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 at the Smithsonian in our Museums, Zoological Park and Research Centers.
Most books available here are in the Public Domain unless otherwise noted, and are therefore free to download, use, re-use, and re-mix without regard to copyright. Due to the nature of library collections however, it can be difficult to determine copyright status. If you are a rights holder or have additional information about books available on our website, please let us know. For more information see our copyright and reuse page.

Explore Books Online

Sidereus nuncius

When Galileo first turned the newly invented telescope to the heavens, this became the first printed account of his new discoveries.

The Electrical experimenter

This popular technology magazine edited by Hugo Gernsback ran from 1913 to 1920 and included science fiction stories as well as a series of articles by Nikola Tesla.

Bijutsukai

This monthly magazine from the turn of the 20th c. contains beautiful design patterns from contemporary Japanese artists. In Japanese with English captions.

Report on the ENIAC (Electronic numerical integrator and computer)

Manual and schematics for the first general-purpose electronic computer built in the mid 1940s.

Scrapbook of early aeronautica

Collection of prints, newspaper clippings, and printed ephemera connected with the early years of aeronautics (1780s-1840s) assembled by William Upcott.

The New York coach-maker's magazine

Begun in June, 1858 it was "Devoted to the Literary, Social and Mechanical interests of the Craft" of making horse-drawn vehicles.

A colored engraving of Sir Isacc Newton, dressed in typical late 1800's clothes, stands by a window whose shutters are closed. He holds a prism in the light from a hole that is projected across the room to appear as a rainbow on the back of a chair.

Alt Text: 
A colored engraving of Sir Isacc Newton, dressed in typical late 1800's clothes, stands by a window whose shutters are closed. He holds a prism in the light from a hole that is projected across the room to appear as a rainbow on the back of a chair.
Title Text: 
Sir Isaac Newton experimenting with a prism. Engraving after a picture by J.A. Houston, ca. 1870/ Courtesy of The Granger Collection, New York
Caption: 

Sir Isaac Newton experimenting with a prism

Engraving after a picture by J.A. Houston, ca. 1870

Courtesy of The Granger Collection, New York

Color in a New Light

From chemistry to couture, feathers to physics, color is a topic that links science, history, art and culture. This collection includes books featured in the exhibition "Color in a new Light" as well as rare and interesting titles from across the Libraries collections that reveal the many ways we use, understand, and see color.

Image titled 'Diligenza per la Luna' by Leopoldo GalluzzoFantastic Worlds

The companion collection to our exhibition Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction 1780-1910. Travel back to a time when new frontiers of science were emerging. We took to the air, charted remote corners of the earth, and harnessed the power of steam and electricity. Writers explored the farther reaches of this new scientific landscape to craft novels, hoaxes, and satires that captured the imagination of readers.

Heralds of Science

title page of Regiomontanus' Epytoma...de Almagestu[m] Ptolomei

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.

Publications of the Freer and Sackler

Cover of Freer Gallery of Art Occasional Papers : A Freer Stela Reconsidered

Scholarly publications primarily on Asian Art History published by the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, spanning topics from ancient Egypt to James McNeill Whistler. This collection includes the Freer Occasional Papers - original series (1947- 71) and selections from more recent titles published in the early 2000's.

Ma lune
Boyd's directory of the District of Columbia
Coloritto, or, The harmony of colouring in painting...
Gallery
Spalding's base ball guide, and official league book
Bijutsukai
The Photographic and fine art journal
Le Costume ancien et moderne
Anpao kin =
Historia plantarum
Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London.
The battle song of liberty
Le garde-meuble
The Bicycling world and motorcycle review
Aeronautics
The Freer Chinese bronzes
[Commonplace book concerning science and mathematics]
Plans, elevations, sections, and details of the Alhambra
Plans, elevations, sections, and details of the Alhambra
The Electrical experimenter
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
Report on the ENIAC (Electronic numerical integrator and computer)
Kleines Distillierbuch
Hey diddle diddle and Baby bunting
Epytoma Ioa[n]nis de Mo[n]te Regio in Almagestu[m] Ptolomei
Radio-activity
Experiments and observations on electricity
Electric vehicles
The New York coach-maker's magazine
Cristiani Hugenii Zulichemii, Const. f. Systema Saturnium
Keramic studio
Sidereus nuncius
The sceptical chymist or, Chymico-physical doubts & paradoxes
De la pirotechnia
Petri Peregrini Maricurtensis De magnete, seu, Rota perpetui motus, libellus ...
Scrapbook of early aeronautica