New acquisitions Archives

July 30, 2007

Recently acquired
• Angelo Decembrio, De politia litteraria (1540)

    Purchased in spring 2007 with funds provided by the Friends of the Princeton University Library. Professor Anthony Grafton’s comments on this book: “The Milanese humanist Angelo Decembrio provides in his De politia litteraria a uniquely vivid, if fictionalized, record of literary life at the court of Ferrara in the age of Leonello d’Este. His court was the favorite habitat of the great humanist teacher Guarino of Verona; the architect, humanist and theorist of the arts Leon Battista Alberti; the poet Tito Vespasiano Strozzi; and many other scholars, writers, and erudite soldiers of fortune. In Decembrio’s unique dialogues we listen to these men debating the value of ancient and modern poetry, discussing the quality of Flemish tapestries and other works of art, examining the Egyptian obelisk that still stands in Vatican City in the Piazza S. Pietro; and describing the ideal renaissance library and how it should be kept. The text has fascinated students of the Renaissance for the last century and more, and parts of it have been edited (the one on the obelisk, for example, by Brian Curran, now of Penn State, and myself; that on works of art by Michael Baxandall).
“In collaboration with Christopher Celenza of Johns Hopkins, I plan to edit and translate parts of this text, … But it won’t be an easy text to edit. Decembrio’s work survives in two distinct recensions: one preserved in a Latin manuscript in the Vatican, of which we have a full copy; the other in two printed editions based on a manuscript stolen from the Vatican in 1527 and now lost. The differences are multiple and subtle, and the supposedly critical edition that appeared four years ago in Germany is very problematic. We [can] collate the divergent texts far more easily [now that] Firestone ha[s] both printed texts.
“The edition itself is of considerable interest, moreover: its title page illustration is a spectacular rendering of learned conversation, one of the most brilliant ones of this period, and the text it offers is curious in many respects.” Email:

Call number for the book: (Ex) Oversize 2008-0435Q

July 31, 2007

Newly catalogued • Hodder and Stoughton dustjackets

Wrappers of books published by Hodder and Stoughton Limited (London, 1900-1940)
Call number: (Ex) Item 4572624

Freshest advices! A complete listing of this collection is now available (4 August 2008). See

A collection of approximately 1200 wrappers and dust jackets, in albums and loose [viz. 2 vols. and 3 boxes], originally part of the publisher’s archives. Items mounted on leaves, arranged as follows:

[H&S vol 1] Bound in brown cloth, Guildhall Library shelfmark on spine: Ms 16346A vol 1, ca. 1920-40: books at 9d, also (inverted at end) at 2s; [H&S vol 2] Bound in brown cloth, Guildhall Library shelfmark on spine: Ms 16346A vol 3, ca. 1920-40: books at 2s, also (inverted at end) at 2/6, 3/6 and 5s.; [H&S box 1 - unit 1] Leaves (brown) with wrappers for books at 2s “Yellow Jacket” series, leaves numerated in white 1 to 50, probably ca 1920-1940 [approx. 53]; [H&S box 1 - unit 2] Leaves (brown) with wrappers for books at 3/6 and 2s, leaves numerated in yellow 2 to 71, leaves 2 to 51, books at 3/6, leaves 52 to 71, books at 2s Probably ca 1920-1940 [approx 60] ; [H&S box 2] 38 leaves (white) with wrappers for books at 1s. 2s, 2/6, 6s, leaves numerated and not numerated [approx 75] ;
[H&S box 3 - unit 1] Leaves (brown) with wrappers for books at 3/6, some “Yellow Jacket Western” series, leaves numerated in yellow 52 to 58 [approx. 18]; [H&S box 3 - unit 2] Leaves (brown) with wrappers for books at 9d and unpriced, leaves numerated in white: 25, 10[1], 10[2], 113 [approx. 12] ; [H&S box 3 - unit 3] 18 leaves (brown) with wrappers for books at 9d and various prices, leaves not numerated — [approx 70] ; [H&S box 3 - unit 4] 45 torn fragments of leaves (brown) with wrappers for books at 9d and various other prices [approx. 45]; [H&S box 3 - unit 5] 26 cut fragments of leaves (brown) with wrappers for books at 9d and various other prices [approx. 26] ; [H&S box 3 - unit 6] 23 unmounted wrappers [23]

Provenance: Princeton collection formerly on deposit at the Guildhall Library, London. In March 2001, Hodder and Stoughton withdrew these and eventually sold them. Princeton purchased this lot from a Boston bookseller in April, 2007.


August 1, 2007

Additions to Book History ephemera • Posters

No Knowledge=No Bread. Knowledge Lies in Books. Books are on the Cooperatives. (Russia, 1925)
Graphic Arts GA 2005.01165
The Girl Who Reads Sensation Story Papers. (United States, ca.1891). (Ex) Broadside 392 [Larger image]


August 26, 2007

Award to Prof. William Gleason supports purchase of A Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper, from American Slavery (London, 1837)

Figures • Upper: Title and price stamped in gilt on front cover. Middle: Title page with verses from William Cowper’s “The Task,” book II, lines 40-45, first published in 1785. Bottom: Illustrated pages (19 and 51). Click on thumbnail for full-size view.
Call number for the book: (Ex) 2007-1634N
The Library has recently purchased the rare first edition of an important American slave narrative with funds provided by the President’s Awards for Distinguished Teaching, At Commencement 2006, Prof. William Gleason of the Department of English received the award, which included a portion for Library purchases. He directed the book portion go toward acquiring Moses Roper’s Narrative, first published in London in 1837. Graphic and poignant, the text went through several editions before the Civil War, then was not reprinted again until 1969 when it appeared in the Rhistoric Publications (Philadelphia) Afro-American History series. The text remains in print today.

A Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper, from American Slavery (1837) gave the antislavery movement in England and America exactly what it wanted—a hard-hitting tour of slavery as a visitation of hell on earth, conducted by someone who had seen and suffered it all but who had survived to tell his story in a manner likely to evoke both credence and sympathy. The British clergyman who wrote the preface to Roper’s narrative solicited curious and prurient readers by promising them a kind of pious pornography: “There is no vice too loathsome—no passion too cruel or remorseless, to be engendered by this horrid system [of slavery]. It brutalizes all who administer it, and seeks to efface the likeness of God, stamped on the brow of its victims. It makes the former class demons, and reduces the latter to the level of brutes.” The twenty-two-year-old author of the Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper delivered what his white antislavery sponsors desired. The first scene of Roper’s Narrative details in a shocking but deadpan manner how the author, born in Caswell County, North Carolina, the son of his master and one of his master’s slaves, barely escaped death at the hands of his master’s enraged wife. Light-skinned and cooperative as a boy, Moses was trained for the comparatively mild duties of a domestic slave. But when he was sold to a South Carolina cotton planter whom Roper identifies only as Mr. Gooch, teenaged Moses was put to work in the fields, where he was subjected to floggings almost daily. Roper’s portrait of Gooch as an unmitigated sadist gave American antislavery literature the first example of what would become in Stowe’s horrendous creation Simon Legree a distillation of all that black America despised in the arrogant Anglo-Saxon: brutality, violence, hypocrisy, and tyranny.” — William L. Andrews, “General Introduction” to North Carolina Slave Narratives (Chapel Hill, 2003), p.5-7.

September 7, 2007

Four Drawings by Renoir

The Library has just acquired the first illustrated edition of Emile Zola’s famous novel of working class life, L’Assommoir. The novel first appeared in serialized form between 13 April 1876 and 7 January 1877, and sold well. Building on this popularity, the Paris publishers Marpon and Flammarion issued an illustrated edition in 59 parts in 1878. Each part had one illustration, keyed to a particular page. More than ten artists contributed artwork, which was published as a wood engraving. (More than five wood engravers were involved.)

The artists were notable in their day, and, for some, their reputation endured. Among those, the best known today is Auguste Renoir (1841-1919). He contributed four drawings to the project. Illustrated above is that adjacent to page 283, in which the heroine of the novel, Gervaise, and her lover Lantier listen at a café to Mademoiselle Amanda, declared by Lantier to be a “high class singer.” (Click on image for larger view.) Other pages contributed by Renoir are also scenes, indoors or out: page 136, La loge des Boche; page 192, Le père Bru piétinait dans la neige pour se réchauffer.; and page 368, Les filles d’ouvriers se promenant sur le boulevard extérieur. “Elles s’en allaient, se tenant par les bras, occupant la largeur des chausses.” Each work exhibits his painterly, impressionistic line, contrasting sharply with the acute lines of other illustrations by such artists as André Gill (1840-1885) or Maurice Leloir (1853-1940).

The result of this collaboration of artists, wood engravers, printers and publishers was a large, deluxe book with each illustration printed twice: once on a thick stock used also for the text (“papier de Hollande”) and once on China paper, whose soft surface caught shadings of ink more vividly than thick paper. The parts were bound in a red morocco half leather binding by Paul-Romain Raparlier, evidently on the commission of the London bookseller Henry Sotheran. (The names are stamped on the upper left corner of each front endpaper.) The Princeton copy is number 41 of a limited edition of 130 and has the booklabel of Eduardo J. Bullfinch, a lawyer and businessman in Buenos Aires in the first half of the twentieth century.
Call number: (Ex) Oversize 2007-0689Q

October 20, 2007

Penny Dreadfuls • Newly acquired

Proof covers for the first 51 numbers of the Aldine Publishing Company’s “O’er Land and Sea” Library. 51 single octavo leaves, rough trimmed, some mounted on thin card, others showing signs of mounting. [London, 1890-1891]. Call number (Ex) Item 4697736.

The Aldine Publishing Company, 9 Red Lion Court, Fleet Street, London, “was the foremost of the reprint presses that, from the late 1880s, published American ‘dime novels’ in Britain, notably those featuring such favourites as Frank Reade Junior, Buffalo Bill, and Deadwood Dick.” * In 1890, A. P. C. issued number one in “The Aldine ‘O’er Land and Sea’ Library.” The series ran for 408 numbers, the last issued in 1905. A typical number cost 2 pence, and consisted of 64 closely-printed pages, with color-printed wrappers. The company thrived until the late 1920s to early 1930s, when changes in reading taste caused decline. A book salesman noted this change in a purchaser’s preference: “Highwaymen, pirates, and red Indians don’t excite his imagination; he wants fights with submarines, daring stunts in aeroplanes, and wonderful electric machines, … tales of Dick Turpin, Claude Duval, and Jack Sheppard interest him not.”
This gathering of the covers of the first 51 in the series came from the collection of Barry Ono, the Penny Dreadful King, whose collection was bequeathed to the British Library in 1941. Link here for details about the Barry Ono collection, including a portrait photograph of him surrounded by examples from his collection.
Among his many major purchases was the entire set of editorial file copies of the Aldine Publishing Company. Together with this gathering of covers is a photocopy of a typed note, dated May 31, 1940, signed by Ono announcing his purchase and stating that “these fine old wrappers are undoubtedly the only set in existence.”
*John Springhall, “‘Disseminating Impure Literature’: ‘: The ‘Penny Dreadful’ Publishing Business Since 1860,” The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 47, No. 3. (Aug., 1994), pp. 578.

