Patent Steel Pens

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“Alois Senefelder, the inventor of lithography, made for his own use pens from steel watch-springs. In 1816, he sold his invention to J. Alexander of Birmingham, who started the manufacture of steel pens. At first they were a luxury but about 1830 they came into extensive universal use.” –Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association, v. 6 (1917). Here is an early advertisement for Alexander’s firm. Today, Birmingham is home to the Pen Museum:

steel pen broadside belgianBelgian trade card for J. Alexander, ca. 1830. Graphic Arts Collection. Gift of W. Allen Scheuch II, Class of 1976.

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Photographic Embellishments 1866

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James Inglis, “Right Still Now,” The Philadelphia Photographer, v. III. No. 35 (Nov. 1866).

When Edward Livingston Wilson (1838-1903) began his journal, The Philadelphia Photographer in 1864, he embellished the articles (his word) with an original albumen silver print as a frontispiece for each issue. In 1866, the photographers he published included William Notman (1826–1891); John Coates Browne (1838–1918); Max Petsch (active 1860s); Henszey; S.G. Rogers; Walter C. North (1831–1891); James Inglis (1835–1904); and Frederick August Wenderoth (1819–1884).

The photograph posted above is a view of James Inglis’s Montreal studio on St. James Street, with a very young operator at the daguerreotype camera. Inglis eventually moved to Rochester and then Chicago, where he died in 1904 following an explosion while experimenting on a new form of magnesium lighting. Over at The Photo-Beacon, F. Dundas Todd wrote a remembrance of the photographer,

“Getting interested in dry plates in the early eighties, [Inglis] entered upon the experimental stage with his usual whole-souled energy, and, like many more of that time, with disastrous financial results. He gravitated to Rochester, where he founded the Inglis Dry Plate Company, and entered with enthusiasm into their manufacture.

Those were troublous times in the photographic world, where a cool head was essential to financial success. Gelatin is a very uncertain substance even in the present day, as plate and paper manufacturers well know, and in those days it was more so, and many a promising business was ruined by an unsuitable brand of gelatin, and, unfortunately, the cause was rarely suspected. Then the wet plate was emphatically slow, while it was so easy to make dry plates that were decidedly faster.

Photographers would persist in overexposing, and many a good emulsion was wasted because photographers could not get out of their old ways. With his usual habit of going to the limit, James Inglis twenty years ago made dry plates as fast as are on the market to-day, but they proved his financial ruin.”

Here are a few of the other photographs published by Wilson in 1866.
phila photo3S.G. Rogers, “Oil Well, Carmichael’s, Pa.,” The Philadelphia Photographer, v. III. No. 35 (April 1866).
phila photo2John Coates Browne (1838–1918), “Portraits by Magnesium Light,” The Philadelphia Photographer, v. III. No. 35 (January 1866).

Where are the female printmakers?

stella arrest of christ2“Claudine Stella was apprenticed to her uncle Jacques de Stella. She did drawing and painting but gave up painting for engraving, which she preferred and taught to her two sisters. She did both burin engravings and etchings, mostly after Poussin and Jacques Stella. With her supple, fluid approach, she was unsurpassed in her ability to render the colour and genius of Poussin, as well as the more affected talent of Stella. In her will dated 1693, she lists the plates she engraved besides her early works; a grand total of 125.” Benezit Dictionary of Artists

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Claudine Stella (1636-1697) after Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665), Untitled [The Arrest of Christ], no date (1600s). Graphic Arts Collection GA 2012.01378

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Like many women, Claudine or Claudia Stella lived in the shadow of her uncle, the celebrated painter Jacques de Stella. This print, in the Graphic Arts Collection, along with others in the series, was of questionable attribution for many years. Here’s a bit of Alexander Montgomery’s article “James Stella,” from The Illustrated Magazine of Art, 1854:

Stella sent to Lyons for his nephew, Antoine Bousonnet, and his three nieces, Antoinette, Francoise, and Claudine, taught them drawing, and having perfected them in that art, induced them to apply themselves to engraving, in which branch one of them, Claudine, became justly celebrated. Then were published the innumerable drawings which James Stella had brought from Rome. Francoise Bousonnet, who confined herself to burin engraving, published, in a series of fifty plates, a precious collection of vases, scent-bottles, salt-cellars, lamps, and chandeliers; and in another collection of sixty-seven plates, ornaments suitable for sculpture on different parts of architecture, guilloches, twine, roses, and flowers, imitated from the antique. Antoinette, less laborious, only executed a few etchings.

