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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Highlights of Smithsonian Library History: Former Librarian John Murdoch

Pictured here is John Murdoch, a former head librarian of the Smithsonian, in the United States National Museum library, located in the old Arts and Industries Building on the National Mall, circa 1890. Murdoch was also an accomplished anthropologist who traveled with the United States Army Signal Corps expedition to Point Barrow, Alaska from 1881 to 1883. He collected ethnological specimens of the Inupiat people and compiled a catalog of these artifacts (now part of the Smithsonian's collections) for the official Report of the expedition. 

It isn't hard to imagine that Murdoch might have greatly appreciated having the Smithsonian's online Collections Search Center available to facilitate his work, since it so easily integrates catalog records for both books and museum specimens! (Image from the Smithsonian Institution Archives Institutional History Division, negative no. 3666).

--Diane Shaw, Special Collections Cataloger, Smithsonian Institution Libraries

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