, curator of 19th-century photographs at the museum, organized the ambitious “East of the Mississippi: Nineteenth-Century American Landscape Photography,” which opens this week and will run through mid-July.

The first overarching survey on early eastern landscape photography, the exhibit focuses on the advancement of photography in a region that had already borne the brunt of invasive human activity. Unlike the West, which was only beginning to see the spread of industrialization, the American east was so heavily settled by the 1880s that, as Waggoner explains, eastern landscape photographers used the medium to advocate for conserving land that was already under threat from commercial and industrial forces.

Take Niagara. By the time Pattinson visited, a cottage tourism industry had already changed the landmark. While in his images, the natural beauty of Niagara comes into focus, other early daguerreotypes record the hotels that populated the area. Later in the century, photographers like George Barker would document how Niagara’s banks had become lined with mills and manufacturing buildings. Their work contributed to the “Free Niagara movement,” which ultimately led to the creation of the Niagara Reservation, New York’s first state park in 1885.

On the occasion of the opening of the exhibit, Waggoner spoke to about resurfacing this neglected chapter of American history.

When did you first become interested in telling this story?

I came across numerous photographers whose work may have regional reputations, but really had never received much of a national platform and had been [somewhat] marginalized within the history of photography. I really wanted to shine a spotlight on a number of these photographers who did fantastic work.

At the same time, I wanted to look at the particular concerns of these photographers. What were the themes that began to emerge? How did it change over time? What were the earliest known landscapes that existed in the United States? I'm thrilled that we were able to show a few of those earliest-known landscape daguerreotypes that were taken in either late 1839 or 1840, right at the beginning of the medium.

Image by Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005. Frederick Langenheim and William LangenheimPanorama of the Falls of Niagara, 1845five daguerreotypes (original image)

Image by Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005. Samuel A. BemisCrawford Notch and Hotel, White Mountains, New Hampshire, 1840-1842daguerreotype (original image)

Image by Missouri Historical Society, Saint Louis, Thomas Easterly Daguerreotype Collection. Thomas M. EasterlySt. Louis Levee, 1852daguerreotype (original image)

Image by Daniel Wolf, Inc.. Saint Anthony Falls, Minnesota, 1850sdaguerreotype (original image)

Who were these early photographers out east?

It was a real mix. A lot of them were scientists. Some of them I think of as classic 19th-century men interested in lots of kinds of scientific phenomena, like Henry Coit Perkins. But that's not most of them. Most were men who took up photography as a business; they saw it as an opportunity. It was a new technology where you could start a business and make money.

The catalogue for this exhibition notes that early American photography was modeled on British precedents. In what ways did that influence stretch across the Atlantic?

If you think about it, how was a photographer going to approach a landscape at that moment? What are the precedents? What are they used to seeing? They're going to want to make those images look like what they expect a landscape image to look like.

[T]he way landscape photography develops in America is also very different from the way it develops in Britain and France. So many of the earliest photographers came from a much more mechanical and scientific background. They were much more experimenters. Not that many of them had trained as artists. That [mostly] came a little bit later.

When do we start to see that aesthetic shift in early American landscape photography?

I think probably at the time of the Civil War you begin to see that more overtly. I’m thinking about Alexander Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War, and George Barnard's Photographic Views of [Union Army General William] Sherman's Campaigns. There are many reasons why those publications were made and other Civil War photography was made and marketed. Some of it was to celebrate the engineering accomplishments, but there's also [a] melancholy sense that Barnard in particular imbues the landscape [with] as he's going back and photographing these battlefield sites after the fact.

It may not have been made for necessarily overt reasons. Barnard wanted to sell his publications and make a living from it. But I think he couldn't help but be affected by his response to the war itself and his experience.

Later on in the century, there are photographers like Seneca Ray Stoddard and Henry Hamilton Bennett, who helped create tourism interest in places like the Adirondacks and the Wisconsin Dells. At the same time, they also became aware of the environmental effects both of industry and the development that catered to the tourism industry. Both of them, in different ways, advocated for the preservation of the scenery.