Claudine, who had taught her two sisters the art of engraving, divided her celebrity with her uncle. Rendered by this learned woman, the works of James Stella rose almost at times to the height of Poussin. This is so true, that the collection of pieces on the “Passion,” which Claudine Bousonnet engraved, and which death prevented her from finishing, were attributed to the painter of Andelys. In truth, one could almost detect in them his heads, and the strong effect and powerful energy of that artist. These compositions are in reality the finest productions of Stella.

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stella arrest of christ

Princeton University Library is fortunate to also have a set of 50 engravings by Claudia Stella in the Cotsen Children’s Library.

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Jacques Stella (1596-1657), Les ieux et plaisris [sic] de l’enfance (Paris. Aux galleries du Louvre chez la ditte Stella, 1657). [2] 50 engravings. Prints by Claudine Bouzounet Stella. Paper and quality of impressions suggest a later restrike; inscription dated 1846. Cotsen Children’s Library (CTSN) European 18 790

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The Last of the Buffalo

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Bierstadt_09_12-w600Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), The Last of the Buffalo, 1888. Oil on canvas. Corcoran Gallery of Art. Gift of Mary Stewart Bierstadt (Mrs. Albert Bierstadt) 09.12.

In 1888, Albert Bierstadt painted The Last of the Buffalo and submitted it to the organizing committee of the Paris Universal Exposition of 1889. The painting was rejected as not in line with modern art. Today it hangs in the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.

The Washington Post tried to explain the rejection as Bierstadt’s fault by submitting too late and ran the headline “The Bierstadt Picture: It Was Not Rejected by the Art Loan Exhibition Committee,” on April 1, 1889:

The following extract is from yesterday’s New York World. It is headed “Real American Art:” What manner of “pigmies’” of pigment are these alleged artists who are seeking a notoriety beyond the reach of their daubs by forming ‘committees’ from their petty little selves and then giving wide publication to the fact that they have ‘rejected’ one of Albert Bierstadt’s pictures: the latest bit of this idiotic impertinence was the exclusion from a Loan Exhibition in Washington of a fine canvas which had not been loaned, but actually given, most generously, by Mr. Bierstadt for the benefit of the charity for which the exhibition was held. The only excuse for this amassing impudence furnished by the ‘artists’ in charge was the Mr. Bierstadt “did not belong to their school of art.” This same thin excuse was also given by the learned committee of chromo-tinkers who selected their own nightmares for the Paris Exhibition, insulted Mr. Inness and ‘rejected’ Mr. Bierstadt’s magnificent work, “The Last of the Buffalo.”
bierstadt last of the buffalo1Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), The Last of the Buffalo, 1891. Photogravure. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2008.00906

As Bierstadt grew further out of favor with the contemporary art world, his debts also grew. In 1891, he commissioned a photogravure of the rejected painting for widespread sale. The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to hold a copy of the enormous print.

Winter Landscape by William Sommer

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William Sommer (1867-1949), Winter Landscape, 1924. Oil on pressboard, mounted on plywood. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2006.02638. Gift of the Mildred Andrews Fund in honor of Dr. William Milliken, from the collection of Joseph M. Erdelac.

william somer 3Twenty-eight year old poet Hart Crane (1899-1932) dedicated the poem Sunday Morning Apples to his friend and mentor, the sixty year old artist William Sommer (1867-1949). A collection of Sommer’s paintings and drawings, including the “Apples” still life, are in the Graphic Arts Collection at Firestone Library, donated to Princeton University thanks to the Mildred Andrews Fund in honor of Dr. William Milliken, ’11, *33 (1889-1978). The arrangements for this gift were made between 1985 and 1986 by Sommer’s foremost collector Joseph M. Erdelac (died 2004), and Peter Putnam ‘42, *50 (1927-1987). Less than one year later, Putnam was tragically hit and killed while riding his bicycle.

