Spring/Summer 1997 Smithsonian Institution Libraries page 5

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Special Collections

Libraries Acquires Wineland Collection

A collection of 88 rare books of singular importance to the study of the American West and Indians of North America, "The Charlotte and Lloyd Wineland Collection of Native American and Western Exploration Literature," has been purchased by the Libraries. Mr. and Mrs. Wineland gathered this collection over many years and travelled widely to assemble the materials. According to Nancy E. Gwinn, Assistant Director, Collections Management, "The collection will be a valuable research tool for anthropologists, ethnographers, American historians, and Native American tribal historians." The Wineland Collection


The Wineland Collection, boxed and ready to go. From left, front, David Draffin, John Glavan; standing, Bill Baxter, Leslie Overstreet (Hugh Talman)

One distinctive study is the first edition of Prince Maximilian's beautifully illustrated Reise in das Innere Nord-America in den Jahren 1832 bis 1834 (1839-1841), a work fundamental to research about early exploration in U.S. Western territories. Of the German edition of Theodor de Bry's rare 16th-century "Great Voyages" (v. 1-3, 1590-1593), Curator and anthropologist Ives Goddard of the National Museum of Natural History, notes, "the consultation of these plates is a fundamental component of any research on early depictions of Native Americans." Other notable volumes are the first published version of Lewis and Clark's journals, written in their own words, and then edited and published in Philadelphia in 1814, and a first edition of the second major exploring expedition across North America, Edwin James's 3-volume Account of an Expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains (1823), both works of prime importance in Americana collections.

The Libraries' purchase was made possible with assistance from the Office of the Secretary, the Office of the Provost, and the National Museum of Natural History and its Anthropology Department.


Found Treasure

Siren Lacertina

Recently discovered in the remote storage facility and now safely housed in rare-book stacks, this 1766 doctoral thesis by Abraham Ísterdam, a student of the great naturalist Carl Linnaeus at the University of Uppsala, describes a most unusual new genus of amphibian from North America. First called the mud-iguana and now known as the greater siren, it retains both gills and lungs as an adult and has only forelimbs, the rest of its body resembling that of an eel. The animal was sent from Charleston, South Carolina, in 1752 by Dr. Alexander Garden (for whom the gardenia was named) to Linnaeus who wrote, "I cannot possibly describe to you how much this ... animal has exercised my thoughts." He named it Siren lacertina (from Greek seiren = mermaid, having a terrestrial forebody and aquatic hindpart, and Latin lacerta = lizard-like).

The Libraries has many other published theses of the hundreds of Linnaeus's students, as well as the collected edition of them, the Amoenitates academicae. (vol. I-X, 1749-90).

Leslie Overstreet
Special Collections


Recent Gifts

The Libraries acquired from C. W. Hart, Jr. a complete set of Het Zeepaard, a Dutch journal of research conducted in the field of crustacea. The journal, which began in 1941 as a mimeographed publication distributed to a limited audience of scholars, has grown to have a substantial circulation. Hart recently retired from the Division of Crustacea in the National Museum of Natural History.

The first draft of a June 1945 report describing the development of the EDVAC computer, the basis of modern computers, was donated by Paul Ceruzzi, curator of the National Air and Space Museum and a member of the Libraries' Users Advisory Committee. Accompanying the report are a number of published articles about the importance of this early draft. This gift is housed in the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology with similar materials.

William E. Baxter


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