“Botanica Magnifica” Featured on CBS News Sunday Morning
Botanica Magnifica is a five-volume, double elephant folio that holds 250 detailed shots of rare flowers. Most of the vibrantly-colored photographs were taken in the Smithsonian Department of Botany Research Greenhouses, located in Suitland, Md. Singer donated this unique copy of Botanica Magnifica to the Cullman Library in May of 2008.
On February 2, 2009, the Smithsonian Institution Libraries welcomed a CBS film crew into the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History, located at the National Museum of Natural History. The purpose of the shoot was to tape a segment about photographer Jonathan Singer’s Botanica Magnifica for a broadcast of CBS News Sunday Morning. CBS Senior Correspondent Rita Braver and four members of the show’s production team spent four hours in the Cullman Library conducting interviews with Singer, Smithsonian Libraries curator Leslie K. Overstreet, and Dr. John Kress, a curator in the Museum of Natural History’s botany department. The CBS cameraman panned the pages of the beautifully photographed Botanica Magnifica, as well as one of the Libraries’ John James Audubon’s Birds of North America folios. Rita Braver also joined Overstreet for a tour into the library’s rare book vault, where volumes dating back to the 15thcentury are carefully monitored at controlled temperature and humidity levels.