Archive of proofs and samples from the Société Engelmann, père et fils, ca. 1839

engelmann volume11Archive of Proofs and Samples from the Société Engelmann père et fils, ca. 1839. 3 vols. Chromolithography. Purchased with funds from the Graphic Arts Collection and Rare Books. 2014- in process

Princeton recently acquired a set of three elephant folios, which Michael Twyman calls, “the most interesting collection of its kind that I have ever come across.” These albums hold hundreds of specimens of early chromolithography from Godefroy Engelmann (1788-1839) and his Société Engelmann père et fils.

The provenance of the albums is not clear though Twyman states that they probably came into the market within the last ten years from the Engelmann descendants. They turned up, not surprisingly, in Paris. Here are ten sample pages:

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What is clear is that the 250 leaves hold an unprecedented archive of printing samples, many still uncut, from the Engelmann company under both the father and son, beginning with a complete copy of The Album Chromolithographique (1837). Other proofs range from ephemeral playing cards and labels to the most elaborate chromolithographic broadsides and publications.

Other highlights include:
Large trade card dated 1839 (280 x 120 mm), reads as follows: “Engelmann, Pere & Fils à Mulhouse – J. Engelmann, Cité Bergere Paris. Chromolithographie ou impression lithographique en couleurs.”

Female portrait. “Premier essay du procédé chromo-lithographique de Mr. Engelmann par E. Viennot” (for approval of the Société d’Encouragement in Jan. 1837). And a similar male portrait without caption.

Uncut sheets with playing cards for different games (Loto graphique, Rebus, Jeu de la Mythologie, Jeu de cartes syllabaire Européen, and Jeu de cartes de l’histoire de France par un professeur d’histoire).

Jean Landais, printer in Rennes, announcement of the reopening of his business and starting with lithographic color printing of all kinds in Rennes, 25 June 1840.

Jean Engelmann, announcement of the invention of chromolithography and the opening of his press in Paris, 1 January, 1838.

Many uncut glazed paper sheets with pages from missals and other religious texts in the style of mediaeval manuscripts (‘Paroissiens’).

Many examples of book illustrations, book covers, trade cards, posters, window displays, carte-de-visites, tobacco labels, cigar bands, illustrated writing papers, paper toys, religious cards, etc. etc.

Godefroy Engelmann (1788-1839), biographic details from the British Museum: “Lithographic printer, famed ‘Körner’ (grinder) for crayon-lithographs and patentee of chromolithography. Originally from Colmar; trained in Munich; set up press in Paris in June 1816. He improved lithography, particularly by developing lithographic wash in 1819. In 1825 he created a new company in association with Jérémie Graf and Pierre Thierry and named ‘Société Engelmann et Cie’. In 1826 an annex company is founded in London and named ‘Société Engelmann, Graf, Coindet et Cie’, which was dissolved in 1833. Then Engelmann returned to Mulhouse and created the company ‘Société Engelmann, père et fils’.

Kent’s Princeton Tiger

DSCN7944Each year from 1941 to 1952, the Princeton Print Club commissioned a print by a contemporary American artist for their membership. In 1947, T.M. Cleland (1880-1964) was on campus talking about his work and asked the students if he could be considered for the 1949 membership print. Happy to have their first pochoir, the executive committee agreed.

By the next summer, the meticulous (dare I say finicky) artist had not yet begun and wrote to the students that he was afraid he might not meet their deadline. “Would it be feasible,” he proposes, “to commission another man to make a print to be ready by November with the understanding that if mine was finished by that time, the other one would be used the year following?” With most of the student gone for the summer, their supervisor Elmer Adler declined on their behalf.

kent tiger    kent tiger2
Preliminary sketches for Princeton Tiger. Rockwell Kent papers, ca.1885-1970. MS#0702. Series III: Titled Drawings, Lithographs, Prints and Proofs, box 7. Columbia University, Rare Books and Special Collections

Now desperate for another artist, Adler wrote to his old friend Rockwell Kent (1882-1971) asking if he would undertake to cut a wood engraving for the Club. “Although we were saving you for a special print,” he confided, “it would seem now that you might be the savior.” Kent agreed and sketched some ideas over the fall of 1948, pulling a few preliminary proofs for the students that winter. Kent’s wood engraving, which some historians have called, “Tiger Tiger Burning Bright,” and others simple “The Princeton Tiger,” was a nighttime scene of an enormous roaring tiger cradling Nassau Hall.

kent nassau hall2

Preliminary proof for Princeton Print Club membership print by Rockwell Kent. Princeton Print Club scrapbook,
Graphic Arts Collection.

