April 2012 Archives

Your change, with thanks

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change packets11.jpgSamples from our Change Packet Collection. GC149 Graphic Arts Ephemera
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“Among the refinements of middle-class Victorian shopping was the giving of change not directly from hand to hand but in paper packets. Chamber’s Edinburgh Journal in a review of London shops and shopping (15 October 1853), makes passing note of the custom. A customer seeking to buy a pair of kid gloves ‘is met at the door by a master of the ceremonies, who escorts him to the precise spot where what he seeks awaits him … He walks over rich carpets, in which his feet sink as though upon a meadow-sward; and he may contemplate his portrait at full length in half-a-dozen mirrors, while that pair of gentlemen’s kids at 2s 10 ½ d is being swaddled in tissue-paper, and that remnant of change in the vulgar metal of which coal-scuttles are made … is being decently interred in a sort of vellum sarcophagus ere it is presented to his acceptance’.”

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“The envelope, known as a ‘change packet,’ measured some 60 mm (2 ½ in) square and was printed with the legend ‘The change, with thanks’, often in a decorative roundel or other device. Printing was generally in a single colour; sometimes the design appeared as a white, embossed image on a coloured background.”

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“The packets were supplied to the shopkeeper either as a stock design in which there was no trade message, or printed specially to order with name, address, and designation presented as a form of miniature trade card. Additionally, the shopkeeper might be supplied with the packets at much reduced rates, if not free of charge, by the new breed of national advertisers who used the printing space on the packet for their own message. Typical of these were Huntley & Palmers, biscuit manufacturers, whose change packets were widely used. Their Royal Appointment design appears in two packet sizes and a variety of colours.”

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“Stock packets supplied by printers and stationers are also found with topical references, as for example one specimen commemorating the International Exhibition of 1862 [above left]. Wording also provided some variation; a number of specimens bear, in addition to an expression of thanks, the words ‘The favour of your recommendation is respectfully solicited’.”

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Quoted from:
Maurice Rickards, The Encyclopedia of Ephemera: a Guide to the Fragmentary Documents of Everyday Life for the Collector, Curator, and Historian. Edited and completed by Michael Twyman (New York: Routledge, 2000). Graphic Arts Reference Collection (GARF) Oversize NC1280 .R52 2000q

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The thrill of a great new reference book

Joseph J. Felcone, Printing in New Jersey, 1754-1800: A Descriptive Bibliography (Worcester, Mass.: American Antiquarian Society, 2012). Graphic Arts Reference GARF 2012- in process

“Bibliographies are like building blocks,” writes Joseph Felcone, “each successive work builds on its predecessors and in turn serves as a base for the next work. Private collectors and institutional collections play an essential role in the process. This present bibliography grew out of more than a hundred years of New Jersey bibliographical research and over two hundred years of collecting New Jerseyana.”

The author notes, “For the last twenty years I’ve been working on a descriptive bibliography of eighteenth-century New Jersey printing, and it has just been published by the American Antiquarian Society: Printing in New Jersey, 1754-1800: A Descriptive Bibliography.”

For those of us interested in printing history, we can only say, “thank goodness.”


It is no exaggeration when the publisher writes, “As a descriptive bibliography of early American imprints, New Jersey Printing sets a new standard for comprehensiveness, providing full descriptions of all of the known products of every eighteenth-century New Jersey press. Of the 1,265 books, pamphlets, periodicals, newspapers, and broadsides included, nearly 25 percent are recorded here for the first time.”

Felcone has spent a lifetime collecting, studying, and writing about New Jersey books and the early New Jersey book trade. To compile this comprehensive work, he visited and fully surveyed 115 libraries—from the major repositories in the United States and England to county and local historical societies in New Jersey—and physically examined and recorded every eighteenth-century New Jersey imprint.


Handsomely designed by Jerry Kelly, the book is important to those working in early American printing, publishing, bookselling, book distribution and ownership, as well as related bookmaking arts such as papermaking and bookbinding. Note, for instance, the number of eighteenth-century references to Nassau Hall alone and you understand our enthusiasm with this volume.

