Turning the Book Wheel
A tumblr of semi-random stuff from the stacks of the Smithsonian Libraries
28 of August, 2014

detail from Hoover : the story of a crusade. (1926)

The marks on the carpet show how long each stroke should be and a metronome guides her in making a given number of strokes per minute. By measuring her carbon—dioxide exhalation while she works, the amount of energy required to sweep with different devices and in different ways—slow, fast, long strokes, short strokes, etc.—is accurately determined. Such tests were made to determine Hoover technique and they demonstrated that the Hoover offers
the least fatiguing way of cleaning carpets and rugs

Posted 34 minutes ago
Tags:  #Hoover  #vacuum  #efficiency  #photo  #File under W for WTF  #contraption  #apparatus

55 notes
27 of August, 2014


Today the National Zoo introduced two female American bison. The first bison in the custody of the Smithsonian arrived in the 1880s:

These American bison, also known as buffalo, were part of the Smithsonian’s Department of Living Animals. The Department was started by chief taxidermist William T. Hornaday, who was a spokesman for the conservation movement and very concerned about the possible extinction of American bison. The bison formed part of a collection of wild North American animals in a small sort of zoo in the yard behind the Smithsonian Castle in the late 1880s and early 1890s, before the establishment of the National Zoo.

Learn more about the bison, Hornaday, and more at Histories of the National Mall.

If you want to learn how the two new bison got their names, check out the Smithsonian Zoo’s Conservation Biology Institute’s all-bison-all-the-time site.

Posted 21 hours ago
Tags:  #history  #national mall  #smithsonian  #national zoo  #smithsonian national zoo  #american bison  #bison  #buffalo  #william temple hornaday  #reblog

87 notes
27 of August, 2014

We are now taking wagers for this baby race. #notreally

Posted 1 day ago
Tags:  #advertising  #babies  #crawling  #how to not write copy

86 notes
26 of August, 2014


Today is National Dog Day! Continue celebrating our furry friends next week with two free films: Old Dog on September 4 and Stray Dogs on September 5. 

Posted 1 day ago
Tags:  #national dog day  #dogs  #fsfilms  #asian film  #freersackler  #smithsonian

61 notes
26 of August, 2014

It’s back to school time here in DC, so here’s some “old school”….um, old school equipment from our trade literature collections.

From: J. L. Hammett Illustrated Catalogue of School Merchandise 1872-1873 w/1874 cover and price list of school furniture , 1872-1874

(via Smithsonian Institution Libraries : Gothic Adjustable Desk ; Patent Standard Chair Desk SIL-038-62-11)

(via smithsonianlibraries)

Posted 2 days ago
Tags:  #school  #desk  #trade literature  #back to school  #literally old school

66 notes
25 of August, 2014


Althea Gibson, tennis player and the first African American to compete in the U.S. Nationals, was born on this day, August 25, 1927. Gibson showed an appreciation for sports at a young age, playing basketball and paddle tennis. After joining the American Tennis Association, Gibson began her networking and career as a tennis player. At the age of 29, Gibson became the first black person to win the French championships.She was also the first African American to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Nationals in 1957 and then won again in 1958. Gibson faced a lot of racism at first, some of which included not being allowed to compete despite her skill level and being denied rooms at hotels but eventually, she was allowed to take the world by storm. Gibson won 11 Grand Slam events which placed her in the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame. 

Posted 2 days ago
Tags:  #reblog  #Althea Gibson  #Tennis  #Grand Slam  #Today in Black History  #Schomburg  #Schomburg Center

238 notes
25 of August, 2014



Monday is the National Park Service 98th birthday & all entrance fees will be waived. Please share and like this photo of Denali National Park to spread the word! 

Photo: Morton Katz (www.sharetheexperience.org)

Happy Birthday, National Park Service!

Posted 2 days ago
Tags:  #Landscape  #National Parks  #national park service  #birthday  #publiclands  #reblog  #Alaska  #Denali  #national parks are the best

556 notes
25 of August, 2014

From: Les Pigeons par Madame Knip from 1838 in our Cullman Library, which you can see in its entirety at the Biodiversity Heritage Library, or see a few more on Flickr, herehere, and here.

