Friday, November 20, 2009

Wonderful Weirdness in the Smithsonian Catalogs

Out of a possible 2, 297, 354 records, I am going to look at the following that I find curiosity-piquing.
If it turns out they aren't, I'll cross them off.  If they pan out, they'll get linked.
Searching by TYPE, not subject...
Starting from fewest number of records (1) to highest:

Wheelbarrows-only one, and it's red! 
(I guess because so much depends on it)
Seating Charts
Palm Prints (aka dermatoglyphics)
Orderly Books (as opposed to disorderly?)these are really just order books
Miniature Books
(Meh.) (However, this here is a special miniature book exhibition slide show curated by Barbara Zuckerman that I found quite absorbing and inspiring)  
Holograms-One-and it's a KKK image
Wickets-yes, as in Croquet
Report Cards
Accident Reports
Festschriften (learned about these in library school)
Fake Books (these will probably turn out to be music)(yup)
Coloring Books-fun!

Stickers-In Lakota!
Love Letters(not from anyone I know)
Direct Mail
(this has got to be interesting: direct mail cataloged in the Smithsonian?)
Yes! It is very cool!
"Unsolicited mail received by Ellen Wells during two twelve month periods, 1976-1977 and 1980-1981. Ms. Wells kept all materials received during these periods as a sample of the changing use of this mass communication medium. Ms. Wells received the first group in Ithaca, New York, and the latter in Alexandria, Virginia. This collection provides a substantial sample of materials used in direct mail advertising and solicitation. These techniques of mass communication have became increasingly sophisticated and more widely used in recent years and the products of these techniques--commonly called "junk mail"--are ubquitious in contemporary society."
Bombs- 4 of them!!!

Yarn Drawings
(of or with?) These are all Huichol artifacts

Birthday Cards
Recipes(You'd think this was interesting but it wasn't. However,The Southampton Diet Book is cataloged in the Smithsonian, god knows why)
Cottages(Just photos, I thought there might be the whole building)
Bumper Stickerssadly, boring, nothing too memorable from a layman's perspective)
Wrappers-Really Weird Soap!

Floating Nut!

Big Master!

Sunny Monday!

Minute Books
Underwear-Apollo Spacecraft Cooling Underwear!
Postal Money Orders- oldest from 1863, and I also found something called encased postage, a token for Ayer's Cathartic Pills with part of a stamp glued (?) on the back.

Three-Dimensional Objects-there were only 7 records listed as this type, so it's not a popular cataloging term. Almost everything is three-dimensional, except for an image, or what is IN the image, since the object the image is on is three-dimensional. And if you took a photo of a photo, then it would be a 3-D image of a 2-D image, but there's still some 3-D going on in there.

Ephemerides(?) (Moon and Stars and Sun charts)


MenusLunch on a Zeppelin, anyone?

Comic Books-some from 1889

Wind Tunnels (where do they store them?!)(Darn, all are just models)
Animal Husbandry Equipment-mostly tack, but here is a llama rope

Impellers(apparently a variation on a PROpeller)
Paralectotypes(don't know what this is either) (oh, it's an entomology word)(but there are some nice squashed bug slides)

One Hundred and Ninety One Unmanned Spacecraft!!!
Souvenirs, Headgear, People
Little Magazines-
this led me to the Museum of Temporary Art, which is right up my alley. "Little" isn't in reference to size, although they may be smaller than the typical literary magazine. The little refers to the scope and the audience, in that it reaches/serves a smaller range and can have a narrower literary focus.

Personalia, Footwear, Food, Specimens
I am compelled to point out the two typos:

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