The Lore of The Unicorn
The lore of the unicorn
Cryptozoology—the study of mythical animals—is not a usual scope of study for the Smithsonian, but The Lore of the Unicorn, by Pulitzer Prize winner Odell Shepard (1884-1967), shows why books on cryptids fit our broad research. As a creature alleged to be real in ancient works, scientists can trace the historical movements of animals that writers mistook for their mythical versions, like finding the propagation of rhinoceri based on reports of unicorns. As a symbol integrated into folklore, books like The Lore of the Unicorn advance the missions of Smithsonian research centers like the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage by showing links between cultures through an archetype. This book also analyzes the unicorn’s place in art around the world. Each of these aspects alone may not be sufficient to hold this book in a particular museum library’s collection, but part of the function of the Smithsonian Libraries Research Annex is to hold volumes that are useful for interdisciplinary research.
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