Rare volumes of Euclid, National Museum of American History Library

Smithsonian Libraries

$11.3 Million raised

Smithsonian Libraries

America’s Literary Treasures

The Smithsonian Libraries is the largest museum library system in the world. The Libraries advance scientific and cultural understanding; serve as a resource for research communities worldwide; and preserve a treasure trove of historic books and manuscripts, from letters handwritten by Galileo to 18th-century illustrations of North American plants.

During the Smithsonian Campaign, Steve and Elizabeth Berry and Nancy Eaton gave generous gifts to create the Libraries’ education program, which has enabled the Libraries, for the first time, to build resources and programs that benefit early learners, students, teachers, young professionals, and lifelong learners.

A gift from Gus and Deanne Miller supports library acquisitions related to the American experience. Recent acquisitions include a rare first edition of the earliest published firsthand account of the Lewis and Clark expedition and one of the most important early books on American Western exploration, owned by Napoleon’s Foreign Minister Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, who brokered the sale of Louisiana to the United States.

An unrestricted endowment established by Hope and John Furth has underwritten the professional development of library staff and has funded student internships.

Smithsonian Libraries
Leadership Message

Leadership Message

The Smithsonian Libraries promotes new ideas through sharing knowledge. We advance scientific and cultural understanding by preserving America’s heritage. Our expert staff and extensive collections are crucial resources for research and education communities in the Smithsonian, the United States and around the world.

The content of our collections and our librarians help the Smithsonian’s research and curatorial staff make sense of our innumerable, often unique, objects, giving cultural and historical contexts.

Scientists depend on the Libraries to support investigations into climate change, biodiversity, object conservation, ecology and many other fields. The Smithsonian Libraries is a hidden national treasure, where experts come to test and expand knowledge and where America and the world can turn for authentic answers.

Through our expanding online presence and digitization initiatives, more people are able to access our vast resources. Their demands — and our desire to make these resources available — are growing. However, the funding we require to meet these needs is increasingly constrained. We invite you to explore the amazing resources of the Smithsonian Libraries and to contribute to a specific library or program, which aligns to your interests and curiosity. Invest in our important role to maintain and extend America’s place in the world’s scientific and cultural forums.

Thank you.

  • Nancy E. Gwinn
    Director, Smithsonian Libraries
Smithsonian Libraries
Campaign Case

Advancing Knowledge, Preserving Heritage

Acquisitions and Preservation
To meet the demands of cutting-edge research, the Libraries purchases books, journals and databases containing the latest scholarship. In addition to purchasing new works, the Libraries preserves a treasure trove of historic books and manuscripts, from letters by Galileo to 18th-century illustrations of North American plants. Investments in endowments to support acquisitions and conservation ensure the Libraries can provide current resources, as well as preserve cherished written works.

Broadening Access
The Smithsonian’s digital library and online catalog are available anywhere at any time. Scholars, historians, scientists, educators and students from around the world consult these digital resources and the Libraries’ expert staff to prepare exhibitions, products and publications. The Libraries has digitized centuries of scientific texts to create the Biodiversity Heritage Library. This online collection is so successful, the Libraries seeks funds to build a Cultural Heritage Library, digitizing volumes from history, art and cultural heritage. An investment in digitizing this collection ensures that the Libraries stays as accessible and relevant tomorrow as it is today.

Many books are beautiful works of art, some hidden deep in the collection. Rotating exhibitions are displayed in the Smithsonian’s museums and online. Gifts to an exhibition endowment allow the Smithsonian Libraries to build public awareness for its vast holdings and provide education opportunities for students.

From graduate students just beginning their careers to established scholars writing their next books, the Smithsonian Libraries selects fellows to come to the Smithsonian Libraries and work with our staff and special collections. An investment in fellowships ensures scholars will use the Libraries’ collections to share new knowledge with their institutions and publish works, which offer insight into our past.

Smithsonian Libraries

Smithsonian Libraries

is raising $9 million of the Smithsonian Campaign’s overall $1.5 billion goal. 

Campaign Priorities

Acquisitions and Preservation

$4.75 Million

We seek a total of $4.75 million for preservation and acquisitions. A gift of $25,000 funds an endowment for the Worlds Fairs and Exposition Collection, while a gift of $50,000 helps endows the Art and Design Library acquisitions. An investment of $3 million underwrites a chief book conservator.

Broadening Access

$2 Million

We seek a total of $2 million to digitize our collections, including the Cultural Heritage Library and Biodiversity Heritage Library. A gift of $250,000 will fund an endowment to support these efforts.



$1 Million

A gift of $1 million endows the Smithsonian Libraries exhibitions program.



A gift of $25,000 supports a fellow to come and explore the Libraries collections for six months. A gift of $250,000 endows a graduate fellowship.

Smithsonian Libraries

Gus and Deanne Miller



Gus and Deanne Miller

Exemplifying the American Experience

Gus Miller exemplifies the American dream. He founded the Miller Oil Company, but was driven to do more. He and his wife, Deanne, started a foundation. He served on the Smithsonian National Board and is chair of the advisory board for the Smithsonian Libraries. The Millers now have established the Augustus and Deanne Miller Acquisitions Fund for the American Experience section at the Libraries. “The history of our country and its growth is very important to future generations,” Miller says. “Deanne and I feel it is imperative we protect these collections.”

National Museum of Natural History Library



Hope L. and John L. Furth

Their Generosity Helps Teach the Teachers

Hope L. Furth is a teacher with a passion for libraries. She and her husband, John L. Furth, created the John L. and Hope L. Furth Endowment for the Smithsonian Libraries to enhance educational programs and professional training. “The Libraries represents many of the values most important to John and me: scholarship, education, dissemination of knowledge, collaboration,” Hope Furth says. “The opportunity to support the Libraries at one of the world’s stellar institutions is a great joy to us both.”

Digitizing rare volumes, Smithsonian Libraries



Frank J. and Betty M. Quirk

Endowment Keeps Libraries Connected

Frank J. Quirk made his career as a business leader in the market research and information technology industries. His philanthropy has followed his interests. At the Smithsonian Libraries, he and his wife set up the Frank J. and Betty M. Quirk Endowment to fund technology infrastructure. “We want our gift to have a long-term impact, while providing flexibility to the Libraries to address its needs in information technology.” Through the endowment, the Libraries has been able to acquire hardware and software to keep librarians connected to one another throughout the 20 branches. 

Smithsonian Libraries

Contact us

Smithsonian Libraries Campaign Officers

Smithsonian Libraries Board

  • Augustus C. Miller (Chair)
  • Richard T. Choi (Vice-Chair)
  • Susan Battley
  • Steve Berry
  • Maureen Conners
  • Roland DeSilva
  • Sarah Ladd Eames
  • Nancy Eaton
  • Louis R. Hughes
  • Carolyn Johnsen
  • Barbara Joynt
  • Stephen Koval
  • Bruce Lisman
  • Michael Loeb
  • Dennis Manning
  • Katherine Neville
  • Eva Pell
  • Lowell Robinson
  • John P. Ryan
  • Jerrell Wilson Shelton
  • David Bruce Smith
  • Lindley Smith
  • Kathryn C. Turner

Smithsonian Libraries

Total Goal:
$11.3 Million


$11.3 Million Raised

As of November 30, 2017

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