Top of page

Stumbled Upon In The Stacks, Or The Chimp In My Office

Share this post:

Our guest author today is Michelle Cadoree Bradley, Science Reference Specialist.  Michelle entered the Library of Congress as part of the Library of Congress Intern Program (1989-90).  After completing her internship she joined the then Science and Technology Division.  She holds a master’s in Library and Information Science from Louisiana State University School of Library and Information Science, and a bachelor degree in history from Louisiana State University. Along with her reference duties in the Science, Technology and Business Division she is the subject specialist for computer science, telecommunications, and geology. 

Chimpanzee in the Cologne Zoological Garden. Original etching by Ludwig Beckmann. Illustrirte Zeitung, v. 43, Oct. 8, 1864: 254

There is a chimpanzee in my office. Perhaps I should explain…

I discovered him hiding in a large folio in the book stacks of the Adams building . He was a slightly dusty sight, perhaps having been overlooked for some time. Noticing my interest, he followed me from the book stacks where I had been admiring the finely detailed woodcuts and photographs in Illustrirte Zeitung (Leipzig, 1843-1944). He has been in my office for some time.

This chimpanzee has impeccable manners and can converse on numerous subjects.  Through his reading of other pages of the Illustrirte Zeitung he has the news of the day of the social, religious and military elite, as well the scientific discoveries, theatre and fashion.  Excuse the name dropping, but rubbing shoulders in the edition of 8 October 1864 (p. 248) there is Johannes von Geissel (5 February 1796 – 8 September 1864), a German Catholic Archbishop of Cologne and Cardinal, and bound in the same volume in the edition for 5 November 1864 (p. 309) we find Philip H. Sheridan, General of the Union Army.

I wish I could keep this chimp in my office forever, but as I neither speak nor read German, communications have been somewhat of a problem.  We are fortunate that there is a language specialist in the division who has been able to provide some translations for us and doubly fortunate that banana/banane is largely the same in both languages.

Nameplate from the cover of Illustrirte Zeitung

Die Illustrirte Zeitung, a German illustrated weekly, was founded in Leipzig by the Swiss-born publisher Johann Jakob Weber in 1843. It soon began printing wood-engraved illustrations based on photographs and in 1883 incorporated direct reproduction of photographs using Georg Meisenbach’s early version of the half-tone process*, which had been patented in Europe in 1882. On 15 March 1884 it published action photographs of military maneuvers by Ottomar Anschütz, and in December 1913 Antarctic pictures by Herbert Ponting. It ceased publication in 1944.

Exterior of the Grotto Iceberg during the British Antarctic Expedition. Photograph by Herbert Ponting, ca 1911.

For more information about the Illustrirte Zeitung see Die Illustration als Hebel der Volksbildung” [“Illustrated Periodicals as a Means of Popular Education”]which was published in the  Illustrirte Zeitung, v. 51, No.1305 (1868): pp. 3-4.  

Print volumes of the newspaper must be requested in the Science and Business Reading Room (5th floor Adams bldg.) from Fort Meade with LC call number AP30.I3 Ft. Meade SpecMat/Folio.

 *Atkinson, Andrew. Continuous Tone Alternatives to Halftone Through Historical Reflection. PICS 2003: Image Processing, Image Quality, Image Capture Systems Conference including the Fifth International Symposium on Multispectral Color Science, May 13, 2003, Rochester, NY, USA: 285-290.


  1. Computer science, telecommunications, geology, and chimps — what a renaissance woman you are!

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.

Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.