Press Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940

December 14, 1995

Library Publishes New Book on the Tradition of Technology

The Library of Congress has recently published The Tradition of Technology: Landmarks of Western Technology in the Collections of the Library of Congress, a major work describing the richness of its holdings in the history of technology. The hard cover book was written by Leonard C. Bruno, science manuscript historian in the Library's Manuscript Division. It serves as a companion to The Tradition of Science, published by the Library in 1987. That earlier survey of the Library's science collections was chosen by the American Library Association's Government Documents Round Table as one of its "Notable Documents" of 1987 and was named one of the 100 best Science/technology books of 1988 by Library Journal.

The Tradition of Technology's 356 pages take the reader on an interpretive journey through the Library's collections, covering more than 350 seminal works in technology. It is profusely illustrated with 220 images -- from line drawings to color photographs -- and it has a substantial bibliography detailing the classic works it discusses.

This book will appeal to the general reader interested in technological history as well as to the bibliophile with a more specialized focus. Throughout, Dr. Bruno conveys both the excitement of first discovery and the distinctly human aspects behind each technological achievement.

First editions from the pens of many of the most well-known names in the development of technology -- Gutenberg, Fulton, Watt, Marconi, Mercator, Fahrenheit, Daguerre, Bell, Babbage, and Wright -- are encountered on this tour through the technology collections of the Library of Congress. The volume also covers classic works of Greece and Rome as well as works by such renowned men of science as Galileo, Boyle, Huygens, Kepler, Leibniz, Franklin, and Von Neumann.

The accomplishments of lesser-known individuals played an important role in the history of technology as well, and their stories are part of The Tradition of Technology. Such individuals as the 14th century poet Christine de Pisan, who was an informed source on classical warfare; the Roman cook Apicius, who offers a glimpse into the cooking and eating habits of Rome's elite; Francesco di Giorgio, a painter, sculptor, architect, and engineer who was a precursor of Leonardo; and Oliver Evans, one of America's first technological geniuses, all contribute to this fascinating look at the Library's collections.

Technological discoveries of individuals better known in other fields -- Geoffrey Chaucer on the astrolabe, Albrecht Durer on fortification, Niccolo Machiavelli on warfare, Rene Descartes on the microscope, and Blaise Pascal on the barometer and calculating machine -- are also encountered here.

Following a general introductory chapter that supplies an overall context for the featured works, the book follows a broad, chronological framework that focuses on the significance of each book and relates one to another.

The Tradition of Technology can be purchased for $24 from the Library's Sales Shop or by calling (202) 707-0204; mail orders must include $5 for shipping/handling. The book can also be ordered with MasterCard or Visa from the Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954; or (202) 512-1800 by telephone, and (202) 512-2250 by fax. Checks should be made payable to the Superintendent of Documents. Be sure to include stock number S/N 030-000-00264-4 with your order.

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PR 95-167
ISSN 0731-3527

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