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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Exploring a Renaissance Rarity in the Dibner Library


In the auspicious year of 1543, a book in German, Evangelien vnd Epistlen des Neϋwen Testaments (The Gospels and Letters of the New Testament; qBS239 1543 SCDIRB) was printed in the ancient Alsatian town of Colmar. Compiled by one Ambrosius Kempff, the work contains almost all of the New Testament and some of the Old Testament arranged in the order of the days of the Church calendar. As in a typical Roman Catholic lectionary, each selection was to be read on a certain day of the year. While the Dibner Library is primarily known for its history of science collections, it also contains several Bibles and other religious works, and we were pleased to be given this example on several accounts.


It is indeed a rare volume, with no other recorded copies in the United States and only a handful in European collections. Evangelien vnd Epistlen des Neϋwen Testaments appears in none of the standard reference works. It does get a mention in John M. Frymire’s The Primacy of the Postils (2010) which states it is written “Catholic” in the tradition of Erasmian humanism.

The Bewitched Groom



Interspersed among the 269 leaves of Fraktur letterpress are over a hundred woodcut illustrations by various artists, some of intriguing quality. This work could prove to be a rich source of analysis by an art historian as some of the woodcuts are by that most gifted and strange student of Albrecht Dürer’s, Hans Baldung, called Grien (d. 1545). Known as a painter—one familiar work is Three Ages of Woman and Death (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, 1510)—he was also a printmaker with a preoccupied with mortality and sorcery. One of Grien’s best known prints is the erotically charged The Bewitched Groom (1544).













































The 1540s were a dynamic period for publishing: not only were significant works related to the Protestant Reformation printed but also announcements of new strides in the field of science. The year 1543 in particular is a major milestone in history of science literature, marked with exceptionally significant publications. In the field of astronomy, Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) produced De revolutionibusorbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres) in Nuremberg, providing arguments, based entirely on mathematical calculations, for the heliocentric universe. In mathematics, the first modern European language edition of Euclid's Elements appeared in Venice, translated into Italian by Niccolò Fontana Tartaglia (d. 1557). And in medicine, Andreas Vesalius's Dehumani corporis fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body) was edited and printed in Basel by Johannes Oporinus (1507-1568). The profusely illustrated volume transformed the science of human anatomy by promoting direct observation in addition to (or many times countering) classical medical knowledge. These books of 1543 foreshadowed a new scientific era, the Scientific Revolution in the same year when Evangelien vnd Epistlen manifested the rich new religious literature.


This donation contained a pleasant surprise: it has a 19th-century armorial bookplate although without an accompanying name. However, thanks to online resources, notably the Ex Libris Chronicle of the American Society of Bookplate Collectors (formed in Washington, D.C. in 1922), the previous owner could be quickly identified by the motto and coat-of-arms. Evangelien vnd Epistlen des Neϋwen Testaments once belonged to a great bibliophile, Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (1773-1843). He was the sixth son (of fifteen children) of King George III. His vast library of some 50,000 volumes was housed in Kensington Palace, where some members of the Royal family still live. The Duke’s librarian happened to also be his surgeon, Thomas Joseph Pettigrew, who produced catalogues of the collection as well as books on other topics. Pettigrew’s Medical Portrait Gallery (London, [1838?-1840]; R134 .P52 1838 SCDIRB) is on the Dibner shelves. Alas, the Duke had amassed huge debts (in no small part because of his collecting habits) so soon after his death the books and manuscripts were sold at auction and the library’s contents scattered. This volume is the only one in the Smithsonian Libraries identified with this provenance.

The manuscript inscription and armorial bookplate
But there was more interesting history to uncover in this one book. A handwritten inscription above the Duke’s bookplate seemed matter-of-fact at first glance: Jacob A. Westervelt to his daughter Eliza M. Westervelt / 1864. The names did not appear in either the Smithsonian Libraries online catalog nor in the Library of Congress or the Virtual International Authority File. However, one very good Wikipedia entry pinpointed the identities of these two:  Jacob Westervelt (1800-1879) was a famous shipbuilder whose long career included constructing 247 vessels, and who also served as mayor of New York City, from 1853 to 1855. One of his accomplishments was placing the police force, against great resistance, in uniforms for the first time. An 1885 portrait of Westervelt by Edward Ludlow Mooney is in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Eliza Mariette (1841-1891) was the youngest of his eight children. 