November 25, 2007

Beers' Almanack for the Year of Our Lord 1811 • Only copy recorded


Garland C. Boothe, Jr., class of 1954, presented to the Library the only known copy printed as single sheet of Beers’ Almanack for the Year of Our Lord 1811 (New Haven, 1811).

Almanacs were a staple of printer’s trade for centuries, with some editions being printed in hundreds of thousands of copies. Purchasers ranged from the hard-scrabble farmer to the prosperous proprietor and everyone in between. “All our domestic operations are carried on by the aid of this daily manual; and we do not stir from our firesides without running over the long thin columns of days, sun’s declination, time of rising and setting, or without a wishful glance at the hazardous assurance of the bright moon-light nights, and pleasant days.” (Atlantic Magazine, August 1, 1824, page 298)

The usual publishing format was a book styled for a gentleman’s pocket or a lady’s desk. For public places, such as a coffee house wall or above a merchant’s desk, printers provided the text imposed on a single sheet. Useful while current and hanging, but, once out of date, requiring disposal, sheet almanacs rarely survive today. Pocket almanacs stood a better chance of survival. They could remain on the shelf with other books, especially if they were handsomely bound so as to complement a fancy mahogany desk.

According to the titlepage of the pocket edition, Andrew Beers, “Philomath,” provided the “Lunations, Conjunctions, Eclipses, Judgment of the Weather, Rising and Setting of the Planets, Length of Days and Nights, Tide-Table, Time of Sitting of the Courts in Connecticut, with other Matter, Useful, Instructive and Entertaining.” He assured the reader that his calculations “may serve for either of the towns in Connecticut, or the adjacent States, without any essential difference.”

The Boothe gift is now catalogued and shelved as (Ex) Broadside 392.

[Illustration above adapted from page 28 of Many Things Upon Money Matters for the Use of Young People in the United States (West Bradford and Boston, 1835)]

December 12, 2007

Recently acquired: Comunismo Argentino Collection

Recently the Library acquired an extensive collection (approximately 1,300 items) of pamphlets, serials, books, and other documents from the Partido Comunista de la Argentina and other communist political organizations from that country. These are now stored and serviced by the Rare Book Division. Publication dates range from 1918, year when the PCA was founded, to the present. The collection includes official party resolutions, declarations, congress proceedings, conferences, bulletins, educational, and electoral materials, as well as the works of numerous communist intellectuals and publishers. Also present in the collection are more than forty periodical titles published throughout most of the 20th century. Some of those periodicals are Documentos del Progreso (1919-1921), Soviet (1933-1935), Problemas de la Paz y el Socialismo (1958-61), and Comentarios (1978-83). The collection consists of duplicates from the Centro de Documentación e Investigación de la Cultura de Izquierdas en la Argentina and obtained through an intermediary. Overall, the collection is one of the most important collections of its type outside of Argentina.
The collection joins the Library’s growing collections of pamphlets, periodicals and ephemera relating to political, social, economic, and religious movements in Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Peru, and a number of other countries in Latin America, as well as Argentina.
For further details, contact Fernando Acosta-Rodriguez [].

January 9, 2008

Limp parchment wrapper • Use, re-use, continued use

Contemporary laced limp parchment wrapper made from a bifolium of a 14th century [?] Italian missal, rubricated, red and blue initials. Binding for: Francesco Massari, … In nonum Plinii de naturali historia librum castigationes & annotationes. Basel: Froben, 1537. (ExRockey) 2008-0021N • Massari (fl. 1530), a Venetian physician, comments on the ninth book of the Natural History of Pliny (1st cent. AD), covering fish and marine life. The work’s editor, Beatus Rhenanus (1485-1547), stated that Massari’s comments were based on his extensive voyages and observations in the Mediterranean and Adriatic.

Illustrated above is the wrapper folded out completely. The parchment fragment is the upper two thirds of a bifolium. Scribal text is two columns per page, with red and blue initials. Visible at middle are the original sewing holes. To the right of the center fold are the sewing supports (for the leaves of the 1537 imprint) laced into the wrapper. At far left, there is a flap designed to cover the book’s fore-edge. An extremely detailed scan of the entire wrapper is available here.

For more on the use, re-use, and continued use of so-called “waste” from broken and / or discarded books, see the following section on the topic in the Library’s online exhibition on bookbinding. The link is:

For more on limp parchment wrappers, see:

For the future, the Library will keep the wrapper intact and protected by a specially made enclosure. • In sum: • First use: bifolium of a missal • Second use: protective wrapper for a book printed in 1537 • Present and future use: vivid example of how the frugal decision of a bookbinder provides multiple evidence about the survival of texts. More on this later topic can be found in Nicholas Pickwoad, “Onward and Downward: How Binders Coped with the Printing Press Before 1800” in A Millenium of the Book, ed. Robin Myers and Michael Harris. Winchester: St. Paul’s Bibliographies, and Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 1994, pp 61-106.

January 30, 2008

Catchpenny Dreadfuls! 24 broadsides given by Bruce Willsie, Class of 1986


Catchpenny Dreadfuls! 24 broadsides given by Bruce Willsie, Class of 1986
by Hannah Lemonick, Class of 2010, University of Chicago, and student assistant in the Rare Book Division, Princeton University Library, 2008

Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street first appeared in London plays and urban legends dating back to the 1800s. He did not spring fully formed from the head of film director Tim Burton or composer Stephen Sondheim. The recent gift to the Library of a set of broadsides — single-sheet sensationalist press pieces detailing murders and violent crimes which actually occurred during this time period — is a fascinating illustration of just how much of the Sweeney Todd legend was based in a genuinely terrifying world, and how believable the original urban myth must have been.

The universal constant in these examples of street literature is the firm and absolute judgment they pass on their unfortunate objects. There is no ambiguity; in all cases a terrible crime has been committed, and justice has rightly struck down the perpetrator. The broadside Blackburn Tragedy is especially telling in that it details how an innocent vagrant was nearly hanged for the murder of Emily Holland, a seven year old girl, before a local man volunteered the use of his dogs and allowed the police to discover parts of her body and skull in the home of William Fish. It is perfectly clear - indeed, the text admits - that although there can have been little evidence against the other man, “Yet people have been hanged for less, and Robert Taylor probably escaped a similar doom by the narrowest chances.”

The genre combines absolute, unwavering judgment with unbelievable rapidity — most execution broadsheets were being sold within moments of a hanging, and were often written the night before the hanging even took place, even while purporting to contain the last words of the deceased. Then again, the courts seem to have acted with only slightly more deliberation than the printers; men were hanged within days of being apprehended, and in many cases, for crimes that we would consider mild, like breaking and entering. If life in London’s underbelly in the 1800s was violent and dangerous, so were the courts and the popular press.

The broadsides provide evidence of the need for ordinary people to make sense of a world in which such things happened — where children were starved and beaten by their parents and women were literally torn limb from limb. It was certain that crime was punished without hesitation — an understanding contrasting strongly to today’s concern regarding due process and fair trial.

Illustration: Detail from Particular Account of a most Barbarous and Inhuman Murder Committed by John Holloway upon the body of his Wife by Cutting off her Head, Legs, and Arms, with his Confession[London]: J. Catnach, n.d.   Large tiff image of complete broadside.

List of the gift

• An Account of Matthew Clydesdale and Simon Ross, who were executed in front of the Prison, at Glasgow, on Wednesday the 4th of Nov. 1818, for the crimes of Murder and Housebreaking. [London]: T. Duncan, 1818.[Download file]
• Apprehension and Committal of Mrs. Sloane. London: E. Hodges, n.d.
• Cruel & Inhuman Murder of a little Boy, by his Father. London: H. Disley, n.d.
• Dreadful Cruelty to a Servant. [London]: n.d.
• Dreadful Tragedy at Kingston. London: Taylor’s Song Mart, n.d.
• Horrid Murder and Mutilation of a Woman, and recovery of different parts of the body from various places on the banks of the River Thames. London: Disley, n.d.
• Horrid Murder. [London]: E. Hodges, n.d.
• Inhuman Treatment of Two Children by their Father. London: Taylor, n.d.
• Lamentable Lines, on the Death of Joseph M’Mahon who was Shot in Dorset-street, On the 28th March, ‘82. [London]: 1882.
• Mournful Copy of Verses, concerning John Fawcett, who Shot his own Son, And will take his Trial in a few Days. [London]: Catnach, n.d.
• Murder of a Carrier, at Barrow-on-Soar, and the Committal of the Murderer for Trial. London: Disley, n.d.
• Particular Account of a most Barbarous and Inhuman Murder Committed by John Holloway upon the body of his Wife by Cutting off her Head, Legs, and Arms, —with his Confession. [London]: J. Catnach, n.d.   Large tiff image
• Particulars of the Riot at Dover, Which took place on Friday last, May 26, 1820, in which the Gaol was nearly all pulled down, and the Prisoners set at liberty. [London]: Statesman Newspaper, 1820.
• Sentence of William Fish, the Blackburn Murderer. London: H.P. Such, n.d.
• Shocking Case of Cruelty and Starvation, In Cannon Street Road. London: Taylor, n.d.
• The [Sorr]owful Lamentations and Last Farewell to the World of James Fitzwilliams, Henry Wilkins, William Bull, for Burglary, and John Caffan, a Black Man, for a Rape upon a Child Ten Years of Age. [London]: Catnach, n.d.
• The Leeds Tragedy: Or, The Bloody Brother. [England]: [c. 1790].
• The Trial and Execution of Richard Smith, aged 45, for feloniously assaulting and ravishing Mary Green, executed this Morning, March 30th, 1836, at the new drop. [London]: Robinson, 1836.
• The Trial and Sentence of Frederick Peter Finnigan, for the willful Murder of his infant daughter, and who is Ordered for Execution on Monday next, at Horsemonger Lane Gaol. [London]: Smeeton, n.d.
• Trial and Sentence of G. Bentley, For the murder of John Pool, at Eccleshall, on Wednesday, the 10th of January last. London: H. Disley, n.d.
• A Warning Cry from the Cells of Nottingham! Or, Sorrowful Lamentation of Geo. Needham and Wm. Manderville, the two unfortunate Men who now lie under Sentence of Death in Nottingham County Gaol for Housebreaking. Nottingham: Ordoyno, n.d.
• What do you think of Billy Roupell. London: H. Disley, n.d.
• White, John.Blackburn Tragedy. Liverpool: White, 1876.
• White, John. Thebais Winner of the 1,000 Guineas, Oaks, and Ten other Prizes. Liverpool: J. White, n.d.

