Turning the Book Wheel
A tumblr of semi-random stuff from the stacks of the Smithsonian Libraries

The Smithsonian’s First Woman Employee: Jane W. Turner, Librarian

For Women’s History Month, Smithsonian historian Pam Henson answers the question who was the first paid female employee of the Smithsonian? Well, hey look at that, it was a librarian!


Posted 3 months ago
Tags:  #Smithsonian Institution  #Smithsonian Libraries  #women's history month  #smithsonian archives  #librarian  #libraries

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25 of March, 2014

Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) is another of our favorite naturalist/scientific illustrators. From childhood she was fascinated with insects and the metamorphosis of caterpillars into butterflies. Trained as a painter, she beautifully depicted her observations about the life-cycle of insects. Her illustrations show not just the insects’ transformation, but the important role specific plants have in sustaining the animal during the various stages of development.
The images above are from her most important work,  Metamorphosis insectorum surinamensium (1705)which she created after receiving a grant from the city of Amsterdam to travel to the then Dutch colony of Suriname to study insects.


Posted 3 months ago
Tags:  #maria sibylla merian  #women's history month  #scientific illustration  #entomology  #butterflies  #caterpillar  #Suriname

1,084 notes

Notable Women in Natural History

Our good friends at the Biodiversity Heritage Library have assembled a great collection of works published, written, illustrated, or including the research of women, just for Women’s History Month.

[image from Maria Sybilla Merian’s European Insects 1730]

(Source: smithsonianlibraries)


Posted 4 months ago
Tags:  #reblog  #bhl  #reading list  #women's history month

390 notes
14 of March, 2014

Another for Women’s History Month, some botanical illustrations from one of our favorite artist/naturalists - Mary Vaux Walcott. 
Mary, also known as Mary Morris Vaux, was a remarkable woman who just happened to also marry the 4th Secretary of the Smithsonian. (one of the reasons she’s a favorite, plus - just look at those flowers!)

Images above from v. 2 and v.4 of North American wild flowers which has been digitized in its entirety and is available on the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
For even more beautiful plants, Smithsonian American Art Museum has many of her original watercolors in their collections


Posted 4 months ago
Tags:  #women's history month  #botanical illustration  #women artists  #scientific illustration  #Smithsonian Institution  #mary vaux walcott  #bhl  #flowers  #painting  #drawing  #flower  #botanical

878 notes
March is Women’s History Month, so we’ll be featuring some portraits of and artwork by women artists from our collection. First up, French sculptor Rosa Bonheur.

Portrait of artist Rosa Bonheur, from an album of 19th c. cartes de visite of famous artists in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery Library.
Bonheur was an animaliste, a painter and sculptor of animals, and one of the 19th century’s most famous women artists.  She also received special permission from the police to wear trousers (!) in public to facilitate her study of animals.
5 of March, 2014

March is Women’s History Month, so we’ll be featuring some portraits of and artwork by women artists from our collection. First up, French sculptor Rosa Bonheur.

Portrait of artist Rosa Bonheur, from an album of 19th c. cartes de visite of famous artists in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery Library.

Bonheur was an animaliste, a painter and sculptor of animals, and one of the 19th century’s most famous women artists.  She also received special permission from the police to wear trousers (!) in public to facilitate her study of animals.

(via smithsonianlibraries)


Posted 4 months ago
Tags:  #women's history month  #reblog  #rosa bonheur  #trousers! my goodness - next thing you know she'll want equal pay for equal work

118 notes

Notable Women in Natural History

Our good friends at the Biodiversity Heritage Library have assembled a great collection of works published, written, illustrated, or including the research of women, just for Women’s History Month.


Posted 1 year ago
Tags:  #reading lists  #women's history month  #natural history

390 notes
Just in time for Women’s History Month, we have scanned our copy of Maria Sybilla Merian’s Metamorphosis insectorum surinamensium…in it’s entirety!
Merian (1647 – 1717) was a German naturalist, painter, and scientific illustrator most famous for her detailed observations and documentation of the metamorphosis of the butterfly.
5 of March, 2013

Just in time for Women’s History Month, we have scanned our copy of Maria Sybilla Merian’s Metamorphosis insectorum surinamensium…
in it’s entirety!