The donor of the Evangelien vnd Epistlen is Mr. Theron Patrick, Commander United States Coast Guard (Retired) who recently visited the Dibner Library and the Book Conservation Laboratory of the Smithsonian Libraries. We very much appreciate his interest in our collections and we thank him for donating such a fascinating volume.


with the help of Diane Shaw, Special Collections Librarians, Smithsonian Libraries

The illustration of The Bewitched Groom is from Wikimedia Commons, all others are from the Lectionary, Evangelien vnd Epistlen.







Friday, July 25, 2014

Frosty Treats in the Archives

Generally, food and archives do not mix, at least not literally. At the Archives of American Art we do not allow our researchers to indulge in a double scoop in our Reading Room, nor our staff to sip a milkshake in storage, but we can still celebrate National Ice Cream Month vicariously through some of our collection materials.

Andy Warhol and Philip Pearlstein in the cafeteria at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, 1948-49 / unidentified photographer. Philip Pearlstein papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
For example, take this photo of a young Andy Warhol working on a sugar cone in the cafeteria of the Carnegie Institute of Technology. I distinctly remember being a bit starry-eyed when I first saw the soft-serve ice cream machines in my college cafeteria (think of the options - soft-serve for lunch! Soft-serve for dinner! Soft-serve with Captain Crunch on it for breakfast!) so it is good to see that there are others, even super-famous artists, who share my affliction.

Detail of a storefront sign in Chicago, between 1972 and 1981 / Ray Yoshida, photographer. Ray Yoshida papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

While we're on the topic of soft-serve, how about these two cake cones filled with the stuff from the Ray Yoshida papers? Yoshida drew inspiration from found art and his papers include snapshots which he took of Chicago signs and billboards with quirky illustrations. Many of these are quite delightful, I particularly enjoy this one of a smiling tooth (it's a tooth...with teeth!), but the ice cream cones are undeniably the most mouthwatering.

Ad Reinhardt cover of Ice cream field magazine, 1939 July. Ad Reinhardt papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Lastly, we have Ad Reinhardt. Known for his abstract paintings, he also worked as a commercial artist and served for a time as the art director of the trade magazine Ice Cream Field. This cover that he designed for a 1939 issue epitomizes the enjoyment of cold treats on a hot day.

Hope you enjoyed this tour of all that is frozen and creamy in the Archives of American Art - now I don't know about you, but I need to go eat some actual ice cream. I promise I'll keep it away from the archival materials. If you can't get up right now and do the same, enjoy these other sweet frosty artifacts from across the Smithsonian's collections

Bettina Smith, Digital Projects Librarian
Archives of American Art

Monday, July 14, 2014

ALL-STAR ARCHIVES


Fifth Annual All-Star Game program, 1937.
Eleanor Linkous Washington, D.C. Sports Memorabilia
Collection, 1925-1956, Archives Center,
National Museum of American History

It has been 45 years since the city of Washington, D.C. hosted Major League Baseball’s annual mid-summer classic, the All-Star Game.  With a recently built stadium to show off, Washington fans want their turn.  Unfortunately, several other cities also want the All Star Game and some of them have new ballparks too, including Cincinnati (which will host in 2015), Philadelphia, Miami and San Diego.  It might be several years before Washington hosts, but I hope that the city’s 33 years without baseball will count for something to baseball’s selection committee, possibly as early as 2017.  Washington has hosted the All-Star Game four times, twice (1937 and 1956) at Griffith Stadium and twice (1962 and 1969) at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium.  The Archives Center is fortunate to have the programs from two of these games, those of 1937 and 1956.  They were donated to us by SI volunteer Eleanor Linkous.
The 1937 program features President Franklin Roosevelt on the cover, throwing out the first pitch, a ceremonial baseball tradition begun by President Taft in 1910 on that season’s Opening Day.  1937’s All-Star game was the first attended by a president.

