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William Allingham's Rhymes for the young folk is a sweet illustrated book of poems and songs for children. This lovely scene, by famed nineteenth century childrens' book illustrator Kate Greenaway, accompanied her poem "The Bubble".
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Greenaway
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Marcus Elieser Bloch, Algemine Naturgeschicte der FischBloch’s work is one of the high points in the history of ichthyology, both graphically and taxonomically. It is still in use as a standard reference for identification. Bloch described fishes from all over the world, relying on numerous contacts around the globe. In all, he listed more than 169 new species. A French edition, published in Berlin in 1785–97, allowed the work to reach a wider audience. Various engravers produced the plates in a remarkably consistent style over a 12-year period. The Smithsonian is one of only nine institutions in the world to hold a complete set of the original German editions and one of only two libraries to hold both the German and the French.
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Gart de gesundheitGart der Gesundheit is one of the first printed herbals to be published in a vernacular language instead of Latin. Herbals combined folklore and home remedies, information from classical sources, and religious symbolism into a popular mix of botanical and medical advice.
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World’s FairDickinson’s comprehensive pictures of the Great Exhibition of 1851 captures many colorful moments of the World’s Fair. The volume contained 55 colored lithographic reproductions of original paintings by Joseph Nash, Louis Haghe, and David Roberts.
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Antonia de UlloaVoyage historique de l'Amerique Meriodionale is Antonia de Ulloa’s account of an early expedition to measure an arc of meridian. Included were illustrations and descriptions of geological events, such as the eruption of Cotopaxi seen here.
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GirtinJames Girtin’s etchings of seventy-five famous artists, published together in 1817, were based on much earlier works. He recaptured the images of many great masters, including Michaelangelo and Titian. Girtin etched this depiction of Peter Paul Rubens after Rubens' self-portrait in oil, made in 1639.
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Baird BirdPrior to his position as secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Spencer Fullerton Baird was a noted ornithologist. He helped to build the collection of birds he later described in The birds of North America; the descriptions of species based chiefly on the collections in the Museum of the Smithsonian Institution.
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Schaffer (jars, etc.)This image from Jacob Christian Schaffer’s Elementa entomologica features a jar and drawer of the type used to store natural history collections in museums of the eighteenth century.
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Owen Jones illustrationNotable book illustrator Owen Jones (1809-1874) demonstrated his mastery of the chromolithographic process in this architectural work from 1842. Jones was known for his rich, saturated colors printed in layers.

This detail is taken from Plans, elevations, sections, and details of the Alhambra, from drawings taken on the spot in 1834 by Jules Goury, and in 1834 and 1837 by Owen Jones / With a complete translation of the Arabic inscriptions, and an historical notice of the kings of Granada from the conquest of that city by the Arabs to the expulsion of the Moors, by Pasqual de Gayangos. This collection of illustrations and translations was published in two volumes by Owen Jones between 1842-1845, and is held in the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Library in New York.

For more about this image, and more images from Owen Jones, visit SIL's Galaxy of Images.


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Jules VerneThis image from a 1920 issue of Science and Invention declared Jules Verne “The Worlds Greatest Prophet”. Here he is surrounded by machines described in his 65 novels of voyage and discovery, the Voyages Extraordinaires. Many of his wondrous nineteenth century stories seemed to predict technical accomplishments that would come a hundred years later, including the moon landing.
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McKenneyThe striking portraits of Native American tribal leaders illustrating McKenney and Hall’s History of the Indian tribes of North America, were the work of artist Charles Bird King. The original paintings hung in the "Indian Gallery" in the Department of War in Washington, D.C. but were later transfered to the Smithsonian Building (now the Castle), where several were destroyed by fire in 1865.
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Royal Commission (World’s Fair)Dickinson’s comprehensive pictures of the Great Exhibition of 1851 captures many colorful moments of the World’s Fair. The volume contained 55 colored lithographic reproductions of original paintings by Joseph Nash, Louis Haghe, and David Roberts and included this image of the innovative "Crystal Palace".
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Journal des dames et de modesThis vibrant illustration from the French magazine Journal des dames et de modes demonstrates not only fashion of the early twentieth century, but a bit of printing history as well. The periodical was known for using pochoir printing, a technique involving precise stencils and gouache paint, which created vivid color and remarkable patterns.
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CurtisEdward S. Curtis, a professional photographer based in Seattle, devoted his life to documenting what he perceived to be a vanishing race. His monumental work The North American Indian presented to the public an extensive ethnographical study of numerous tribes, and his photographs remain memorable icons of the American Indian.