March 3, 2008

New Acquistions • Books formerly owned by
Samuel Taylor Coleridge


“I am, and ever have been, a great reader, and have read almost everything — a library cormorant. I am deep in all out-of-the-way books, whether of the monkish times or of the puritanical aera. I have read and digested most of the historic writers, but I do not like history. Metaphysics and poetry and ’ facts of mind ’ (i.e. accounts of all strange phantasms that ever possessed your philosophy-dreamers, from Theuth the Egyptian to Taylor the English pagan) are my darling studies. In short, I seldom read except to amuse myself, and I am almost always reading.” — Samuel Taylor Coleridge, November 19, 1796.

This past December, the Library purchased six books formerly owned by Coleridge, thereby doubling the number of books once in his library now held by Princeton. In one day we added as many as it had taken more than 100 years to accumulate. (Among the very first of those earlier arrivals was one acquired by Moses Taylor Pyne and given to the Library in 1895, as reported in the Daily Princetonian of November 8 for that year. The Pyne gift is marked with the accession number “Sesq. 562” which indicates book number 562 in a collection marking the “Sesquicentennial” of Princeton.)

The newly purchased books were among the 24 lots consigned by the direct descendants of the poet and sold at Sotheby’s in London on 13 December 2007. These 24 lots consisted of the following: • 5 lots were materials relating to the Coleridge family • 19 lots were S.T. Coleridge personal letters, papers, and inscribed books. Of the 19 lots, seven were manuscripts. The remaining lots were inscribed printed books.

The Library acquired the following books, listed here in chronological order by date of imprint:
• Hugh of Saint Victor. De sacramentis christianae fidei. Strassburg: [Printer Of The 1483 Jordanus De Quedlinburg (Georg Husner)], 30 July 1485. This copy also formerly owned by Michael Wodhull with his arms on the front cover and his inscription dated “Jan. 5th 1795”.
• Plotinus. Operum philosophicorum omnium libri liv in sex enneades distributi. Ex antiquiss. codicum fide nunc primum Graece editi, cum Latina Marsilii Ficini interpretatione & commentatione. Basel: Perneas Lecythus [I.E. Pietro Perna], 1580. Includes annotations by Coleridge.
• John Spencer. De legibus Hebraeorum ritualibus et earum rationibus…libri tres. Cambridge: Joan Hayes For (London) Richard Chiswell, 1685.
• Sir Francis Bacon. The Works…In Four Volumes. With Several Additional Pieces, Never Before Printed In Any Edition Of His Works. To Which Is Prefixed, A New Life Of The Author, By Mr. Mallet. London: A. Millar, 1740.
• William Cowper. The Life, And Posthumous Writings…With An Introductory Letter…By William Hayley. Chichester: J. Seagrave For (London:) J. Johnson, 1803.
• Charles Augustus Tulk (transl. and ed.) of Emmanuel Swedenborg, The Doctrine of New Jerusalem respecting the Lord. London: T. Bensley, Neely, and Jones, 1812. Inscribed on front endpaper: “For my Friend S. T. Coleridge from Cha: Aug: Tulk.”

These six were purchased at auction by antiquarian bookseller Christopher Edwards and were acquired by the Library directly from him shortly thereafter.

April 1, 2008

Numerating Color in 18th Century Vienna and Prague
• Recently acquired • Wiener Farbenkabinet (The Viennese Color Collection)

Color (Lat. color, connected with celare, to hide, the root meaning, therefore, being that of a covering — Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed.)

In 1794, publisher Johann Ferdinand, Ritter von Schönfeld (1750-1821) revealed an extraordinary system of calibrated, named, and numerated colors in the following work:
Wiener Farbenkabinet oder vollständiges Musterbuch aller Natur-, Grund-, und Zusammensetzungfarben, “Viennese Color Collection or Complete Book of Samples of all Natural, Basic, and Combined Colors.” [Wien und Prag: Verlag der Schönfeldschen Handlung, 1794]. 2 volumes: 272, [68] p.; 158, [2], [32], [124] p. • (Ex) Item 5577427 • Purchased with funds for the history of science and the general rare book collections.

What counts in this book? Here’s the answer, by the numbers:

• 4608 hand-painted specimens, organized virtually prismatically, individually numbered, labeled, and arranged 48 per page
• 14 prose divisions treating seven individual colors at length (black, blue, yellow, red, green, brown and white), watercolors, miniature painting (two sections), colorist’s techniques (for figures, landscapes, clothing, etc.), brightness and varnishes. Also discussed: coloring linen, cotton, wool, silk, leather, wood, ivory, bone, ceramics of all sorts, stone, papier-mâche and sealing wax, glass, enamel work, vellum and feathers. And there are notes on printing inks and papers used by book binders
• 250 terms used in various branches of the color industry arranged in an alphabetic dictionary
• 3 issues known: 54 plates = 2592 specimens (Smithsonian); 79 plates = 3792 specimens (Yale); 96 plates = 4608 specimens (Princeton)

May 3, 2008

219 years ago • Description of a Slave Ship

Published in London in 1789, the broadside Description of a Slave Ship is an icon of the antislavery moment in England and the United States. Between March and July of that year, more than 10,000 copies of the plan of the slave ship Brooks, in one form or another, were issued. The plan makes visually striking what until then had been grasped only verbally or by consulting the statistical data gathered by Commons regarding the ships involved in the trade.

The 10,000 printed copies descended from three primary versions of the plan, which can be distinguished by their place of origin : Plymouth, Philadelphia, and London. The Plymouth version is the very first, occurring in two variants: (a) a four-page pamphlet with inserted plate, and (b) a broadside with engraving and text. The earliest Plymouth version appeared in March 1789. The Philadelphia version is based directly on the Plymouth version. It is known in three variants: (a) an inserted plate in the May 1789 issue of the journal American Museum, (b) a broadside with engraving and text in four columns bearing the imprint “Matthew Carey — Price 3d. — or 18s per hundred,” and (c) a broadside with engraving and text in three columns and no imprint. Philadelphia variants (b) and (c) were evidently issued in June and July 1789, respectively. Temporally between the Plymouth and Philadelphia versions is the London version, printed by James Phillips. It is known in two variants: (a) one illustrated by woodcuts, and (b) one illustrated with a copperplate engraving. It was first published between April 21 and 28, 1789. According to minutes of the London Committee of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade, the printing orders are recorded on July 28, 1789, as follows : “1,700 Description of a Slave Ship with copper plate ; 7,000 ditto with wood cuts” (see Cheryl Finley, “Committed to Memory : The Slave Ship Icon in the Black Atlantic Imagination” [Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 2002], 94, n.119).

The Plymouth version (a) is very rare ; only three copies of the pamphlet are recorded. One copy of the Plymouth broadside variant (b) is known. The Philadelphia variants are more common but still quite rare. Princeton owns a copy of the May 1789 issue of the American Museum (a) with the plate still intact. Princeton also acquired, evidently in the 1960 s, a copy of Philadelphia variant (b). It is beautifully preserved and shows signs of once having been folded so as to form a postal letter.

This accession was acquired from a London bookseller in early 2006. It was purchased in part with funds donated by Sid Lapidus, Class of 1959.

It is a fine copy of the London version (a), the variant with woodcuts. Historical evidence shows that the London version was by far the most commonly distributed version of the plan of the Brooks. As the years went by and the debate over the slave trade continued, the London version was reprinted time and again. It appeared in the précis of the proceedings of the Commons committee on the slave trade published in 1791. Princeton has two copies of this précis, one in the general rare book collections and another in the Scheide Library. It appeared several times after 1791, most notably in the 1808 History of the … Abolition of the African Slave-Trade by the Reverend Thomas Clarkson, a chief agent of the London Committee. (The Library recently purchased a copy of the London edition of the History; the Philadelphia edition has been in Princeton’s collections since the early nineteenth century.) On the eve of the American Civil War, the London version of the Brooks plan appeared in an abolitionist pamphlet, which was given to the Library in the late nineteenth century by John S. Pierson.

May 24, 2008

Mr. Cox's Perpetual Motion • A Mechanical and Philosophical Time Piece • So Capital a Performance

Mr. Cox’s Perpetual Motion, a Prize in the Museum Lottery, single sheet, 225mm. x 174mm., full-page engraving with letterpress on verso, London, 1774. (Ex) Item 4848706

James Cox (c1723—1800) was a noted clockmaker, and developed this ingenious timepiece in the 1760’s in collaboration with John Joseph Merlin (with whom Cox also worked on developing automata). Cox believed that his design was a true perpetual motion machine, but in fact it was powered from changes in atmospheric pressure via a mercury barometer. This provided sufficient movement of the winding mechanism to keep the mainspring coiled inside the barrel. The clock was designed to enable the timepiece to run indefinitely and over-winding was prevented by a safety mechanism.

He exhibited the clock at his Museum in Spring Gardens, Charing Cross, London, and as with other such marvels, it was accompanied by extravagant literary puffs to ensure public attention, and promote revenue from ticket sales. Cox’s Exhibition was the talk of London when it opened in 1772; a riot of brilliance, movement and sound, and an accumulation of bejeweled automata valued then at an enormous sum of £197,000. It was recommended by Johnson, visited by Boswell, featured in Fanny Burney’s Evelina and Sheridan’s The Rivals. “A peacock (now in the Hermitage, Leningrad) screeched and spread its tail when the hour struck, while a cock crowed and a cage with an owl inside revolved and twelve bells rang. A silver swan with an articulated neck glided across a surface of artificial water.., sixteen elephants supported a pair of seven-foot high temples adorned with 1,700 pieces of jewelry… a chronoscope inlaid with 100,000 precious stones evidently needed no animal guise.” (See: Richard Altick, The Shows of London, p. 69-72, 350-351, for a long and detailed account of Cox and his exhibition.)

Cox charged admission at the unprecedented rate of 10s. 6d, and the Catalogue was first issued March 2nd 1772, as a 20-page quarto edition. Such was the grumbling amongst even his most well-heeled clients that he was forced to cut the admission price by half to one quarter of a guinea and reduce the size of the catalogue. In 1773 an Act of Parliament was passed “allowing James Cox to dispose of his museum pieces by lottery”, and it is likely that this handbill was printed to promote the sale of this particular exhibit. The verso contains a full description of the piece, as well as a testimony as to its ingenuity by the noted astronomer James Ferguson, dated January 28th, 1774.

A note in Cox’s commonplace book, dated 1769, is the first recorded reference to the clock. It was purchased in the lottery by Thomas Weeks, who opened “Week’s Mechanical Museum” at 3 & 4 Tichborne Street, and after adding his own embellishments, exhibited it until his death in 1833. It was not included in the sale catalogue of his effects in 1834, and remained lost until 1898 when it was exhibited at the Clerkenwell Institute. After a period on loan to the Laing Gallery in Newcastle, is was auctioned, and then finally acquired by the V & A Museum in 1961. The engraving is recorded, occurring as a plate in The London Magazine for February 1774; but this hand-bill is unrecorded by ESTC. [This text supplied by Alex Fotheringham.]

June 16, 2008

Exposition Universelle • Paris 1878

L’Album-Guide contient: La vue des Principaux Monuments de Paris, le Plan de l’Exposition, le Plan de Paris, le Plan detaille des differents Theatres, les Services Maritimes, l’Organisation des Services publics, Postes, Telegraphes, Moyens de Transport, Omnibus, Voitures publiques, Tramways, Chemins de fer de banlieue, Promenades dans les environs de Paris; et un mot, tout ce qui est de nature a interesser le Voyageur et l’Etranger venant a Paris. Nota. - Une Table des Matieres se trouve a la fin de cet Album. Administration: 36 , Boulevard Haussmann (Chaussee-d’Antin). D. Lubin, Editeur et Concessionnaire Exclusif. [Amiens, Imp. T. Jeunet]. 1878. (Ex) Item 4943082 oversize

The International Exposition or World’s Fair served for over 150 years as a primary arena for the display of national prestige. Manufactured product and the resources that produced it - natural, inventive, managerial - provided the common means by which nation could be measured against nation. Progress was regarded as visible, tangible and local. Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to objects. Achieving individuals were inducted into Legions of Honor. In today’s world focused on speed, process, and individual celebrity, certainly in terms of public visibility, the Olympics have superseded the International Exposition as an arena for estimation by others.

For over one hundred years, the Library has been building its collection of materials relating to international expositions. Frederic Vinton, librarian from 1873 to his death in 1890, recognized the importance of these materials by listing them in his 894 page Subject Catalogue of the Library of the College of New Jersey (Princeton, 1884), under the headings: London international exhibition, 1851; Paris expositions, 1844, 1867, 1878 ; Philadelphia exposition, 1876; Vienna exposition, 1873. Since then, such materials have been gathered by such units as the Art Library, the Geology Library, the Architecture Library, Graphic Arts, the Theatre Collection, Numismatics, General Rare Books, as well as in the general circulating collection.

This latest addition, an Album Guide is the rare first edition of this charming large format guide for English and American visitors to the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1878. It is not listed in WorldCat.

The following description of the contents is provided by Ed Smith of Pickering & Chatto (London) — “The work, complete with a large folding coloured Paris street map (and on the verso a map of the regional railways) provides all the information necessary for the visitor in negociating the language barrier on their way to, and at, the exhibition. After a brief introduction ‘to the elements of the language’, the first section provides useful phrases on the journey to France (‘the Landing and Custom House’, ‘At the Railway Station’ etc). This is then followed with further phrases useful at the hotel, when eating and drinking, at the Tobacconist or Hairdresser, and even when needing to take a bath. Part II gives details of exchanges and weights and measures, Paris Omnibuses (apparently much more comfortable than in London), Theatres, Music Halls, Promenades and Gardens, and a list of the entertainments to be given at the exhibition. The final section contains the professional and commercial list, bankers, doctors, milliners, perfumers, chemists and dentists, to name but a few. The work concludes with an advertisements section, both for Paris and London businesses. … This exposition was on a far larger scale than any previously held anywhere in the world. It covered over 66 acres (267,000 m²); the main building in the Champ de Mars occupying 54 acres (219,000 m²).

The illustrations and illustrated advertisements are of particular interest, as they are documenting the ephemeral nature of exhibitions, certain business, commercial design and places of entertainment, such as the 22 theatres colour-illustrated seating plans, together with price lists. On p. 7 is a half-page size woodengraved bird’s eye view of the exhibition ground.

Each double-page of this album has a large view of thestreet, landmark or square where the businesses advertised for are located. The highlights among the illustrated advertisements are: a full-page woodengraved composition of views of the workshops and the large shop of the manufacturer of sweets and chocolate Au Fidèle Berger (p. 2), a full-page tinted lithograph of the Grands Magasins de la Paix (p. 40), and a half-page advert for a shoe manufacturer printed in black, silver, gold and bronze (p. 46), a full-page advertisement for the ‘magnificent Summer Garden’, the Alcazar d’ Été near the Champs Élysées. There is advertising for various shipping companies, as well as a section of illustrated advertisements for hotels in Paris and French holiday resorts. Numbered page 99-100 is a large folding handcoloured map, Le nouveau guide de l’étranger dans les 20 arrondissements de Paris, (Paris : J. Gaultier, 1878), 50 x 67 cm.

Provenance: From the fashion shop run buy the Madames Biays in the Rue d’Échelles, whose advert is on p. 53, with their name stamped in gilt on front cover.”

August 15, 2008

Hodder and Stoughton dustjackets
— The rest of the story

Year in and year out, during summer, students help prepare finding aids, inventory lists, and the like, all aimed at item level control of collections, especially for collections of ephemera. This year was no exception.

One major project was the checklisting leaf-by-leaf of the contents of the Hodder and Stoughton dustjackets, previously announced in this web log.

Elizabeth Sarah Quirk Goodman (Harvard ‘08) prepared a 100 page listing, giving thousands of details about the more than 1100 jackets in the collection.

She also wrote the following reflections on the project —

Regarding the bound volumes

“The bound volumes look as if they were a running collection, in which the publisher’s staff pasted jackets for books by the same author on adjacent pages and left room for more jackets. The estimates must have been difficult to make, however: the authors are not in any particular order, and sometimes they reappear later or there are blank spaces on the pages. Nearly all of the jackets have yellow as the background color, and those in volume 1 are listed as H&S yellow jacket books. The spines are always yellow, and usually the cover art has yellow as a background or at least a yellow frame around another picture. The cover art, for the most part, varies: complete and colorful illustrations, or illustrations of people with no scenery but the yellow background, or illustrations with only three or four different colors in them. The colors used are usually true hues that all stand out from one another and catch the eye.
Most of the books have captions or catchy slogans on them. They may be thoughts from the book (“Determined to forget”) or lines of poetry, or dialogue supplied for the cover art (such as “The river is being watched,” when the cover art features a man whispering to another man). Sometimes they are more directly about the book (such as “The most romantic couple ever shipwrecked”), or statements advertising the quality of the book. As far as advertising the quality of the book goes, the idea seems to be to inspire author loyalty, to assure new readers or remind experienced ones that the author writes books they should want to read. Therefore, many of the books include the author’s name in a slogan about the author, such as “Switch off the wireless—it’s an Oppenheim”. Some make claims about the author, such as “Everybody likes her”. I have called these slogans “author’s epithets,” and put into that column anything that is more about the author than the particular book. I find that the captions make the book seem like something I would want to read once for a cheap thrill and then discard, because they point out one piece of mystery or romantic angst and one presumes the entire book is about that. The epithets are a bit better, and they may come from the authors themselves: one author, Seldon Truss, wrote a book titled Escort to Danger, and a lot of his books feature the slogan “Let Seldon Truss be your escort to danger”. Perhaps the problem is not the abundance of advertisement so much as its large fonts getting in the way of the rest of the book; more books nowadays have small-text reviews on the front, and perhaps an award stamp, which are easily enough ignored. But at least some of the books probably should not be judged by these covers, since they are the lesser-known books by authors such as L. M. Montgomery.
The first covers in the front of volume 1, which cost 9 pence, are only the front covers. Often they don’t have the author’s full name displayed, only the last name, and even that may be the enlarged part of a catchy slogan about the author. However, the later books in the back of volume 1 and all of volume 2, which cost 2 shillings (10 pence) or more, nearly always feature the spine as well. The spine lists the author, title, price, and H&S. The full dust jackets are quite interesting: in the first part of volume 2 they belong to the “H&S Half-a-crown library”, and the back cover is a simplified version of the front cover. No title or author appears, but the cover art appears in approximate mirror image, as a penciled sketch on a white background with one solid color in some places, and often the caption appears at the bottom. … The two full dust jackets in the inverted part of volume 2, which are not labeled in the same series, have colorless pencil sketches on the back that provide some sort of continuation of the front cover art. One has a man in a spotlight onstage at the front, and the back has an audience and the beam of light for the spotlight; the other has two people sitting and talking on the front, and one person hiding (perhaps eavesdropping) on the back. This art comes across better on a flattened cover, and it would work well when seen on the back of an open book.

Regarding the boxes of loose leaves

The three boxes proved much more difficult to sort out. Box 2 has covers mounted on light sheets of paper, but the sheets cannot possibly all come from the same wrapper book, because not only do they have different numbering styles but they also come in different sizes. Still, I was able to sort most of the leaves and half-leaves out into three wrapper books and put the rest in a folder together, numbering them. I used “M” before the number to show that it was not a page number that had already been written in. Many of the covers in this box were less garish than the usual yellowjackets, which were on perhaps half of the leaves. A lot of the covers had white backgrounds, used more colors for less stark cover art, and were without epithets if not captions. The captions were more often book review quotes such as one might find on covers now, though one caption claimed its book was “transfused with a white flame.”

Box 1 was probably originally a volume much like volumes 1 and 2 (labeled 3), because it has books on brown leaves, some of which are foliated in yellow and some in white. Unfortunately this led to difficulty because some of the leaves had been cut in half and a number appeared only at the corner of the right half, so I had to play a matching game and match unnumbered half-leaves with the numbered ones. This was unexpectedly successful, partly because two covers on one page usually feature the same author, and otherwise because whoever cut or tore the pages in half never did it quite the same way twice; he left a reasonable jigsaw puzzle. Box 3 has the remnants, including some dark brown half-leaves matched up, and a few leaves numbered differently. In these two boxes, one would often see a message such as “This is one of [auth.]’s most famous novels, and this is the edition for your Library” or “This is a completely NEW BOOK now first published”, and these seem to reflect different marketing ploys from the usual captions and epithets. In addition, there are some covers for 1-shilling books in a category one might call “Christian inspiration,” as they seem to have a missionary purpose. These are never yellow jackets, but always have thin white spines. They also didn’t have captions, as the attention was probably meant to be drawn by the titles themselves, such as What If He Came?

August 25, 2008

Olympia Press

In June, at Christie’s (New York), the Library acquired the collection of Olympia Press publications consigned by the Press’s bibliographer, Patrick Kearney. The work of many years, the Kearney collection brought together virtually the entire output of the Press, more than 400 volumes, published between the firm’s first imprint in 1953 and its last in 1974. Included are books issued in the firm’s several series, such as the Traveller’s Companion Series (Paris and New York), Ophelia Press, (Paris and New York), Collection Merlin, Ophir Books, Atlantic Library, Far-Out Books, Le Grande Séverine, Othello Books, and Odyssey Library.

Put “Olympia Press” into Google Book Search and back come thousands of citations. These range from appearances in such conventional works as Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature or the Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives to less expected locales such as Wittgenstein’s Ladder: Poetic Language and the Strangeness of the Ordinary.

