Books Online

The Smithsonian Libraries' physical collections cover subjects ranging from Art to Zoology and everything in between - a diversity that reflects the research that goes on "behind the scenes" here at the Smithsonian in our Museums, Zoological Park and Research Centers.

Scanning is ongoing, and new material is being added quarterly. All material available here, and through Biodiversity Heritage Library are in the Public Domain unless otherwise noted, and are therefore free to download, use, re-use, and re-mix without regard to copyright.

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Cover of "Sidereus nuncius"

Sidereus nuncius

When Galileo first turned the newly invented telescope to the heavens, this became the first printed account of his new discoveries.
Plans, elevations, sections, and details of the Alhambra
Cristiani Hugenii Zulichemii, Const. f. Systema Saturnium
Radio-activity /
Ad clarissimum virum D. Ioannem Schonerum, De libris reuolutionu[m] eruditissimi viri, & mathematici excellentissimi, Reuerendi D. Doctoris Nicolai Copernici ... per quendam Iuuenem, mathematicae studiosum Narratio prima
Plans, elevations, sections, and details of the Alhambra
The Freer Chinese bronzes
Kleines Distillierbuch
Petri Peregrini Maricurtensis De magnete, seu, Rota perpetui motus, libellus ... /
The sceptical chymist or, Chymico-physical doubts & paradoxes
Sidereus nuncius
De la pirotechnia

Heralds of Science

Cover Image from Heralds of Science.In 1955 Bern Dibner, the noted science book collector and founder of the Burndy Library, published Heralds of Science as Represented by Two Hundred Epochal Books and Pamphlets Selected from the Burndy Library.  To construct the list, Dibner selected two hundred items he owned that “proclaimed new truths or hypotheses in science.” Two hundred titles, he felt, was an adequate number to represent the great achievements while not being too many to overwhelm the average layperson interested in science.

Panamal Canal Centennial

lithograph by Joseph Pennell showing construction of the CanalTo celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal, we've selected twenty rare Canal related publications from the collections of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Library.

Design Digitized

Cover image for Design DigitizedDesign Digitized is a collection of rare books from the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum Library collection. Digitization was supported in part by funds from the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) through the New York State Regional Bibliographic Databases Program.