The Society of Colonial Wars in the State of New Jersey should be commended for helping to subsidized the production of the book, allowing me as a reader to acquire it for a very reasonable price. In this day and age, it is a great thrill to hold new scholarship in my hand and place it on our shelves for others to use and enjoy.


A University Fan

A paper fan in our ephemera collection with university logos pasted onto both sides. Can you find Princeton University?

Au temps de Jesus-Christ




Josef Síma (1891-1971), Au temps de Jesus-Christ. Contes populaires tchécoslovaques mis en françois par Louise-Denise Germain. (At the time of Jesus Christ, Popular Czechoslovakian stories translated into French by Louise-Denise Germain). Préface de Charles Vildrac (Paris: Kauffmann. 1922). 10 woodcuts and 11 small vignettes by Joseph Síma. Copy 23 of 300. Graphic Arts GAX 2012-0242N

The artist Josef Síma was a founding member of Devětsil (Nine Forces), a Czech group of avant-garde writers, architects, actors, musicians, and visual artists. Vítězslav Nezval, Jaroslav Seifert, Karel Teige, and Toyen (Marie Cerminova) were also active in the group, which included more than 70 members in the 1920s.

Síma became acquainted with the French painter Louise-Denise Germain (1870-1963) and together they compiled Czech folktales, which Germain translated into French and Síma illustrated. During the process, he fell in love with Germain’s daughter, married her, and became a French citizen, spending the majority of his adult life in Paris.

See also: Revoluční sborník Devětsil (V Praze: Nakl. Večernice V. Vortel, 1922). Marquand Library (SAX): PG5023 .R48 1922


"It's about the desire to run away," Alec Soth

Alec Soth and Lester B. Morrison, Broken Manual. Special edition ([Saint Paul, Minn.]: Little Brown Mushroom; Göttingen, Germany: Steidl, 2010). 1 volume (unpaged) housed in book safe. Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process.

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“It is common for artists to follow up the publication of their books with ‘special editions.’ But in the case of Broken Manual, this edition is being presented first. Made in an edition of 300, Soth calls this the ideal edition of Broken Manual. Each copy is housed inside another, one-of-a-kind book … cut by hand. Inside the shell, there is also a small booklet entitled Liberation Billfold Manifest and a print signed and numbered by Alec Soth and Lester B. Morrison”—Steidl

From 2006 to 2010, Soth photographed the places in which people retreat to escape civilization including the homes of monks, survivalists, hermits and runaways. Working with the writer Lester B. Morrison, he created an underground instruction manual for those looking to escape their lives.

“300 copies of [the book] exist,” said Soth. “It was a really special project for me and I wanted the special edition to come out first. We made a book safe, cut out the pages of these books we bought, and you can hide this Broken Manual in the larger book. It was a huge ordeal to cut them out, and we made those, they exist, but the trade edition never came out. …The thing about a book is that you can control the entire shape of it, unlike an exhibition where the parameters always change.”

Feuillets d'art


Feuillets d’art (Pages of Art) (Paris: L. Vogel; New York, C. Nast, 1919-1922). Bimonthly. Charles Rahn Fry Pochoir collection. GAX 2004-0383Q


Lucien Vogel (1886-1954) founded several gorgeous high fashion magazines including Gazette du Bon Ton, L’illustration des modes, and La jardin des modes. Feuillets d’art was dedication to “finding in the taste of the moment all that is traditional and durable.”

Each issue contained only five or six pages of text covering articles on contemporary literature, theater, music, and fashion. A pochoir print was also inserted “for the beauty alone” designed by some of the greatest illustrators of the day, such as Georges Lepape, George Barbier, Édouard Halouze and Charles Martin. Literary contributors include Marcel Proust, Paul Claudel, Jean Giradoux, Paul Valery, Jean Cocteau, and Anatole France.


During the same period, Vogel’s wife Cosette de Brunhoff worked as editor of the French Vogue and Vogel served as art director from 1922 to 1925. If that was not enough, in 1920 he and his brother Jacques founded a perfume company named Vigny, after the poet Alfred de Vigny, with such fragrances as Golliwog, Chick-Chick, Guili-Guili, and Be Lucky.