SIL's collection of Curtis photographs can also be found on the photo sharing site Flickr, as part of the Smithsonian's participation in The Commons. Please visit us there and let us know what you think about these images!
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Audubon beaverAlthough he was best known for his Birds of North America, this volume on mammals by John James Audubon is just as beautifully illustrated. Based on watercolors of North American four-footed animals painted by Audubon and his son, John Woodhouse Audubon, it was also a commercial success.
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RacinetAlthough published in the late nineteenth century, Racinet’s Le Costume Historique depicted fashions from a variety of historic time periods as well as from cultures around the world. With more than 400 detailed color plates, the work remains an important resource for costumers, illustrators and scholars.
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QuahkahSamuel Daniell was appointed artist for a British expedition into the interior of Africa's Cape of Good Hope in 1801. He sketched animals from life in their natural habitats, and was praised for his accuracy and attention to detail. Upon his return, Daniell used his field sketches to create and publish these aquatints.

See more illustrations by Daniell in the Smithsonian Libraries' Art of Afican Exploration exhibit.
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Schreber guinea pigCavia Cobaya, a guinea pig (or cavy) native to Brazil, is one of many animals found in Die Saugthiere in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Beschreibungen ('Mammals Illustrated after Nature with Descriptions). The author, Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber, was originally trained as a physician but later studied botany under the legendary Carolus Linneaus.
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Linden orchidJean Jules Linden began his career in botany as an orchid hunter for the Belgian government. He later enjoyed success as a commercial horticulturist, introducing more than eleven hundred species of orchids to Europe. His work Lindenia: Iconographie des Orchidées was originally issued in seventeen monthly volumes , each featuring four beautiful orchid lithographs and their descriptions.
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ThorntonThis unusual illustration is one of many bold botanical plates in Robert John Thornton’s Temple of Flora. It was the third section of his book New Illustration of the Sexual System of Carolus von Linnaeus, in which Thornton, a doctor turned botanist, examined the reproductive cycles of plants as they related to the classification system of Carl Linnaeus.
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Columbia bicyclesThe Pope Manufacturing Company was one of the first U.S. companies to market bicycles. Although this lovely catalog cover was produced in 1912, the company first manufactured bicycles in 1878, with an exclusive patent from inventor Pierre Lallement.
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Tiffany Rose WindowMaster glass artisan Louis Comfort Tiffany designed elaborate stained glass works for presidents and Worlds’ Fairs as well as churches and schools. This beautiful Art Nouveau design for a rose window is one of several plates illustrating The Art work of Louis C. Tiffany.
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MastodonIt’s been extinct for thousands of years and yet just the pinky toe of the Giant Mastodon still seems intimidating! This plate and many others illustrating the skeletal remains of the great beast can be found in John C. Warren’s The Mastodon giganteus of North America from 1852.
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Black BartBartholomew Roberts, perhaps better known as “Black Bart”, pirated ships off of the coasts of the Americas and West Africa in the 1700’s. Capt. Charles Johnson told of him and other sea rovers in his 1724 book A general history of the pyrates. . .
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Kunstformen der NaturErnst Haeckel’s work, Kunstformen der Natur, captures many unusual lifeforms, including these spectacular sea anemones. Although Haeckel was a noted biologist and proponent of Darwin, his plates were equally celebrated by the worlds of art and science. In fact, Haeckel’s bold illustrations of nature are said to have influenced many artists of the Art Nouveau period.
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Playing CardsThis piece of trade literature features a cavalcade of playing card designs from the United States Playing Card Co. It was recently featured on our blog. Read more about it here!
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Le Moniteur de la modeLe Moniteur de la mode, a French fashion magazine from the 19th and early 20th centuries, featured plates based on the work of artist Jules David. For almost fifty years, David drew all of the plates for the publication, amounting to nearly 2,600 images.
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The Book of the FairThe first Ferris Wheel, the creation of bridge builder George W. Ferris, was erected at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. To commemorate this special World’s Fair, George Bancroft produced a special edition of his fair history with 100 colored folio prints. Originally presented to fair officials and sponsors, it is now part of the World’s Fair Collection at the Smithsonian Institution Libraries.
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GalluzzoIn 1836, journalist Richard A. Locke claimed that noted scientist Sir John Herschel had discovered life on the moon. Although it was found to be an elaborate hoax, these strange plates illustrate some of the supposed moon life, including bat-men, moon maidens and moon bison.
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Albin turkeyEleazar Albin illustrated this flamboyant male turkey for his book on English song birds. Albin wrote several other works on natural history, including tomes on spiders and fish.
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Country LifeMerry fiddlers lead holiday revelry in this early 20th century magazine cover. Happy Holidays from the Smithsonian Institution Libraries!
