Berthier’s Manuscript Maps of America, 1781–82

The Princeton University Library is pleased to announce that it has digitized and put online Louis-Alexandre Berthier’s manuscript maps of the United States in the final years of the American Revolution. The 111 numbered maps and related journals are Berthier’s record of the 680-mile overland march of the French army of some 5,750 men under Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau, from Newport, Rhode Island, to Yorktown, Virginia, during the summer and early autumn of 1781, and the return march of the French Army from Virginia to Boston, July–December 1782. The French army joined forces in July 1781 with the Continental Army under Gen. George Washington at Philipsburg, New York, and then with the French fleet under Admiral de Grasse, resulting in the defeat and surrender of British forces under Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, on October 19, 1781. The maps were executed, presumably soon after the momentous events of the American Revolution, from sketches and other information made on by Berthier during the march. The maps fall into two interrelated series: (1) the French Army’s camp sites on the southward march from Newport, Rhode Island, to Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781, and on the return march northward in the summer and autumn of 1782; and (2) “Itineraries” or daily marches of the Army (from Newport as far as Elkton, Maryland, in 1781. The daily marches for the 1782 northward journey are lacking among the Berthier Collection at Princeton. Another set of Berthier’s maps is preserved among the Rochambeau Papers in the Library of Congress; this set, although duplicating in part the Princeton set, is apparently less complete. Harry C. Black, Class of 1909, acquired the Berthier Collection, formerly in the Berthier family archives at Château de Grosbois, France, and donated them to the Library in 1939.

Berthier’s road maps are the most spectacular part of the collection, documenting the march of French and Continental forces and providing an early cartographic record of a few major cities, such as Philadelphia and Baltimore, as well as many small towns and villages. There are two maps of Princeton (nos. 54, 55), one of which shows the location of Nassau Hall. Other places in New Jersey include Pompton (Pompton Plains), Whippany, Bullion’s Tavern (Liberty Corner), Somerset Courthouse (Millstone), and Trenton). The maps cannot be fully appreciated without the accompanying textual material of his journal (1780-1783), which provides a detailed description and explanation of the routes covered by the maps. In addition, there are related manuscripts and documents, including a letter (1785) from Rochambeau, notes on the history of Virginia, and Berthier’s journal of his later visit to Prussia (1783).In later years, Berthier continued to be employed in staff posts, and to earn regular promotions. He saw active military service during the French Revolution. In 1796 he accompanied General Bonaparte in the Italian campaign, as chief of staff of the army. Soon after Bonaparte became Emperor Napolean I, in 1804, he chose Berthier as one of the eighteen army officers to be named Marshal of the Empire. Subsequently, Berthier acquired other titles: Duke of Valangin, Price of Neufchâtel, Prince of Wagram. Marshal Berthier was with Napolean in the campaigns of Austerlitz, Jena, and Friedland; he was in the Peninsular Campaign (1808), the Austrian Campaign (1809), in Russia (1812), Germany (1813), and France (1814). In 1814 he abandoned Napoleon, and died the following year, on June 1, 1815, at Bamberg.

To view the finding aid for the Louis-Alexandre Berthier Collection (C0022), go to http://findingaids.princeton.edu/collections/C0022. At the main screen, one can either browse under “Contents and Arrangement” (on the left side) or download the finding aid by clicking on “View Entire Finding Aid” (upper right). To search for maps of particular cities and towns, enter the place name and the word map in the search window (“Search this Collection”). Then review the search results, select the particular map of interest, and click on “View Image.” Please note, images are not to be published or broadcast without permission of the Princeton University Library. For conservation reasons, access to the original manuscripts is restricted. Researchers should use the digital images provided online. The best study of Berthier’s journals and maps is Howard C. Rice, Jr., and Anne S. K. Brown, The American Campaigns of Rochambeau’s Army 1780, 1781, 1782, 1783 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1972), 2 volumes. For more information about the Berthier Collection or permission to publish and/or broadcast images, contact the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at rbsc@princeton.edu

