Save the date

shakespeare use3The exhibition ‘Remember me’: Shakespeare and his Legacy, featuring many of the library’s books, paintings, photographs, and prints will open October 1, 2016 at the Princeton University Art Museum.

Included are several of Shakespeare’s books that predate the famous First Folio.

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Mysterious Japan by Julian Street

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japan glass slides“Frank A. Vanderlip, formerly President of the National City Bank of New York, sailed from Seattle, Wash., April 10, [1920] for Japan, where he, with those who accompany him, are to be the guests of the Japanese Welcome Association at an informal discussion of problems confronting America and Japan. Those in Mr. Vanderlip’s party include Lyman J. Gage, former Secretary of the Treasury; Henry W. Taft, George Eastman, Darwin P. Kingsley, Dr. Jacob Gould Schurman, Seymour L. Cromwell, Vice-President of the New York Stock Exchange; Julian Street, and L. L. Clarke, of New York.”– The Commercial & Financial Chronicle, April 17, 1920.

Author Julian Street (1879-1947) returned from Japan with a magic lantern projector and a collection of lantern slides (some taken by George Eastman), which are now in the Graphic Arts Collection. Street used them to illustrate his travelog entitled Mysterious Japan (Garden City, N.Y., Toronto: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1922). Princeton has a trade copy of Street’s book, as well as a presentation copy from the author to his daughter, extra-illustrated  with all the documents Street collected on his trip. ((Ex) 1732.876).

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These slides turned up recently while moving of our glass plates and glass negatives to their new home in the vault. There are no labels on the individual slides but many can be matched to the illustrations in Street’s book.


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See also Japan Society (New York, N.Y.), Japan Through the Eyes of Lewis L. Clarke, Darwin P. Kingsley, Thomas W. Lamont, Jacob G. Schurman, Frank A. Vanderlip ([New York, 1920]). Recap 1735.1

Julian Street (1879-1947), Abroad at home: American ramblings, observations and adventures of Julian Street (Garden City, N.Y.: Garden City Pub. Co., 1926, c1914). Recap 1053.885


An Index to the Original Photographs in “The Philadelphia Photographer”


For nearly 40 years, Edward Livingston Wilson (1838-1903), published the most influential photography journals in the United States, beginning in January 1864 with The Philadelphia Photographer, later renamed Wilson’s Photographic Magazine. Unlike other journals of the day, filled with reproductive wood engravings, Wilson understood that actual photographs needed to be seen for his audience to appreciate this new art form and so, ‘it was determined that a photographic study should accompany each number.’

From 1864 to 1901 (when photographs were replaced by halftones), Wilson published 540 prints by 280 photographers from 142 cities in 16 countries. Within the United States alone, negatives were sent by photographers in 33 different states, remarkable given there were only 36 states in 1864 and 44 by 1890.

Thanks to the 1957 donation by David H. McAlpin, Princeton University Class of 1920, and several recent purchases, the Princeton University Library now owns a nearly complete run of The Philadelphia Photographer, with all the original photographs still in place. These are not illustrations but a separate work of art included with each issue.


In researching the history of the magazine, an index has been completed of the original photographs, the first organized by the name of the photographer: philadelphia photographer by name

A second list is organized chronologically, which is helpful in studying the development of photographic printing in the second half of the 19th century: philadelphia photographer by date
Thanks to Wilson’s never-ending appeal for submissions, the work of many notable photographers appeared in The Philadelphia Photographer, among them William Bell, Abraham Bogardus, Adolph Braun, Jeremiah Gurney, Frederick Gutekunst, William H. Jackson, Eadweard Muybridge, William Notman, H.P. Robinson, and Napoleon Sarony. Negatives were sent from as far as New Zealand, Venezuela, and South Africa.

Unlike traditional histories covering the second half of the 19th century, the pages of The Philadelphia Photographer document the multitude of photographic processes with concrete examples and detailed explanations, including Albertypes, Aristotypes, Autogravures, Bromide prints, Carbon prints, Edwards process prints, Gelatine prints (an early version of photogravure), Halftones, Heliographs, Ives photoengraving, Orthochromatic process prints, Lithium paper prints, Meissenbach prints (zinc-etching), Mosstype prints, Photogravures, Platinogravures, Three-color photoengraving; Velox prints; and Woodburytypes, among many others.



The complete run has been digitized and will be available in the future.







veniceFine press book collectors around the world have been waiting many months for the new volume being produced at Whittington Press. This week, online comments have been springing up throughout social media sites as individuals finally received and opened their mail containing Venice.