This range of attention reflects that particular double character of the Olympia Press. In 1965, the New York Times noted

“Mr. [Maurice] Giordias began the Olympia Press on a shoestring in 1953. He catered to English speaking tourists, with high priced, highly spiced books in plain covers, stamped ‘not to be introduced into the United States or the United Kingdom.’ Olympia, however, always published more serious books as well. Its current list has such title as ‘The Ordeal of the Rod,’ ‘The Bedroom Philosophers,’ and ‘Lust’ with Lawrence Durell’s ‘The Black Book,’ Valdimir Nabokov’s ‘Lolita,’ J.P. Donleavy’s ‘The Ginger Man’ and novels by Samuel Beckett.”

Illustrated above are the cover and first pages of the firm’s 1962 promotional price-list. The provocative red and black design raises questions.

What is censorship? Its history is that of a constant dialogue between the enforcer, the observant, and the violator. The terms of the dialogue change regularly with time and circumstance. Each side is bound by a sense of order. The enforcer and observant appeal to some sense of local, political order, while the violator usually appeals to some larger sense of order, such as that stemming from one’s sense of nature or of humanity.

It would be easy to push aside past known cases of censorship, as simply relics of a former age. On the other hand, if one is to understand the workings and character of the modern political state, then one must try to understand censorship. It is entirely possible that censorship is as definitive of the modern state as the doctrine of military power or the doctrine of copyright.

If we are to know what censorship meant for those who enacted, enforced, observed, and violated it, we need to see and know what was regarded as offending. A scholarly, disinterested motive to know the past is the basis on which the decision to make this purchase was made.

Cataloguing the collection — book by book — is partially completed and continues through the fall. The purchase also included “approximately 34 folders and envelopes containing typescripts, correspondence from Maurice Girodias (signed), Marco Vassi, and others, pamphlets, leaflets, photocopies of journal articles, and additional miscellaneous items relating to the publishing history of the Olympia Press.” These additional materials are in two parts: one gathered as Manuscripts Collection number C1262; the other as (Ex) Item … (in process, oversize).

November 26, 2008

Gas Lamp Lighters Address • "Say, can a greater wonder e're be found / Than light conveyed by syphons under ground?"

“Say, can a greater wonder e’re be found / Than light conveyed by syphons under ground?”

Gas Lamp Lighters Address. Broadside with two poems, illustrated with woodcuts, 500 x 375 mms., with imprint of E. Billing and Son, Printers, 186, Bermondsey Street. [London], c. 185-. [Call number: (Ex) Broadside 408] Purchased in 2008.

Seeking a gratuity at the Christmas season, the gas lamp lighter greets his customer with verse and pictures. His work is heroic, as the verse points out, achieving far greater wonder than steam power (“hurl mankind full fifty miles per hour”) and the “electric stream” (“transmits in moments news to distant land.” (In 1849, a telegraph line was laid under the English Channel connecting Dover to Calais; it took a number of years for locomotives, first introduced in 1804, to reach speeds of 50 miles per hour. Coal gas — a mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, methane, etc — first illuminated Pall Mall in London in 1807. )

Delighting the eye are two large pictures:

At top, “The merry dance, the gay and festive throng/ Beneath the boughs of misselto’s bright green/ To jolly Christmas only can belong/ For now’s the time superior pleasures seen….” Certainly this must be Mr. Fezziwig’s Ball. (The original John Leech illustration first appeared in the first edition of Dickens’s masterpiece A Christmas Carol, London, 1843).

At bottom is “View of the Gas Works,” the centerpiece of a triptych flanked by images of dandy “Gasmen” in top hat. This large scene is derived from the 1821 print “Drawing the Retorts at the Great Gas Light Establishment, Brick Lane.”

Between the upper and lower large scenes are depicted further wonders. At middle left, above a scene of the birth of Christ is “The Gasometer.” At middle right, above the scene of the Crucifixion is “Drawing the Retorts.” (A gasometer or gas-holder is a large container for holding gas. “Drawing the Retorts” refers to clearing spent coal from the distilling apparatus.) The parallelism is most subtle — at left, images of promise and supply; at right, images of exhaustion and work done. ‘Tis a curious double message about who is the worker of wonders: God and /or man?

December 3, 2008

Standing within "The Temple of Time"

Invented by Emma Willard (1787-1870). Published in 1846 by A.S. Barnes & Co., 51 John Street, New York. At the chart’s lower right, the famed educator of American women states its raison d’être:

“Those laws of mind by which not only the memory is assisted, but the intellect formed, have been regarded in this invention. The attempt to understand chronology by merely committing dates to memory, is not only painful, but it is as useless as to learn latitudes and longitudes without the study of maps. As in geography, the relation of any place to all other places is what is important to know; so in chronology, the relation which any given event bears to others constitutes the only useful knowledge. Whosever wishes, can here locate himself in any point of time, and see what characters are cotemporary [sic], what before, and what to follow. This saves great labor of thought, and may suggest new ideas, even to the learned.

By putting the course of time into perspective, the disconnected parts of a vast subject are united in one, and comprehended at a glance; — the poetic idea of “the vista of departed years”[*] is made an object of sight; and when the eye is the medium, the picture will by frequent inspection, be formed within, and forever remain, wrought into the living texture of the mind. If this be done by a design whose beauty and grandeur naturally attract attention, then the teacher or parent who shall place it before his pupils and children, will find that they will insensibly become possessed of an inner “Temple” in which they may, through life, deposit, in the proper order of time, the facts of history as they shall acquire them. This, we repeat, is as important to the student of time as maps are to the student of place. Nations are here exhibited both ethnographically and chronographically. With any of the most celebrated characters of the world, we may in idea stand within the “Temple,” and look back to the past, and forward to the future.”

  • “the vista of departed years” - A line from the poem “The Flight of Time” by John Lowe, published in Edinburgh in 1845.

Front cover: Willard’s Map of Time: A Companion to the Historic Guide. By Emma Willard. New-York, [1846]. Call number: (Ex) Item 5146637q

For more particulars on the Library’s significant holdings relating to the history of charts and tables of chronology as well as timelines, see the relevant entry in the Guide to Selected Special Collections.

January 22, 2009

"Being the Most Valuable Selection Ever Offered to the Public" - Edinburgh, 1818


Illustrated above is an uncommon survivor of the book trade: an entrance ticket to a general sale of “several thousand volumes” in Edinburgh in 1818.

Unsold stock is the bane of any bookseller. In this case William Nivison put up for sale at the Royal Exchange Coffee House not only single copies of timely books, such as the London, three volume edition of Lewis and Clark’s Travels, but also offered titles in bulk, such as “100 (copies) Burns’s Works, 4 vol. 12mo, calf, titled, [individually priced at] £1, 6s.” He sold more than books, for the catalogue includes such items as drawing boxes at different prices (at 2s, 6s, 10s, and “complete” at £1, 10s), drawing pencils, quills, “maps published within these last 12 months,” and “Church Music Tunes.”

The 2645 volumes and other items in the 11 page catalogue are listed and priced. How did his prices compare with the market? One case in point may well tell the story of the whole. Nivison offers Hannah More’s Sacred Dramas at 3s 6d in calf. An 1815 Scottish advertisement for this same book offered it at 6s in boards. The price differential may give us a clue as to why Nivison was charging admission to the sale (price on the ticket “seven shillings and sixpence.”) He was underselling the trade, which had several consequences. On the one hand, as his prices approached his cost for stock, it meant slim profits per unit. On the other hand, there was money to be made, because profit could be had from the gate fee charged to the bargain hunters coming to his sale. Nivison realized there was value not only in the stock offered but in the event itself. He did not overlook putting a fee to a customer’s opportunity.

But, were there all that many customers? This ticket is number 1592. If it is indeed the 1,592nd ticket sold, then, he would have grossed £597. (He gave £991 as the total value of the stock on sale.) We will never know, perhaps, the final outcome of Nivison’s sale, but, it is recorded “In October 1819, [the Edinburgh Booksellers Society] … was exercised by the ‘system of underselling [that] has prevailed for some time in the Book Trade of Edinburgh.’ ” (p. 138, Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland [2007], vol. 3)


January 27, 2009

Beyond ... is Prisonton, Deliriumton, Demonland, the Great Black Valley, ...

Going back to ancient times is a pictorial genre depicting the course of human life — an illustration of a man’s progress from start to end plotted onto the length and depth of a two-dimensional plane. By convention, the beginning point is in the foreground; the end is in the distance. Such images are a single-sheet form of the “picture story,” a means of expression developed so well by Hogarth (“Rake’s Progress”) or Daumier. As Hogarth said “I treat my subjects as a dramatic writer; my picture is my stage, and men and women my players.”

One of the earliest examples of this genre is the “Tablet of Cebes,” a mural said to be in the temple of Chronos in either Athens or Thebes. It showed one’s progress from entry at the gate of Genius to the goal of reaching Happiness in the end. Here is an image from a 1694 work showing the path.

[H. L. Spieghel, Hertspieghel en andere zede-schriften (Amsterdam, 1694), folding plate following page 72.]

[Note: Detail about the picture can be found on page 8 -11 of Richard Parsons, Cebes’ Tablet (Boston, 1901) available in Google Book Search. Much more on the topic is available from Reinhart Schleier,
Tabula Cebetis; oder, “Spiegel des Menschlichen Lebens darin Tugent und untugent abgemalet ist” : Studien zur Rezeption einer antiken Bildbeschreibung im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert. Berlin, Gebr. Mann Verlag (c1973).]

Equally forceful is the depiction of the course of life in reverse — in the case of this temperance broadside, cast as a railway route from “Sippington” to “Destruction” with 30 stops in between.

[Black Valley Railroad, Great Central Fast Route, colored wood engraving issued by the National Temperance Society, New York and Boston.(1880?) Ex Item 5184327q]

Up until about 1900, a moral dialogue about the Tablet was widely used as a school text for the teaching of elementary Greek, so it is not surprising that the learned advocates of temperance in the United States adapted the genre for popular, moral instruction.

April 11, 2009

Jesuit Thesis Print • Douay, 1753

Actual size: 3 ft tall x 2 ft wide   

Jesuit Thesis Print • Douay, 1753.

Recently purchased for the Library’s holdings on the material culture of academic life was a Jesuit thesis print. In general, this genre of publication joined the visual and textual, markng in word and picture an important milestone in the education of a youth at a Jesuit college. Upon completion of a course of study, the student became the centerpiece of a staged show of his learning and rhetorical skills. This was done before an audience, sometimes with musical interludes. During the event, before a panel of his superiors in learning, the student elaborated on theses - topics of learned discourse. According to Louise Rice in her “Jesuit Thesis Prints and the Festive Academic Defence at the Collegio Romano,” in The Jesuits: Cultures, Sciences, and the Arts, 1540-1773, ed. John O’Malley et al., Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999, pp. 148-69, “… the sheet was distributed to members of the audience during the defence itself; it served as a kind of program, which enabled the audience to follow the progress of the disputation, and was taken home as a record or souvenir of the event.”