Berthier map of Philadelphia 1781

Map of Philadelphia, 1781

Woody Allen: The Screenwriter at Work

Firestone Library is pleased to be exhibiting a selection of Woody Allen’s film scripts in conjunction with the question-and-answer session with the celebrated American movie director, screenwriter, and author in Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium on Sunday, October 27. On display in the Eighteenth-Century Window of Firestone Library (October 21–November 17) are versions of What’s New, Pussycat? (1965), Sleeper (1973), Annie Hall (1977), Manhattan (1979), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), and Midnight in Paris (2010). The scripts are from the Woody Allen Papers, in the Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Since 1980, Princeton has been the repository for the papers of the Woody Allen. In making his initial gift of papers to Princeton, Allen wrote, “When the idea of donating them to a university came up, Princeton was immediately thought of because of very kind interest by the school and Mr. Laurence Rockefeller” [Class of 1932]. Since then, the papers have grown to 48 boxes of manuscripts, typescripts, and other materials documenting Woody Allen’s writing life, from television and stand-up comedy writing in the 1950s and ’60s to the present.

Allen is best known for writing, directing, and acting in many of his own films, and has been the recipient of many honors and awards, including four Academy Awards: Annie Hall, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay (co-written with Marshall Brickman), 1978; Hannah and Her Sisters, Best Original Screenplay, 1987; and Midnight in Paris, Best Screenplay, 2012. The papers shows the stages of crafting film scripts, from handwritten plot outlines and drafts on yellow legal pads to successive typescript versions, corrected by the author and often stapled together from different versions. There are also bound mimeographed production scripts. Allen has also been a contributor in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Kenyon Review, and other magazines. The papers contain drafts, typescripts, and proofs of articles, short stories, essays, plays, comedy writing, and other documentation of Allen’s creative life.

To access the finding aid, go to http://findingaids.princeton.edu/collections/TC002  For reference assistance, email rbsc@princeton.edu

Woody Allen typing

 

Mario Vargas Llosa Visits Papers

The celebrated Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature (2010), recently visited the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections with his son Álvaro Vargas Llosa, a writer and commentator on Latin American and international affairs. They visited to review a few of about 300 boxes and cartons of the Mario Vargas Llosa Papers (C0641), which are preserved in the Manuscripts Division (see photos below). Vargas Llosa is currently a Lecturer in Creative Writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts and the Program in Latin American Studies.  He is co-teaching a course with Ephrain Kristal, Visiting Professor of Comparative Literature and the Program in Latin American Studies. The course is “The Literary Works of Mario Vargas Llosa in Their Artistic, Intellectual and Political Contexts” (LAS 329). In connection with course reading and writing assignments, students in the class are making independent visits to the Department of Rare Books and Special Collection to consult portions of the Vargas Llosa Papers.

Mario Vargas Llosa’s papers include the author’s notebooks, drafts, corrected proofs, and manuscripts of scripts, essays, articles, speeches, and lectures. His extensive correspondence covers the period 1957 to 1994, and includes letters from family members, publishers, and a wide range of renowned writers such as Jorge Amado, José María Arguedas, Carlos Barral, Mario Benedetti, José Bianco, Julio Cortázar, José Donoso, Rosario Ferré, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Márquez, Ana María Matute, Pablo Neruda, José Emilio Pacheco, Nelida Piñon, Carlos Quijano, Augusto Roa Bastos, Sebastián Salazar Bondy, Manuel Scorza, and others. Also in his papers is the political archive pertaining to his leadership of the the Movimiento Libertad, a civic organization which was founded in Peru in 1987, and as the presidential candidate of Frente Democrático (FREDEMO) in 1989 and 1990. For an inventory of the Mario Vargas Llosa Papers, go to http://findingaids.princeton.edu/collections/C0641  The papers are one of more than 70 literary archives in the Manuscripts Division, including Reinaldo Arenas, José Bianco, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Julio Cortázar, José Donoso, Carlos Fuentes, Elena Garro, Emir Rodríguez Monegal, Alejandra Pizarnik, Juan José Saer, and many other authors. For a listing of Latin American literary collections, go to http://firestone.princeton.edu/latinam/literarymss.php. For reference assistance about Princeton’s holdings, contact rbsc@princeton.edu.

