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Help us preserve these books!

Take pride in knowing that a piece of the Smithsonian Libraries will be preserved for the benefit of future generations. Adopt a Book was also established to provide extra resources to our conservation team who work tirelessly to prevent the onset of deterioration that threatens the life spans of our rare and priceless books.

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Smith's illustrated astronomy: designed for the use of the public or common schools in the United States; illustrated with numerous original diagrams.

By Asa Smith. New-York: Published by Cady & Burgess..., 1849.

You can play a part in a Smithsonian Libraries' Exhibition! This book will be featured in our forthcoming exhibition in July 2015.

Asa Smith, the Principal of a New York City public school, felt there was a need for an introductory astronomy textbook both affordable and accessible to “common readers” who may lack the mathematical background presumed by more sophisticated options. Smith’s goal was to “present all distinguishing principles in physical Astronomy with as few words as possible; but with such ocular demonstrations, by way of diagrams and maps, as shall make the subject easily understood.” The woodcut diagrams that face the Q&A-style lessons were drawn on the blocks by Smith himself, and then engraved, and he felt these “ocular demonstrations... shall make the subject easily understood.” Interest in astronomy had grown in the United States in the years leading up to 1848, when the first edition appeared. This copy is the 4th edition (New York, 1849), but Smith’s successful work would be reprinted and put to use in schools for nearly two decades.

Condition and treatment:
This book has the original paper-covered printed publisher’s binding. The spine covering is torn and almost completely detached from the covers, and the first and last leaves are detached.
The conservator will re-attach the loose leaves and re-back with toned heavy-weight Japanese paper.

"Description of an artificial hand" [Reprint of article from Mechanics’ magazine].

By George Cayley. London, Tyler and Reed, 1845.

Help support Smithsonian Libraries' Exhibitions! This book will be included in our forthcoming exhibition in July 2015.

Sir George Cayley, sometimes called the “English Leonardo” due to his wide-ranging achievements in engineering, was an important pioneer in aeronautics and aerial navigation in the early-to-mid 1800’s. While best known for his contributions to flight, Cayley turned his engineering talents toward creating an artificial hand for the wounded son of a tenant farmer. He wished to make a more affordable and versatile model. His innovative design mimicked the articulation and control of human movement, and contains features used in modern prostheses. A description of his invention first appeared in this article in the Mechanics’ magazine in March of 1845.

Condition and treatment:
This volume has a half leather binding with marbled paper covers. The upper cover is completely detached. Conservators will replace the front cover with board covered in similar marbled paper and reattach to spine.

Journal of the [1st-6th] annual General Council of the Indian Territory. 6 separate items.

by the Indian Territory General Council. Lawrence, Kansas, 1871-1875.

In accordance with the 1866 treaty between the U.S. and the Cherokee Nation and the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Muskogee (Creek), and Seminole tribes, a council composed of delegates from each tribe met annually to enact legislation for the Indian Territory (now part of Oklahoma). These reports list the delegates, their debates, and their decisions. We lack the third annual report (1872) in this set.

Condition and Treatment: Original printed paper wrappers, variously colored and brittle; the pamphlets are stab-sewn and glued into early or mid- 20th-century acidic binders. Some of the wrappers have broken loose at the edge of the gluing or suffered other damage or wear, and some interior pages are torn. Remove the pamphlets from the old binders, dis-bind and re-sew them through the fold. Repair the damaged paper using Japanese paper and wheat-starch paste. Create a custom archival enclosure for each.

E78 .I5I622 SCNHRB (6 items)
By Samuel G. Goodrich. New York: J. C. Derby, 1856

You can play a part in a Smithsonian Libraries Exhibition! This book will be featured in our upcoming exhibition in July 2015.

