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"Religion," mural in the North Corridor, Library of Congress Jefferson Building, by Charles Sprague Pearce, 1897.

Religion Collections in Libraries and Archives:
A Guide to Resources in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia

Table of Contents - Preface/Acknowledgements - Abbreviations
Lists of Entries: District of Columbia - Maryland - Virginia

Smithsonian Institution Libraries: Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology

Address: 14th and Constitution Avenue NW
NMAH 5016, MRC 630
Washington, DC 20560
Telephone Number: (202) 357-1577
Fax Number: (202) 633-9102
Contact Persons: William Baxter, Head, Special Collections Department;
Leslie Overstreet, Reference Librarian
Email Address: [email protected]
Internet Catalog Address: telnet to or

Access Policies

Hours of Service:
Monday--Friday 10:00 a.m.--4:30 p.m.
Open to the public: Yes, appointment strongly encouraged
Photocopying:: Yes
Interlibrary loan: Yes

Photocopying is done by Library staff only and at the discretion of the Reference Librarian. Some volumes are too fragile to be copied. Books are not loaned through interlibrary loan, but the Library will copy up to 20 pages per volume if possible.

Reference Policy:
Telephone and mail reference questions are accepted. The Library attempts to respond as time allows to questions from graduate-level and higher researchers who cannot find such materials elsewhere and who cannot come in person to DC to use the materials themselves. Staff time is extremely limited and the Library cannot undertake lengthy research. They are best able to provide bibliographic information and responses to specific, focused inquiries.

Borrowing Privileges:
Not a lending institution.

CIRLA, FEDLINK. Holdings are listed in OCLC.

Background Note:
See information in first Smithsonian Libraries entry.
Return to top of page.

Description of Collections

Books and monographs:
The collection holds approximately 600 volumes dating from the 15th to the 20th centuries. Important highlights include Bibles as examples of European printing history, from early printings to the Dove's edition; and Bibles in Native American languages. Examples include: New Testaments in Chippewa, Aleut, Mohawk, and other Native American languages, along with biblical texts and other related works. Most of these were done by missionaries of various denominations, generally in the 19th century. A third highlight is the collection of American religious texts and hymns from the 18th and 19th centuries. Each of the mentioned collections have fewer than 50 volumes each. Most of the holdings are general philosophy and religion with major works in the history of European thought.

The online catalog (SIRIS) includes all the general religion and philosophy books above. About half of the holdings in the first three collections are available via the card file in the Dibner Library. This will gradually change as materials awaiting cataloging are added to the online catalog.

Subject Headings

Bible; Bible--Versions--Native American languages; Hymns and hymnals; Religion--United States--History

To contact the institution described in this entry, please use the contact information at the top of this page.
To submit updates and corrections for this entry, please use our comments form.
To ask a reference question, please use our Ask a Librarian form.
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  September 13, 2011
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