Image by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired by exchange with the Library of Congress. George N. BarnardBattle Ground of Resecca, Ga., No. 2, from "Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign" (New York, 1866).albumen print (original image)

Image by Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.. Seneca Ray StoddardAvalanche Lake, Adirondacks, c. 1888albumen print (original image)

Image by Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.. Seneca Ray StoddardDrowned Lands of the Lower Raquette, Adirondacks, c. 1888albumen print (original image)

Image by Collection of Michael Mattis and Judith Hochberg. Henry Hamilton BennettWisconsin Dells, c. 1885albumen print (original image)

What were some of the ways that you can see photography telling this story of the changing 19th century landscape?

There’s a reckoning with this tension of photographing these places—which are beautiful, the pride of America, the wilderness, the amazing natural wonders to be found—at the same time that this constant alternation and change was happening to this very landscape, whether it was through the tourism industry, the building of railroads, or the beginning of extraction of natural resources.

There's the series of photographs of the coal areas of northeastern Pennsylvania, and the oil regions in Pennsylvania as well—that nature versus culture. It goes back to Thomas Cole's essay on American scenery in the 1830s, from just before photography, where he talks about America as [a] place full of amazing natural wonders, but at the same time ripe for development and expansion.

I was kind of amazed realizing through this project how much had already happened to dramatically change the landscape. That's a different trajectory that happens in the eastern landscape versus the West because the West is in the process of being settled. It happens a little bit earlier in the East, the built environment with the railroads, this huge web of railroads throughout the eastern United States.

Image by National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Mary and Dan Solomon and Patrons' Permanent Fund. James F. RyderAtlantic & Great Western Railway, 1862albumen print (original image)

Image by National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Mary and Dan Solomon and Patrons' Permanent Fund. James F. RyderAtlantic & Great Western Railway, 1862albumen print (original image)

Image by National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Mary and Dan Solomon and Patrons' Permanent Fund. James F. RyderAtlantic & Great Western Railway, 1862albumen print (original image)

Image by Collection of Michael Mattis and Judith Hochberg. Thomas H. JohnsonInclined Plane G, c. 1863-1865albumen print (original image)

Image by Collection of William L. Schaeffer. James F. RyderAltantic & Great Western Railway, 1862albumen print (original image)

The tug between development and preservation of land is a common theme today, but seeing that tension start to play out in these photographs of the east really surprised me.

The minute you start doing things where you are affecting the landscape, there's going to always be this corresponding attitude of “wait a minute.” Certainly the 19th century itself is the moment people start thinking about historic preservation in general.  

The photographers in this exhibition might be known regionally, but they aren’t exactly household names. Can you tell me about a few who stood out to you?

Thomas Easterly, a Saint Louis daguerreotypist who was the master of the daguerreotype. He was by far the most accomplished—the daguerreotype genius of America, basically. He operated a portrait studio, but on his own initiative, he photographed all the kinds of changes in St. Louis over the course of a couple of decades. He's the only photographer that sticks to the daguerreotype into the 1860s, well after most had abandoned it for paper process...He's really one of the showstoppers.

James Wallace Black—his really early work in [his native New Hampshire’s] White Mountains in 1854 is quite incredible.

James F. Ryder was the first photographer in America hired specifically by a railroad company, and George Warren pretty much helped invent the college yearbook. He made these amazingly beautiful photographs of architecture and landscape around college campuses that was catering to the graduating seniors who then purchased both the portraits and these views of the campus and architecture and bound them into albums

Henry Peter Bosse [made an] incredible series of cyanotype prints along the upper Mississippi River as part of [his] work [for] the Army Corps of Engineers. He was photographing the upper Mississippi as it was being tamed and altered to make it easier for navigation, but he clearly approached the landscape from not just a technical perspective but [also] an aesthetic one as well. And then William H. Rau, who was photographing for Pennsylvania Railroad and the Lehigh Valley Railroad in 1890s. He produced these really stunning mammoth-plate prints.

Would these photographers have had exhibitions during their lifetimes?