Samuel G. Goodrich was an American bookseller, publisher, and writer well known during his lifetime for his engaging educational works for children. Writing under the pen name Peter Parley, Goodrich crafted fictional stories grounded in the science and knowledge of the time. Goodrich’s The Balloon Travels of Robert Merry, published in this format in 1856, appeared serially in his Merry’s Magazine in the years prior. Goodrich incorporated geography, aeronautics, and general science into a ballooning adventure tale across Europe with intrepid young travelers, whose ages were around those of Goodrich’s intended readers.

Condition and treatment:
This book has a full cloth-covered case binding with gold stamped designs on both covers and spine. The front cover is detached. The conservator will remove the spine lining and replace it with layers of Japanese paper, and will re-back with toned linen to match the original cloth covering.

Pamphlet bindings
Amount: $250.00
Hundreds of small publications transferred from the general collections, including Linnaean dissertations and a botanical manuscript with hand-drawn and -colored illustrations, are taped or glued into old acidic “pamphlet” folders that need to be replaced.

Condition and treatment:  Conservators will remove the publications from the acidic folders, dry-clean the pages and wash them in de-ionized water buffered with calcium carbonate (pH7), re-sew the publication with an acid-free paper wrapper, and make a custom-fitted, four-flap enclosure for it.
Directions for making collections in natural history, prepared for the National Institute for the Promotion of Science.
 
by Henry King. Washington: Gales and Seaton, 1840.
 
This slim pamphlet, prepared for a short-lived organization that preceded the founding of the Smithsonian Institution, is one of a numerous collection of early instructions for collecting specimens of plants and animals.  These publications reflect the growing recognition of the importance of proper preservation techniques and record-keeping for natural-history collections, as private collections evolved into public museums through the 19th century.
 
Condition and treatment: Conservators will remove the publication from the acidic folder, dry-clean the pages and wash them in de-ionized water buffered with calcium carbonate (pH7), re-sew the publication with an acid-free paper wrapper, and make a custom-fitted, four-flap enclosure for it.
[Botanical dissertations].  14 separate items.

by Carl Peter Thunberg.  Uppsala, 1781-1828.

In 18th- and 19th-century Europe, it was standard practice for university professors to write their students’ dissertations; the student’s job was to explicate and defend the thesis.  At the University of Uppsala (Sweden), first Linnaeus and then Thunberg wrote hundreds of these botanical papers, usually focused on taxonomic and systematic matters – either describing and naming genera and species or analyzing basic issues of classification.  The Cullman Library holds dozens of the small, individually published papers, many of them housed in old acidic pamphlet-binders.

Condition and Treatment:  No covers; variously stab-sewn and/or glued into old acidic pamphlet binders.  Remove from the binders, wash as needed, and create a new binding for each item using Cave Paper (O.Malley Crackle as the color).

QK495 [… various] SCNHRB

Insectes diptères du nord de la France.

by Justin Macquart.  Lille, 1826-1834.

Based in Lille in northern France, Macquart was one of three brothers who all became naturalists in the early 1800's – one an ornithologist, one a botanist, and Justin an entomologist who specialized in Diptera (flies).  As a contributor the Suites à Buffon and in his independent works, Macquart named thousands of new species of flies, and his publications are an important source for current research in the Department of Entomology at the National Museum of Natural History.

Condition and Treatment:  Modern brown buckram case, with marbled end-papers; the text-block is over-sewn (also modern) but sound.  The binding has deteriorated to the point that the case is almost completely detached from the text-block, held by a single sewing cord; the front fly-leaves and half-title page are also detached, and there are general signs of wear.  Remove the buckram covers; re-attach the title leaves with Japanese paper and create a new linen case for the volume with new archival end papers.

QL535.4 .F8M17 SCNHRB
Volcanoes and Earthquakes... ; from the French by Mrs. Norman Lockyer; with sixty-two woodcuts by E. Riou.

By Frédéric Zurcher and Elié Margollé. London: R. Bentley, 1868.

You can play a part in a Smithsonian Libraries' Exhibition! This book will be featured in our forthcoming exhibition in July 2015.