A copy (or two) of the Gutenberg Bible


[Facsimile edition of the Biblia Latina, commonly known in English as the Gutenberg Bible, formerly known as Mazarin or Mazarine Bible] [Leipzig: Insel-Verlag, 1913-1914]. 2 v. Copy 6 of 300. Gift of Elmer Adler. GA Oversize 2006-0087F

“Diese faksimile-ausgabe des ersten [-zwelten] bandes der zweiundvierzigzeillgen Gutenburg-Bibel erschien im jahre 1913[-14] im Insel-verlag zu Leipzig. Die wiedergabe in mehrfarbigem lichtdruck erfolgte durch die Hofkunstanstalt Albert Frisch in Berlin nach dem pergament-exemplar der Königlichen bibliothek in Berlin und dem der Ständischen landsbibliothek in Fulda. Gedruckt wurden 300 exemplare / davon nr. 1-3 auf pergament / die übrigen auf van Gelder-bütten. Durch professor Ansgar Schoppmeyer in Berlin wurden die exemplare nr. 1-3 mit der hand ausgemalt und bei diesen / wie auch bei 10 exemplaren auf büttenpapier nr. 4-13 das gold mit der hand aufgelegt. Der einband ist dem Fuldaer exemplar nachgebildet.”


Johann Gutenberg (1397?-1468), working with merchant and money-lender Johann Fust (1400-1466) and printer Peter Schöffer (ca. 1425-ca. 1502), completed the printing of a 42-line Bible some time before August 1456. This lavishly produced facsimile edition of their book is based on the copies held by the Berlin Koniglichen Bibliothek and in the Stadtischen Landes-bibliothek in Fulda (the binding comes from this copy). Our former curator of graphic arts, Elmer Adler, generously donated a copy to Princeton University. A second set is housed in the William H. Scheide Library.


In Search of a Good Servant

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George Cruikshank (1792-1878), “The Cat Did It,” in George Cruikshank’s illustrations to “The Greatest Plague of Life,” by the Brothers Mayhew (London: D. Bogue, 1847). Twelve etchings in two states. Graphic Arts Collection (GA) Oversize Kane Room Cruik 1846.61q

Henry Mayhew’s book is subtitled The Adventures of a Lady in Search of a Good Servant By One Who has been “Almost Worried to Death.” It was, in fact, Cruikshank’s cleanliness that first attracted Mayhew to him, as described in the introduction:

“How I Became Acquainted With The Artist To My Little Book.”

“When I reached Mr. Cruikshank’s door …, from the beautiful appearance that the threshold of his establishment presented, I at once knew my man. The doorstep was so sweetly white and clean that one might have been tempted to eat one’s dinner off of it, while the brass plate was as beautiful a picture as I ever remember to have seen. In that door-plate I could see the workings of a rightly constituted mind. … When the door was opened, I was delighted to find that everything within bore out the conclusion I had drawn of this great man’s character from his simple doorstep.”

“After waiting a few minutes in a delightful ante-room, I was shown into the Study, and for the first time stood face to face with that highly-talented artist and charming man, George Cruikshank, Esquire, whom, as a painter, I don’t think I go too far in calling the Constable of the day. … Nature has evidently thrown Mr. Cruikshank’s whole soul in his face; there is (if I may be allowed the expression) a fire in his eye which is quite cheerful to look at; and when he speaks, from the cordial tone of his discourse, you feel as certain, as if his bosom was laid bare to you, that his heart is in its right place. Nor can I omit to mention the picturesque look of his whiskers, which are full and remarkably handsome, and at once tell you that they have been touched by the hand of a great painter.”

Rosenwald ex libris


Rare book and print collector Lessing Julius Rosenwald (1891-1979) donated part of his collection to the Library of Congress and the other part to the National Gallery of Art. Recently, these two organizations joined together to catalogue the Rosenwald collections into a mutual database so that researchers can search, retrieve, and use the materials together even though they are physically stored separately (tba).

Rosenwald was also one of the founding members of the Print Council of America, established in 1956 by a small group of museum curators, scholars, and collectors with a mission to “foster the creation, dissemination, and appreciation of fine prints, old and new.” At our annual meeting held last week in Los Angeles, Ruth Fine, emeritus curator of special projects in modern art at the NGA, generously offered members the gift of a Rosenwald bookplate. Thank you Ruth!

