The library and librarians at the American Museum of Natural History proved to be a tremendous resource for Libbie Hyman, as she researched and wrote her six-volume, 4,000-page treatise on approximately 1 million invertebrates, and many of the other individuals featured in Untold Stories. As Hyman stated in a 1960 interview with the AMNH internal publication at the time, Museum Memo, the AMNH library was indispensable to her work, and she lauded the librarians by saying “If they haven’t got it, they’ll get it for you.1″ Similarly, the AMNH librarians were indispensable to the Untold Stories project for the research on Hyman and others, including uncovering the typewriter that Hyman used to author her treatise.
The library has been a treasured resource since the Museum’s founding in 1869, supporting the work of the Museum’s staff both past and present, scholars across numerous disciplines, and members of the public, who can access what is now one of the largest natural history libraries in the world. The library’s holdings include a research collection of published works, archives, rare books, and art and museum memorabilia. A staff of skilled librarians, with expertise spanning research services, digital services, special collections, conservation, cataloguing, and acquisitions, serves as a bridge to the rich repository of information contained in the library2.
Tom Baione, the Harold Boeschenstein Director of Library services at the Museum, drew from the library’s rare book collection to edit a volume titled Natural Histories: Extraordinary Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History Library. The volume includes 40 essays from Museum scientists including Hayden Planetarium Director Neil deGrasse Tyson, paleontologist Niles Eldredge, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation Director (and Nature Untold Stories team member) Eleanor Sterling, and Museum curators, scientific associates, and librarians who are familiar with the works and have used them in their research.3
- O’Reilly, J. in Museum Memo Vol. 9 (American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York, 1960).
- American Museum of Natural History Research Library. https://www.amnh.org/our-research/research-library
- Natural History: Rare Books from the AMNH Library. Video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeaNgNfeXBc