November 2008 Archives

Combat Paper Portfolio

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You Are Not My Enemy. Combat Paper Portfolio 4 (Vermont: People’s Republic of Paper, 2008). Copy 8 of 8. Graphic Arts (GAX) 2008- in process

After six years in the army…[Drew] Cameron moved to Vermont and took a $10 papermaking course at a community college. Something clicked. He began practicing the trade out of the Green Door Studio artists’ collective in Burlington. One night back in 2007, Cameron took his old fatigues out of the closet. “I hadn’t put that thing on my body since Iraq,” he says. “I was thinking about it systematically at first. Where do I cut? Well, I’ll start with my left arm. Then I started feeling this overwhelming feeling of empowerment and emotional expression. I started ripping and pulling at my uniform until I was down to my skivvies.” From those scraps he created the first sheet of Combat Paper.

Combat Paper is a publication of the People’s Republic of Paper, a collaboration betwen Iraqi veterans, activists, and artists. This project is conceived & coordinated by Drew Matott, former director of Green Door Studio in Burlington, Vermont, and Drew Cameron, current director of Green Door Studio and an Iraq War Veteran.

Through papermaking workshops veterans use their uniforms worn in combat to create cathartic works of art. The uniforms are cut up, literally beaten to a pulp, and formed into sheets of paper. Veterans use the transformative process of papermaking to reclaim their uniform as art and begin to embrace their experiences as a soldier in war.

For more information on the Combat Paper Project, see:

One of several videos of the project can be seen at:

Early Views of Philadelphia

Album assembled by John McAllister Jr. (1786-1877) containing 26 prints (mounted restrikes of engravings by William Birch and others) and 16 photographs (salted paper prints from glass plate negatives) of streets and buildings in Philadelphia. ca. 1859. Previously owned by Mrs. A. A. Auchincloss, Martin P. Snider, and Jay T. Snider. Graphic Arts (GAX) 2008- in process

The prints and photographs in this album represent some of the earliest images made of Philadelphia. A similar album was given to the Library Company by McAllister’s son, John A. McAllister, in 1886.

John McAllister Sr. (1753-1830) immigrated to America in 1775 and moved to Philadelphia in 1781 where he opened a shop that grew into an optical business specializing in eyeglasses. John McAllister Jr. joined the business in 1807 and listed his occupation as optician. In addition to spectacles, they sold microscopes, spyglasses, magic lanterns, camera lucidas and obscuras, lenses, and other photography equipment. The shop was frequented by the earliest practitioners in photography who became John Jr.’s friends and colleagues.

McAllister was also a noted antiquarian and collector of Philadelphia history. His diary indicates that he hired Frederick Debourg Richards (1822-1903) to photograph the homes of his father and himself, along with other Philadelphia landmarks. Throughout his life, Richards pursued a career as a landscape painter while making his living primarily through photography. He settled in Philadelphia in 1848, opening a daguerreotype studio across from Independence Hall. In the 1850s, like many photographers, Richards made a transition from images on copper plates to paper, forming a partnership with John Betts. Several of the paper prints in this album hold the blind stamp from the studio of Richards and Betts. Other photographs in the album can be attributed to another prominent Philadelphia paper photographer James McClees.

Eight of the restrikes included in this album are from The City of Philadelphia by William Birch (1779-1851), published in 1800. Birch made the engravings “as a memorial of [Philadelphia’s] progress for the first century.” The deluxe edition included hand-colored plates and sold for the enormous sum of $35. Today, this volume is extremely rare and even the loose plates highly collectable. Eight restrikes from his second book, The Country Seats of the United States of North America, published 1809, are also included in this McAllister album.

For a complete list of the salted paper photographs, continue below.

New Year's Gifts for the People

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J.J. Grandville (1803-1847), Etrennes au Peuple (New Year’s Gifts for the People). Lithograph on China paper. Published in La Caricature, no 113, planche 235, January 3, 1833.

