Ah, the Smithsonian! When Henry James Hungerford died without children in 1835, his vast inheritance from his uncle, English scientist James Smithson, was passed on to the United States, “to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase & diffusion of knowledge among men.” We won’t ask why he didn’t leave his fortune to the English government (they already had enough knowledge? he didn’t like them?), but, in true American fashion, once the money arrived, Congress spent eight years arguing about how to use the funds. Congress finally invested the funds in Treasury bonds issued by Arkansas (surely this was the clearest path forward), which immediately defaulted. It was only through the muscular intervention of John Quincy Adams that the funds were restored, and designated for an institution of science and learning.
Among the many Smithsonian museums and online collections, The Gimlet Reader wants to point you toward a most fabulous collection of Czeck Book Covers of the 1920s and 1930s. Take some time to look at these! For your convenience, they’ve been meticulously categorized:
Poetism (our favorite)
You can find the complete collection here.
If you follow twitter, bookseller @avantgardeBOOKS posts Czeck avant garde antiquarian books. has