When the students saw Kent’s design, they were unimpressed. The roar of the tiger was taken to be a yawn and the committee was nervous that alumni would not want to purchase the image of a bored Princeton tiger. They decided to ask Kent come up with another idea and sent one of their members, Bates W. Littlehales, Class of 1948, to meet with Kent in person.

Unfortunately, the dates were confused and the meeting never took place, leaving Adler to deliver the bad news through the mail. He tried to explain to Kent that unlike other Print Clubs, no member of Princeton’s Club had to take a print that he didn’t like. “Unfortunately,” he continued, “most of our sales are made to the old guard Princetonians who believe in this place and want to give the best possible impression of Princeton.” Adler asked Kent to make a new print.


Hans Alexander Mueller, The New Library, 1949. Graphic Arts Collection

“I am astounded,” replied Kent, who argued that the image had been clearly described months ago. In the end, he donates the many hours he spent working on the block to the Club, as “a token of my grateful appreciation of your steadfast interest in my work.”  He refuses to do more but suggests that “some day I may enlist the interest of some Princeton grad to have me finish the block.” So far, the Princeton tiger has never been editioned.

The Club scrambled to find a third artist to make the membership print for 1949 and was saved by Hans Alexander Mueller (1888-1963), who created one of the most popular prints the Club ever had: “The New Library,” a chiaroscuro woodcut of the recently built Harvey S. Firestone Library, sold for the membership price of $7.50.


Scotland and Ireland 1894

ireland 8Knox’s House, Edinburgh. James Valentine (1815-1879)

Thanks to the bequest of Hamilton Cottier, Class of 1922, the Graphic Arts Collection holds this photograph album dated 1894, with commercial prints of Scotland and Ireland. Here are a few samples.

ireland 7Edinburgh Castle

ireland 6

ireland 5Central Station Hotel, Glasgow

ireland 4

ireland 3Tunnel near Glengarriff, Ireland

ireland 2Blackrock Castle, County Cork 1840. W.L.

Ireland and Scotland 1894 [photograph album]. Albumen prints. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2011.01472. Bequest of Hamilton Cottier, Class of 1922.

Robert Cresswell, Class of 1919

cresswell by olinskyIvan Gregorewitch Olinsky (1878-1962), Robert Cresswell, 1897-1943, no date [ca. 1943]. Oil on canvas. Graphic Arts Collection

When Lieutenant Colonel Robert Cresswell, Class of 1919, died on a mission for the Office of Strategic Services during World War II, the Princeton University Library chose the Friends’ Room in the Graphic Arts Division of Firestone Library as a memorial to him. The room was chosen because it was largely through Cresswell’s imagination and skilled effort that the graphic arts collection, together with Elmer Adler, came to Princeton in 1940.

As a member of the class of 1919, Cresswell’s undergraduate education was interrupted by service during World War I, returning to campus to graduate in 1920. He joined the New York Tribune, later the New York Herald-Tribune, as a 25 year old reporter and by the age of 35, Cresswell was director the company. In 1940, as chairman of the Friends of the Princeton University Library, it was Cresswell who arranged the financing to establish a three year experimental program of graphic arts led by Adler. Later that year, Cresswell resigned from the Tribune and purchased the Philadelphia Evening Ledger, where he became director and publisher.

Cresswell’s life was again interrupted, this time by World War II, and he reenlisted in 1942. It is unfortunate the not long after he arrived in England, Cresswell contracted an infection that spread quickly and he died in 1943. Happily, the three-year experiment in graphic arts was taken over by the Princeton University Library and continues to thrive today. The Friends’ room has been renovated and recently reopened as administrative offices.

Magic Lantern Society of U.S. & Canada

mlconf9It has been a full first day at the 16th convention of the Magic Lantern Society of U.S. & Canada, hosted by Dick Balzer in his astonishing Carriage House. Members from Australia, Japan, Italy, and elsewhere marveled at Mr. Balzer’s collection, beautifully exhibited in cabinets and cases on all sides. Our welcome bags even included a full color catalogue describing 100 items carefully chosen from this extraordinary cabinet of wonders.