The untitled winter landscape above is not unlike the one seen below from the Akron Art Museum, entitled Bach Chord and dated one year earlier. Both are painted on board with a bright palate and rhythmic composition.

The 1920s were a busy time for both the artist and the poet. In a letter from Crane to Sommer, dated May 9, 1923, Crane notes, “Dear Bill, At LAST! A letter from you!!! And let me mention that it was one of the most beautiful I ever got from anyone. AND I am expecting more. I read it, the second and third times during my meal last night . . . ” Thanks to Crane, Sommer has two drawings published in the July 1923 issue of The Dial.

In 1924, Sommer was awarded first prize for drawing at the Cleveland Museum of Art’s May show and Crane finally published his first book, White Buildings, with a poem dedicated to Sommer. One can’t help but wonder if Crane was thinking of this series of paintings when he was titling his book.
ff223057b7e1894130de25bf53f38dcbWilliam Sommer, Bach Chord, 1923. Oil on composition board. Akron Art Museum. Gift of Russell Munn in memory of Helen G. Munn; 1992.45 a,b


The Graphic Arts Collection has a large collection of magic lantern slides but only a few mechanical or movable slides. We have some chromotrope slides with cranks or pulleys that produce abstract geometrical patterns and colors. Others have two or three sheets of glass that slide back and forth to conceal and reveal parts of a scene. These are known as slip-slides. Some are meant to be snapped, creating a sudden appearance, while others move slowly, dissolving from one view to another.

Here are a few animated GIFs of our slipping slides.

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Roaring at One Hundred

bumas bookjacket3On March 7, 1882, volume one, number one of The Princeton Tiger made its first appearance on campus, with the title page stating “Here we are.” To celebrate the Tiger‘s centennial, a wonderful book was published in 1983 entitled, Roaring at One Hundred: The Princeton Tiger Magazine Centennial Album, with a book jacket designed by Jonathan Bumas, Class of 1978.

Thanks to the generous donation of W. Allen Scheuch II, Class of 1976, the Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired the artist’s original watercolor for the front and back of the jacket. It is inscribed on the verso with the following note:

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bumas bookjacket5Jonathan Bumas, [Roaring at One Hundred], 1983. Watercolor. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2014- in process. Gift of W. Allen Schuech II, Class of 1976 in honor of Henry Martin, Class of 1948.
bumas bookjacket4The Centennial staff included Jose W. Pincay-Delgado, Class of 1977, El Navegador de la Locura; W. Allen Scheuch II, Class of 1976, Air Compressor #2; Henry R. Marin, Class of 1948, AKA The Incredible Hank; Katherine R.R. Carpenter, Class of 1979, Doctor Literarum, Honoris Causa; and Donald W. Arbour, Class of 1979, The Fine Chisel.

The book’s introduction begins, “In our frequent wanderings on the planet, we have inadvertently crossed paths with people whose natures seem rooted in rushing through life. We have, on occasion, observed such desperate souls nervously gulping down meals, madly sprinting to the library, or dashing somewhere to prepare for jogging or some equally inspired activity. We are not of that ilk. Rather, we prefer to pause and savor the passing show; to delight in its endless ironies, quandaries, and contradictions, and to laugh at them. The Tiger taught us that; to relish the moment; to take a long drag on the pipe and recreate Da Vinci’s Madonna of the Rocks in smoke rings; to sip the julep by Andy’s Puddle in May with a fine eye for the crabs of their shells and the crisp catches of ours; to sit hearthside in the warmth of a winter’s blaze midst lively company long after the last crumb of cake has reached our gullets, strengthening friendship’s bond with good humor, bad puns, and curious potions; to know the poets not by their call numbers but by their muses.”–Jose W. Pincay-Delgado and W. Allen Scheuch II

Edouard Baldus

kunstschatze der mittelalterlichen3Auguste Galimard (1813-1880), Vitraux de l’Église Sainte-Clotilde [Windows of the Church of Sainte Clotilde], composés et dessinés par A. Galimard et photographiés par E. Baldus ([Paris], 1853. 15 salt prints from paper negatives. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2014- in process
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In 1853, the French photographer Edouard Baldus (1813-1889) worked with the artist Auguste Galimard on a catalogue of his recent designs for the windows of the church of Sainte-Clotilde in Paris. Baldus photographed over a dozen separate windows (or sections of windows) and printed salt prints from the paper negatives.

