Overstreet, Leslie K.
Curator of Natural-History Rare Books
Natural-history books 1450-1850; bibliographical analysis; history of printing; book production in the hand-press period; book illustration technologies (wood-cut, engraving, lithography) 1450-1850; English naturalist Mark Catesby (1683-1749).
Background And Education
Education And Training
- M.L.S., University of Maryland, College Park 1988
- M.A.T. Masters of Arts in Teaching, Reed College 1972
- B.A. in English literature, Reed College 1971
Leslie K. Overstreet joined the Smithsonian Libraries (SIL) in 1980. Initially staffing the anthropology and vertebrate zoology libraries in the National Museum of Natural History, she has worked in SIL’s Special Collections Department since 1988. As the Curator of Natural-History Rare Books, she has headed SIL’s Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History since it opened in 2002.
Her work includes assisting readers, answering reference questions, and giving tours of the collection; she oversees the selection of rare books for digitizing in the Biodiversity Heritage Library (www.biodiversitylibrary.org) and for exhibition. In addition, Leslie works with SIL’s conservators to preserve the books and selects and describes individual works for the Adopt-a-Book program. Perhaps most importantly, she works with the scientists and historians whose research SIL supports, and with antiquarian booksellers around the world, to build and strengthen the rare-book collection.
Her own research has focused for many years on Mark Catesby’s Natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (London, 1731-1743). She served as a consultant to the documentary film “The curious Mr. Catesby,” produced by the Catesby Commemorative Trust and broadcast on public-television stations across the U.S. in 2009, and presented the results of her research on the printing history of Catesby’s book at the 2012 Catesby Tercentennial Conference, which was subsequently published as a chapter in The curious Mister Catesby (University of Georgia Press, 2015).
- Taylor, M. A., O'Connor, R., and Overstreet, Leslie K. 2021. "Dating the publication of Hugh Miller's The testimony of the rocks (1857)." Archives of Natural History, 48, (2) 310–324. https://doi.org/10.3366/anh.2021.0724. 2021
- Overstreet, Leslie K. 2019. "Naturalists in the Field: Collecting, recording and preserving the natural world from the fifteenth to the twenty-first century." Journal of the History of Collections, fhz025. https://doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhz025. 2019
- Overstreet, Leslie K. 2014. "The dates of the parts of Mark Catesby's The natural history of Carolina … (London, 1731–1743 [1729–1747])." Archives of Natural History, 41, (2) 362–364. https://doi.org/10.3366/anh.2014.0256. 2014
- Overstreet, Leslie K. 2013. "Inscribed copy of Animal life on the shores of the Clyde and Firth." Archives of Natural History, 40, (2) 351–351. (Archives of natural history) https://doi.org/10.3366/anh.2013.0182. 2013
- Dickinson, Edward C., David, Normand, Overstreet, Leslie K., Steinheimer, Frank D., and Jansen, Justin. 2010. "Histoire naturelle des pigeons or Les pigeons: Coenraad Jacob Temminck versus Pauline Knip." Archives of Natural History, 37, (2) 203–220. https://doi.org/10.3366/anh.2010.0003. 2010
- Overstreet, Leslie K. 2009. "The library of James Smithson, gentleman-scientist." Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies, XIII, (1) 12–13 (and cover illustration). 2009
- Olson, Storrs L., Overstreet, Leslie K., and Lund, J. N. 2007. "An alca-bibliographical study of The English Pilot: the history of its account of the great auk (Alcidae: Pinguinus impennis)." Archives of Natural History, 34, (1) 79–86. https://doi.org/10.3366/anh.2007.34.1.79. 2007
- Dickinson, Edward C., Overstreet, Leslie K., Dowsett, Robert J., and Bruce, Murray D. 2011. Priority! The dating of scientific names in ornithology: A directory to the literature and its reviewers. Northampton, England: Aves Press. 2011
- Botanicals. New York: Assouline. 2008
- Overstreet, Leslie K. 2008. Botanicals. New York: Assouline. 2008
- Overstreet, Leslie K. 2015. "The publication of Mark Catesby's "Natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands"." In The curious Mister Catesby. Nelson, E. Charles and Elliott, David J., editors. 155–172. Athens GA and London: University of Georgia Press. 2015
- The publication of Mark Catesby's Natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands. The curious Mister Catesby. Ed. Nelson, E.Charles. Athens GA: University of Georgia Press. 2015
- Overstreet, Leslie K. 2013. "Flowering pages." In Gardening by the book: Celebrating 100 years of the Garden Club of America. Warren, Arete Swartz, editor. 12–17. New York: The Garden Club of America & The Grolier Club. 2013
- Overstreet, Leslie K. 2012. "Foreword." In America's other Audubon. Kiser, Joy M., editor. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. 2012
- Dickinson, Edward C. and Overstreet, Leslie K. 2011. "Our Approach (historical and technical background, etc.) Chap.2." In Priority! The dating of scientific names in ornithology: A directory to the literature and its reviewers.. Dickinson, Edward C., Overstreet, Leslie K., Dowsett, Robert J., and Bruce, Murray D., editors. 25–67. Northampton, U.K.: Aves Press Ltd. 2011
- Overstreet, Leslie K. 2007. [Book review] "American curiosity: Cultures of natural history in the colonial British Atlantic world, by S.S. Parrish." Archives of Natural History, 34, (2), 361–362. https://doi.org/10.3366/anh.2007.34.2.361. 2007
- Smithsonian Libraries and Archives Department