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Blakely, Julia

Former Rare Book Catalog Librarian

For the Smithsonian Libraries, Julia Blakely catalogs a wide variety of materials, covering a broad range of subjects, for Special Collections. In addition, she writes about rare books for various sites, including the Libraries' publication, Connect;, and the blogs Unbound and Biodiversity Heritage Library.

The Libraries' representative on the Steering Committee of the Material Culture Forum. Co-organized a forum on provenance issues at the Smithsonian, held 31 May 2018.

Professional interests focus on descriptive bibliography, book illustration and printing history.

Other areas of scholarly research include garden history and landscape architecture.

Worked as a librarian consultant for several private collections, including ones in New York City, Seattle and (currently) locally.


Background And Education

Education And Training

Professional Biography

  • Julia Blakely has undergraduate and master's degrees in art history from the George Washington University and a M.S., with a specialization in rare books, from Columbia University. For many years she was a lab instructor at Rare Book School at the University of Virginia (formerly at Columbia) and currently serves on its William T. Buice Scholarship Committee. She is the Libraries' representative for the Smithsonian's Material Culture Forum. She wrote the bibliographical descriptions for An Oak Spring Flora (1997) and has worked with several other private collections.

    Interests include sailing, maritime history, gardening, landscape architecture, cooking and baking, and D.C. history.

    Julia Blakely is a member of the West River Sailing Club in Maryland and is the owner of a Melonseed skiff, Watermelon.

Public Biography

  • Julia Blakely is a rare book catalog librarian for the Smithsonian Libraries, cataloging a range of special collections materials and working on other projects. She regularly contributes articles to various Smithsonian sites, blogs, and publications.

    She wrote the bibliographical descriptions for "An Oak Spring Flora" (1997) and have worked with several private collectors.

    An ongoing website combines interests in cultural landscape and D.C. history: "Landscape of a Washington Place: A History of the Gardens of the Ambassador's Residence, British Embassy, Washington."




Teaching Overview

  • I was a lab instructor for Rare Book School's Descriptive Bibliography course, 1997-2010.

Organizer Of Event

Professional Service Activities



Mailing Address

  • Smithsonian Libraries
    P.O. Box 37012
    MRC MRC 154
    Washington, DC 20013-7012