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PuginSnowflake or anemone flower? This time of year, Augustus Pugin’s patterns in Floriated Ornament seem to resemble passing flurries rather than botanical designs. Although these bold plates are quite striking, Pugin was better known as a famed architect at the forefront of the Gothic Revival style in Victorian England.
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Gause roseWhether you’re searching for the perfect bloom for your Valentine or planning your garden beds with thoughts of warmer months, you’ll find plenty of floral inspiration in our Seed Catalog Collection. The Galaxy of Images contains hundreds of vividly illustrated seed catalog covers from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
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Marie CurieMarch is host to many events celebrating women's history. At the Smithsonian Libraries, we are proud that one of our most popular images is that of renowned female scientist (and the first recipient of two Nobel Prizes) Marie Curie.
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Hans LustigApril showers bring May flowers, or so the saying goes. This young girl, featured in Karl Mühlmeister’s Hans Lustig : ein heiteres Bilderbuch, an early 20th century book of German nursery rhymes, doesn’t seem to mind playing in the rain. The Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum branch library holds many richly illustrated children’s books.
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KamehamehaIn honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we feature Kamehameha III (1813-1854), the longest reigning king of Hawaii. This portrait, printed in Charles Wilkes’ Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition during the years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842. Volume 4, was engraved after a painting by Alfred T. Agate.
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Eastman Kodak PremoIn 1920, Eastman Kodak promoted their Premo cameras as the perfect way to capture summer memories. This adventurous female copilot attempts to document her travels, combining two great interests brought to the masses in the early twentieth century – photography and flight.
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BordenThe Borden Milk Company’s logo included an eagle with the patriotic name of E Pluribus Unum. In 1904, the company published an elaborate story of the origins of E Pluribus, an allegory for the United States.
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Ackerman'sSometimes the only way to beat the sticky August heat is with a trip to the beach or an evening promenade. Depicted here are two Regency era outfits once considered stylish fits for both activities, collected from a British periodical chronicling trends and fashions in the early 19th century.
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Beebe pheasantIn the past month, we’ve added over 3,000 new images to the Galaxy of Images! Many, like this vibrant pheasant, were initially scanned as part of the Biodiversity Heritage Library, while others come from rare art and design books from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum branch. We hope you enjoy our expanded image collection and we look forward to adding even more soon!
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Shin-bijutsukaiThe depiction of maple leaves and pink blossoms in this early 20th century design is part of a collection of Japanese artwork published by the Shin bijutsukai, or New Fine Art Association. The physical copy of this periodical, a bound volume of issues of the self-described “new monthly magazine of various designs by the famous artists of today” from 1901-1902, is preserved in the rare books collection at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum Library.
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Mayan stelaThis drawing of a Mayan stela was made from a relief housed in the South Kensington Museum. It represents the ancient city of Copán in Alfred Percival Maudslay’s anthropology and archeology volumes of the Biologia Centrali-Americana.
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von Schreber polar bearThe polar bear survives the winter extremes of the Arctic waters surrounding the North Pole. They are the largest living land carnivores with a seal-based diet and so adept at swimming that its scientific name, Ursus Maritimus, means "maritime bear".
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Catesby croakerThe two-volume magnum opus of Mark Catesby is the product of one man’s dedication and effort, from his years of travel and research to his hand-coloring of the printed plates (which he learned to etch himself so as to implement his own technique for indicating feathers). Eighteenth-century classifier Carolus Linnaeus cited more than a hundred of his species descriptions, and the book is the first fully illustrated work on the flora and fauna of southeastern North America. Plants and animals often are grouped in their natural associations, and the folio format allowed many species to be depicted lifesize.
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Jacquin flowerNikolaus Joseph Freiherr von Jacquin was a Dutch-born botanist and chemist who traveled the world collecting plants for the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. The flora of the palace was delicately illustrated in this volume. von Jacquin himself is forever remembered in botany with two generas named for him.
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Council of GnomesBefore penning the famous lyrics to “Danny Boy”, Frederic Edward Weatherly authored The Book of Gnomes, a Victorian children's book. The watercolor plate depicted here is by Evelyn Stuart Hardy.
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RatekinsThis patriotic cover from Ratekin's Seed House is one of many in our collection of seed catalogs. Like other trade literature and advertisements, seed catalogs reflected the times in which they were produced. They offer a window to social history, graphic arts and of course horticultural and botanical knowledge from the past. The Smithsonian Institution Libraries holds a collection of 10,000 seed and nursery catalogs, dating from 1830 to the present, hundreds of which have been scanned and are available in the Galaxy of Images.
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