Note the iconography of his ex libris: images of roses and of a forest (“wald”) = rose and wald = Rosenwald.

Frank Eißner

futze1.jpgHolger Benkel and Frank Eissner, Erde und Feuer (Earth and Fire) (Rudolstadt: Burgart Presse, 2003). One copy of 100. Graphic Arts
GAX 2012- in process

In the classic tradition of xylographic printing, both image and text in Erde und Feuer are produced from woodcuts designed by the Leipzig artist Frank Eissner (born 1959) and printed on Bunko Shi paper. Originally trained in lithography, Eissner now specializes in relief printing, operating Eissner Handpresse since 1989, where he publishes limited edition artists’ books. For this volume, he collaborated with his colleague publisher Jens Henkel and “Blank Generation” poet Holger Benkel.


“His work—books made entirely in wood block printing, books in a wonderful form with most carefully chosen texts—is not intended for the general public, but merely for a small circle of connoisseurs, whose affection for each printed work has to be won anew. …Eissner’s language consists of expressive figures combined with equally dominant, almost abstract parts which give an appearance of painting due to the transparent imprint of Eissner’s color range. Eissner is not interested in a large number of copies, but rather in experimenting with wood blocks in a new way. …Eissner’s lean figures symbolize asceticism and uninhibited physicality, his colors quiet and silence.”—Wolfgang Grätz, Büchergilde Artclub (2004)


À l'Abattoir les Cartellistes!!


Jehan Sennep, À l’Abattoir les Cartellistes!! Album-souvenir des Elections de 1928 (Paris: Editions Bossard, [1928.]). One copy of 200. Bookplate of the Baron de Cougny-Préfeln. Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process.



In the French Third Republic, a coalition was formed of left-wing parties (the Socialists and the Radicals) in the Chamber of Deputies. They established the Cartel des gauches in opposition to the right-wing Bloc National, which they defeated in the elections of 1924. Led by Édouard Herriot (1872-1957) and later Aristide Briand (1862-1932), the Cartel was defeated in 1926.

On April 22 and 29, 1928, elections were held for the 14th legislature. The French caricaturist Jehan Sennep (whose real name was Jean-Jacques Charles Pennes, 1894-1982) cartooned the members of the Cartel in the Paris papers and then, brought them together in this send-up of the election. Herriot, Marcel Cachin (1869-1958), Georges-Étienne Bonnet (1889-1973), and Blaise Diagne (1872-1934) are among the Cartellistes transformed into cattle being led to the slaughter house. The book is sardonically printed on rough brown butcher’s paper.


Moritz Götze


Moritz Götze, Gulliver (Rudolstadt: Jens Henkel, Burgart-Presse, 1996).
32 serigraphs. Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process


“Serious and Lightness:
Seven men are taking a boat trip. Debris and mines are floating on the water. On board the ship is an oil barrel, a lit torch and a TV set. The sea is stormy, and the waves look like shells. Welcome to Rococo. Welcome to the 21st century.

Moritz Götze likes to use metaphors and historical settings to address pressing issues of his time. With outstanding painterly virtuosity and draughtsmanship, he assembles his visions into crystal-clear compositions whose semantic layers reach near-abyssal depths. Though his visions are often clad in aristocratic nonchalance, they can occasionally become explicit, and sometimes drastic.”—Götze’s website


A musical conversation between the Monument and St. Paul's

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Thomas Hudson [lyrics] and Jonathan Blewitt (1782-1853) [music], Conversation between the Monument and St. Paul’s; the Celebrated Comic Chaunt sung by Mr. Fitzwilliam at the city festival, &c.&c. … (London: Clementi, Collard & Collard [no date]). Sheet music cover designed by George Cruikshank (1792-1878) and lithographed by Maxim Gauci (1774-1854). Graphic Arts Collection (GA) Cruik 1817.27q

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George Cruikshank’s illustrated sheet music presents the Monument to the Great Fire of London speaking with St. Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London. The Monument, located near the northern end of the London Bridge, is a Roman Doric column topped with a gilded urn of fire, designed by the architect Christopher Wren (1632-1723). St. Paul’s Cathedral, a few blocks away, was also designed by Wren between 1675 and 1710, after its predecessor was destroyed in the same fire.

The music presented here is by the British composer Jonathan Blewitt, who spent time as a young man in Dublin as director to the Theatre Royal and the grand organist to the masonic body of Ireland. Around 1825, Blewitt returned to London, where he wrote pantomimes, musical plays, and light operas. His last work, the pantomime Harlequin Hudibras, was performed at Drury Lane on December 27, 1852. At various times, he also served as music director for Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Vauxhall, and at the Tivoli Gardens.

The vocalist may have been the actor Edward Fitzwilliam (1788-1852), who performed in various London theaters at roughly the same time as Blewitt. Fitzwilliam joined the company at Drury Lane in 1821, specializing in Irish roles.

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The song begins:
Late one night - when the Moon shone bright, and the wind blew in gusts and squalls,
I heard a conver sation - or confa bu lation, ‘twixt the Monument and St. Pauls.
The Mo muments voice - was small and choice, and rather weak than strong;
But as for St. Pauls - it shook the very walls, and sounded like a chi nese Gong.

Marriot the Great Eater

gormet1.jpgMarriot the Great Eater, ca. 1840. Engraving. Graphic Arts Collection. Gift of Dickson Q. Brown, Class of 1895.
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Around 1652, an untitled satirical print was published by an anonymous artist depicting “the great Eater, Marriot the Lawyer.” The woodcut contains four lines of text:
Here to your view’s presented the great Eater, / Marriot the Lawyer, Grayes-Innes Cormorant; / Who for his Gutt is become a meer Cheater: / Those that well feed him, Councell shall not want.

The figure has been identified as John (or William) Marriot, a lawyer who gained a reputation for the food he consumed.

At least five pamphlets and two woodcuts were published in the 1650s referring to John Marriot, the Great Eater including The Great Eater of Grayes Inn. His life by G. F. (1652); The English Mountebank (1652); A Letter to Mr. Marriot, Wherein His Name is Redeemed from the Detraction of G. F. (1652); The Great Eater of Greys Inn, or the Life of Mr. Marriot, the Cormorant (1652); and The Trappan Trapl, or the Relation of a Cunning Knave named John Marriot (1657).

The complete title of the second offers a colorful description of the man:
The English mountebank: or, a physical dispensatory, wherein is prescribed, many strange and excellent receits of Mr Marriot,: the great eater of Grays-Inn: with the manner how he makes his cordial broaths, pills, purgatious [sic], julips, and vomits, to keep his body in temper, and free from surfeits. With sundry directions, 1 How to make his cordial broath. 2 His pills to appease hunger. 3 His strange purgation; never before practised by any doctor in England. 4 The manner and reason, why he swallows bullets & stones. 5 How he orders his bak’d meat, or rare dish on Sundays. 6 How to make his new fashion fish-broath. 7 How to make his sallet, for cooling of the bloud. 8 How to make his new dish, called a frigazee: the operation whereof, expells all sadness and melancholy.

In the nineteenth century, an engraving was made reproducing the earlier woodcut and it is this intaglio print that is held in the graphic arts collection.


Jen Bervin and Marta Werner, The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson’s Envelope-Poems (New York: Granary Books, 2012). Copy 23 of 60. Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process


Housed inside a lignin-free archival box, The Gorgeous Nothings includes a guide to the envelope-poems of Emily Dickinson (1830-1886); a 52-page letterpress booklet by Dickinson scholar Marta Werner; and a portfolio of 47 double-sided manuscript facsimiles.The original cover drawing on the box lid is in blue pencil and has a hand-painted seal of gum arabic and gouache.

The edition, published by Granary Books, is accompanied by a guide with a bibliographic directory for the fragments and a series of visual indexes. The 47 manuscript facsimiles show the front and back of each Dickinson envelope-poem printed at 1:1 scale accompanied by smaller visual transcriptions in blue. A close-up of one of the fragments is seen above.