Merian (1647 – 1717) was a German naturalist, painter, and scientific illustrator most famous for her detailed observations and documentation of the metamorphosis of the butterfly.


Posted 1 year ago
Tags:  #women's history month  #scientific illustration  #entomology  #botany  #botanical illustration  #butterflies  #coleoptera  #Surinam

49 notes
Portrait of artist Emma Stebbins (1815-1882) from an album of 19th c. cartes de visite of famous artists in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery Library.
Stebbins was a sculptor, best known for her work the Angel of the Waters (1873), also called the Bethesda Fountain, in Central Park.  
29 of March, 2012

Portrait of artist Emma Stebbins (1815-1882) from an album of 19th c. cartes de visite of famous artists in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery Library.

Stebbins was a sculptor, best known for her work the Angel of the Waters (1873), also called the Bethesda Fountain, in Central Park.  


Posted 2 years ago
Tags:  #artist  #carte de visite  #portraits  #sculptor  #LGBTQ  #Women's History Month

6 notes
Illustration of insects and flowers, from Maria Sibylla Merian’s Raupen wunderbare Verwandelung und sonderbare Blumennahrung (1730) ( “Caterpillars, Their Wondrous Transformation and Peculiar Nourishment from Flowers” ) this image is from a later translated edition of Merian’s original, which was published in 1679.
The Getty has an excellent online exhibition of some of her other work.
27 of March, 2012

Illustration of insects and flowers, from Maria Sibylla Merian’s Raupen wunderbare Verwandelung und sonderbare Blumennahrung (1730) ( “Caterpillars, Their Wondrous Transformation and Peculiar Nourishment from Flowers” ) this image is from a later translated edition of Merian’s original, which was published in 1679.


The Getty has an excellent online exhibition of some of her other work.



Posted 2 years ago
Tags:  #Women's History Month  #illustration  #entomology  #insects  #flowers  #books

86 notes
Beautiful color lithograph on the back cover of an 1899 seed catalog by Miss C. H. Lippincott.
Carrie H. Lippincott was the self-titled “Pioneer Seedswoman of America.” A quote from a contemporary publication said “the key to her success is prompt service, best seeds, reasonable prices, beautiful flowers, by a woman.” Lippincott’s approach to marketing through her emphasis on a woman-owned company led to at least two other seed firms in Minneapolis beginning business under women’s names.
Smithsonian Libraries has a large collection of beautiful seed catalogs, some of which have been digitized.
21 of March, 2012

Beautiful color lithograph on the back cover of an 1899 seed catalog by Miss C. H. Lippincott.

Carrie H. Lippincott was the self-titled “Pioneer Seedswoman of America.” A quote from a contemporary publication said “the key to her success is prompt service, best seeds, reasonable prices, beautiful flowers, by a woman.” Lippincott’s approach to marketing through her emphasis on a woman-owned company led to at least two other seed firms in Minneapolis beginning business under women’s names.

Smithsonian Libraries has a large collection of beautiful seed catalogs, some of which have been digitized.


Posted 2 years ago
Tags:  #women's history month  #seeds  #plants  #lithograph  #catalog

4 notes
Nest of a field sparrow (spizella pusilla) from the Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio. 

The illustration was made from a nest taken June 3rd, 1879, in a wild rose-bush. It fairly represents the usual size, materials, and position. The foundation consists of weed-stalks and a few straws; the superstructure of finer weed-stems, fibres, and split grasses; the lining of horse-hair and roller-grass. The eggs figured show the usual sizes, shades of ground-color, and markings.

This remarkable and now rare volume was produced largely by women and authored by Genevieve Jones, an amateur naturalist and illustrator.
20 of March, 2012

Nest of a field sparrow (spizella pusilla) from the Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio

The illustration was made from a nest taken June 3rd, 1879, in a wild rose-bush. It fairly represents the usual size, materials, and position. The foundation consists of weed-stalks and a few straws; the superstructure of finer weed-stems, fibres, and split grasses; the lining of horse-hair and roller-grass. The eggs figured show the usual sizes, shades of ground-color, and markings.

This remarkable and now rare volume was produced largely by women and authored by Genevieve Jones, an amateur naturalist and illustrator.