[In some cases] these were commissions for the companies. They may have ended up in historical societies or museums, but you [can] trace it back to the companies who commissioned them. That's true for someone like [William] Rau or James F. Ryder. He was a very active, very prominent photographer throughout the 19th century, but didn't do anything with the work until he wrote his autobiography toward the end of his life.

Image by The Historic New Orleans Collection. Jay Dearborn EdwardsSteamer Princess, 1858-1859salted paper print (original image)

Image by The Library Company of Philadelphia. John Moran Rising Mist after Rain, Juniata River, c. 1862stereoscopic albumen prints (original image)

Image by National Gallery of Art, Washington, Robert Menschel and the Vital Projects Fund. George Kendall WarrenFrom Trophy Point, West Point, Hudson River, c. 1867-1868albumen print (original image)

Image by Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of John Goldsmith Phillips, 1940. Victor PrevostRocky Hillside, c. 1854salted paper print (original image)

Image by National Gallery of Art, Washington, Robert Menschel and the Vital Projects Fund. Bierstadt Brothers, Charles and EdwardRapids and Cascades, Franconia Notch, N.H. 1860scarte-de-viste albumen print (original image)

Image by Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gilman Collection, Museum Purchase 2005. Samuel MasuryView of Pride's Crossing, Beverly, Massachusetts, c. 1857-1859.salted paper print (original image)

Image by Worcester Art Museum, Eliza S. Paine Fund. Samuel MasuryView of the Loring Estate at Pride's Crossing, Beverly, Massachusetts, c. 1857-1859 (original image)

Image by Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.. Andrew J. RussellAqueduct Bridge, Georgetown, DC, 1863-1865albumen print (original image)

Image by National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of John P. Coll, in memory of Margaret Canaga Coll and John Owen Reilly Coll, 2016. John MoranBroadhead's Creek, Delaware Water Gap, 1863albumen print (original image)

Image by National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of John P. Coll, in memory of Margaret Canaga Coll and John Owen Reilly Coll, 2016. John MoranBroadhead's Creek, Delaware Water Gap, 1863albumen print (original image)

Image by Collection of Paul Sack. Isaac H. BonsallChattanooga, Tennessee, from Lookout Mountain, 1863-1865albumen print (original image)

Image by Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Charles Wehrenberg and Sally Larsen, 2014. Henry Peter BosseDraw Span of C. & N. W. R. R. Bridge at Clinton, Ia, 1885cyanotype (original image)

Image by National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Mary and Dan Solomon. Henry Peter BosseConstruction of Rock and Brush Dam, L.W., 1891cyanotype (original image)

Image by Collection of William L. Schaeffer. Album Related to the Photographic Society of Philadelphia, c. 1874-1886albumen prints and cyanotypes (original image)

Image by The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri (Gift of Hallmark Cards, Inc.). George BarkerNiagara Falls, 1886albumen print (original image)

Oral history interview with Edith Gregor Halpert, 1962-1963

Archives of American Art
Transcript: 436 p.

An interview of Edith Halpert conducted 1962-1963, by Harlan Phillips, for the Archives of American Art.

Halpert speaks of her childhood in Russia and growing up in New York City; working at Bloomindale's, Macy's, Stern Brothers, and Cohen Goldman; her marriage to artist Sam Halpert, his health, and living in Paris in 1925; becoming an art student at the Academy of Design and feeling that Leon Kroll was an excellent art teacher until he began to correct her drawings; when George Bridgman thought she was ruining his class; the Lincoln Square Arcade, when she and Ernest Fiener and Robert Brackman would rent Conan's studio evenings and bring in instructors; how Newman Montross influenced her more than anybody about showing her art that she loved; burning all of her work because Kroll said she had no talent; receiving a painting from John Marin; her friendship and working relationship with Abby Rockefeller and other family members.