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Mario Vargas Llosa (left), with Álvaro Vargas Llosa (right). Not to be reproduced without permission of the Princeton University Library.

Fitzgerald’s Princeton Novel Goes Online

F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896–1940), Class of 1917,  entered Princeton a century ago. His first day of classes was on his birthday, September 24, 1913. Marking this centennial, the Princeton University Library has digitized Fitzgerald’s manuscripts and typescripts of his autobiographical first novel, This Side of Paradise (1920), from the F. Scott Fitzgerald Papers, in the Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library:  http://pudl.princeton.edu/collections/pudl0044

The papers were the gift of the author’s daughter Scottie Fitzgerald Lanahan in 1950 and remain among the greatest treasures in the Princeton University Library. This Side of Paradise still stands are the most famous literary work about Princeton University. While Fitzgerald was not a good student and never graduated, dropping out in 1917 to join the U.S. Army during World War I, he began learning the craft of writing as an undergraduate and befriended other students who were aspiring authors, Edmund Wilson, Class of 1916, and John Peale Bishop, Class of 1917. Fitzgerald came to form a deep affection for Princeton that lasted until his untimely death in Hollywood.

Fitzgerald began writing This Side of Paradise at Princeton, continued in November 1917 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, with the working title “The Romantic Egoist,” and completed a first draft at Cottage Club in March 1918. After this draft had been twice rejected by the distinguished New York publisher Charles Scribner’s Sons, Fitzgerald returned to his parents’ home at 599 Summit Avenue in his native St. Paul, Minnesota, and added five new chapters to the four he had written the previous year. He changed the second title of the novel from “The Education of a Personage” to “This Side of Paradise” and sent the novel to Maxwell Perkins at Scribner’s. The publisher accepted the novel on September 16, 1919, and published it on March 26, 1920.  Publication of the novel launched the young author on a successful writing career, with nearly 50,000 copies in print by 1921, and helped him win Zelda Sayre’s hand in marriage.

With the manuscripts and typescripts now online, one can see the author at work writing and revising the two halves of his novel, “The Romantic Egotist” and “The Education of a Personage.” Two versions survive and have been digitized: (1) “The Romantic Egotist,” the earlier corrected typescript in five chapters that Fitzgerald sent to Charles W. Donahoe in October 1918, and the latter donated to Princeton in 1948. (2) “This Side of Paradise,” which includes about 80 typescript pages that Fitzgerald reused from “The Romantic Egotist.” Fitzgerald wrote by hand and did not type, so errors were likely introduced by the anonymous typist, who drew diagonal lines through pages as they were typed. In addition to the author’s own corrections, a St. Paul school friend named Katherine Tighe (formerly described as an anonymous reader, called “the Grammarian”) went through the manuscript to correct spelling, grammar, and expression, especially toward the end of the novel. Fitzgerald’s galleys and page proofs do not survive, but we know that innumerable errors escaped his attention, and his celebrated editor as well. The novel became a commercial success despite the many errors, some of which were corrected in subsequent printings.

Fitzgerald’s hastily written, somewhat disjointed coming-of-age novel about contemporary American youth, restless and disillusioned, was thinly based on his own life, with Amory Blaine as his alter-ego and other characters based on college friends and early romantic interests. Despite imperfections, the novel made him a voice of the post-World War I generation, a theme we can see when Fitzgerald writes in the novel, “Long after midnight the towers and spires of Princeton were visible, with here and there a late-burning light—and suddenly out of the clear darkness the sound of bells. As an endless dream it went on; the spirit of the past brooding over a new generation, the chosen youth from the muddled, unchastened world, still fed romantically on the mistakes and half-forgotten dreams of dead statesmen and poets. Here was a new generation, shouting the old cries, learning the old creeds, through a revery of long days and nights; destined finally to go out into that dirty gray turmoil to follow love and pride; a new generation dedicated more than the last to the fear of poverty and the worship of success; grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken.”

