Publications

The list of selected staff publications may be searched by keyword or author and can be sorted by year.

Instruments of Science. An Historical Encyclopedia with Robert Bud Deborah Warner, eds., (London and New York, 1998).
“From Tallahassee to Timbuktu: Cold War efforts to measure intercontinental distances,” in Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences (2000): 393–415.
"Changing in Place: Public Spaces on the National Mall" companion piece to the exhibition "Extending the Legacy: Planning America's Capital for the 20th Century" (1996).

This brochure, based on an 1875 panoramic photo, provides a brief history of the design of the National Mall.

"The Pharmacy Collections" with Eric W. Jentsch. Caduceus. (Winter 1997, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp.33–42).

A brief history of the pharmacy collections at the Smithsonian Institution.

“The Controversial Parking Meter,” Antique Automobile, January–February 1997.

A study of curb space, efforts to control it, and effects on central business districts. Cities installed parking meters in the 1930s to relieve congestion and increase revenue; motorists and storekeepers mounted a brief, intense legal battle.

"At Home on the Highway.” American Heritage, December 1985.

A brief history of recreation vehicles, including house cars, tent trailers, and house trailers.

"The Stars Wore Stripes: GIs Entertaining GIs at Fort George G. Meade and Overseas, 1941–1945," Anne Arundel County History Notes, April 1990, July 1990, October 1990, July 1991.

A description of the Special Service Division, the Army's equivalent of the USO. Talented soldiers organized stage
shows, sports activities, canteens, movies, and other morale programs for soldiers near battle fronts.

"Fisher Body Corporation." Encyclopedia of American Business History and Biography. New York: Facts On File, 1988.

A history of the Fisher Brothers and Fisher Body Corporation, an automobile body manufacturing firm that supplied General Motors and helped to popularize the luxurious closed car in the 1920s.

"Planes, Trailers and Automobiles: The Land Yachts of Glenn Curtiss,” Automobile Quarterly, April 1994.

A look at motor vehicle innovations by airplane pioneer Glenn Curtiss, including lightweight car-trailer combinations
that led to the establishment of a recreational house trailer industry.

"A Presidential Train Wreck,” Maryland Magazine, Summer 1990.

An account of an 1881 collision involving Rutherford B. Hayes and his family.

"Body by Fisher: The Closed Car Revolution,” Automobile Quarterly>/i>, August 1991.

The article examines the democratization of the closed car in the 1920s and Fisher Body Corporation's role in supplying closed bodies in huge quantities and varied styles. It looks at design changes, manufacturing changes, and aspects of consumer demand that explain the soaring popularity of the closed car.

"Stations by Tichy: Modern Architecture for the Pennsylvania Railroad, 1940–1957," Keystone, Autumn 1993.

This article examines small-town railroad stations reinterpreted in a moderne, streamlined style by Lester Tichy,
chief architect for Raymond Loewy.

"Three Cheers for Henry Clay: The Construction and Advance Demonstration of the Morse Telegraph at Annapolis Junction," Anne Arundel County History Notes, January 1993.

A day-by-day account of adversity and triumph during construction of the first telegraph line in 1844. Midway between Washington and Baltimore, Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail set up a telegraph station and sent the first practical messages and news bulletins by wire.

Home on the Road: The Motor Home in America. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2000.

A history of recreation vehicles since 1900 with emphasis on self-propelled units and adaptations of motor vehicles. Explores motorists' innovations, furnishings, family vacation travel and domestic life, and early RV manufacturing.

"The Selden Automobile Patent,” in Icons of Invention: American Patent Models, 1990.

A study of George Selden's 1895 patent on the automobile and the control that he exercised over the early automobile manufacturing industry.

Souvenir Nation: Relics, Keepsakes, and Curios from the Smithsonian's National Musuem of American History bibliography

Hidden within the collection of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History is an astonishing group of historical relics, many of which never before have been displayed. These seemingly ordinary objects, gathered by generations of collectors, embody sometimes humorous but often poignant stories about extraordinary moments in our shared past.