First published in Paris in 1866 as part of as series called Bibliothèque des Merveilles (Library of Wonders), Zurcher and Margollé’s work on volcanoes and earthquakes reflects the public’s increasing interest in science in the mid-19th century. Geological science had become a source of great fascination. Covering volcanoes from Etna and Vesuvius in Italy to those in the Americas and the Pacific and Indian Oceans – and even those on the moon, this book is enhanced with dramatic illustrations of eruptions and the geological formations that result, including massive craters and island caves composed of basalt blocks and pillars.

This little volume of geological marvels is illustrated by Edouard Riou, well known for his illustrations for six of Jules Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires novels, including Voyage au centre de la terre (Journey to the center of the earth) in 1864, an adventure story that takes the reader under the surface of the earth, and into our geological past, via volcanic passages. Riou also illustrated another work of popular science, Louis Figuier’s La terre avant le deluge (The earth before the flood), in 1863, a widely read work on geology with Riou’s depictions of the earth’s extinct inhabitants, which had a significant influence on Verne’s underground tale.

Condition and treatment:

This volume has a full cloth-covered case binding. The sewing is weak and broken throughout the textblock, and leaves are loose and in danger of becoming detached.

Conservators will separate the case from the text-block and disbind the book. The signatures will be re-sewn, and the spine relined with Japanese paper. The text-block will be re-attached to the case using sewing supports reinforced with Japanese paper at the interior joints.


by Sir John Pringle. London: Printed for W. Strahan, and T. Cadell, 1783.
 
These six discourses, which were presented “on occasion of six annual assignments of Sir Godfrey Copley’s medal,” discussed a great variety of subjects, including “different kinds of air,” the torpedo, and the preservation of the health of mariners.
 
Condition and treatment: This volume has a full leather binding with decorative gold stamping on the covers and spine. Leather is missing from the front and back cover joints and both are loose. The joints needs to be reinforced, and - after lifting the leather- they need to be covered with toned Japanese paper.
The botany of Captain Beechey's voyage… to the Pacific and Bering's Strait, performed in His Majesty's ship Blossom... in the years 1825, 26, 27, and 28.

by Sir William Jackson Hooker and G.A. Walker Arnott.  London, [1830]-1841.

Beechey’s voyage in HMS Blossom was intended to meet up with two overland expeditions in search of the Northwest Passage to the Pacific.  Neither arrived, but Beechey made good use of the trip by conducting extensive scientific explorations along the northwest and west coasts of North America (reaching and naming Point Barrow, for example) and among the islands of the Pacific.  The botanical collections were described in this book by Sir William J. Hooker, a British botanist who subsequently became the director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, and his co-author George A.Walker Arnott.   The volume includes 99 beautifully line-engraved plates.

Condition and treatment:  The volume has been re-bound in library-buckram; it suffered water damage at some point in its past and now shows cockling, staining, and mold damage throughout.  Conservators will remove surface mold with a HEPA-filter vacuum.  Conditions in the environmentally controlled vault will prevent future mold outbreaks.
A visual dictionary of everyday objects including geometric shapes, kitchen utensils, clothing, plants, animals, people at work, and house interiors. The colorful drawings greatly appealed to young readers and are typical of Meggendorfer’s work.
Condition and Treatment: Textblock is detached and broken. Loose pages. Disbind, dry clean leaves. Re-sew textblock and re-line spine with Japanese paper. Reattach to case. Create enclosure for safe shelving.
Wand und Tapete : ein Dekorations - Werk. Wallpaper catalog from Tapetenfabrik Coswig, Dresden c. 1920
Cavalerie françoise et italienne - Treatise on the training of horses from French and Italian Schools in the Cooper-Hewitt Library.
Cover Image of Rumphia, sive, Commentationes botanicae...
Blume’s commentary on plants of the East Indies includes 213 beautiful hand-colored engravings; our copy suffered water damage at some point in its past and cannot be used because of mold and stains.
   
 
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