Today, This Side of Paradise is probably of most interest as evidence of Fitzgerald’s early writing efforts at Princeton and in the years after he dropped out. Yet the book still provides encouragement and inspiration for new generations of Princeton students a century later. But Fitzgerald drew heavily on his experiences at Princeton and was able to incorporate portions of his undergraduate contributions to the Nassau Literary Magazine [Nassau Lit for short], most notably “The Spire and the Gargoyle” (February 1917) for book 1, chapter 2, of the novel. As Prof. James L. W. West III demonstrated in The Making of This Side of Paradise (1983), p. 43, the novel has echoes of Fitzgerald’s other Nassau Lit stories of 1917, published before he left Princeton, including “The Debutante,” “Babes in the Woods,” “Princeton—The Last Day,” and “On a Play Twice Seen.”

The novel is filled with scores of local references to Princeton University, including the Nassau Lit, Daily Princetonian, Triangle Club, and Cottage Club. Princeton football, the Nassau Inn, and other subjects also come up.  Fitzgerald’s protagonist, Amory Blaine, reveals the author’s love of the university, its campus and Collegiate Gothic architecture. “Princeton drew him most,” wrote Fitzgerald, “with its atmosphere of bright colors and its alluring reputation as the pleasantest country club in America…. From the first he loved Princeton — its lazy beauty, its half-grasped significance, the wild moonlight revel of the rushes, the handsome, prosperous big-game crowds, and under it all the air of struggle that pervaded his class.” His love for Princeton never left him. A decade later, in an article in College Humor (1927), Fitzgerald wrote about Princeton, “one sees the ideal of a university become a myth, a vision, a meadow lark among the smoke stacks. Yet perhaps it is there at Princeton, only more elusive than under the skies of the Prussian Rhineland or Oxfordshire; or perhaps some men come upon it suddenly and possess it, while others wander forever outside. Even these seek in vain through middle age for any corner of the republic that preserves so much of what is fair, gracious, charming and honorable in American life.”

This Side of Paradise joins the previously digitized autograph manuscript and corrected galleys of The Great Gatsby in the Princeton University Digital Library. For information about the digital edition, contact Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts, dcskemer@princeton.edu  Concerning the Fitzgerald Papers and photoduplication, contact Gabriel Swift, Reference Librarian, gswift@princeton.edu; rbsc@princeton.edu  For information about the manuscripts and typescripts, see This Side of Paradise: The Manuscripts and Typescripts, edited with an introduction by Matthew J. Bruccoli (New York: Garland Publishing, 1990), 2 vols. Concerning the evolution of the text, see James L. W. West III, The Making of This Side of Paradise (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983); and This Side of Paradise, edited by James L.W. West III, The Cambridge Edition of the Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald (Cambridge, England; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1995).

Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise quotation 001

F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise (autograph manuscript), F. Scott Fitzgerald Papers, Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton Universaity Library. “Long after midnight the towers and spires of Princeton were visible, with here and there a late-burning light—and suddenly out of the clear darkness the sound of bells. As an endless dream it went on; the spirit of the past brooding over a new generation, the chosen youth from the muddled, unchastened world…”

 

 

Checklist of Western Medieval, Byzantine, and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Princeton University Library Now Online

Click to open or download PDF: “Checklist of Western Medieval, Byzantine, and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Princeton University Library and the Scheide Library.

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections has very significant holdings of western medieval, Byzantine, and Renaissance manuscripts, ranging in date from the 8th to 16th centuries. Most of them are in the Manuscripts Division, in the collections of Robert Garrett, Class of 1897; Robert Taylor, Class of 1930; Grenville Kane; and the growing Princeton Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts.