Souvenir Nation presents more than fifty artifacts--from a shard of Plymouth Rock chisleled off by an overzealous nineteenth-century tourist to the magnifying glass used to examine the infamous hanging chads of the 2000 presidential election. Readers will discover the stories behind the dish towel-turned-flag of truce that ended the Civil War, Franklin D. Roosevelt's Fireside Chat microphones, and the chairs that seated Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy during America's first televised presidential debate--not to mention a curious pair of framed specimens known as the Hair of the Presidents and the Hair of Persons of Distinction.

Curator William L. Bird describes how each of these eccentric objects found a home at the Smithsonian and offers a glimpse behind the scenes of the museum. Strikingly photogra[phed, the souvenirs in thie ecletic trove are signposts to a uniquely American narrative, revealing who we are through the things we have saved.

Souvenir Nation: Relics, Keepsakes, and Curios from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History bibliography

Hidden within the collection of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History is an astonishing group of historical relics, many of which never before have been displayed. These seemingly ordinary objects, gathered by generations of collectors, embody sometimes humorous but often poignant stories about extraordinary moments in our shared past.

Souvenir Nation presents more than fifty artifacts--from a shard of Plymouth Rock chiseled off by an over-zealous nineteenth-century tourist to the magnifying glass used to examine the infamous hanging chads of the 2000 presidential election. Readers will discover the stories behind the dish towel-turned-flag of truce that ended the Civil War, Franklin D. Roosevelt's Fireside Chat microphones, and the chairs that seated Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy during America's first televised presidential debate--not to mention a curious pair of framed specimens known as the Hair of the Presidents and the Hair of Persons of Distinction.

Curator William L. Bird, Jr., author of America's Doll House and Holidays on Display, describes how each of these eccentric objects found a home at the Smithsonian and offers a glimpse behind the scenes of the museum. Strikingly photographed, the souvenirs in thie eclectric trove are signposts to a uniquely American narrative, revealing who we are through the things we have saved.

"The Great Transportation Revolutions." Traffic World (Special Issue, April 2007).

Feature article in 100th anniversary issue of the standard periodical of the North American transportation industry, published each week since 1907, the longest continuous-running weekly in the world.

"Railroads." World Book Encyclopedia (1997 thru current ed.).

Article for the world’s most-used encyclopedia.

"Artefacts at the Smithsonian: a New Long-term Exhibition on the History of Transport Systems," in Trischler, H. and Stefan Zeilinger, eds., Tackling Transport. Science Museum (London), Deutsches Museum, and Michigan State University Press, 2003.

The interpretive philosophy and approach of the major exhibition, America on the Move.

The Spirit of Steam: the Golden Age of Steam Railroading. New York: Smithmark, 1995; also Erlangen (Germany): Karl Müller Verlag, 1996; also New York: Barnes & Noble, 1999.

Historic black & white photographs, 1910-1950, with interpretive essays.

"The Practice of the History of Science and Technology in the West." Studies in the History of Science and Technology (1991, Issue 3).  Moscow:  Institute for the History of Science and Technology, USSR Academy of Sciences.

An overview for Soviet academicians of the historiography of science and technology studies in the U.S. and Europe.

"Foreword." In J.F. Davidson and M.S. Sweeney, On the Move: Transportation and the American Story. Washington: National Geographic Society and Smithsonian Press, 2003.

Mobility as a defining part of the American experience.

"Evolution of Energy Use and Transportation," in Zumerchik, J., ed., Macmillan Encyclopedia of Energy, v. 3. New York and London: Macmillan Reference, 2001.

Historical changes in transportation energy sources, fuels, and engines.

"Risk and the Real Cost of Electrification." Railroad History, No. 181 (Autumn 1999).

Why—during the ‘energy crises’ of the 1970s and 80s—U.S. railroads did not implement extensive plans that were made to convert rail lines to electric power.

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