The French caricaturist Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard, working under the pseudonym of J.J. Grandville, created a number of plates for French magazines including Le Silhouette, L’Artiste, Le Charivari, and La Caricature. This satirical scene denounces the repressive actions of the French government under Louis-Philippe, which sought to limit freedom of the press and personal expression. The image presents a man being stabbed in the back and pelted with a rain of iconic objects, including pears (representing Louis-Philippe), crutches (Talleyrand, who was then ambassador in London), a parsley pot (Jean-Charles Persil who attacked the newspapers as a prosecutor under Louis-Philippe), guns, chains, keys, bolts, cross, medals, cords, scissors, hats, bell and shoes, each representing members of the government.

This print is part of a recent donation generously given by Dr. William Helfand, president of the Grolier Club and a consultant to the National Library of Medicine, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and other institutions in areas relating to art and medicine. Dr. Helfand has written five books including Quack, Quack, Quack: the Sellers of Nostrums in Prints, Posters, Ephemera & Books… (GA Oversize 2005-0625Q), and The Picture of Health (Marquand Library N8223 .H44 1991) He has also published a number of articles on prints, caricatures, posters and ephemera relating to pharmacy and medicine. This posting shows only a few of the wonderful eighteenth- and nineteenth-century prints coming to Princeton thanks to Dr. Helfand.

Paul Gavarni (1804-1866), Enfant Terrible, 1833. Lithograph.

Honoré Daumier (1808-1879), Le Malade imaginaire (Hypocondriac), 1833. Lithograph.

After the painting by Thomas Wyck (ca.1616-1677), The Alchemist in his Laboratory. Engraving, ca. 1700.

Engraved by Jean-Jacques de Boissieu (1736-1810) after a drawing by Karl Du Jardin, Les Grands Charlatans, or Charlatan with guitar player and crowd. Engraving (drawing 1657), printed 1772.

Divine Books

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Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), The Divine Comedy; translated by Robert & Jean Hollander; illustrated by Monika Beisner (Verona: Valdonega, 2007). Copy 238 of 500. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2008-0109Q

Midway in the journey of our life
I came to myself in a dark wood,
for the straight way was lost.
Ah, how hard it is to tell
the nature of that wood, savage, dense and harsh —
the very thought of it renews my fear!

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), Dante’s Inferno: translations by twenty contemporary poets; frontispiece by Francesco Clemente ([Hopewell, NJ]: Ecco Press, 1993). Copy 21 of 125. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize PQ4315.2 .H28 1993q


Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Inferno / a verse translation by Tom Phillips with images and commentary ([London]: Talfourd Press, 1983). Copy 33 of 185. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2008-0003E

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), The Ante-Purgatorio; Cantos I-IX of the Purgatorio, English translations by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Original etchings by Jack Zajac (New York: Racolin Press, 1964). Edition of 215 copies. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2006-0046E

It is so bitter death is hardly more so.
But to set forth the good I found
I will recount the other things I saw.
How I came there I cannot really tell,
I was so full of sleep
when I forsook the one true way.
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri / the prose translation by Charles Eliot Norton ; with illustrations from designs by Botticelli (New York: Bruce Rogers & the Press of A. Colish, 1955). Copy 171 of 300. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2007-0376Q

The Princeton Dante Project:

Last Week to Submit an Entry for Adler Prize

Entries due at 5:00 p.m., Friday, November 28, 2008

Jane & Louise Wilson, Oddments Room II (Voyages of the Adventure and Beagle), 2008. C-print, Edition of 4. Courtesy 303 Gallery, New York

The Elmer Adler Undergraduate Book Collecting Prize is awarded annually to the student or students who, in the opinion of the judges, have shown the most thought and ingenuity in assembling a thematically coherent collection of books, manuscripts, or other material normally collected by libraries. The prize is endowed from the estate of Elmer Adler who for many years encouraged the collecting of books by Princeton undergraduates. The rarity and value of the student’s collection are not as important as the creativity and persistence shown in collecting and the fidelity of the collection to the goals described in a personal essay.