This checklist is not a catalogue, but rather a listing of more than 500 manuscrits in the Princeton University Library and the Scheide Library by holding unit, collection, and manuscript number or shelfmark. Links are given for well over 2,000 digital images of miniatures, illustrations, and selected diagrams and decoration in the manuscripts, about a third of which are illuminated. It also provides links to digitized grayscale microfilm of Middle English manuscripts at Princeton and for a group of important manuscripts digitized in the Library since the 1990s. While Latin texts are predominant, there are excellent holdings of Byzantine and post-Byzantine Greek manuscripts, and vernacular manuscripts in Middle English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Dutch or Flemish.

Two recently published catalogues provide full textual and codicological description of western medieval, Byzantine, and Renaissance manuscripts, illustrated with hundreds of color plates. In addition, the online checklist serves as a guide to sources of full cataloging and digital images for western medieval, Byzantine, and Renaissance manuscripts in the Princeton University Library and the Scheide Library.

Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Princeton University Library. By Don C. Skemer; incorporating contributions by Adelaide Bennett, Jean F. Preston, William P. Stoneman and the Index of Christian Art (Princeton, N.J.: Department of Art and Archaeology and the Princeton University Library, in association with Princeton University Press, 2013). 2 volumes (I: xxv, 483 pages, 88 pages of plates; II: xix, 558 pages, 40 pages of plates): color illustrations; 30 cm: This catalogue covers the holdings of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.

Greek Manuscripts at Princeton, Sixth to Nineteenth Century: A Descriptive Catalogue. By Sofia Kotzabassi and Nancy Patterson Ševčenko; with the collaboration of Don C. Skemer (Princeton, N.J.: Department of Art and Archaeology and Program in Hellenic Studies, Princeton University, in association with Princeton University Press, 2010). xxix, 304 p., [174] p. of plates of color and black-and-white plates; 31 cm:  This catalogue covers the holdings of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, The Scheide Library, Princeton University Art Museum, and Princeton Theological Seminary.

Photoduplication is readily available. The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections maintains high-resolution digital files, slides, and transparencies for these manuscripts. For conservation reasons, use of a few manuscripts is restricted. For additional information and to make appointments, potential researchers are strongly encouraged to contact Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts, at dcskemer@princeton.edu.

Digitization of The Great Gatsby Autograph Manuscript and Galleys

The Princeton University Library is very pleased to announce the digitization of the autograph manuscript and corrected galleys of F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896–1940), The Great Gatsby (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1925), which were donated to the Princeton University Library in 1950 by Scottie Fitzgerald Lanahan, the daughter of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Fitzgerald. These manuscripts are part of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Papers (C0187), the best-known, comprehensive author archive in the Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. We can see Fitzgerald at work on his third novel over a four-year period: (1) Ur-Gatsby (2-page fragment), the author’s abandoned effort, conceived in 1922 and written in 1923; (2) The Great Gatsby autograph manuscript (302 pages), which he largely wrote in France and completed by September 1924; and (3) corrected galleys of “Trimalchio,” the novel’s working title when it was typeset by Charles Scribner’s Sons in 1924, only to be much reworked by the author early in 1925. The digital images are online in the Princeton University Digital Library (PUDL): with the permission of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Trust (copyright holder), acting in consultation with Harold Ober Associates (literary agency representing the Fitzgerald Literary Trust) and Simon & Schuster (owner of the Scribner imprint). The digitized manuscript and galleys are online in time for Princeton University’s Commencement 2013, a century after F. Scott Fitzgerald (Class of 1917) became a freshman at Princeton in 1913. Digitization is particularly timely because of intense popular interest in the author and his great novel as a result of Australian movie director Baz Luhrmann’s new film version of The Great Gatsby, released on May 10.

