January 17, 1917|
|Died||November 14, 2007|
National Museum of American History
Society for the History of Technology
American Philosophical Society
American Antiquarian Society
Society of American Historians
Washington Academy of Sciences
|Alma mater||Columbia University (1935–1942)
University of Bridgeport, L.L.D. (1970)
|Notable awards||Abbott Payson Award (1962)
Leonardo da Vinci Medal (2000)
Silvio Bedini (January 17, 1917 – November 14, 2007) was an American historian, specialising in early scientific instruments. He was Historian Emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution, where he served on the professional staff for twenty-five years, retiring in 1987.
In 1958 he accepted an invitation to write a brochure about the history of his hometown for its 250th anniversary, a project that just three months later resulted in a 411-page book titled Ridgefield in Review.
In 1961 he accepted the offer of a position in Washington, D.C. as curator in the Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering at the Smithsonian Institution in the new Museum of History and Technology (now the National Museum of American History), which was under construction. By 1965, Bedini became Assistant Director of the Museum of History and Technology, and in 1972 was appointed Deputy Director of the National Museum of History and Technology. Following his tenure as Deputy Director, he served as Keeper of Rare Books at the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology, a branch of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries, from 1978 until his retirement in 1987. Afterwards, Bedini served as Historian Emeritus at the Smithsonian.
For his research and publications in 1962 Bedini received the Abbott Payson Award of the Society for the History of Technology, and in 1997 in Darmstadt, Germany he was awarded the Paul-Bunge-Preis at the General Assembly of the German Bunsen Society for Physical Chemistry "for the book of foremost quality on the history of scientific instruments."
His memberships include the American Philosophical Society, the American Antiquarian Society, the Society of American Historians, the Washington Academy of Sciences, the Scientific Instrument Society (London), the Astrolabe Society (Paris), the Surveyors Historical Society, and most recently, the DC Association of Land Surveyors, which extended to him an Honorary Membership in December 2003.
Bedini was completing his twenty-third book.
- "Johann Philipp Trefler: Clockmaker of Augsburg", Bulletin of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (1956—1957), reprinted as pamphlet. (1957).
- Ridgefield in Review. (1958).
- Agent for the Archduke: Another chapter in the story of Johann Phillip Treffler, Clockmaker of Augsburg. (1961).
- XIVth and XVth century public clocks of the papal marches. (1962).
- Galileo Galilei and time measurement: A re-examination of pertinent documents. (1963).
- "The scent of time: A study of the use of fire and incense for time measurement in Oriental countries" (Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, new ser). (1963).
- "The Borghesi Astronomical Clock in the Museum of History and Technology", Contributions from the Museum of History and Technology, Paper 35, United States National Museum Bulletin, Volume 240, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution. (1966).
- Early American Scientific Instruments and Their Makers. (1964).
- The makers of Galileo's scientific instruments. (1964).
- "Mechanical Universe. The Astrarium of Giovanni de Dondi" from Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Series, Volume 56, Part 5. (1966).
- Sundials and dialling: A bibliography of Italian and other references. (1966).
- Seventeenth century magnetic timepieces. (1969).
- Benjamin Banneker and the survey of the District of Columbia, 1791. (1971).
- The tube of long vision : (the physical characteristics of the early 17th Century telescope). (1971).
- The Life of Benjamin Banneker: The Definitive Biography of the First Black Man of Science. (1972).
- The Life of Benjamin Banneker. New York: Scribner, 1971. 1972. ISBN 0-684-12574-9.
- Moon Man's Greatest Adventure (with Wernher von; Whipple, Fred L. and Thomas, Davis Braun. (1973).
- Thinkers and tinkers: Early American men of science. (1975).
- The Spotted Stones. (Library Binding - 1978).
- Introduction—the Vatican's astronomical paintings and the Institute of the Sciences of Bologna. (1980).
- Thinkers and Tinkers: Early American Men of Science. (1980).
- Th. Jefferson and science: Exhibition catalogue. (1981).
- Declaration of Independence Desk, Relic of Revolution. (1982).
- Thinkers and Tinkers: Early Men of Science. (1983).
- "At the Sign of the Compass and Quadrant: The Life and Times of Anthony Lamb" (Transactions of the American Philosophical Society). (1984).
- "The scientific instruments of the Lewis and Clark expedition", Great Plains Quarterly. (1984).
- Thomas Jefferson and His Copying Machines (Monticello monograph series). (1984)
- Clockwork cosmos: Bernardo Facini and the Farnese planisferologio (Studi e testi). (1985).