She recalls opening the Downtown Gallery, in Greenwich Village, in 1926; a brief history of modern art; many artists helping decorate the new Daylight Gallery in 1930 and the first show being called "Practical Manifestations of Art"; meeting Robert and Sonia Delaunay in France; when she refused to allow Ezra Pound to speak at one of the gallery lectures because of his anti-Semite remarks and William Carlos Williams and Ford Madox Ford argued with her over it; experiencing jealousy and professional attacks from other dealers; the successful "Pop" Hart show and book in 1929; the "Thirty-three Moderns" show in 1930 at the Grand Central Galleries; the Jules Pascin show in 1930; in America, most of the art buyers supporters of culture were women, until the WPA and World War II, when it became fashionable for men to be involved; Ambroise Vollard's advice on selling art; handling the frustrations of working in the art field; friendships with Stuart Davis,Charles Sheeler, and Ben Shahn; how artists work through dry periods in their creativity and the "Recurrent Image" show; a discussion on modern art galleries of New York City, such as Daniel, Knoedler, Ferargil, the New Gallery, 291, the Grand Central, Kraushaar, and Montross; her travels through Pennsylvania and Maine for good examples of folk art for the gallery; the "The Artist Looks at Music" show; the non-competitive spirit of the early modern American artists; of being saved financially in 1940 by selling a William Harnett painting to the Boston Museum and then renting new space for the gallery.

Also, Mitchell Siporin bringing Halpert and Edmund Gurry to Mitchell Field during World War II for a camouflage show and consequently Downtown Gallery artists and others were enlisted in the camouflage corps for the U.S. Air Force; Charles Sheeler and his wife find Halpert a house in Newtown, Conn.; her decision in 1933 to push folk art for acquisition by the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery in Kansas City, Missouri; her great concern about what to do with her folk art literature collection; dismay and that no one writes about the history of folk art and those responsible for its creation and popularity; Louis Stern hiring her to organize a municipal exhibit in Atlantic City, N.J., with Donald Deskey designing the furniture and Holger Cahill managing the publicity; Joe Lillie helping her meet Fiorello La Guardia and Joe McGoldrick in 1934 about a municipal show in New York City, but it is moved to Radio City Music Hall through Nelson Rockefeller; the "Salons of America" show; wanting articles written about art for love rather than art for investment; working with Aline Saarinen on her book, "Proud Possessors;" letters from Stuart Davis, William Zorach and others that hurt her feelings; enjoying giving educational lectures and considering retirement because of ill health; the desire to write a book on the history of trade signs in folk art; feeling that the young artists are being ruined by too much support without working for it; planning to write a book entitled, "Unsung Heroes," about artists brave enough to experiment; organizing a show in Russia at her own expense; later representing the U.S. in art at the "American National Exposition"; the agitators and success of the exposition; Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O'Keeffe.

Halpert also recalls Juliana Force, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Buckminster Fuller, George Luks, Edsel Ford, Max Weber, Danny Diefenbacker, Hamilton Easter Field, Frank Stella, Glenn Coleman, Margaret Zorach, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Henry Mercer, Romany Marie, Edward G. Robinson, Paul Mellon, Charles Pollet, Alex Brook, Lunca Curass, Dorothy Lambert, Duncan Candler, Frank Rhen, Louis Rittman, Bea Goldsmith, Arthur Craven, Robert Frost, Philip Wittenberg, Caesar de Hoke, Richard deWolfe Brixey, Seymour Knox, Walt Kuhn, Elisabeth Luther Cary, Charles Locke, Duncan Fergusson, Mrs. Solomon Guggenheim, Bob Tannahill, David Thompson, Marsden Hartley, Erwin Barrie, Robert Laurent, Conger Goodyear, Henry McBride, Edward Hopper, Charles Daniel, William Merritt Chase, Charles Hopkinson, Thomas Hart Benton, Frank Crowninshield, Alfred Barr, Lord Duveen, Jacob Lawrence, John Marin Jr., Karl Zerbe, Franz Kline, Arthur Dove, Julian Levy, Jack Levine, Valentine Dudensing, Peggy Bacon, Stefan Hirsch, Gertrude Stein, Isamu Noguchi, Jasper Johns, Chaim Soutine, B. K. Saklatwalla; Fernand Leger, Pablo Picasso, Ben Shahn, Charles Demuth, Alexander Calder, Jackson Pollock, Edward Steichen, Carl Sandburg, Clement Greenberg, and others.