Essays should be submitted via e-mail, in a Microsoft Word attachment, to by 5:00 p.m. Friday, November 28, 2008 and should be no more than ten pages, double-spaced. Your entry should include a bibliography of the items in your collection. Please note your name, class year, residential address, email address, and phone number on a separate cover sheet.

Winners will receive their prizes at the spring dinner of the Friends of the Princeton University Library. The first prize essay will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Princeton University Library Chronicle and has the honor of representing Princeton University in a national book collecting competition. See last year’s national winner:

First prize: $2000

Second prize: $1500

Third prize: $1000

O-Livre-Twist and others

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Maria G. Pisano, Theater of Operations (Plainsboro: Memory Press, 2006). Graphic Arts (GAX) 2008- in process
Maria G. Pisano, O-Livre-Twist (Plainsboro: Pisano, 2001). Graphic Arts (GAX) 2008- in process

Maria Pisano is a book artist, printmaker, and papermaker who publishes limited edition books under the imprint Memory Press. Many of her projects are represented in the graphic arts collection.

The title Theater of Operations refers to the convention of naming a battle as a theatre and the spiral-bound book unfolds to form a miniature stage. Created in response to the first gulf war, the volume is divided into three sections—W A R—each made up of 8 pages cut into additive shapes with images of war laser printed on acidic paper.

O-Livre-Twist is made from a recycled copy of Dicken’s classic.

Hecatombe 9-11 was created in 2007. Pisano writes, “This memorial book is an attempt to come to terms with an experience that is a constant open wound for the nation. It incorporates all the victims’ names along with photographs of destroyed buildings and the impromptu memorials created by loved ones on downtown walls.”

Maria Pisano, Hecatombe 9-11 (Plainsboro: Memory Press, 2007). Graphic Arts (GAX) 2008- in process

Documents d'Atelier

Victor Champier (1851-1929), Documents d’atelier: art décoratif moderne (Paris: Libraire de la Revue des arts décoratifs, 1898). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2004-0581Q

Victor Champier founded the Revue des Arts Décoratifs (1887-1902) and established a school of industrial arts in Roubaix. He compiled these plates, printed through the pochoir or hand-stencilling process, to include 60 designs for decorations of textiles, wallpaper, ceramics, furniture, architecture, metalwork, sculpture, and jewelry. The book offers examples of work by Alphonse Mucha, A. Sandier, Francis Jourdain, A. Lalique, L. Bonnier, A. Tourette, C. Boignard, and other artists of the period.

The Penographic

…the writer is enabled to use it for 10 or 12 hours with the same ease as with a pencil…!

Patent Penographic or Writing Instrument [broadside] (London: W. Robson & Co., ca.1819). Graphic Arts division GAX 2008- in process

Scheffer’s Penographic, patented in 1819, was one of the first workable fountain pens. Its secret was a flexible tube made of a goose quill and pig’s bladder. Pressure was exerted on a lever and a knob to propel ink into the nib when desired.

Graphic Candy

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On Thursday, November 11, 1971, The Daily Princetonian ran a story about an exhibition of candy wrappers at the Firestone Library. “As a boy,” the story begins, “Ephraim di Kahble, an elusive member of the Class of 1939, had a tremendous sweet tooth.” The reporter goes on to recount how Kahble’s father had encouraged the young boy to write to candy companies and collect their wrappers. A sizable collection resulted, despite an incident during World War II in which Kahble was almost court-martialed for impersonating a candy inspector and stealing chocolate from European factories. This collection was ultimately donated to the graphic arts collection.

In fact, Kahble was a fictitious student, whose exploits turn up in a variety of printed stories and Princeton records. He was the invention of Frederick E. Fox, class of 1939, who did indeed write to candy companies as a Princeton freshman and gathered a collection of wrappers.