- Thomas Jefferson and American vertebrate paleontology (Virginia Division of Mineral Resources publication). (1985).
- Early American Scientific Instruments and Their Makers. (1986).
- Marshall's meridian instrument. (1987).
- Thomas Jefferson: Statesman of Science. (1990).
- The Christopher Columbus Encyclopedia. (1991).
- The pulse of time : Galileo Galilei, the determination of longitude, and the pendulum clock. (1991).
- Science and Instruments in Seventeenth-Century Italy (Collected Studies Series, Cs448). (1994).
- The Trail of Time : Time Measurement with Incense in East Asia, Cambridge University Press. (1994). ISBN 0-521-37482-0
- "The Mace and the Gavel: Symbols of Government in America", (Transactions of the American Philosophical Society). (1997).
- Pope's Elephant: An Elephant's Journey from Deep in India to the Heart of Rome. (1997).
- Christopher Columbus and the Age of Exploration: An Encyclopedia, (with David Buisseret). (1998).
- Maryland Historical Magazine - Summer 1998 (Vol. 93 No. 2) (with Michael P. McCarthy, Merle T. Cole and Karen Robbins). (1998).
- The Pope's Elephant, Nashville, Sanders. (1998).
- The Jefferson Stone: Demarcation of the First Meridian of the United States. Frederick, MD: Professional Surveyors Publishing Co. (1999). ISBN 0-9665120-1-4.
- Patrons, Artisans and Instruments of Science, 1600-1750, (Collected Studies, Cs635.), (1999)
- The Life of Benjamin Banneker: The First African-American Man of Science (2nd ed.). Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society. 1999. ISBN 0-938420-59-3.
- William Churton (fl. 1749-1767): North Carolina Cartographer (Professional surveyor). (2001).
- With Compass and Chain: Early American Surveyors and Their Instruments. (2001).
- Jefferson and Science (with Donald Fleming). (2002).
- "Benjamin Banneker". Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Encyclopedia.com. 2008. Retrieved 2012-05-08.
- Sullivan, Patricia (December 7, 2009). "A Local Life: Silvio A. Bedini: Collector and Scholar Pried Loose History's Secret Gems". The Washington Post (Washington, D.C.: The Washington Post Company). Retrieved 2010-07-19.
- Silvio A. Bedini Papers, 1952-1996 Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Project Gutenberg (July 18, 2010). The Borghesi Astronomical Clock in the Museum of History and Technology, by Silvio A. Bedini. eBook #33198.
- Waff, Craig B. (May 2001). "A Prime Meridian for the United States? Essay Review of Bedini, Silvio A. (1999), The Jefferson stone: Demarcation of the First Meridian of the United States, Frederick, MD: Professional Surveyors Publishing Co.". Journal for the History of Astronomy (Cambridge, England: Science History Publications, Ltd.). 32, Part 2 (106): 157–159. Bibcode:2001JHA....32..157W. ISSN 0021-8286. (contains much information from the book)
- Toscano, Patrick (January 2000). "Book Review: Bedini, Silvio A. (1999), The Jefferson stone: Demarcation of the First Meridian of the United States, Frederick, MD: Professional Surveyors Publishing Co.". Professional Surveyor Magazine (Frederick, MD: Flatdog Media, Inc.) 20 (1). Retrieved 2010-07-16.
- Rabin, Sheila J., Book review of Patrons, Artisans and Instruments of Science, 1600-1750
- Murdock, Gail T. (November 11, 2002). "Benjamin Banneker - the man and the myths". Customer review of Bedini, Silvio A. (1999). "The Life of Benjamin Banneker: The First African-American Man of Science", 2nd ed., Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society. Amazon.com. Retrieved 2008-08-20.
- Toscano, Patrick (March 2000). "Book review of Bedini, Silvio A. (1999), "The Life of Benjamin Banneker: The First African-American Man of Science", 2nd ed., Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society". Professional Surveyor Magazine (Frederick, MD: Flatdog Media, Inc.) 20 (3). Retrieved 2009-06-18.
- Patricia Sullivan, "Silvio A. Bedini 1917–2007", ACSM Bulletin (December 2007) 25.
- Silvio Bedini, The Times Obituaries (January 1, 2008).
- Marc and Jackie Cheves, In Memoriam: Silvio Bedini, The American Surveyor (December 2007).
- Robert C. Post, "Silvio A. Bedini, 1917–2007", Technology and Culture 49 (2008).
- Works by Silvio Bedini at Project Gutenberg