Artist Jen Bervin writes:
“The title, The Gorgeous Nothings, is an excerpt from Emily Dickinson’s manuscript A 821:
‘the gorgeous nothings which compose the sunset keep’.
In choosing it, I was thinking of Dickinson’s own definition for nothing: ‘the force that renovates the World -’ and her definition for no: ‘the wildest word we consign to language.’ These gorgeous nothings are that kind of nothing … I think of these manuscripts as the sort of ‘small fabric’ Dickinson writes of in A 636:
‘Excuse Emily and her Atoms the North Star is of small fabric but it implies much presides yet.’”

“This poem exemplifies Dickinson’s relationship to scale so perfectly. When we say small, we often mean less. When Dickinson says small, she means fabric, atoms, the North Star.”

Marta Werner’s essay, “Itineraries of Escape: Emily Dickinson’s Envelope-Poems,” includes seven digital prints. The cover, bound in Saint Armand Dark Linen with royal blue Shikibu Gampi-shi endpapers, replicates the page forms of A821 / A821a. The text is printed letterpress by Friedrich Kerksieck on Byron Weston Linen Ledger White.

©The images of the manuscripts of Emily Dickinson are reproduced courtesy of Amherst College Library, Archives & Special Collections, The Houghton Library, Harvard University, and the Harvard University Press. The President and Fellows of Harvard College claim the sole ownership of and sole right of literary rights and copyrights therein to the texts of Emily Dickinson.


spektrum5.jpgHAP Grieshaber
spektrum4.jpgGeorges Lemoine

Spektrum: internationale Vierteljahresschrift für Dichtung und Originalgrafik Zürich. Edited by Sven Knebel (Zürich: S. Knebel, 1958-1992). Jahrg.1 (1958/1959)-Jahrg.33/34 (1991/1992). Missing issues 1958-59. Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process

spektrum3.jpgJuana Faure
spektrum2.jpgGisela Sternstein-Feucht
spektrum1.jpgViktor Hermann

Beginning in 1958, the Swiss artist Sven Knebel (born 1927) established a publishing firm to promote the work of young writers and artists. Felix Rellstab joined him as an editor. The oversize format of their quarterly magazine Spectrum accommodated large scale original woodcuts, linocuts, and screen prints in every issue.

Authors include Günter Eich, Max Frisch, Ludwig Hohl, Alfred Andersch, Rainer Brambach, Walter Gross, and many others. One of artist Knebel frequently published was the German printmaker Helmut Andreas Paul (HAP) Grieshaber (1909-1981), who cut large, dramatic images on course wood blocks. Bert Schmidmeister, Samuel Lier, Viktor Hermann, and Juana Faure are among the many other artists given a platform at Spektrum.

The Apocalyptic and Messianic Prophecies of the Book of Daniel


William Ward Simpson (1872-1907), Wall chart illustrating the Apocalyptic and Messianic Prophecies of the Book of Daniel (Buffalo, New York: Courier Co. (Litho Dpt.), [ca. 1900s]). Chromolithographed linen. Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process

Seventh-Day Adventist William Ward Simpson was converted in 1890 and ordained as a minister in 1899 at the age of twenty-seven. For the next eight years, Simpson preached to enthusiastic crowds throughout California and the Midwest using large, colored wall charts to illustrate the hidden biblical prophecies.


See also Liberty: a Magazine of Religious Freedom (Washington: Review and Herald Pub. Association, 1906- ). Firestone Library (F) BV471.S48 L534

National Photo and Lantern Slide Color Company


Dunne’s Transparent Pastel Colors … For All Photographs, Pictures, and Lantern Slides ([New York]: M.K. Dunne, [ca. 1910]. Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process

Mary Katharine Dunne established the National Photo and Lantern Slide Color Company at 2021 Fifth Avenue in New York City. From here, she not only sold boxes of “Dunne’s Color” but also taught the hand coloring of photographs. In the June 1910 issue of The Photo-Miniature a short note asks the reader:

“Are you interested in the coloring of photographs and lantern slides? If you are, then you should know Mrs. M.K. Dunne, of the National Photo and Lantern Slide Color Company …Mrs. Dunne is a charming Southern woman, expert in her art, with a great big enthusiasm for the beauties of color in nature and American scenery. I thoroughly enjoyed my hour with her and, as one result of the interview, can advise readers to invest, say ten dollars, in the Dunne Correspondence course of Photograph coloring and the necessary coloring outfit, as the simplest and surest way of getting a practical mastery of this special branch of work. For those who really want to know, this expenditure is abundantly worth while. The Dunne color outfits are sold by dealers everywhere in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain, but Mrs. Dunne will gladly answer any inquiries about instruction, if those who write her will mention this magazine as an introduction.”