As a rule, a Jesuit thesis print featured a large picture surmounting the text of the theses. (For this particular one text and image together measure 43 inches tall and 28 inches wide, being two full sheets pasted together at one edge.)

In this case the scene is the famous story of the judgement of Solomon. This story of two mothers, a disputed baby, and a cunning strategy to determine the truth was widely known and illustrated. Raphael’s rendering is in the Loggia of the Papal Palace in the Vatican. In this print, engraved by Laurent Cars in Paris after a design by Serviatus Paira, the moment depicted can be read as the instance either before or just after his decision. One mother stands before King Solomon either in supplication or abjection, while in the foreground the baby is with the other mother. Onlookers point to the center of the drama.

Discoursing on the theses was Joannes Antonius Dominicus Verhulst from Bruges at the culmination of his course in the Jesuit College Aquicinctinus in Douai. This occurred in 1753. Twenty years later the Jesuits were suppressed and this practice declined.

Verhulst is discoursing on topics in rational philosophy - before judges, in this case, presided by Pierre de Cassal, Professor of Philosophy at the College. There was a tradition of dividing rational philosophy into three parts and so it is done here in three distinct columns: Idea (science of ideas), Juridicum (laws of thought), Discursus (science of the criteria of certitude).

Customary for the Jesuit thesis print was a thematic connection between the pictorial scene and the theses. Solomon was a symbol of many meanings, of which one was that he was a sage whose determinations of truth led him to wisdom.

Title: Philosophia rationalis. Imprint: Douai : Jacobus Franciscus Willerval, 1753. Format: Over-all dimensions 110 x 73 cm.; made up of two equal size sheets (upper: engraving (judgement of Solomon); lower: engraved architectural tablet surrounding letterpress text. Summary: Announcing defense of theses in rational philosophy by Joannes Antonius Domincus Verhults of Bruges, held at the Jesuit College Aquicinctinus in Douai on March 4, 1753 and presided over by Petrus de Cassal. Call number: (Ex) Item 5324301 broadside

NB - The practice of public display of a student’s rhetorical skills continued at colleges in the New World. The archives of the University have a number of such broadsides - just text, pictures were either not allowed or not affordable or both. These are found at Mudd Library in collection number AC115, Series 5, Oversize Items, 1748-1948, Commencement Broadsides, 1754-1764.

June 11, 2009

Contemporary accounts: Chart of Temperance and Physiology - Number One


The Publisher’s Weekly, April 24, 1886 [No. 743], page 549 under “Literary and Trade Notes”

“The Writers’ Publishing Co., 25 University Place, N. Y., have issued a chart of temperance and physiology entitled “The Road to Ruin and How to Avoid it.” It is 22x34 in size, and paints the vice of intemperance in such horrible colors that must at once convince the reader that “abstinence is the best policy.” Due attention is also given to the economic side of the question, tables being given that show at a glance that intemperance does not pay in any sense of the word. The price, half mounted, is $1; full mounted, $1.50.”

• • •

“List of educational publications of 1885-‘86; compiled from publisher’s announcements by the United States Bureau of Education.” This list gives a total of 609 publications distributed across 40 categories. Under the heading of ‘Physiology and hygiene’:

“Temperance and Physiology - Chart No. 1, strikingly illustrated, showing the road to ruin and how to avoid it. By the “The Writers’ Publishing Co., 21 (sic) University Place, New York City. (New England Journal of Education).”

[Report of the Commissioner of Education for the Year 1885 - ‘86 (Washington, D.C., 1887) p. 704 ]

• • •

Chart of Temperance and Physiology - Number One : The Road to Ruin and How to Avoid It. … Published by Miss Julia Colman, Superintendent, Literature Department, National Women’s Christian Temperance Union. 72 Bible House, New York City. Copyright 1885 by the Writers’ Publishing Company. Call number: (Ex) Broadside - Oversize - 411

July 14, 2009

Piranesi's Catalogo delle Opere: a practical requisite rendered in tromphe l'oeil


“Any attempt to determine the dating and sequence of the majority of Piranesi’s etched works must begin from the artist’s own Calalogo, confined to a single plate. This appears to have been first issued around 1761 when Piranesi set up his print-selling business near the top of the Spanish Steps at Palazzo Tomati, Via Sistina — an address which appears on many of his subsequent plates. In particular the Catalogo is crucial for arriving at the dating and order of the Vedute di Roma and already on the earliest known example presented to the Accademia di San Luca on his election in the spring of 1761, some fifty-nine specific titles are listed. Thence forward until his death in 1778, Piranesi issued revised states of the Catalogo which can be dated approximately by the addition of new publications. At the same time, fresh titles of the Vedute were added, individually or in groups (these were sometimes inserted in ink before being etched). So far, well over twenty-five separate states of this key work have come to light.” — John Wilton-Ely, Piranesi (London, 1978), p. 45.

Recent study of the Catalogo by Andrew Robison, Mellon Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), has identified as many as 31 known states.

Princeton owns three states, as follows:

State IV - copy bound as last leaf in Piranesi’s De Romanorvm magnificentia et architectvra / Della Magnificenza ed architettura de’Romani. (Rome, 1761), call number (Ex) NA310 .P64e. Link to digital image.

State V - held at the Princeton University Art Museum, Prints and Drawings

State XXIV - copy at call number (Ex) 2007-0052E, dating ca. 1776. Link to digital image.

July 29, 2009

Reading Decorative Papers: From the Legal to the Forbidden

A book historian has said: “Printers print sheets, but binders make books.” That dictum is well shown by close examination of the bindings on these two books.

The first example is from the library of John Witherspoon, signer of the Declaration, and President of College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). It is volume 29 of his collection of sixty bound volumes of pamphlets. Most are bound with boards covered with decorative papers, usually marble paper. Some have remarkable tan paste paper covers which, because of age and wear, reveal printing beneath the decorative pigment. In this case, we can see page 331 of the 1784 edition of the Acts of the Council and General Assembly of the State of New-Jersey printed in Trenton by state printer Isaac Collins. In an age of scarcity, paper had value even after its original use. The trade in printer’s waste paper, for example, included a number of after-market uses, such as linings for hat boxes. Here we see printer’s waste as substratum for a decorative paste paper, tan in color, patterned in a wavy manner (done by comb while paste and pigment are still wet.)

The second example keeps us still in the world of reused printer’s waste but takes us far from the rectitude of the Reverend Doctor. This is the binding on a recently acquired copy the Scholar’s Arithmetic, or, Federal Accountant, a textbook published in 1814 at Keene, N.H. by John Prentiss “proprietor of the copy right.” [(Ex) Item 547834] The book is still in its original binding as issued. In this case the decorative paper is marbled paper, whose color and pattern results from laying the paper over oil pigments floating on water. Again, wear and age allow us to see what was once hidden by blue pigment. There are blocks of print separated by wide margins, signaling this sheet to be several pages of text imposed for book printing. There are 31 lines per page with a page number centered in brackets over the middle of line one. Layout is the same on both front and back covers.

What is this text? Closely reading one portion reveals a surprise.



[service] under these good people; and after 
[supper] being showed to bed, Miss Phoebe, 
[who ob]served a kind of reluctance in me to 
[strip and go] to bed, in my shift before her, now 
[the maid] was withdrawn, came up to me, and 
[beginnin]g with unpinning my handkerchief 
[and gow]n, soon encouraged me to go on with 
[undressi]ng myself; and, still blushing at now see
[ing mys]elf naked to my shift, I hurried to get 
[under th]e bed-cloaths out of sight.  Phoebe 
[laugh'd] and was not long before she placed

Racy stuff, indeed. One library describes books with comparable decorative papers as “Bound in boards covered with a marbled sheet from a suppressed edition of John Cleland’s Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure. [Boston?, ca. 1810]” How did this happen? [More later.]

August 13, 2009

'So striking that it sells on sight' • 'The only non-sectional historical war adventure book'

Pictures! Stories! Action! Available via a canvasser or direct from the publisher. In red and black on title page: “Deeds of Daring by Both Blue and Gray … Thrilling narratives of personal adventure, exploits of scouts and spies, forlorn hopes, heroic bravery, patient endurance, imprisonments and hair-breadth escapes, romantic incidents, hand to hand struggles, humorous and tragic events, perilous journeys, bold dashes, brilliant successes, magnanimous actions, etc., on each side the line during the great Civil War … Profusely illustrated.” Publisher: “Scammell & Company, established 1868. Philadelphia, Pa.: 610 Arch Street. Saint Louis, Mo.: 203 Pine Street.”
Recently acquired illustrated broadside advertising revised edition (1886). The book was published by subscription: “Agents wanted! Write at once for terms, and name your choice of territory: or, to secure it instantly, send $1.00 for complete agent’s outfit, which will be forwarded by return mail postpaid. … If $3.00 are sent, not only the complete outfit, but also a fine leather copy of the complete book will be forwarded, if you sincerely pledge yourself to canvass.”

Call number: (Ex) Item 5360010
Cover and spine of recently acquired first edition (1883)

Call number: (Ex) Item 5370350

“This volume does not assume to be a formal history, nor even to relate more than a modicum of the innumerable incidents of personal adventure and examples of bravery exhibited on both sides during the Civil War. But it is believed to be the first volume in which a representative collection has ever been made of such examples by both Federal and Confederate participants, impartially related. Many have been the books which have been written and published from each interested standpoint, in which the coloring of the narrative by the prejudices of the writer was only too evident. Such books were necessarily (and not improperly) one-sided in view. But is there not abundant room for a volume that shall exhibit those traits of personal courage which all Americans claim to be a common heritage? In the belief that there is such room, and that, after the lapse of a generation of time, the most captious can hardly demur, there is here given the only collection of authenticated exploits by both the Blue and the Gray yet made, and one of nearly seventy chapters.” — D. M. Kelsey (preface, opening paragraph)

For more on subscription publishing in the United States at the end of the nineteenth century, see: Amy M. Thomas, “There Is Nothing So Effective as a Personal Canvass”: Revaluing Nineteenth-Century American Subscription Books,” Book History (1998), vol 1, p. 140-155.

September 22, 2009

Finding annotated books

Maillet-Categoriae-9r.JPG Maillet-aristotle3.jpg

Earlier this year, the Library acquired a remarkable book consisting of eight texts selected from Aristotle’s Organon and Nicomachean Ethics. The texts were published in Paris by Denis du Pré and Gabriel Buon between 1569 and 1573 and bound in two volumes.