Posted 2 years ago
Tags:  #Women's History Month  #ornithology  #illustration  #art  #birds  #Ohio

204 notes
Portrait of artist Rosa Bonheur, from an album of 19th c. cartes de visite of famous artists in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery Library.
Bonheur was an animaliste, a painter and sculptor of animals, and one of the 19th century’s most famous women artists.  She also received special permission from the police to wear trousers (!) in public to facilitate her study of animals.
15 of March, 2012

Portrait of artist Rosa Bonheur, from an album of 19th c. cartes de visite of famous artists in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery Library.

Bonheur was an animaliste, a painter and sculptor of animals, and one of the 19th century’s most famous women artists.  She also received special permission from the police to wear trousers (!) in public to facilitate her study of animals.


Posted 2 years ago
Tags:  #artist  #portraits  #Women's History Month  #cartes de visite

118 notes
Portrait of Tatiana Ehrenfest-Afanaseva (1876-1964) for Women’s History Month.
Tatyana Afanaseva (also written Afanasyeva) was a Russian mathematician who studied at the University of Göttingen.  She married physicist Paul Ehrenfest in 1904 and they collaborated throughout their careers, most notably on a review of statistical mechanics.
Smithsonian Libraries has a handwritten article (later published in Physikalische Zeitschrift in 1913) by Afanaseva titled “Zur frage uber die Koncentrationsschwankungen in Radioactiven Losungen.” (“To the question of concentration fluctuations in radioactive solutions.”) (transl. approximate, courtesy Google Translate.)
13 of March, 2012

Portrait of Tatiana Ehrenfest-Afanaseva (1876-1964) for Women’s History Month.

Tatyana Afanaseva (also written Afanasyeva) was a Russian mathematician who studied at the University of Göttingen.  She married physicist Paul Ehrenfest in 1904 and they collaborated throughout their careers, most notably on a review of statistical mechanics.

Smithsonian Libraries has a handwritten article (later published in Physikalische Zeitschrift in 1913) by Afanaseva titled “Zur frage uber die Koncentrationsschwankungen in Radioactiven Losungen.” (“To the question of concentration fluctuations in radioactive solutions.”) (transl. approximate, courtesy Google Translate.)


Posted 2 years ago
Tags:  #Women's history month  #mathematics  #mathematicians  #portrait

3 notes
8 of March, 2012

todaysdocument:

Putting Women on the Map: New Women’s History Collections on Historypin

March is Women’s History Month and March 8 is International Women’s Day! To celebrate, the National Archives has created four new collections focusing on women of the past in on Historypin

The Women at Work collection depicts the role of women in the workforce throughout our national life – in farms, shipyards, hospitals, manufacturing plants, markets, and in the aviation industry - including “Mrs. William Wood manages a one hundred and twenty acre farm in Coloma, Michigan, with little male assistance.”

Historical photographs and documents reveal the struggle for woman suffrage in the collection of the same name, including women protesting at the White House in 1917.

Two more collections include Women in the military and famous women from National Archives holdings.

via NARAtions » Putting Women on the Map: New Women’s History Collections on Historypin »


Posted 2 years ago
Tags:  #Women's History Month  #History Pin  #NARA

117 notes
March is Women’s History Month, so we’ll be featuring a few portraits and publications of women famous and not-so-famous.  
Portrait of Agnes Mary Clerke (1842-1907) from the Smithsonian Libraries’ collection Scientific Identity: Portraits from the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology
Clerke was a self-taught astronomer who published several authoritative texts on astronomy as well as writing on a variety of other subjects including literature, politics, and history. Several of her books are available to download for free from the Internet Archive here.
8 of March, 2012

March is Women’s History Month, so we’ll be featuring a few portraits and publications of women famous and not-so-famous.  

Portrait of Agnes Mary Clerke (1842-1907) from the Smithsonian Libraries’ collection Scientific Identity: Portraits from the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology

Clerke was a self-taught astronomer who published several authoritative texts on astronomy as well as writing on a variety of other subjects including literature, politics, and history. Several of her books are available to download for free from the Internet Archive here.


Posted 2 years ago
Tags:  #astronomers  #astronomy  #Women's History Month  #writers

0 notes