Hunting Monsters

You might be wondering why the Smithsonian Libraries would choose a book based on beasts from fantasy, but behind every myth is some truth. The family of “cryptids” includes such familiar creatures as Bigfoot, Yeti, and the Loch Ness Monster, plus several other questionable beasts of land and sea. This book, illustrated with black-and-white photos and drawings, attempts to apply the scientific method to reports of these mythological creatures. The goal is to separate fact from fiction, i.e., what is pure imagination from what is actually possible.

The British Post Office From Its Beginnings to the End of 1925

The author of this masterpiece, British lawyer Chapman Frederick Dendy Marshall (1872 – 1945) was a railway historian. He was also a philatelist. At age 56, he was awarded the coveted Crawford Medal by the Royal Philatelic Society of London for this exact publication. The Crawford Medal is awarded by the Society for the most valuable contribution to philately published in book form. The medal is named after the 26th Earl of Crawford, a philatelic bibliophile. Mr. Marshall was a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Institution of Locomotive Engineers.

Black and British

'To me black history is everyone’s history. It's the long, often tragic and always surprising story of Britain’s relationship with Africa and her peoples, both here in Britain but also in Africa and across the Caribbean and North America, and most of it is little known. It’s a major part of the story of us all.' David Olusoga

Views of Ports and Harbours

William Finden and his younger brother, Edward, were renowned English engravers. Their smooth, neat style proved popular and soon the brothers engaged several assistants to publish volumes of engraved plates depicting aspects of English society. Views of Ports and Harbours is one such volume. As the preface describes, this work is comprised of views of most of the principal ports, naval stations, watering places, and fishing-towns on the English coast from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Plymouth.

Nzima Land

Nzima Land was a small, independent state located in the southwest corner of the Gold Coast (now Ghana). Annor Adjaye, a Nzima Paramount Chief, was educated in Britain and understood how the British viewed Ghanaian society. In this book, he attempts to educate British readers about his society and people, and to dispel prejudices and misconceptions. To bridge this cultural divide, Adjaye explains the workings of Nzima government and tribunal judgments, and he shares the wisdom of Fante proverbs.

Great Benin

The British Punitive Expedition against the Kingdom of Benin in 1897 spawned an outpouring of curiosity about this African kingdom, its stunning bronze sculpture (confiscated booty), and its tyrannical king. H. Long Roth’s Great Benin is one of the classic pieces of literature written about Benin. It is not a product of direct observation—the author never traveled in West Africa—but rather of careful research on eyewitness accounts and museum collections.

Seven Exhibitions

The Tate’s Seven Exhibitions (February 24–March 23, 1972) was a seminal event which marked the arrival of conceptual art in Britain. The seven overlapping exhibitions were organized by Michael Compton, and included works by Keith Arnatt, Michael Craig-Martin, Hamish Fulton, Bob Law, Bruce McLean, David Tremlett, and Joseph Beuys. The exhibition included photographs, films, tape recordings, and a public lecture by Beuys on direct democracy, which also marked the first time the Tate displayed mixed media.

Methode pour Apprendre le Dessein

Charles-Antoine Jombert (1712–1784) was a French bookseller and publisher descended from a dynasty of booksellers. This book serves as a manual on techniques for figure drawing, featuring over 100 copper engravings representing different parts of the human anatomy. Some plates are based on original designs done by masters such as Titian and Raphael with various tips for mastering drawings such as anatomical proportions, academic scenes, and landscapes.

America: Being the Latest, and Most Accurate Description of the New World

A first edition and first issue in English of this classic early work on the Americas includes one of the first views of New York City. The author, John Ogilby (1600-1676), was described as a "miscellaneous writer" of a good family. He translated, edited, and published many books, including several illustrated geographical works. These included America and others on China, Japan, Africa, Asia, and Britain. In 1671, Ogilby published America, translated from Arnold Montanus' original Dutch text.

Graphical Representation of the Coronation Regalia of the Kings of England

This is a rare book for children with hand-colored copperplate engravings and a floriated border cover. It features detailed full regalia and a summary text about the British coronation ceremony. The text includes the title and position of each central figure during the coronation with a special emphasis on the (at the time) new Imperial Crown, scepter, and coronation anointing materials. Few pamphlets were produced about British heraldry and fashion; this book’s importance lies in its simplicity and focus meant for children.

The Postal History of Gold Coast

This 500-page book is a collection of round postal markings (postmarks) stamped on envelopes, from the Gold Coast region of Africa (modern-day Ghana). The author places these items of philatelic history in the context of the overall history of the region, from the first visit by Portuguese explorers in 1471, through the Republic of Ghana's achievement of independence from British colonial rule in 1957.

The Postal Services of the Gold Coast to 1901

This book traces the history of postal services in the Gold Coast region of Africa (modern-day Ghana) from the European "discovery" of the region in 1471, to the end of the Ashanti War in 1901. The book includes beautiful color illustrations of "cancelled covers" (envelopes) throughout.

The Book of the Art of Cennino Cennini

The Book of the Art of Cennino Cennini is an English translated book from Italian, first published in 1859. The artist, Cennino Cennini, was an Italian painter born around 1360 and died before 1427. He trained under Agnolo Gaddi, and worked in Padua, at the court of Francesco Novello da Carrara. This book is an English translation of Cennino Cennini’s most notable publication, Il Libro Dell'Arte, with an introduction and commentary by celebrated British artist (and art patron), Christiana J. Herringham.

Report on the Collections of Natural History

The Southern Cross Expedition (otherwise known as the British Antarctic Expedition) holds a special place in history: it was the first British venture of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, the first to ever winter on the Antarctic mainland, the first to visit the Great Ice Barrier in over 50 years, and a pioneer of Antarctic survival and travel techniques. Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole, even stated that the expedition’s work helped him and other explorers.

Liberating Sojourn

The book discusses the transatlantic partnership of the abolitionist movement by describing how Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) got an early start in the abolitionist movement overseas. His 1845 trip to what is known today as the United Kingdom changed his life forever. This book is a set of essays written by ten different scholars, professors of American and African American studies, from both the United States and the United Kingdom.