The letterhead on the stationery from the companies who responded to Fox is almost as intriguing as the candy wrappers themselves. Happily, many of these letters have been preserved along with company ephemera in GC149: Printed Ephemera, Candy

The End of the Stock-Market World

Last December 2007, I posted an entry on Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid or The Great Mirror of Folly. Each edition has a slightly different group of prints: Harvard’s copy has 71, Princeton’s 73, and each includes several not in the other volume.

This page, originally engraved by Monogrammist C L, later altered by an anonymous 18th-century Dutch engraver after Pieter Quast (1606-1647) and entitled De Actiewerld op Haar Ende (The End of the Stock-Market World), is included in Harvard’s copy but not Princeton’s. However, we recently acquired an impression to help complete our collection of the prints for in this anonymous 1720 project.

The central figure in this caricature is the philosopher Diogenes (ca. 412-323 BCE). Considered the founder of Cynicism, he eschewed worldly pleasures, wore coarse clothing, and pursued practical good. He is often shown carrying a lantern, searching for an honest person, but in this print his lantern has been given away (presumably having given up finding an honest man). He has lost everything in the stock-market bubble of 1720 from investing in the South Seas Company. As the text beneath the image concludes,

How easily can such a flier be upset by a South Sea blast or a Quinquempoix* bubble! So whoever gives his name and honor for the money, and adores it like an idol, deserves to be scorned in this fashion.

*Quinquempoix was the name of the street where the Parisian money market was located.

This print was first engraved around 1670 by the Monogrammist C L to satirize the tulip mania in the Netherlands. The plate was then altered to satirize the stock-market speculation of 1720.

Palatino's Tools of Handwriting

Giovanni Battista Palatino (ca.1515-ca.1575), Libro di M. Giovambattista Palatino cittadino romano: nel qual s’insegna à scriuere ogni sorte lettera, antica, & moderna di qualunque natione ([Rome: M. Guidotto & D. Viotto, 1556]). Graphic Arts division GAX 2008- in process

Originally published in 1540 with the title, Libro nuovo d’imparare a scrivere, Palatino’s writing manual/encyclopedia of current writing styles became an immediate and popular success. It was reprinted several times and then, in 1545 a new revised and enlarged edition was published with 15 additional plates and more exotic alphabets.

The first printed writing manual was published in Rome by Ludovico degli Arrighi in 1522. The audience for this and others that followed was mostly secretaries. Palatino’s book somehow attracted a wider audience, with its chapter on cryptography and lettera mancina (mirror writing), recipes for ink, illustrations of a variety of writing implements, and so on.

According to Ewan Clayton in his essay “A History of Learning to Write,”

Palatino’s book is interesting for what it tells us about the ordinary writing of that time. Most documents in the sixteenth century were still written in varieties of Gothic cursive and Palatino illustrates examples of such hands from Milan, Rome, Venice, Florence, Sienna, and Genoa. …Writing was not as homogeneous as it is today and there were many different styles in use concurrently.

For other editions and translations at Princeton University, continue below.

Verdun from the Meuse


James Alphege Brewer (fl.1909-1938), Verdun from the Meuse, 1916. Etching with watercolor, signed and titled in pencil. GA 2008.01068

The biography of J. Alphege Brewer has yet to be written and details are sketchy. He was the son of the artist H. W. Brewer and his brother H. C. Brewer also painted. Alphege was born around 1882 in Great Britain but moved to Paris, where he lived most of his professional career. He was especially successful drawing architectural views of the great cathedrals of France.

This view of the medieval city of Verdun, in the Lorraine region of northeast France, is typical of Brewer’s work. The river Meuse in the foreground places the viewer on a low horizon, giving the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Verdun a dramatic central focus.

We are grateful to Robert Milevski, our Preservation Librarian, for bringing this work to the attention of the Graphic Arts division.

