Digital Collections:

Collections by Discipline
a boy in breeches and high waistcoat draws on the floor with a quill. the alphabet is behind him written on a horizontal scroll

Art & Artist Files in the Smithsonian Libraries' Collections

The Smithsonian Libraries' Art and Artist Files are an exceptionally valuable resource for art historical research done on emerging regional and local artists and often are the only obtainable sources of information on those artists. Spread over seven branches, the art and artist files contain...

Artists' Books

Artists’ books exist at the intersections of printmaking, photography, poetry, experimental narrative, visual arts, graphic design, and publishing. They have made a place for themselves in the collections of museums, libraries, and private collectors. They have caught the interest of art...

photo of men in old fashioned flying gear sitting in and loading a two-person prop plane

By Aeroplane to Pygmyland: Revisiting the 1926 Dutch and American Expedition to New Guinea

This online publication, By Aeroplane to Pygmyland: Revisiting the 1926 Dutch and American Expedition to New Guinea, aims to "revisit" a historically important scientific expedition from today's perspective of 80 years later. It does this through interpretive essays accompanied by the...

stamp collector's page with labeled stamps

Finding Aid to Postal Files at the NPM Library

Inventory of postal and philatelic files in the Library of the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum. Files indexed include:

  • Post Office Department files of the Third Assistant Postmaster General, including original letters sent to various post office officials and replies...
colorful map of the heavens illustrated with images depicting the constellations

Galaxy of Images

Explore a rich library of over 15,000 images from our scanned collections grouped into dozens of categories like "Society and Culture", "Plants and Flowers", "Portraits", and "Technology and Innovation." 

Hirshhorn Museum Library Audio Archive

Hirshhorn Museum Library Audio Archive

The Hirshhorn Museum Library's Audio Archive is a repository of 306 digital audio files reformatted from audio cassettes ranging in date from 1969 to 2004 containing event recordings and interviews dating back to the founding days of the Hirshhorn...

Incunabula in the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology

Incunabula in the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology

The Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology has 320 incunabula in its collection. Incunabula (from the Latin meaning swaddling clothes or, figuratively, infancy) are European books printed with movable type during the fifteenth century.

Index Animalium

Index Animalium

Sherborn's Index Animalium is a compendium of zoological taxonomic species nomenclature from 1758 to 1850. For each species described in this period it clearly lists the genus name, author, publication, pages, and date. A crucial tool for taxonomists, Index Animalium contains...

Cover of "The Scientific Shop" showing a microscope

Instruments for Science

Scientific trade literature is a unique and uniquely valuable category of historical evidence. But it has not always been so highly regarded. Being commercial documents, catalogs have traditionally had a hard time fitting into library or archive collections. Even the companies that printed...

illustration of a blue tufted Rococo revival love seat

Le Garde-meuble, ancien et moderne

Le Garde-meuble, ancien et moderne (Furniture repository, ancient and modern), a bimonthly periodical published in Paris, exerted an enormous influence throughout the world by promoting French styles in furniture, fabrics, and interior decoration for a nearly a century, beginning in...

Library and Archival Exhibitions on the Web

Library and Archival Exhibitions on the Web

Library and Archival exhibitions on the Web features links to over 2,500 online exhibitions sponsored by libraries, archives, and manuscript collections from around the world. Search for exhibitions by keywords in titles, subjects, and/or institutional names. "Editor's Pick," Choice:...

Modern African Art:  A Basic Reading List

Modern African Art: A Basic Reading List

Modern African Art: A Basic Reading List" is an Internet version of a bibliography that was originally compiled in 1990 and is being updated continually. This reading list is intended to dispel the notion that nothing has been published on modern African art. It consists primarily of books and...

Monographs on African Artists: An Annotated Bibliography

Monographs on African Artists: An Annotated Bibliography

This bibliography is limited to substantive monographs and exhibition catalogs about 20th-21st century African artists. Focusing on a single artist, these texts are usually written by a scholar or critic who has conducted art historical research on the artist and/or who has gathered for...

Postal files at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum Library

Postal files at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum Library

Postal files at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum Library.

Scientific Identity: Portraits from the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology

Scientific Identity: Portraits from the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology

The scientific portrait collection in the Dibner Library was assembled by Bern Dibner. The images formed a fine research complement to the thousands of scientific books and manuscripts in the library he founded, the Burndy Library. Bern Dibner obtained most of the portraits during the 1940s...

red orange and yellow flowers surround a small aerial photo of a farm and the words 1898 Burpee's farm annual

Seed and Nursery Catalogs

The Smithsonian Institution Libraries have a unique trade catalog collection that includes about 10,000 seed and nursery catalogs dating from 1830 to the present. Many of the trade catalogs were part of the Burpee Collection donated to the Horticulture Services Division by Mrs. David Burpee in...

Sewing Machines: Historical Trade Literature in Smithsonian Collections

Sewing Machines: Historical Trade Literature in Smithsonian Collections

This guide illustrates the range of materials published by and about sewing machine companies in the United States, starting in the 1840s. Sewing machine catalogs and other industry materials are just one portion of the remarkable collections of manufacturers' trade literature held in the...

Shedding Light on New York

Shedding Light on New York

The E. F. Caldwell & Co. Collection at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum Library, Smithsonian Institution Libraries, contains more than 50,000 images consisting of approximately 37,000 black & white photographs and 13,000 original design drawings of lighting fixtures and other fine metal...

Taxonomic Literature 2 online

TL-2 is the premier publication of the International Association for Plant Taxonomy (IAPT).  In its print form, TL-2 is a 15 volume guide to the literature of systematic botany published between 1753 and 1940. TL-2 is the standard by which authors' names and titles should be abbreviated in...

Cover of Columbia bicycle catalog, 1912, showing a woman kneeling painting the words "Columbia" while crowning a bicycle with a laurel wreath.

Trade Literature Collection

The trade literature collection of the Smithsonian is internationally known as an important source for the history of American business, technology, marketing, consumption, and design. Manufacturers issued trade catalogs to promote and sell their products. The present collection contains more...

image of a three-masted ship sailing through icy seas

United States Exploring Expedition

In one very important way, the work of the United States Exploring Expedition was only beginning when the ships returned to Washington after almost four years at sea. In addition to Captain Wilkes himself who recorded ocean and weather data and surveyed island groups and coastlines, the...