Learned Birds and Other Acts

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Sig’r Blitz The World-Renowned Ventriloquist & Magician. Extraordinary Attraction with the Learned Canary Birds!… (Boston: J.H. & F. Farwell Job printing Office, [ca. 1860-1968]). Illustrated broadside. Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process

The British magician, ventriloquist, juggler, and animal trainer Antonio van Zandt (1810-1877) performed under the name Signor Blitz, a name pirated by a dozen other magicians in an effort to capitalize on his extraordinary popularity. Blitz emigrated to the United States in 1834, settling in Philadelphia.


When Blitz died in 1877, obituaries ran in newspapers throughout the United States. The Chicago Tribute stated, “In the death of Signor Antonio Blitz … the whole public will feel as if it had lost a friend, so many years had he devoted himself to its entertainment. His name has literally been a household word. He was born in Deal, England…and his peculiar talents were shown so early that at the age of 13 he made his first appearance at Hamburg and then performed in succession at Lubeck, Potsdam, and other continental cities, exciting wonder wherever he went.”

The Detroit Free Press noted that “Signor Blitz deserves to be remembered as the prince of prestidigitateurs in his [time]. …Three generations at least of Americans owed to him some of the happiest hours of their lives. He was ‘the’ conjurer of the republic; the most incredible of ventriloquists; the most insatiable consumer of yards of ribbon, omelettes made in badly astonished hats, and miscellaneous cutlery; the most indefatigable producer of canary birds from watch cases, rabbits from waistcoat pockets, and butterflies from egg shells, that America ever knew.”


Read the magician’s autobiography:
Antonio Blitz (1810-1877), Life and Adventures of Signor Blitz; Being an Account of the Author’s Professional Life; His Wonderful Tricks and Feats; with Laughable Incidents, and Adventures as a Magician, Necromancer and Ventriloquist (Hartford, Conn.: T. Belknap, 1872). Firestone Library (F) GV1545.B6 A3 1872

Brian Nissen's Codices


Brian Nissen, Pipixqui Codex (Mexico City: Nissen, 2010). Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process

“The word Pipixqui comes from the Aztec language and signifies to be in heat, to be aroused. In seven chapters, this codex portrays some of our most intimate antics. It depicts the foibles of flirting, incitements to excitement and the infinite trajectories of desire. Invoking codes of courtship and the protocols of passion that collapse when the compass needle of ecstasy becomes disorientated and our sensation of balance comes undone.”—Brian Nissen


Brian Nissen, Códice Madero (Mexico City: Imprenta Madero, 1984). Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process

The images of this codex involve the rituals of games and play. “A codex of games; puzzles, crosswords, jigsaws, dominoes, quizzes and conundrums. Play is one of the basic pillars of art, and one of the fundamental forces that propels the artist. It is when we put into play the elements with which we work—color, line forms, signs etc. that we begin to discover their secret relationships. They reveal their own special language and speak to us of a hidden order.”—Brian Nissen


Brian Nissen was born in London and studied first at the London School of Graphic Arts and then, at the École des beaux Arts in Paris. In 1963, Nissen traveled to Mexico where he lived and worked for the next seventeen years. His encounter with pre-Hispanic cultures had a defining impact on his thinking about the nature of art. The Graphic Arts collection is pleased to have acquired one copy of each of his artists’ books, two seen here.

2012 Adler Prize Winners

Posted by Regine Heberlein, Processing Archivist and Administrator of the Adler Prize

adler winners6.jpg Chloe Ferguson; Mohit Manohar, Lily Healey, Mary Thierry

The winners of the 2012 Elmer Adler Undergraduate Book Collecting Prize were announced at the Friends of the Princeton University Library’s winter dinner on March 25, 2012. The jury awarded two first prizes, one second prize and one honorable mention.