Fitzgerald conceived and crafted his novel in layers over a three-year period. In June 1922, living at White Bear Lake, Minnesota, he began planning his new book, which Fitzgerald specialists now refer to as the Ur-Gatsby. He started writing this novel in June 1923 and produced some 18,000 words. It was set in the Midwest around 1885 and did not have Nick Carraway as its narrator. Two pages of this manuscript survive at Princeton quite by chance, since Fitzgerald attached them to a letter that he sent to Willa Cather. But much of the Ur-Gatsby text was discarded or published elsewhere, such as the short story “Absolution” (June 1924). By April 1924, now living in Great Neck, New York, Fitzgerald began working on the novel again, but now set in 1922. Fitzgerald completed the autograph manuscript in France by September 1924. The draft was just over 250 pages, almost always only on rectos. Fitzgerald customarily wrote in pencil, as we can see in a brief bit of grainy 1920s film footage showing him writing in a garden. He did not type and therefore had a secretary prepare a typescript from the manuscript.

In November 1924, Fitzgerald sent the typescript to his legendary Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins, who had galleys set from them. Unfortunately, this typescript and subsequent typescripts and carbon copies do not survive. The “Trimalchio” galleys were sent to Fitzgerald in Rome, where he corrected and revised them during the first two months of 1925. The author corrected the galleys in pencil but also pasted on long typed additions of text. As James L.W. West III has noted in his edition of Trimalchio, the book in the original galleys was not the same novel as The Great Gatsby as finally published. Despite similarities, there are crucial differences. Fitzgerald conveyed or recommended additional corrections and changes to Maxwell Perkins by letter and telegram. Among other things, the author considered alternative titles, such as “Among the Ash Heaps and Millionaires” and “Gold-Hatted Gatsby.” By spring 1925, Fitzgerald settled on “Under the Red, White and Blue.” However, by the time he had communicated this to Maxwell Perkins, the book had already been published (April 10, 1925) as The Great Gatsby, the title Perkins liked best. Fitzgerald had hesitated about the title because he said there was nothing great about Jay Gatsby and felt that the title, using a surname, might remind people of Sinclair Lewis’s novel Babbitt (1922).

Matthew J. Bruccoli suggested that some portions in a smaller hand were copied from the earlier manuscript draft, while others in a larger hand were first draft. Fitzgerald made innumerable changes in the story line and inserted new text at many points. Clearly visible on nearly every page of the autograph manuscript are his corrections (from entire passages and paragraphs to cross outs with interlinear replacements of a word or phrase), erasures (some decipherable, others not, leaving gaps in the text), instructions (with arrows), handwritten additions on additional sheets of paper, and other changes. The creative process is also much in evidence with the galleys, which the author corrected in pencil, as well as adding typed sheets of revised text tipped onto particular galleys. Bruccoli argued that the author “regarded galleys as a special kind of typescript or trial edition in which to rewrite whole scenes as necessary.” Fitzgerald sent innumerable letters and telegrams to his legendary editor Maxwell Perkins, preserved at Princeton in the Archives of Charles Scribner’s Sons (C0101). Most of them relate to progress on the book, but some sent from Rome and Capri list corrections. Even after publication, Fitzgerald continued to think of making more changes in later printings or additions, and for this reason corrected a personal copy of the first edition, which is preserved in his papers.

For information about the digital edition of The Great Gatsby autograph manuscript and corrected galleys, contact Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts, dcskemer@princeton.edu  For a recent interview, see Princeton Alumni Weekly (June 5, 2013): http://paw.princeton.edu/issues/2013/06/05/pages/5800/index.xml  Concerning the Fitzgerald Papers and photoduplication, email Gabriel Swift, Reference Librarian, gswift@princeton.edu; rbsc@princeton.edu  Essential bibliography about the manuscript and galleys includes F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Facsimile of the Manuscript, edited with an introduction by Matthew J. Bruccoli (Washington, D.C.: Microcard Editions Books, 1973); Matthew J. Bruccoli, “An Instance of Apparent Plagiarism: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Willa Cather, and the First Gatsby Manuscript,” Princeton University Library Chronicle, vol. 39 (Spring 1978), pp. 171–78; Trimalchio: A Facsimile Edition of the Original Galley Proofs for The Great Gatsby, afterword by Matthew J. Bruccoli (Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, in cooperation with the Thomas Cooper Library, 2000); F. Scott Fitzgerald, Trimalchio: An Early Version of The Great Gatsby, edited by James L.W. West III, Cambridge Edition of the Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald (Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000).