Who knew pigeons could be so classy? Madame Knip did, for sure, as she put her name on this work. But then again—Madame Knip was a plagiarist of the worst kind. At least that’s the allegation in vol. 5, no. 4 of The Bulletin of the USGS, which reads,

“This work [Les Pigeons par Madame Knip] is one of the curiosities of literature…

Madame Knip accomplished a piece of truly feminine finesse, by which she stole [the text] from Temminck. To do this, she changed the cover-title of the 9th and following livraisons, and made sundry other alterations to suit her purpose…

…This was certainly a bold trick, regardless of consequences. But no such piracy as seems to have suited the lady’s taste could hope to pass without detection; and Temminck immediately published an indignant reclamation, exposing and protesting against the fraud.”

Posted 3 days ago
Tags:  #putabirdonit  #birds  #pigeons  #ornithology  #style  #mynewdo  #intrigue  #sexism in science  #pigeon drama  #lies damn lies and pigeons  #academic smackdown

115 notes
22 of August, 2014

File under: library patrons, unusual.
Our Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute library in Panama had an unexpected visitor doing some late night research in the head librarian’s office - a zariguella (aka opposum or Dedelphis marsupialis.) She was safely captured and released into the STRI arboretum but not before pawing through the collections a bit and generally making a mess of things. 

Top illustration from Biologia Centrali Americana : Mammalia

Posted 6 days ago
Tags:  #IFTTT  #Instagram  #opposum  #possum  #Panama  #BHL  #biologia centrali americana

229 notes

Pieces to the puzzle

21 of August, 2014


If you come our digitization lab, you might be surprised to find, somewhat prominently featured, the puzzle table. image

The  jigsaw puzzle is a staple in our office, communally worked on during periods of time when computers are rebooting, large batches of files are transferring or when we just need a short break to clear our heads. I find I do some of my best creative problem solving while taking a puzzle break.

The puzzle has a more practical application too. We need to continue to hone our skills figuring out how all the pieces fit together because occasionally we have to take something like this…


And turn it into this…



Letter fragments from the Wade Hall Collection of Civil War Soldier Letters (currently undergoing digitization.)

Posted 6 days ago
Tags:  #puzzle pieces  #Civil War  #soldier  #letters  #reblog  #I want a puzzle table now!!

153 notes
21 of August, 2014



We wanted to share this charming label found in many of our books for #TBT.  It dates to a time when the library was known as the Public Library of the City of Detroit (before 1865).. We love the wording, but love the five cent fine for grease spots even more.

Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Wow, they were pretty hard core about fines - 5 cents for dog-earring a page!

(via bookpatrol)

Posted 6 days ago
Tags:  #detroitlib  #reblog  #library  #libraries  #detroit  #book fines

433 notes
21 of August, 2014

Read any good books lately?
This sweet engraving is of a painting called “The Brothers,” by Christian Leberecht Vogel, found in the book The Royal Dresden Gallery. It depicts Vogel’s two young sons enjoying the pleasures of a picture book. Too cute, especially with it being #backtoschool time! Happy reading! 

Posted 1 week ago
Tags:  #IFTTT  #children  #reading  #engraving  #Christian Leberecht Vogel

83 notes
20 of August, 2014

Much like magicians who pull a rabbit from a hat, auntie Florence would entertain and astound the young ‘uns by pulling a grub from uncle Arthur’s punky featherdo.

Image taken from Captain Thomas Brown’s “Illustrations of the American ornithology of Alexander Wilson and Charles Lucian Bonaparte" (1835).

Posted 1 week ago
Tags:  #birds  #scientific illustration  #woodpecker  #BHL

127 notes
19 of August, 2014

A diagram of the movement of the Moon around the Earth (seen here) and a recipe for invisible ink await you in Mary Smith’s Commonplace Book. Help us make Mary’s journal of scientific inquiry more accessible by becoming a digital volunteer at the Smithsonian Transcription Center.


Posted 1 week ago
Tags:  #Transcribe Tuesday  #science  #gif  #smithsoniantranscriptioncenter

1,058 notes

Fall internships

18 of August, 2014

Know anyone with some free time this Fall, who’s interested in gaining experience working in Museums, Libraries, or both? Well look no further…

Fall internship projects include:

Although most are unpaid learning experiences, they are part time and have flexible hours. We are also happy to work with a student’s college or university to help them obtain credit. Many projects have the potential to be used as practicum experiences.

—> Applications are due August 22nd.

Selections will be made by September 1st, with flexible start dates around mid to late September. Please visit our website for additional information for each project: http://library.si.edu/fall-2014-internship-projects

Posted 1 week ago
Tags:  #Smithsonian  #internships  #Libraries  #museums  #librarians

216 notes