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The tradition of scholarly publishing at the Smithsonian dates back to the Institution’s origin. In keeping with James Smithson’s stipulation that his bequest to the United States be “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge,” Joseph Henry, the first Secretary of the Smithsonian (1846–1878), initiated in 1848 the Institution’s first publication, Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge. The tradition continues today with Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press (SISP).

One of several offices operating within the Smithsonian’s Office of the Deputy Under Secretary for Collections and Interdisciplinary Support, SISP publishes research by Smithsonian scholars in many fields – particularly science, art and art history, aviation and space, and history and material culture – and research closely related to Smithsonian collections.

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Hubble's Legacy: Reflections by Those Who Dreamed It, Built It, and Observed the Universe with It

Edited by Roger D. Launius and David DeVorkin

Scholars, engineers, scientists, and astronauts relate Hubble Space Telescope’s story in three phases: (1) selling the idea of an orbiting optical telescope to astronomers, NASA, and the U.S. Congress; (2) launch, discovering the mirror flaw, engineering to fix it, and controversies over servicing missions and upgrades; and (3) how the public saved the final servicing mission, the iconic instrument’s public image after repair, and how HST changed the way we visualize the universe.

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The Smithsonian Institution Excavation at Tell Jemmeh, Israel, 1970–1990

Edited by David Ben-Shlomo and Gus W. Van Beek

Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology, no. 50

From 1970 to 1990, the Smithsonian Institution undertook an archaeological excavation at the site of Tell Jemmeh, Israel, under the direction of Gus W. Van Beek. This is a detailed and final report--richly illustrated with nearly 1,000 figures--on all of the excavation results, including the architectural remains, stratigraphy, pottery, and other finds. The volume is currently available for digital download and will be available in hardcover later this year.

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Catalog of Type Specimens of Recent Mammals: Rodentia (Myomorpha, Anomaluromorpha, and Hystricomorpha) in the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

By Robert D. Fisher and Craig A. Ludwig

Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, no. 642

The type collection of Recent mammals in the Division of Mammals, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, contains 945 specimens bearing names of 931 species-group taxa of Rodentia (Myomorpha, Anomaluromorpha, and Hystricomorpha) as of August 2013. This catalog presents an annotated list of these holdings comprised of 905 holotypes, 16 lectotypes, 8 syntypes (48 specimens), and 2 neotypes.


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Grasses of Washington, D.C.

By Kamal M. Ibrahim and Paul M. Peterson

Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, no. 99

A vegetative key, descriptions, and illustrations for the identification of 182 native and naturalized grasses that occur in Washington, D.C., are presented. In addition, we provide a glossary of terms and indexes to scientific and common names. The key is based on vegetative characters to allow identification of specimens that primarily do not have flowering structures (inflorescences and spikelets).

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