Smithsonian Libraries Research Annex

The Smithsonian Libraries Research Annex (SLRA) holds over 50,000 monographs, over 300,000 periodical holdings, and is the most subject-diverse branch within the Smithsonian Libraries system. SLRA's collection of late 19th and early-mid 20th Century trade periodical literature is a scarce collection that includes U.S. Patent Office Library legacy serials. These trade periodicals document the material culture of the Industrial Era in the United States and Great Britain, giving nuance to the literal machinations of Victorian and turn-of-the century middle class life. All aspects of American life, as well as major developments in industry like the steam engine, electricity, and the mechanical printing press are represented.

  • History and Culture.
  • Applied Science and Technology.
  • Natural and Physical Sciences. Featuring including zoological history and veterinary science.
  • 20th Century Modern and Contemporary Art. Including ephemeral artists' exhibition catalogs.

Unique and specialized collections include: 

  • Culinary Historians of Washington (CHoW) Collection - This collection of more than 800 culinary monographs published from the turn of the 20thcentury until now, compliments the ongoing study of culinary and foodstuffs history at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Continually growing through a collaboration with CHoW, this collection holds wide appeal to culinary historians and scholars, as well as cooking novices and experts. The CHOW Collection contains regional, international, and practical cookbooks, food narratives, culinary histories, and books on cooking instruction.
  • The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage Research Collection. Twentieth Century American folklore and cultural practices. 
  • The Saul E. Zalesch Mail-Order Catalog CollectionRepresenting American consumer culture between 1950 and 2005 (bulk between 1980-2004); and a compliment to other Zalesch collections throughout the Smithsonian.
  • The Robert P. Anderson Collection of Easter Island Archival Materials.
  • Early 20th Century Aeronatical Fiction. Featuring period decorated publishers' cloth bindings.
  • Aerospace Legacy Materials Collection.
  • Auction Catalogs. Largely Sotheby’s and Christie’s, New York and London, up to 2005. Contact SLRA about specific holdings.

To schedule a research appointment, or to inquire about SLRA's holdings, please contact Daria Wingreen-Mason or Alan Katz. SLRA has a reading room that is laptop friendly. Cameras welcome without flash. Microform reader available. A Dropbox account is recommended for large scanning requests. Copyright laws apply. 

Internship opportunities are available to undergraduate and masters students interested in research libary collection development and management. Contact Daria about unique projects. 

Finding SLRA on Google Maps.