So far, there have been ten diverse presentations beginning with Dick Moore’s ‘Peek under the Circus Tent.’ Not only did he show us historical images but he did it using a magic lantern projector rather than a simple PowerPoint presentation. See a single image below of children peeking under as we did the same.
mlconf8I am resting up for the second day, which will include an evening of magic lantern entertainments at the Brattle Theater by Dick Balzer, Dick Moore, Terry Borton, Larry Rakow, and Mervyn Heard (seen far below introducing the Great Snazelle). Here are a few more images from the day. For more, see Mr. Balzer’s own site:

mlconf1Magic Lantern Society of United States and Canada:


fuselli3He giveth snow like wool,
he scattereth the hoar frost like ashes.
He casteth forth his ice like morsels,
who can stand before his cold?
He sendeth out his word, and melteth them,
he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow. –Psalm 147


fuselliWhen Johann Jakob Scheuchzer needed 750 illustrations for his Physica sacra, a natural history-based commentary on the Bible, he entrusted the Swiss artist Johann Melchior Füssli (1677-1736) with the design of the central panels, and Johann Daniel Preissler (1666-1737) with the borders. The Graphic Arts Collection holds one of Füssli’s drawings in pen and ink, published in volume 3, for Psalm 147: 16-18.

Scheuchzer is said to have overseen the illustrations, based on his own cabinet of natural history specimens, although he died before the last of the four volumes were published.

Füssli/Preissler drawings were engraved over many years by a number of artisans including Johann August Corvinus (1683–1738); Jakob Andreas Fridrich the Elder (1684–1751); Georg Daniel Heümann (1691–1759); Johann Gottlieb Thelot (1708–1760); Georg Lichtensteger (1700–1781); and Catharina Sperlingen (18th century).

Johann Jakob Scheuchzer (1672-1733), Kupfer-Bibel, in welcher die Physica sacra, oder, geheiligte Natur-wissenschafft derer in Heil (Augspurg und Ulm: Gedruckt bey Christian Ulrich Wagner, 1731-1735). Rare Books (Ex) Oversize 5366.816q



moxon22          moxon 22

Joseph Moxon (1627-1691), Mechanick Exercises: or, the Doctrine of Handy-Works (London: Joseph Moxon, 1683-[1700]). Complete with fifty-nine engraved plates (some folding), two engraved portraits, seven small engraved slips loosely inserted.  Volume 1: pp [viii] 58; [iv] 59-114; [iv] 115-169; [v] 171-234; [iv] 1-46 including: description and instruction in manual trades:  Volume 2: 394 [2, blank] including: Printing, Letter-Cutting, Printing Letters, Compositers trade, Pressmans trade, Dictionary, alphabetically explaining the abstruse words and phrases that are used in typography. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2014- in process. Purchased with assistance from the Friends of the Princeton University Library; Rare Book Division; and the Graphic Arts Collection.
moxon21This is the first edition of the earliest English manual about printing. Moxon revealed to the English speaking public, for the first time, technical information that had once been considered trade secrets by those who practiced printing for a living. It was also the first book published in England as a serial, issued in monthly numbers, each number consisting of 16 pages and one or more engraved plates. “Although 500 copies were printed, very few complete sets have been preserved, the whole being, perhaps, the most difficult to obtain in the whole range of typographical literature.” (Bigmore and Wyman, II, pp 55-56).

Written by a tradesman, for tradesmen, Mechanick Exercises remains one of the most important English language works on craft, in general, and on printing specifically. The second volume, concerned solely with printing, was published in 1683, delayed, as Moxon explains in his Advertisement, “by the breaking out of the [Popish] Plot, which took off the minds of my few Customers from buying them, as formerly.”

The provenance of these volumes is impeccable. The book was part of the Library of the Earls of Macclesfield, created in the first fifty years or so of the 18th century beginning with Thomas Parker (1667-1732), the 1st Earl of Macclesfield. Regarded as one of the great country house libraries of England, the sale of the collection necessitated 12 auctions over four years from 2004 to 2008.

moxon27The present copy was assembled by William Jones, the acting librarian of Shirburn Castle in the early 1700s when complete sets of the serial publication were already rare. It was rebound, as many volumes in the library were, with a Macclesfield exlibris and embossed stamp. A couple of plates have just been touched by the binder’s knife, the one plate and two portraits that are mounted are mostly indistinguishable from the rest. The manuscript plate numbers are in Jones’ own hand and remain unchanged since that time.