First prize went to Chloe Ferguson, class of 2013, and Mary Thierry, class of 2012. Mary’s essay, entitled “Mirror, Mirror: American Daguerrean Portraits” is about her interest in the intimate nature of daguerrean portrait photography. She received a prize of $2000 and a copy of Roger Taylor and Edward Wakeling’s book Lewis Carroll: Photographer. Chloe’s essay is entitled “The Farther Shore: Collection, Memory, and the East Asian Literary Tradition” and discusses how she came to love and collect titles about East Asia. She received a prize of $2000 and a copy of Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney’s Rice as Self: Japanese Identities through Time..

Second Prize was awarded to Mohit Manohar, class of 2013, for his essay “An Indian Reading Life,” in which he recounts his discovery of Indian literature at a young age, and the difficulty of collecting modern literature in India before he had access to online shopping. Mohit received a prize of $1500 and a copy of Partha Chatterjee’s narrative history, A Princely Impostor? The Strange and Universal History of the Kumar of Bhawal.

Honorable mention was awarded to Lily Healey, class of 2013, for her essay “Running After Gatsby,” in which she describes her passion for collecting modern editions of The Great Gatsby. Lily received a prize of $500 and Paul Giles’s The Global Remapping of American Literature as well as the winter 1992 issue of the Chronicle, which contains Charles Scribner III’s essay on Francis Cugat’s cover art for The Great Gatsby.

Each of the winners also received a certificate from the Dean of the College. The book prizes, chosen to complement each student’s collecting focus, were once again donated by the Princeton University Press. Thanks to Peter J. Dougherty, Director of the Press for his continuing support of this competition. The first prize essays will be printed in the Princeton University Library Chronicle and will represent Princeton in the National Collegiate Book Collecting Competition, which is sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America.

My sincere thanks to this year’s judges for their congenial service: Richard Levine, member of the Friends of the Princeton University Library; Louise Marshall, also a member of the Friends; John Logan, Literature Bibliographer; Paul Needham, Scheide Librarian; Maria DiBattista, Professor of English and Comparative Literature and a member of the Friends; and Rob Wegman, Associate Professor of Music.

Congratulations to all our winners.

Birdmen of the World United

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1910 was a pivotal year for aviation enthusiasts in the United States. The New York Times ran three separate stories outlining the organization of the first Aero Club of America in 1906 and the subsequent controversies that led to the reorganization of the Clubs. Three different conventions were held in New York City in 1910 among aeronautical clubs and societies, resulting in the formation of The National Council of Affiliated Clubs of the Aero Club of America.

In his January 12 Times article “Growth of Aviation Due to Aero Club,” Charles H. Heitman wrote “…a number of experimenters in this country were beginning to show encouraging results, but their progress was necessarily slow.”

“The public regarded anyone interested in aeronautics as a special kind of maniac, and there was absolutely no encouragement for the experimenter or no recognition for the work he accomplished. …In the summer of 1905 the subject was discussed with great interest by members of the Automobile Club of America; it was realized that if these workers could be brought together in one body where they could compare notes and exchange the knowledge gained by their efforts it would insure much more rapid progress; it was also suggested to start a club, such as the Aero Club of France, to offer facilities for its members to make ascensions, &c.: aeronautics as a sport would also benefit very largely, and as a result the Aero Club of America was born.”

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“Little did its originators imagine that what they looked upon as a mere experiment would grow with leaps and bounds and become the powerful institution it is to-day.”

An unsigned article, probably also by Heitman, followed on June 23, 1910 entitled “National Aero Body Formed After Fight.” This piece recorded that at the first meeting of the newly formed organization “thirty-six clubs were represented, with a total membership of more than 3,300 individuals.”

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Seen here are photographs of the annual dinners of the Aero Clubs of America found in the collection assembled by Harold Fowler McCormick, Class of 1895, and given to Princeton University by Alexander Stillman of Chicago, a relative of the McCormick family. These are now housed in the Graphic Arts collection.

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