Their owner, Pierre Maillet, of Lyon, intensively annotated the texts while attending lectures given by Nicolas de Bonvilliers, from November 1573 to September 1574, at the Collège de la Marche in Paris. His annotations are interlinear, in the margins and on inserted pages. Maillet dates and signs his notes several times and names his teacher in a note in French on fol. 95v of the Ethics. Call number for the Maillet volumes: (Ex) 2009-0499N

Princeton owns other comparably annotated Renaissance texts. A number of these are reported in the Princeton University Library Chronicle. Ann M. Blair, “Lectures on Ovid’ Metamorphoses: The Class Notes of a 16th-Century Paris Schoolboy” (L,2 [Winter 1989], p. 117-144 [ full text] and Anthony Grafton, “Gabriel Harvey’s Marginalia: New Light on the Cultural History of Elizabethan England” (LII,1 [Autumn 1990], p. 21-24 [ full text].

Also see Anthony Grafton and Lisa Jardine, From Humanism to the Humanities (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986) for discussion of the volume of texts annotated in 1572 by Gerardus de Mayres from lectures by Claude Mignault [Call number for these Renaissance editions is (Ex)PA260.xC6.1550].

But, in addition to the Renaissance, in general, how does one find books with contemporary annotations in the Princeton rare book collections?

Go to the Main Catalog -> The opening screen is headed ‘Basic Search.’ In the search box, enter ‘annotations provenance,’ then search by subject heading. You will see a list that looks like this.


To use this table of results, click on a link of interest, such as ‘Annotations (Provenance)—16th century.’ You get a list of 79 books, each individually described.

A list such as this allows analysis of holdings. Here is a table in rank order of rare books at Princeton signaled as having handwritten annotations, usually contemporary. Detail about the kind of notation varies for a variety of reasons. Nonetheless, for those seeking primary evidence about a reader’s response to a text, searching ‘annotations provenance’ is the way to start.

279 Annotations (Provenance)
79  Annotations (Provenance)--16th century.
57  Annotations (Provenance)--18th century.
57  Annotations (Provenance)--19th century.
35  Annotations (Provenance)--20th century.
26  Annotations (Provenance)--'Collated and perfect'
24  Annotations (Provenance)--17th century.
22  Annotations (Provenance)--England--19th century.
14  Annotations (Provenance)--15th century.
3   Annotations (Provenance)--United States--New Jersey--Princeton--19th century.
2   Annotations (Provenance)--France--18th century
2   Annotations (Provenance)--Germany--16th century.
2   Annotations (Provenance)--Italy--15th century.
1   Annotations (Provenance)--18th century.
1   Annotations (Provenance)--20th century.
1   Annotations (Provenance)--France--19th century
1   Annotations (Provenance)--France--Paris--1556.
1   Annotations (Provenance)--France--Paris--1560.
1   Annotations (Provenance)--France--Strasbourg--1515.
1   Annotations (Provenance)--Germany--17th century.
1   Annotations (Provenance)--Germany--Frankfurt am Main--1793.
1   Annotations (Provenance) Germany--Tübingen-- 16th century.
1   Annotations (Provenance)--Italy--Venice--1487.
1   Annotations (Provenance)--Switzerland--Basel--1511.
1   Annotations (Provenance)--United States--New Jersey--Princeton--20th century.

November 12, 2009

Spine Title: Penny Chap Book • Vol. 1.

Eight titlepages • typical of the whole

pcb1.JPG pcb2.JPG

This new accession is a curious mix of 38 short works. Bound together in one single volume are some of a hyper-Protestant character (that is, anti-Romanist, anti-Mormon), some of the ‘Newgate Calendar class’(stories of criminals and their punishment), some on popular leisure (‘comic songs,’ ‘authentic history of the prize ring’) and others dealing with fires, massacres, tortures, atrocities, ‘the confessions of an undertaker,’ as well as the story of one of ‘the pretty horsebreakers of Rotten Row.’ Price of each? At least one pence, never more than 2. Readers were always told where to obtain copies, such as at the office of “H. Elliot, 475, New Oxford Street” but usually never does the pamphlet give its date of publication. Typographic style, textual content, method of illustration and other factors date and place them in the London penny press trade of the 1850s and 1860s. Taken as a whole, the volume is a marvelous array of cheap reading targeting the interests of the British working classes.

A goodly number of the penny and tuppence pamphlets in this new accession are not recorded as being held in research libraries in either the UK or the US. This makes sense because in the day of their publication, library collecting dogma did not consider their content and ephemeral form appropriate for what was deemed a ‘permanent’ collection. By the mid-twentieth century, this dogma had been replaced by a total reversal of doctrine. Ephemera of this sort was and continues to be considered the quotidian building stones of research collections.

Recently acquired • Bound in one volume with spine title: Penny Chap Book • Vol 1. A collection of 38 publications, priced 1d and 2d, printed during the 1850s and 1860s, chiefly in London.

Call number (Ex) Item 5623495

1. The Trials and Vicissitudes in the Life of Villiers Pearce. 
Printed & published by H. Elliot, 1856. Yellow wraps. 2d.  16pp.

2. An Authentic History of Freemasonry, ... 
Printed & published by . Elliot, 1853.
Illus. Yellow wraps. 2d.  16pp.

3. Priests and their Victims; or, Scenes in a Convent.  
Printed & published by H. Elliot, 1852. 
Illus. Yellow wraps. 2d.  16pp.

4. Confessions of a Detective Policeman: ... 
Printed & published by H. Elliot, [c.1852]. 
Illus. cutting inserted. Yellow wraps. 2d.  16pp.

5.  Mormon Revelations, being the history of fourteen females, ... 
Printed & published by H. Elliot, [c.1858]. 
Illus. cutting inserted. Yellow wraps. 2d. 16pp..  
*Title headed: Appalling Disclosures!

6. Bennett's Official Account of the Great Fire 
near London Bridge, Shocking death of Mr. Braidwood, 
and great loss of life. 
Printed & published for the booksellers, [1861]. 
Two column text 16pp.

7. The life, Death, and Burial of the late Mr. James Braidwood. 
A.P. Shaw, [1861]. Port., illus. cutting inserted.  8pp.

8. The Dreadful Fire at the Wharves, near London Bridge 
with the death of Mr. Braidwood. H.Disley, printer, [1861].  
Quarter sheet broadside, largely in verse.

9. The Yelverton Ballad and Love Songs, ... 
and Extraordinary Marriage of Teresa 
Longworth and Major Yelverton, ... 
E. Harrison, [1862]. Portraits, largely in verse. 8pp.

10. The Yelverton Marriage Case, ... Verdict of the Jury. 
Sold by Winn, [1861]. Tide headed: Price one penny. 8pp.

11. Narrative of the Massacres of Christians in Syria. 
Dreadful sufferings of women, and children cut to shreds, ... 
H. Vickers.  8pp.

12. Dassel, Adolph von. The Melancholy History and 
Miserable End of the Two Monsters of the Continent, the 
Communist Ox and the Socialist Ass.  Published by 
the Propaganda of Good Sense (A. Munro), 1851. 
Without the engraving, first leaf 
slightly torn at inner margin. 16pp.

13. The Life and Death together with the Extraordinary 
Exploits of the redoubtable Gen. Havelock, ... 
Elliot, Panic, 1858. 1d. 8pp.

14. The Dream of Miltiades; or, The Fall of Sebastopol. 
By the Author of "The Battle of Inkermann". 
Brighton: printed at C.Tourle's Office, [1856?]. 
Verse. Yellow wraps.  8pp. 
*'The Battle of Inkermann' may be 
the poem by a retired Liverpool Merchant, 1855.

15. The Original Comic Song Book, 
compiled by Hardwick, Labern, Ramsay, &c. ... No. 11. 
Pattie, [c. 1850]. Illus.  1d. 8pp.

16. (Young, James) The Rev. C.H. Spurgeon in a 
Fix, and Completely Confounded. 
Printed & published by James Young, [1863]. 1d. 7pp. 
James Young who signs the pamphlet on p.7, 
describes himself as a convert to the Jewish religion.

17. Mysteries of Mormonism. A history of the rise 
and progress of the notorious Latter Day Saints, ... 
H. Wilson, [c.1855]. 1d.  8pp.

18. Anti-Conspirator, pseud. 
 Regicide. Are refugees our enemies.  
Is Napoleon our ally.  J. Allen, 1858. 1d.  8pp.

19. An Authentic History of the Prize Ring 
and Championships of England, ... 
(Verbatim account from "The Times" and "Bell's Life" newspapers.)  
Diprose & Bateman, [1860]. 16pp.

20. (Wilkes, George).  A True Narrative of the Horrid Tortures 
practised in Naples, ... the Virgin's Kiss ... By an eye witness. 
H. Vickers, [c. 1860].  Illus. 1d.  8pp.

21. Watts, John. The Criminal History of the Clergyman. (No. 1.) 
Compiled byJ. Watts. Holyoake & Co., [1857]. 2d. 16pp.

22. The Dangers of Crinoline, Street Hoops, &c. 
G. Vickers, [1858]. Illus. 1d.  16pp.

23. The What is it? The extraordinary adventures, 
startling revelations, 
and narrow escapes of Du Chaillu, ... 
Printed & published at the City Printing Press, [c.1860?]. Illus. 
Front  wraps with repeat illus. hand col. 2d. 16pp.

24. The Five Great Americans ... Gough, Northrop, Finney, 
Rarey, and Heenan. H.J. Tresidder. 
(Leaders of the day, no. 4.) July, 1860. 1d.  8pp.

25. The Reverend Charles Haddon Spurgeon's Continental Tour. 
H.J. Tresidder. (Leaders of the day, no. 10.) [c.1860]. 12pp.

26. The life of His Late Royal Highness the Prince 
Consort, with an account of his last moments, ... 
5th edn. W. Oliver, [1862]. Port 1d.  16pp.

27. A Full Account of the Windham Lunacy Case,
 with anecdotes ... 
Elliott, [1862]. Port.  1d. Misbound but complete. 20pp.

28. Williams, Dr.  A Thunderbolt 
for Colenso, the 
Heretic Bishop of Natal. 
Elliot, [1862?]. 1d.  16pp.

29. Appalling Narrative of Russian Atrocities: 
... By a Polish Exile. 
H. Vickers, [c.1860]. Illus.1d.  8pp.

30. Midnight Meetings and the Social Evil !!! 
The life of Lucy Anderson, one of the pretty horsebreakers 
of Rotten Row, written by herself. 
Elliot, [c.1860]. Illus.1d.  8pp.

31. Tommey, Henry, Sen.  Let Justice be done!
The startling narrative of an old veteran who served 
under Wellington ... 
Printed & published by H. Tommey, 1863. 
Orig. green wraps. 1d. 12pp.

32. Mr. Somes and his foolish, mischievous, and obnoxious Beer Bill 
and its tyrannical effects upon the Working Classes; 
... Sunday riots in Hyde Park. 
Farrah & Dunbar; J. & H. Purkess, &c. [1863.] 1d.  8pp.