The game’s roster on both sides contained an impressive number of future Hall of Famers.  For the American League, this included both Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig in one of the only two years their careers as Yankees overlapped.  Also in the game were Joe Cronin and Jimmie Foxx of the Red Sox, and Charlie Gehringer of the Tigers.  For the visiting National League, the list was just as impressive, including starting pitcher Dizzy Dean and Ducky Medwick of the Cardinals, Carl Hubbell and Mel Ott of the Giants, and Paul Waner and Arky Vaughan from the Pirates.  Ironically, even though the home town Washington Senators had three members of its team elected to the All Star Game, Yankee manager Joe McCarthy, who was managing the game for the American League, never put any of them in to play.  Instead, the game was dominated by his Yankees.  The American League won the game 8-3.
Clark C. Griffith Memorial All-Star Game program.
Eleanor Linkous Washington, D.C. Sports Memorabilia
Collection, 1925-1956, Archives Center,
National Museum of American History. 
The 1956 program featured an image of “the Old Fox,” Clark Griffith, a former player and owner of the Senators, who had died the previous autumn.  The game was dedicated to him.  Only five years later, his son would relocate his beloved team to the Twin Cities.
Like 19 years earlier, the 1956 All-Star Game was full of future Hall of Famers.  For the American League, there were sluggers Ted Williams of the Red Sox, Al Kaline of the Tigers, and Mickey Mantle of the Yankees.  The National League fielded a team that included Stan Musial from the Cardinals, Willie Mays of the Giants and Hank Aaron of the Braves.  Pitchers in the game included the Braves’ Warren Spahn for the National League and the Yankees’ Whitey Ford for the American League.  The result was quite different from that of the game 19 years earlier, when the Yankee sluggers had dominated.  This time it was the National League dominating, with help from home runs by Mays and Musial.  The final score was 7-3. 
This year’s All-Star Game will, almost certainly, feature some future Hall of Famers.  It is fun to speculate which players on this year’s ballot will one day be enshrined in Cooperstown.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

“Only YOU can prevent forest fires!” Smokey Bear Arrives at the National Zoo

Statue of Smokey Bear in Smokey Bear Park in International Falls, Minnesota, sculpted by Gordon Shumaker, 1954, Smithsonian Art Inventories Catalog #IAS MN000034
Sixty-four years ago, in June of 1950, a tiny singed bear cub arrived at the National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., having lost its mother and survived a forest fire in the Lincoln National Forest near Capitan, New Mexico.  Named Smokey Bear, he had been rescued and nursed back to health by Forest Service staff to become the living symbol of fire prevention.  Although most people believe Smokey Bear came into existence with the cub, he had actually been a fire prevention ad campaign for the Forest Service for six years prior to that. However it was the tiny cub, found clinging to a tree, who breathed life into the forest fire campaign and grew to be a nationally known symbol who taught generations of children to be careful while enjoying the national forests.

In television and radio ads, Smokey Bear admonished us, “Only YOU can prevent forest fires!” The Forest Service erected an exhibit outside his enclosure at the zoo and he was visited by thousands of families every year.  A popular jingle added the extra “the” in Smokey the Bear, but both are used interchangeably. He even had his own postage stamp.


Smokey Bear 20 cent postage stamp from 1984 shows Smokey the icon and Smokey the cub clinging to a burned tree.  National Postal Museum, #1985.0796.3181.
Unfortunately, the original Smokey lacked the charisma one might want in such an icon, and was, indeed, a bit cranky and solitary.


The original Smokey Bear frolicking in a pool at the National Zoological Park in the 1950s, photograph by Francine Schroeder.  Smithsonian Institution Archives, negative #92-3559. 
But given his difficult early months, it was not surprising he was not the cheeriest of fellows.   He never produced off-spring with with mate, Goldie, and he was retired in May of 1975.

He was replaced with Smokey Bear II for the next fifteen years, but the exhibit was closed when Smokey II was retired. 

Smokey Bear II enjoying the honey and berries that are dispensed from his new automated dispensing tree. National Zoological Park staffers put together the "honey tree" in Smokey’s exhibit area in the summer of 1984. The national symbol of forest-fire prevention turned 40 that year. The Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention Program funded the construction, photograph by Jesse Cohen. Smithsonian Institution Archives, negative #95-1209. 










Smokey I passed away in 1976 and his remains were returned to Capitan to rest beneath a stone marker in Smokey Bear Historical State Park.

I have a special fondness for Smokey Bear.  When I was five years old in 1953, I fell down while trying to fly a kite and I broke my arm.  After taking me to the doctor to have the arm set in a cast, my father consoled me by taking me to the little shop full of toys in my home town of Rochelle Park, New Jersey.  I did not hesitate for a moment and picked the little stuffed bear with a shovel, hat, badge, Smokey belt, and Forest Service uniform.  Smokey was my constant companion for many, many years!  This image on Pinterest is most like mine, although it lacks the shovel.  I was rarely seen without him, no matter how much my older sisters teased me, and never went to sleep without him at my side.

The Forest Service is planning to relaunch the Smokey Bear campaign for a 21st century audience, and I suspect he will snuggle with many more little children for generations to come and hopefully reinvigorate the message to care for our national forests.