As usual, the present copy of volume one is a mixture of second and third issues or editions. Volume one contains a general title dated 1694, followed by five sections with separate title pages, dated between 1693 and 1700, the first four paginated continuously, the last with separate pagination, and twenty-six engraved plates. The second volume, a first edition with imprint 1683, contains twenty-four numbered sections with continuous pagination, thirty-three plates (bound at the end) and two engraved portraits.

moxon24Thanks in particular to the Friends of the Princeton University Library for their ongoing assistance and their financial support of this important purchase.


Picturesque Bits from Old Edinburgh

picturesque bits6Archibald Burns (1831-1880), Picturesque “bits” from Old Edinburgh (Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas, 1868). 15 albumen silver prints by Archibald Burns with descriptive and historical notes by Thomas Henderson. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2014- in process
picturesque bits3
picturesque bits5According to the National Library of Scotland, Archibald Burns was based in Edinburgh between 1858, when he is first recorded as a member of the Photographic Society of Scotland, and his death in the early 1880s. Burns made his living principally from selling stock-images of Edinburgh for the burgeoning tourist market. He also provided photographs to illustrate books of Edinburgh.

In 1871 Burns was commissioned by the Edinburgh Improvement Trust to document buildings in the area between the Cowgate and what is now Chambers Street. Beginning that year, he worked out of Rock House in Edinburgh, in the same building as Scottish photographer Thomas Annan (1829-1887). The comparisons are obvious.

picturesque bits4
picturesque bits2Annan photographed Glasgow between 1868 and 1871, documenting the poor conditions of working class neighborhoods. The prints were published in several formats under the name Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow, as part of a commission from the City of Glasgow Improvements Trust.

“Thomas Annan retained his business premises in Glasgow while living at Rock House [Edinburgh] and with the railway it would have been convenient to travel between the two cities. It would not appear to have been competition from Burns that made Thomas Annan return to Glasgow.”

“It is more likely that the two men were friends and they did have a close business association as the Valuation roll for 1871-2 shows that Thomas Annan still held the lease for Rock House but Burns was the occupier. It is possible the two photographers were a mutual influence. In burns’ photographs for Picturesque bits form old Edinburgh, published in 1868, he included grim depictions of some of the more deprived areas of the Old Town. Annan would have known about these photographs as he embarked on his acclaimed images of the Glasgow Closes.” –Roddy Simpson, The Photography of Victorian Scotland (2012)



Alexander Anderson’s New York City Diary 1793-1799

flavius17“[January] 2d Last night I got up and began to kindle a Fire, when thinking it might be too early I went up to Papa’s room and look’d at his watch, found it to be about half past 1, at which discovery I undress’d and went to bed again–Rose in the Morning about 6, as soon as ’twas light enough, engrav’d at Hicks’s Compass Plate–In my way to the Doctor’s call’d upon Mr Durell and got 16/ of him–spent some time in kindling a fire in the Shop; read in Cullen’s Practice–At noon engrav’d–went to Mr Parr’s & paid his bill 1.4.6– At 3, went to the College and attended Dr. Bailey’s Lecture (Bones of the Head)–I gave him the Draught of the Exrescence which I finish’d today–after Lecture came home and engrav’d…”

flavius19Thanks to Jane Pomeroy’s newly published transcription of Alexander Anderson’s diary, we now know how he spent his days and night for the six years from 1793 to 1799. The entry above refers to William Durell, a New York publisher for whom Anderson engraved plates for several volumes. The payment he mentions might have been for his work, completed in 1792 for George Maynard’s Whole Genuine and Complete Works of Flavius Josephus.

Of the 60 wood engravings in the volume, Cornelius Tiebout cut 14; Amos Doolittle made 14; William Rollinson 6; J. Allen 5; Benjamin Tanner 2; and E. Tisdale only one. Alexander Anderson was the youngest artist working on the project, only seventeen years old at the time. Bibliographer and collector Sinclair Hamilton tells us he engraved 7 plates including 2 maps and a plan of Jerusalem. The designs are from drawings by Metz, Stothard, and Corbould.flavius16
Jane R. Pomeroy, Alexander Anderson’s New York City diary, 1793 to 1799 (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press; Worcester, Massachusetts: American Antiquarian Society, 2014). Graphic Arts Collection GA 2014. In process


Flavius Josephus, The Whole Genuine and Complete Works of Flavius Josephus … by George Henry Maynard … (New-York: Printed and sold by William Durell …, 1792). Gift of Sinclair Hamilton. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize Hamilton 207f