33. The Astounding Confessions of an Undertaker, 
... Shocking Disclosures. 
News Agents' Publishing Co., [c.186-?]. Illus. 16pp.

34. The Manchester Murders. 
Manchester: John Heywood; London: G. Vickers, [1862?[. 
Illus. 16pp. 
*Sent by post with 1d stamp to M. Beggs, 37 Southampton St., London.

35. Mormon Disclosures ... 
Liverpool: James Gage. [c.l860?]. 1d.  16pp. 
*The same text as 'Mormon Revelations' q.v.

36. The Three Skeletons: a ghostly Christmas story. 
Revelations of a French physician. 
The mysterious casket. The burning furnace. 
The lost child. E. Harrison, [1862?]. 
Illus.,  two column text. 1d.  16pp.

37. O'Kane v. Lord Palmerston.  
All about the great scandal ... 
Published at the Office of the "City News", [1863]. 
With cutting tipped in at front & 4 at end. 1d.  8pp.

38. The Disgraceful Death of an English judge, 
in a House of Ill-Fame. Leeds: T. Pinder, [1884]. Illus.(8 pp.)  
*Added later to the collection.

December 8, 2009

"A print ... is a lesson which all capacities may learn": Starvation in 18th century England


“I think it necessary to assign the reasons why I have annex’d to this Narrative a plate, that must strike HOME to the hearts of the most harden’d, and prove to the most humane, offensive.; but it ought to be remember’d, that many people who are able to read, and even to write, are, nevertheless, unable to understand what they do read; and many such persons, I fear, are intrusted with the care of the poor. A print, therefore, to such people, is a lesson which all capacities may learn; it is a language every man can read; and as it has some, though very faint resemblance, of the deathly figures from whence it was taken, I flatter myself, it may make a deep and permanent impression on the minds of those men, who are disposed to forget that we are all made of the same composition; and that the day is not very remote, that even the youngest, the fairest, and the most beautiful part of the creation must fade, and become an object in the grave, at least, as ghastly as any of these. I must likewise bespeak the favour of the candid reader, to excuse the many errors of my pen: it was wholly written in the evening of a day, most disagreeably employed in a capacity in which I never served before, and hope I never shall again; a day, in which my mind has been distracted, not only by seeing shocking deformities in death, but in life also; a day, in which I have seen men, sinking with age and infirmities into the grave, violating with oaths and lies, the consecrated ground, which in a few months, (perhaps days,) may cover their bodies for ever.”
— Philip Thicknesse, An Account of The Four Persons Found Starved to Death, at Datchworth in Hertfordshire. By one of the Jurymen on the Inquisition taken on their Bodies. The Second Edition, with Additions. London: Printed (for the Benefit of the surviving Child) for W. Brown…; and R. Davies…. 1769, page 9-10. [Acquired in November 2009; call number (Ex) Item 5642061. According to the English Short Title Catalogue no copy of this Second Edition is recorded as being in a North American library. Princeton’s acquisition of this copy is being reported to ESTC accordingly.]

“In 1769, … a retired officer with a restless moral conscience, Philip Thicknesse, wrote a horrifying account, accompanied with an equally horrifying print, of Four Persons Found Starved to Death, at Datchworth. Such things were not supposed to happen in Hertfordshire, in what were called the Home Circuits surrounding the capital.
   But there were probably as many wretched people like the Datchworth victims in the south (especially in the impoverished southwest of England) than in … Northumbria. For it was in southern England that the social results of ‘rural improvement’ — for good as well as for ill — were most dramatically apparent, especially in the lean years of the 1760s, when a succession of wheat harvest failures sent prices soaring and unleashed food riots in the towns and cities all the way from London to Derbyshire.”
— Simon Schama, A History of Britain: The Fate of the Empire, 1776-2000. New York: Hyperion, 2002, page 33.

More on the Datchworth victims from the RSC in London:

April 10, 2010

"Friendship's Offering wears a most captivating appearance" • 1825

Recently acquired: an extraordinarily well-preserved example of a 19th century literary gift annual, a genre of artfully confected book issued for the holiday season, featuring contemporary poetry, essays, travel description, music, exquisite illustration (color as well as black and white), together with fine paper and superb printing.

Friendship’s Offering, or the Annual Remembrancer: a Christmas Present, or New Year’s Gift, for 1825. (London: Lupton Relfe, 13, Cornhill). Dimensions: 14.5 x 9.5 x 2.5 cm. Gift edges. Case includes original purple silk ribbon pull. Bookseller’s ticket on front pastedown: Zanetti & Agnew. Repository of Arts, 94 Market Street, Manchester.

IMG_3539.JPG 1825.jpg

As described in “List of Plates” on page [ix]:
Above left: “Illuminated external Embellishment” • above right: “Illuminated Title Page”


(Left) Spine of paper case (“external Embellishment”) • (Right) Front cover with blind embossing

For contemporary opinion, see:
[Review]. The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 94 (1824), p. 445

“The example of Mr. Ackermann, who has the merit of first introducing from the Continent this species of annual literature, has been followed by two powerful rivals. The first of these which comes under our notice, “Friendship’s Offering,” wears a most captivating appearance, not only as far as external embellishment, embossing, illuminating, &c. but from the beauty of the engravings and the interest of many of its articles, which are original compositions of no ordinary cast. The success of a trial last year has evidently stimulated the proprietors to increased efforts. The present volume contains Views of Constantinople, St. Petersburg, Berne, and Naples, with good Descriptions. Copies of celebrated Pictures, after Murillo, Claude, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Westall, Stothard, &c. The original articles bear the names of Mrs. Opie, Miss M. Edgeworth, Rev. T. Dale, H. E. Lloyd, esq. &c.&c. At the end of the volume is a blank Diary for memoranda, headed by 12 very neat wood engravings of antient castles, churches, &c. all in the county of Kent. The aim of the editor of “Friendship’s Offering” appears to have been to combine the elegance of art and flowers of literature with the utility of the superior class of pocket-books, and in this (with the deficiency of an almanack, which would have necessarily much increased the price) he has in a great degree succeeded.”

May 6, 2010

Newly acquired: Cedid Atlas Tercümesi (Istanbul, 1803)

DSCN0230.jpg title-page.jpg
(Right) Curator John Delaney, holding front cover, remarks on the Atlas
to colleagues associated with the Near Eastern Studies Program: James Weinberger, Michael Cook, Sükrü Hanioglu, Michael Laffan, Svat Soucek.
[Photograph courtesy of William Blair]
(Above) Title page of the Atlas. [Call number: Historic Maps, item 5745136]
(Below) Detail of east coast in the map of North America.

Princeton University Library’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections announces the acquisition of a rare Ottoman imprint, Cedid Atlas Tercümesi (New Atlas Translation). Printed in Istanbul in 1803 in an edition of just fifty copies, the Atlas is the first Muslim-published world atlas based upon European geographic knowledge and cartographic methods. The Library of Congress reports just seven extant copies in Istanbul, and it appears that there are only three others in the U.S.: Library of Congress [see LC’s announcement], the Newberry Library, and the John Carter Brown Library [see JCB’s note(item 30)]. These are the only known complete copies outside of Turkey.

The Atlas is based upon the General Atlas of the Four Grand Quarters of the World of William Faden, a copy of which was acquired by Mahmud Raif Efendi when he was a private secretary at the Ottoman embassy in London. While still in London, Mahmud Raif Efendi wrote a geographic work, İcalet (or Ucalet) ül-Coğrafya, in French. This 80-page geographical study was translated into Turkish, printed in 1804, and bound with the Cedid Atlas Tercümesi. This modernizing bureaucrat is also the author of Tableau des Nouveaux Reglemens de l’Empire Ottoman, a work describing military reforms undertaken in the empire. Princeton also owns a copy of this important work.

The purchase of Cedid Atlas Tercümesi was made possible by funds from two sources: the Rare Books Division and the Friends of the Princeton University Library. For more information, contact John Delaney (, curator of Historic Maps.

June 14, 2010

The Artists' Fund Society of the City of New York: a recently acquired set of their sale catalogues, 1860-1889

1875.jpg 1875-0.jpg
Part of the story of the rising professional self-consciousness among American artists during the nineteenth century is the creation of art academies and associations. Following a model first set up in Philadelphia, artists in New York in 1859 set up “The Artists’ Fund Society.”

“The name of this association shall be ” The Artists’ Fund Society.” Its location, the city of New York. Its objects, the accumulation of a fund for the aid of its members in disablement, in sickness and distress, and the assistance of the widows, children, and families of deceased members.” —Extract from the Consitution, Article 1, Name.

Funds were raised chiefly by an annual auction of member’s paintings. More than twenty seven auctions were held between 1860 and 1889. The Library now has an extensive set of the catalogues for these sales. [Call number: (Ex) Item 5732011. At right is a clipping about the 1875 sale, laid into the catalogue for that year.] Many are priced by member David Johnson (1827-1908). Some has his comments. Such priced catalogues are a unique source for tracking changing art values, shifts in taste, as well as supplying raw data for establishing an artist’s oeuvre.

A brief history of the fund is given in the catalogue for the 26th sale (1886):

“After the death of Mr. Ranney, which occurred twenty-six years ago, his pictures were sold at auction, for the benefit Of his widow and children. A specific sum of money being required to relieve a mortgage on the house in which his widow lived, his brother artists determined each to contribute a picture to be sold with, the Ranney collection. To accomplish this end the business required an organization, and the necessary officers were duly appointed.

At the close of this generous act on the part of the artists-the pecuniary results being much larger than they had hoped. for-it was resolved to Continue the organization, in order to be prepared to meet any similar emergency in the future. Several plans by which the object might be effected were brought forward and discussed arid finally the one by which the ‘Artists’ Fund Society’ is now governed was unanimously adopted and in 1861 its charter was obtained from the State.

For twenty-six years the Society has been enabled-from the funds accruing from its annual sales-to afford relief in time cases of misfortune common to all classes of professional men. Since its commencement it has paid thousands of dollars to widows and orphans of deceased members, besides relieving many cases of actual need among the living.

The Society has three funds; the First for the widows and orphans of deceased members; the Second for the relief of members; and the Third a Benevolent Fund which is used to meet the wants of artists not members of the Society.

The first two funds are kept supplied by the annual sales of works contributed by the members. The third fund is made up by donations in pictures or money, from those interested in artists who have been unfortunate through sickness and other causes.

Mrs. A. T. Stewart, some years ago, donated to the Society $2,000 and Mrs. Edwin White, $1,000, which sums were placed to the credit of this fund, invested in U. S. Government bonds, yielding a small but sure revenue, which is judiciously administered by the Board of Control after favorable report by a regular ‘Visiting Committee.’ This Benevolent Fund is inadequate to meet the demands which are constant and increasing.”

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