Hi all,


The Smithsonian Libraries cordially invites you to the first talk in our 50th Anniversary Lecture Series.


Heather Ewing, author of The Lost World of James Smithson, will discuss James Smithson and his personal library. Heather will be joined by our own Leslie Overstreet, curator of natural history rare books. After the talk, you’ll have an opportunity to take a closer look at a few books from Smithson’s collection. Additional details are below.



James Smithson & His Library

Heather Ewing
Author, The Lost World of James Smithson

Leslie Overstreet
Curator, Natural History Rare Books, Smithsonian Libraries

Thursday, January 18th, 2018. 6:30pm
National Museum of American History
Coulter Performance Plaza

Free and open to the public. RSVP here: 

James Smithson (c.1765-1829), an 18th-century gentleman of science, included his library with his bequest to the United States, and those books now reside in the vault of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History. The collection consists of 126 titles, primarily scientific monographs and journal articles, but also history and memoirs, political pamphlets, travel books and museum guides, and a few household items like cookbooks.  

In honor of the Smithsonian Libraries' 50th Anniversary, Heather Ewing, author of The Lost World of James Smithson and Executive Director of the Center for Italian Modern Art in New York, will offer a brief biography of the fabled Smithsonian donor, with discussion of how the library reflected the man. Leslie Overstreet, Smithsonian Libraries Curator of Natural History Rare Books, willfollow with a few words about interesting aspects of Smithson’s books and their history at the Smithsonian. The presentation will include a display of selected books from Smithson’s collection.

For access services, please contact us at [log in to unmask] or 202.633.1708 preferably by January 2nd, 2018.

Image: Smithsonian Institution Archives, MAH-9077



Erin Clements Rushing

Outreach Librarian

Smithsonian Libraries

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