Are you shellebrating World Turtle Day? The yearly event aims to raise awareness about turtles and tortoises, along with the harmful impact human action can have on them. We have many resources on turtles, including some of the following sources of these wonderful turtle images:

1, 3: Naturgeschichte der SchildkötenFull title, D. Johann David Schöpfs königl. Preuss. hofraths … Naturgeschichte der Schildkröten : mit Abbildungen erläutert. (1792) by Johann David Schöpf. 

2.  North American herpetology. Full title, North American herpetology, or, A description of the reptiles inhabiting the United States, v.1 (1836) by John Edwards Holbrook.

4. Reptiles and birds. Full title,  Reptiles and birds. A popular account of the various orders; with a description of the habits and economy of the most interesting. (1873) by Louis Figuier. 

5. Gemeinnüzzige Naturgeschichte des Thierreichs. Full title,  Gemeinnüzzige Naturgeschichte des Thierreichs : darinn die merkwürdigsten und nüzlichsten Thiere in systematischer Ordnung beschrieben und alle Geschlechter in Abbildungen nach der Natur vorgestellet werden, bd. 4 (1788) by Georg Heinrich Borowski.

6. Thesaurus rerum naturaliumFull title, Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri accurata descriptio, et iconibus artificiosissimis expressio, per universam physices historiam : opus, cui, in hoc rerum genere, nullum par exstitit. (1734) by Albertus Seba.

More excellent scientific illustrations of turtles in the Biodiversity Heritage Library’s Flickr album, Turtles!


Spring has definitely sprung.

Flower grower’s guide (1898) d. 1 by Reverend John Wright is the source of these images of common spring flowers. Gertrude Hamilton and Marie Low are listed as the artists for the colored illustrations in Flower grower’s guide. It wasn’t uncommon for women to find work in illustration during the Victorian era, since artistic pursuits were considered acceptable for middle-class women who needed to work.

Find all six divisions of Flower grower’s guide in the Biodiversity Heritage Library, and see more natural history illustrations by women in the BHL’s extensive Flickr gallery on the subject, which contains many works from the Smithsonian Libraries.


Hey! Working in a museum is incredible because every specimen and artifact has a story - including those that ended up on the set for our new show, Natural News from The Field Museum! So we decided to give you a tour. Check it out to learn stuff, also to see me make awkward noises and just be who I am as a person

And in case you missed it, here’s the first video from the new series! We really hope you like it. <3

Voluta Fugetrum, or for those who are not conchologists, a sea shell!

See more in this 1825 book, A catalogue of the shells contained in the collection of the late Earl of Tankerville : arranged according to the Lamarckian conchological system ; together with an appendix containing descriptions of many new species, by G. B. Sowerby. From the Ernst Mayr Library at Harvard University via the Biodiversity Heritage Library. 

We’ve got a couple bits of news to pass on!

In preparation for this year’s GIF IT UP contest, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) will be holding two GIF making workshops, one this afternoon and another next Wednesday. A certain someone (moi, Richard) will be cohosting the second webinar and revealing my secrets.

Also, this October, we’ll be joining other libraries, archives, and museums to share spooky, creepy, and scary images from our collections as part of Page Frights.

N.B.: dancing skeletons fit both events. Anthropogenie; oder, Entwickelungs-geschichte des Menschen by Ernst Haeckel is the source for this image. Find it in the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
#DigIntoDyar: Discover the secrets of Harrison Dyar - Smithsonian Libraries Unbound
Important entomological work. The Bahá’í faith. Secret tunnels under Washington, DC. What do all of these elements have in common? Curiously, Smithsonian scientist Harrison Gray Dyar, Jr.. Dyar, Honorary Custodian of Lepidoptera at the United States National Museum (now, National Museum of Natural History) for over 30 years, was a prolific entomologist – studying sawflies, more »

Here’s the deep dish on Harrison G. Dyar from @smithsonianlibraries - read up and then burrow into Dyar’s field notes in the Transcription Center. There are five sets of field notes from which to choose:

  1. H. G. Dyar - Bluebook 401- 414, 1893-1894
  2. H. G. Dyar - Bluebook 415-435, 1893-1894
  3. H. G. Dyar - Bluebook 436-450, 1893-1894
  4. H. G. Dyar - Bluebook 451-473, 1894
  5. H. G. Dyar, Bluebook 474-491, 1894-1897

We are partnering with Smithsonian Libraries, the Field Book Project, Biodiversity Heritage Library, and Smithsonian Institution Archives to increase awareness of Dyar’s significance to entomology, as well as the importance of field notes and taxonomic literature. 

Next week, National Museum of Natural History research associate Marc Epstein will share more details about Dyar’s specimens, life, and legacy - May 17 at 2:30 pm ET (UTC-5)

Join us on Tuesday May 17 to hear more about Dyar & Myths, Moths, and Mosquitos (live!)