Autograph manuscript of The Great Gatsby, first page. Not to be reproduced without permission of the Princeton University Library.

Autograph manuscript of The Great Gatsby, first page. Not to be reproduced without permission of the Princeton University Library.

 

 

“George Segal: Sculptor as Photographer”

The exhibition “George Segal: Sculptor as Photographer” opens at the Princeton University Library on July 25. It focuses on the American artist George Segal (1924–2000), who spent most of his creative life in nearby North Brunswick, N.J. He is best known as a sculptor of distinctive plaster figures cast from life and placed, sometimes with other figures and objects, in tableaux or “environments.” But Segal worked in other mediums as well, including photography, especially in the 1980s and 1990s. Photography complemented Segal’s interest in the built environments of New York and New Jersey. Often accompanied by his friend, photographer Donald Lokuta, Segal began taking day trips through the streets of New York, especially the East Village and Lower East Side, as well as Newark’s Ironbound district. He was fascinated by Coney Island and Jersey Shore towns, such as Asbury Park, Keansburg, and Seaside Heights.

Segal selected 26 of his photographs for the portfolio Sequence: New York/New Jersey, 1990–1993. But most of his nearly 7,000 surviving photographs, donated to Princeton in 2009 by the George and Helen Segal Foundation, are unknown. They are preserved as part of the George Segal Papers, comprising nearly 80 linear feet of correspondence, business files, and original art, in the Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. The Segal exhibition, curated by Valerie Addonizio and Don Skemer, aims to make Segal’s photography better known and to show how his sculpture and photography were related. Like his sculptures, Segal’s photographs capture ordinary people and the mundane details of life. People often seem lost in thought, alone despite being in public places. Segal also photographed mannequins in store windows and other plaster-cast figures, perhaps because his own sculpture was based on life casts. But beyond any connection with his own sculpture, Segal was interested in photography as art.

George Segal was born in New York City and came of age as an artist at a time when Avant-Garde art and Abstract Expressionism were most influential. He began his working life as a New Jersey poultry farmer in North Brunswick, yet continued to paint, sculpt, and exhibit his work through the 1950s. In 1957 his farm was the setting for the first outdoor “Happening,” organized by the American painter and performance artist Allan Kaprow. This arts event was a harbinger of the 1960s, when Segal became a full-time artist and played an important part in the Pop Art movement, along with artists such as Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. In 1961, Segal pioneered his signature technique of sculpting people, sometimes family and friends, by means of applying plaster bandages.

Segal’s works are found in New York City at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of Art, and the Guggenheim Museum; Smithsonian Institution, and in many other American and international museums, including the Centre National d’Art Contemporain (Paris), the Musée des Beaux-Arts (Montreal), and the National Museuum of Art (Osaka, Japan). His “Bread Line” (1991), vividly recalling life during the Great Depression, and two other bronze sculptures were commissioned for the FDR Memorial, in Washington, D.C. Segal donated his “Abraham and Isaac—In Memory of May 4, 1970” (1979) to Princeton University, and the Segal Foundation recently donated “Circus Acrobats” (1981) to the Princeton University Art Museum.

Exhibition in the Milberg Gallery, Firestone Library

Gallery hours: September 5–February 12, Monday–Friday, 9:00 am–5:00 pm

Saturday–Sunday, 12:00–5:00 pm

Public Program in McCormick 101

Sunday, November 6, 2011, 3:00–4:00 pm

Art historian Phyllis Tuchman will give an illustrated public lecture, “George Segal: Sculptor, Painter, Photographer.”

For more information about the George Segal exhibition or his papers, please contact Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts, dcskemer@princeton.edu.  A description of Segal’s papers is available online at http://diglib.princeton.edu/ead/pdf?id=ark:/88435/tx31qh77q.

George Segal, Manhattan at Night, 1986. © George and Helen Segal Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, N.Y. Not to be reproduced without permission of VAGA.