Pamela M. Henson
Historian
Institutional History Division
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Roses for Hershey

Milton Hershey did more than just make chocolate, the famed chocolatier founded the Hershey Rose Gardens. The idea to establish a rose garden arose out of conversations with J. Horace McFarland, an active member of the American Rose Society and a national spokesperson for the City Beautiful Movement. McFarland had hoped to convince Hershey to create a National Rose Garden in D.C. Ultimately, Hershey went on to construct the rose garden in Hershey, Pennsylvania, the town of his chocolate factory and the famed Hotel Hershey, instead of in the nation’s capital.

Hershey Rose Gardens.  Hershey, PA. (AAG# PA072001)
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, J. Horace McFarland Collection
Hershey Rose Gardens, which opened to the public in June of 1937, was dedicated in September 1938 by the American Rose Society with J. Horace McFarland attending the dedication. The gardens have expanded from a three and a half acre rose garden to a twenty three acre botanical garden and arboretum that is a popular destination for many.


Hershey Rose Gardens.  Hershey, PA. (AAG# PA072003)
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, J. Horace McFarland Collection
See more early photographs of Hershey Rose Gardens in the J. Horace McFarland Collection housed at the Archives of American Gardens.

For more information about the development of the Hershey Gardens see the Hershey Community Archives online.

Jessica Brode
2014 Summer Intern 
Archives of American Gardens 

Monday, June 30, 2014

ARCHIVES PRIDE: LGBT-Related Collections at the Archives Center, National Museum of American History

President Obama has proclaimed June 2014 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, and many cities and towns throughout the United States will celebrate LGBT Pride.  An outgrowth of the gay rights movement, the creation of Pride was sparked by the Stonewall riots in June 1969.  The first Pride parade was held in New York City in June 1970.


Promotional advertisement for DC Cowboys with photographs by Julian Vankim, 1994-2012: front and verso shown.
From the DC Cowboys Dance Company Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Smithsonian secretary Wayne Clough, in his recent Message from the Secretary, stated in part, “We continue to strengthen our collections so that we may more fully present LBGT contributions to American history, art, science, and culture, and be a welcoming resource to scholars studying LGBT contributions to American society.”  The secretary ended his message affirming, “The LGBT story is an important part of the American experience, and the Smithsonian is committed to making sure that story is told.”

The Archives Center at the National Museum of American History is actively collecting records that tell those stories.  Recently the Archives Center received a donation of the DC Cowboys Dance Company Records, an all-male, gay, non-profit dance company based in Washington, D.C. that was active from 1994-2012. They performed nationally and internationally, "celebrating diversity through dance." Typical performance venues included: Pride Festivals, the Gay Rodeo circuit, and charity events for numerous local and national charities.  The Cowboys also performed on: NBC’s America's Got Talent (2008); Closing Ceremonies of the Gay Games VII at Wrigley Field in Chicago (2006); The Sziget Festival, Budapest, Hungary (2009–2012); ITV’s Dales’ Great Getaway, London, England (2012), and RTE’s The Podge and Rodge show, Dublin, Ireland (2010).  The collection includes correspondence, advertisement, financial records, photographs, and ephemera.

The DC Cowboys Dance Records join over 68 cubic feet of LGBT-related collections currently held by the Archives Center.  The Archives Center’s growing LGBT collections include: The Shamrock Bar: Photographs and Interviews by Carol Burch-Brown; John-Manuel Andriote VICTORY DEFFERRED Collection; Archives Center Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Collection; the Joan E. Biren Queer Film Museum Collection; and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Records.  For more information visit the Archives Center website. 

Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., Archives Specialist 
Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Friday, June 27, 2014

In the Good Old Watermelon Time

Pollock family eating watermelon in Arizona, ca. 1914 / unidentified photographer. Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Now that summer is fully upon us, it seemed a good time to share this photograph which has long been a staff favorite here at the Archives of American Art. Not only is it seasonally appropriate (I could go for a 2-foot long slice of watermelon right about now) and a charming family portrait, but it shows the softer side of one of America's most influential artists, Jackson Pollock. Perhaps you didn't recognize him right away since he was only a toddler when this photo was taken, but he is the smallest of the tow-headed youngsters in this picture, standing in the center and struggling to hold up that watermelon that is almost as big as he is. Who knows, perhaps the patterns created by the dribbling of watermelon juice in the dirt sowed some inspiration in him that would later influence his Abstract Expressionist style...

Bettina Smith, Digital Projects Librarian
Archives of American Art