George Washington 1732-1799

Charles Henry Hart (1847-1918), Catalogue of the Engraved Portraits of Washington (New York: The Grolier Club, 1904). “One of an edition of four hundred and twenty-five copies printed on American hand-made paper …” Graphic Arts division GAX 2008- in process

In 1904, the Grolier Club in New York City published a sumptuous, limited edition catalogue in honor of the centenary of George Washington’s death. The book features not only a complete listing of Washington portrait engravings but also 31 original mezzotint and photogravure prints.

Frank O. Briggs, of Trenton, N.J. purchased a copy, which eventually made it to the graphic arts division at Princeton University. Inside the front cover are a number of sheets of cream wove paper with the watermark of George Washington.

“Photogravure after mezzotint engraved by Valentine Green.”
“Engraved in mezzotint by S. Arlent Edwards from an original in oil, which was probably executed in 1798 or 1799.”

The Miliani Mill, Fabriano, Italy, created this watermark of Washington in recognition of the bicentennial celebration of his birth in 1932. Later, the Graphic Arts collection used it as a keepsake for their friends. The portrait is after a bust of Washington done by the sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon, who visited Mount Vernon in 1785. Houdon’s profile is said to have been one of Washington’s favorites.

“Photogravure after line engraving
attributed to John Norman.”

Alphabet pour adultes

Man Ray (1890-1976) Alphabet pour adultes (Paris: Éditions Pierre Belfond, 1970). Copy no. XVI of XXX hor commerce. 37 lithographs and one signed rayograph. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize ND237.R19 A46 1970f

Man Ray painted his first letter “Y” in 1923 as an homage to his friend Yves Tanguy. Even earlier, he contemplated creating an alphabet of Rayographs (photograms) but gave up the idea as too lengthy.

He eventually realized his project in 1947 in two entirely different versions. Alphabet was published by the Copley Galleries, Beverly Hills in 1948 and Analphabet was presented to a California collector around the same time. This second series of letters was published by Timothy Baum for Nadada Edition in 1974.

In 1970, at the age of 80, Man Ray completed a French edition, entitled Alphabets pour Adultes, seen here. The artist wrote, “A letter always suggests a word, and a word always suggests a book. There are words that are for every day use and there are words reserved for the more special occasions, for poetry … To make a new alphabet of the discarded props of a conversation can lead only to fresh discoveries in language.”

Western printing block

Full wood block Digital reverse image


Unidentified artist, Untitled wood block. American, ca.1900. 68 x 101 cm. IAN 83:36

We are trying to identify the artist or title of the woodcut made from this enormous woodblock. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Cuban postcards

Artists Unidentified. Postcards of Cuba, no dates but approximately 1900-1920. Graphic Arts division, GC141 Postcards Collection

The graphic arts division has a number of postcard collections, this one includes 2,393 postcards of Cuba. Most are collotypes and half-tone images, but a few have original photographs or prints. The collection now has a complete finding aid, thanks to the wonderful processing of Kate Carroll, class of 2009. Here’s a summary:

Box 1 Havana: homes, buildings, parks, plazas and surroundings.

Box 2 Havana: Views of the bay, harbors, main monuments, ships, fortresses, ramparts, aerial views and streets.

Box 3 Havana: Churches, monuments, cemetery, streets. Includes four famous postcards series, tourism ads, Bacardi and beer ads and patriotic propaganda related to the US and Cuba.

Box 4 Havana: Hotels, beaches, clubs, casinos, zoo, cabarets, restaurants, musicians, carnival, hippodrome, theatre, bull fights and cockfights.

Box 5 Life in Cuba and the country: Sugar cane industry, tobacco industry, homes, palms, rivers, transportation, soldiers, families, children, typical scenes, carriages, shops and street sellers.

Box 6 Cities from the interior: Pinar del Rio, Isla de Pinos, Matanzas, Cardenas, Varadero, Santa Clara, Cienfuegos, Camaguey, etc.

Box 7 Oriente: Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo and other regions.

Box 8 Oversize.

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