The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Posts tagged with: Archive
On December 5, 1961 the Smithsonian announced that Alice Pike Barney's Studio House was donated to the Smithsonian by her daughters Natalie and Laura Barney. Alice Pike Barney was an American painter born in 1857 in Ohio. During the late 1800s, she spent time in Paris where she studied painting and began a salon in the home she rented there. When Barney returned to her home in Washington, D.C., she put a lot of effort into turning the city into a center for the arts. She had solo shows at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and other major galleries. After her death in 1931, the Studio House became the property of her two daughters, who donated it to the Smithsonian in 1961. In 1976, the house was opened as part of the National Museum of American Art, now the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In April 1995 the Alice Pike Barney Studio House was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The house remained in the possession of the Smithsonian until 1999, and it now serves as the Embassy of Latvia in Washington, D.C.
- Barney House given to the Smithsonian, Chronology of Smithsonian History, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Summer Wind to Ban-y-Bryn, The Bigger Picture blog, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Accession 96-153 - Alice Pike Barney Papers, 1861-1965, Smithsonian Institution Archives
On October 20, 2014, the Smithsonian officially launched a National Capital Campaign, the first of its kind in the Institution's history. However, this is not the Smithsonian's first attempt at a national fundraising effort.
In 1925, the Institution's fourth Secretary, Charles Doolittle Walcott, started developing a strategic plan that included a capital campaign to supplement federal funds allocated to the Smithsonian. In the early stages of the campaign, before the actual launch was to occur in 1927, Walcott began soliciting contributions from the general public and prospective large donors, including members of the Smithsonian's Board of Regents.
The campaign goal was to raise one million dollars, with the hopes of raising the first $50,000 from within (Regents and associates of Board members). Not all were capable, or perhaps willing, to contribute a suggested amount of $1,000. The Board's Chancellor, William Howard Taft, offered $250.
The first money to arrive for the Capital Campaign, though, came from an unlikely source. On December 5, 1925, Taft received the following letter:
Dear Mr. Taft:
At school in the current events we read that the Smithsonian Institute [sic] needed money. Our teacher talked about it and asked how many would send money. I decided I would. The dollar enclosed is money I earned today. I hope it will help. Yours truly, Orrin F. Nash
Taft forwarded the money to Walcott with the tongue-in-cheek missive, "My Dear Dr. Walcott: Here is the foundation for your $10,000,000. It is only one dollar, but I hope that it will prove to be a good beginning."
Walcott replied to Master Nash with a very sweet note of thanks.
It was most generous of you to make this contribution, which was the first received in response to the public announcement of the Institution’s need for additional funds. It is particularly appreciated because, having been a boy myself, I know how many alluring things they always have in mind on which to spend their dollars, and I do not believe that many boys would have been unselfish enough to send it for such a purpose. I hope the consciousness that you have made this sacrifice of some pleasure of your own for the benefit of others will more than repay you, for no one can tell what part your dollar may play in the ferreting out of some secret of Nature, and thus add its share to the sum of human knowledge for the enlightenment of other boys and girls and men and women for generations to come.
What became of Walcott's campaign? Well, it did not end as sweetly as it's one dollar beginning. On February 11, 1927, Walcott planned a "Conference on the Future of the Smithsonian" to kick off the campaign with scientists, politicians and prominent prospective donors in attendance. Unfortunately, two days before the conference, Walcott died. His successor, Charles Greeley Abbot, hosted the conference in his stead, but timing was not on the side of the campaign. Just as Abbot was completing the strategic plan and preparing to launch the capital campaign, the stock market crashed in 1929.
- Contribute to today's Smithsonian Campaign!
- Orrin F. Nash, Urbana Daily Courier, December 30, 1925, Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections, University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
- Press Release announcing Smithsonian's 2014-2017 National Capital Campaign, Chronology of Smithsonian History, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Secretary Charles Doolittle Walcott, Smithsonian Institution Archives
Thanksgiving is gone and over
The Turkey is in the stew
When the pot is empty
What then, will you do?
Mayhap, glance at the calendar
And conceive with joyful delight
That the furious little snowflakes are here
And Christmas is almost in sight
The bearded man will soon take leave
To make place for the young
And soon we'll all be gaily caroling
A happy Easter song.
By Leroy Wells, Biological Sciences International Exchange
From The Torch, December 1956 - Record Unit 371 - Office of Public Affairs, The Torch, 1955-1960, 1965-1988, Smithsonian Institution Archives
HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION ARCHIVES!
Are you looking for a new recipe for your Thanksgiving feast? How about an older one from the Archives?
Thirty years ago, the docents at the National Museum of Natural History came together to publish a cookbook (learn more in this previous blog post). It includes many recipes for side dishes and desserts that would be perfect accompaniments to a holiday dinner. With Thanksgiving a few days away and half of a Hubbard squash sitting in my refrigerator, I decided to try the Gourmet Golden Squash recipe submitted by Shirley Adams, a docent with the Junior Highlights group.
Gourmet Golden Squash
- 12 cups - Cubed Pared Hubbard Squash
- 1/4 cup - Butter or Margarine
- 2 cups - Dairy Sour Cream
- 1 cup - Finely Chopped Onion
- 2 teaspoon - Salt
- 1/2 cup - Milk
Place squash in saucepan with small amount of boiling salted water. Cover, cook 15 minutes or until tender. Drain squash and add remaining ingredients; mash. Mound mixture into 2-quart casserole. Bake in 400 degree oven 20-30 minutes or until heated. Serves 12.
Peeling and chopping the thick-skinned squash required a lot of effort and the recipe only required about one-quarter of a Hubbard. Butternut squash, either whole or pre-chopped, might be a good alternative to save time and minimize leftover squash. Otherwise this recipe was rather easy.
So how was it? I brought the finished dish to the office for a taste test. The general consensus was that it was a little too tangy. If you try this at home, I would recommend reducing the amount of sour cream and adding some black pepper or other spices.
- A Recipe: Elephant Hide and Ivory, The Bigger Picture blog, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Accession 10-239 - National Museum of Natural History, Office of Education and Outreach, Docent Program Records, 1974-2004, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- The beauty of the mechanical - Photographer, Kevin Twomey, has a series of images of the inside workings of mechanical calculators. [via PetaPixel]
- The Getty's Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OCSI) serves as a platform for the sharing of free art catalogues, including the Freer and Sackler Galleries catalog, The World of the Japanese Illustrated Book. [via OpenCulture]
- On Halloween this year, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Museum of American History redidicated Alexander Calder's, Gwenfritz, as was reinstalled in it's original location on the west lawn of NMAH. [via O Say Can You See? blog, NMAH]
- A reimagined National Mall, as told by artist, Sam Durant's Proposal for White and Indian Dead Monument Transpositions, Washington, D.C., which is on exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. [via Unframed blog, LACMA]
- Imagine that - You are now able to search every tweet on Twitter, all some half trillion of them and get results in under 100ms. [via InfoDocket]
- The Great War is a video series that will document how World War I unfolded, week-by-week, for the next 4 years. [via OpenCulture]
- Talk about a handful - A look at raising red pandas by hand at the National Zoo. [via Smithsonian Science]