Books

Back in the Day, These Vintage Supplies Kept Libraries Running.

Smithsonian Voices

Back in the Day, These Vintage Supplies Kept Libraries Running

Modern technology replace these tools and supplies, but these drawings bring back many happy memories of checking out a book

A children's seesaw stands among former apartment buildings in Pripyat, Ukraine. Pripyat, built in the 1970s to house the workers and families of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, now stands abandoned inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

Thirty-Five Years Later, a First Responder at the Chernobyl Disaster Looks Back

In her new book, Alla Shapiro shares her experience of one of the worst nuclear disasters in history

For moms, there's physiological and neurological truth to the cliché that parenthood changes a person.

The New Science of Motherhood

Through studies of fetal DNA, researchers are revealing how a child can shape a mom's heart and mind—literally

Peter Mark Roget compiled his influential thesaurus late in life.

Before He Wrote a Thesaurus, Roget Had to Escape Napoleon's Dragnet

At the dawn of the 19th century, the young Brit got caught in an international crisis while touring Europe

Blue agave grows in a field in the town of Arenal, in the state of Jalisco, Mexico.

Virtual Travel

Around the World in Eight Plants

A new book takes readers on a journey across our planet, stopping to smell flowers and appreciate other species along the way

The migration advances an average of 25 to 30 miles a day. A cyclist can cover similar distances.

What I Learned Biking the 10,000-Mile Migration Route of Monarch Butterflies

I set off to be the first person to cycle alongside the butterflies to raise awareness of their alarming decline

Example of a new meeting background in use, featuring the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology.

Smithsonian Voices

Celebrate National Library Week With Bibliophilic Backgrounds for Your Virtual Meetings

Smithsonian Libraries and Archives offers book lovers these nine stylish backdrops

An engraving from German zoologist Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen Der Natur, a 1904 book that celebrated the symmetry of nature

From Books Bound in Human Skin to Occult Texts, These Are Literature's Most Macabre, Surprising and Curious Creations

A new tome takes readers into collector Edward Brooke-Hitching's "madman's library"

Self-educated scholar Dennis McCarthy has spent the past 15 years studying the many connections between Shakespeare and little-known translator and writer Sir Thomas North.

Did Shakespeare Base His Masterpieces on Works by an Obscure Elizabethan Playwright?

The new book "North by Shakespeare" examines the link between the Bard of Avon and Sir Thomas North

This month's book picks include The Light of Days, The Musical Human and Empire of Ants.

Books of the Month

Women Resistance Fighters of WWII, the Secret Lives of Ants and Other New Books to Read

These April releases elevate overlooked stories and offer insights on oft-discussed topics

Explore the true history and myths behind six “terrible” women, from the all-knowing Sphinx to the fire-breathing Chimera and the lesser-known shapeshifter Lamia.

Men Have Feared Women for Millennia. Just Look at the Monsters of Greek Mythology

A new collection of essays considers how the villainous women of classical antiquity, from Medusa to the Sphinx, resonate in contemporary Western society

Pleasant Plains School in Hertford County, North Carolina, active 1920-1950

How the Rosenwald Schools Shaped a Generation of Black Leaders

Photographer Andrew Feiler's years-long journey through 15 Southern states rescued stories of the fading buildings and the lives they changed

Portrait of Graceanna Lewis, The Underground Rail Road (1872)

Smithsonian Voices

Meet Naturalist Graceanna Lewis, Who Played a Key Role in the Underground Railroad

One of the first three woman to be accepted into the Academy of Natural Sciences, Lewis left behind a legacy of science and soclal progress

L to R: Anna, the eldest van Gogh sister; Elisabeth, or Lies; and Willemien, the youngest, who was better known as Wil

New Book Details the Lives of Vincent van Gogh's Sisters Through Their Letters

The missives reveal that the Impressionist artist's family paid for his younger sibling's medical care by selling 17 of his paintings

Fourteen contemporary artists collaborated to create a real-life version of the 1947 picture book.

Step Into the Pages of 'Goodnight Moon' With This Enchanting Exhibition

On view at Fort Makers in NYC, the show features 14 artists' reimagined interpretations of objects from the beloved children's book

An illustration from an abolitionist paper shows the divide in border states like Ohio, where a small African American minority petitioned for change.

Decades Before the Civil War, Black Activists Organized for Racial Equality

Though they were just a small percentage of the state’s population, African Americans petitioned the state of Ohio to repeal racist laws

Newbery Honoree Alicia D. Williams is the author of Genesis Begins Again and the new picture book Jump at the Sun, the first biography of Zora Neale Hurston written for children.

Smithsonian Voices

How Alicia D. Williams Is Reviving Storytelling for Black Children

Williams wanted a different story for her daughter—and for herself. So, she set out to write it

The Royalists used the cookbook to paint Oliver and Elizabeth Cromwell as commoners unfit to rule the kingdom.

This 17th-Century Cookbook Contained a Vicious Attack on Oliver Cromwell's Wife

The Cromwell Museum has republished a text first issued by the English Lord Protector's enemies as propaganda

The dictionary documents the “core” vocabulary of science fiction that turns up again and again, both in stories and in the real world.

A Dictionary of Science Fiction Runs From Afrofuturism to Zero-G

The long-running project found a new online home, one that showcases the literary genre’s outsized impact on popular culture

What if literature was an invention for making us happier and healthier?

Eight of Literature's Most Powerful Inventions—and the Neuroscience Behind How They Work

These reoccuring story elements have proven effects on our imagination, our emotions and other parts of our psyche

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