The book they released has no publisher listed and so, we assume it was self-published by Galimard. According to Malcolm Daniel’s catalogue on Baldus, there are several variant editions with different photographs pasted on the title page. Ours has five separate prints depicting angels. There are 10 additional salt prints inside the volume.

Note, if the prints look yellow or faded it is only my poor photography. The prints in this volume are in beautiful condition.

kunstschatze der mittelalterlichen2The only other copy OLCL lists in the United States, is at the Frick Art Museum Library in New York City.

Street Scene

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Henry Fenn (1845-1911), Street Scene, no date. Pen and ink on paper. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2006.02372

The watercolorist Harry Fenn (1845-1911) was born in Surrey (England) but moved to the United States in the 1863, eventually settling in Montclair New Jersey. He was a founding member of the American Watercolor Society, as well as the Society of Illustrators.

Along with this lovely pen and ink drawing of an unidentified street scene, Princeton holds 30 books illustrated by Fenn, including National Lyrics, 1865; Our Young Folks, 1865; Specimen of Designing and Engraving on Wood, 1865; Armsmear: The Home, The Arm, and The Armory of Samuel Colt. A Memorial, 1866; Ballads, Lyrics, and Hymns, 1866; National Lyrics, 1866; Flower-De-Luce, 1867; Queer Little People, 1868; Snow-Bound; A Winter Idyl, 1868; Trenton Falls, Picturesque and Descriptive, 1868; Adventures in the Wilderness, Or, Camp-Life in the Adirondacks, 1869; Ballads of New England, 1870; Little Pussy Willow, 1870; Winter Poems by Favorite American Poets, 1870; Life of Jesus, The Christ, 1871; Song of the Sower, 1871; Winter Poems by Favorite American Poets, 1871; Picturesque America; or, The Land We Live In, 1872; Story of the Fountain, 1872; Songs of Nature, 1873; Child Life In Prose, 1875; Poems, 1876; Good Old Times: Or, Grandfather’s Struggles for A Homestead, 1878; Poetical Works of William Cullen Bryant, 1878; Fifty Perfect Poems, 1883; Poetical Works of T. Buchanan Read, 1883; Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard, 1884; In The Track of The Sun; Readings from The Diary of A Globe Trotter, 1893; and Niagara Book: A Complete Souvenir of Niagara Falls, 1893.

Craig’s Book of Actors

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Edward Gordon Craig (1872-1966), A Book of Actors, 1911. Unique album with 19 mounted engravings. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2014- in process

In 1911, while Edward Gordon Craig (1872-1966) was living in Florence with Elena Fortuna Meo (1879–1957), he gave his son Edward (Teddy) Carrick (1905–1998) a scrapbook of engravings depicting classical actors, several from the Comédie-Française. Meo is responsible for the lovely green binding.
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It appears that Craig had been working on this for some time, as it is inscribed “Papa fecit 1902″ in red ink at foot and “PAPA” in black ink below. Mounted on the front pastedown is a plate with the illustrated initial “A” by J.Oliver (EGC), with the title “Book of Actors for Teddy – 1911, Florence, January – Papa. -Bound by Mama-.” In addition, Teddy Craig later wrote “and now, in 1968, passed on by that same TEDDY to his friend Lee Freeson who also loved EGC. ‘Papa’ being, of course, Edward Gordon Craig.”

The actor and bookdealer Lee Freeson (1902-98) helped to compile many theatre libraries in America. He corresponded with Craig, assisting him in his later years by selling some of his significant items to American collections. Freeson also became a close friend of Teddy Craig.

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There is another note in Craig’s hand that reads: “The Actors whose pictures are in this book were better actors than those known so well to us as Kean – David Garrick – Kemble – Talma – Le Kain -.”
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