John Craig, Venice; with 35 of his wood engravings (Risbury, Herefordshire: Whittington Press, 2016). Copy 44 of 150 in Pirate leather. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) in process

John Randle notes, “The 80 wood-engravings, and some linocuts, some with colour, have made the book a printer’s challenge. John Craig’s use of white space has, as with Britten’s Aldeburgh (2000) and The Locks of the Oxford Canal (1985), been critical, and the asymmetric imposition of type and images is based upon his precise layouts. The resulting double-page spreads can be seen almost as a series of stage sets, introducing us to the often undiscovered delights of a city which he has visited regularly for the past twenty years.

The French-fold binding style is a new departure for us. The pages are left folded at the top edge, enabling us to use a lightweight Zerkall mould-made paper, specially hot-pressed to give an extra sheen for the engravings, and allowing us to print throughout on the smooth side of the paper only.”




The book begins: “This collection of engraved illustrations is by, and for, a Venice amateur. I offer an apology; so much has been produced on the subject that one is wary of taking up yet more space on the shelf . . . and yet . . . there is some impulse that drives people to express, explain, pin down something that no other city possesses. With this in mind – (as Robert Graves puts it) ‘one still stands ready, with a boy’s presumption,/ To court the queen in her high silk pavilion’.

There is (or was) in Venice a bookshop as big as a small house that sells only ‘Venice’ books in which all the history, architecture, paintings, sculpture and topography are most expertly covered by the best authors—living and dead—the competition is enormous. For this reason I have chosen to ignore the better known set pieces and illustrated as an innocent holiday maker wandering—open mouthed—without plan or guide through the small and less known parts of the city.”


Ladies of Letterpress

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“Ladies of Letterpress” was founded in late 2007 and their website opened to the public in January of 2009. It states: “Ladies of Letterpress is an international trade organization for letterpress printers and print enthusiasts. Our mission is to promote the art and craft of letterpress printing and to encourage the voice and vision of women printers. We strive to maintain the cultural legacy of fine press printing while advancing it as a living, contemporary art form as well as a viable commercial printing method. Membership is open to both men and women. This is a community where you can read about our adventures in commercial, fine press, art and zine printing, ask for advice and learn from other printers, share resources, and get inspiration for your own business and work — all for the love of letterpress.”


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Last year the organization published a huge volume documenting each individual member and offering readers 86 removable posters to enjoy in the book or frame for the wall. This is an important addition to the informative already on the website, which includes videos, activities, jobs, discussions, and publications. A national conference will be held in September. Consider joining!


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Kseniya Thomas and Jessica White, Ladies of Letterpress (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2015). Graphic Arts GA2016- in process

How To Sell A Book

scrope (2)Lawyer, librarian, and novelist Frederic Beecher Perkins (1828-1899) wrote Scrope while assisting his bother-in-law, Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909) in the editorship of the magazine Old and New, in Boston. It was during this period that he became intimately involved with the buying and selling of books in America. Chapters of Perkins’s story were released in Old and New, before it was published in 1874.

The novel follows a young man from Hartford, Connecticut, trying to find some books that had belonged to one of his ancestors 200 years earlier. To this end, he becomes involved in the 19th-century practice of canvassing or selling of books by subscription.

“If I were to recommend the story as having any merit in particular,” commented Perkins, when his novel was reprinted 20 years later in Connecticut Magazine, “it would be for the description of the book auction in the first chapter; that of the subscription-book publisher, his character and ways of doing business, and that of old William Gowans and his catacomb of a book-store.”

Perkins continued, “The characters in the story are nearly all described from persons I have known. Mr. Tarbox Button, for instance, was a close study from the life of a late successful New York subscription-book publisher. I seem to have succeeded in delineating a type in this case; for when the printers of Old and New came to this personage, they wanted him left out. They said I had so accurately described the person and the ways of another well-known publisher in the same line, and who was a valuable customer of theirs, that when he came to see it he would certainly be angry and would take away from them all his business; and I had some difficulty inducing them to tolerate my portrait.”

In this novel, Button instructs his pupil in how to sell a book:

Commit this to memory word for word. Hold the Book you are selling in your own Hands. Don’t let the customer take it unless necessary. Don’t merely say you have got it and talk about it, but show it. Don’t ask the customer to buy it, except as the very last resort; but show it and describe it until he says, “I will take one.” Don’t tell what it costs until he wants the book. When he is ready, hand him the Order Book and pencil, and he will see the price extended opposite the names already in. Remember, you must make the customer want the book, before you try to sell it. He would not buy coined gold if he did not want it.

Frederic Beecher Perkins (1828-1899), Scrope; or, The Lost Library. A novel of New York and Hartford (Boston: Roberts brothers, 1874). RECAP 3888.41.384. This book was checked out of the Princeton University Library for the first time and only time today, June 18, 2016.

Mercury introducing Concord, Agriculture, and the Arts to America 1776

bickerstaff almanack2Bickerstaff’s New-England Almanack, for the Year of our Redemption, 1776 (Newbury Port: By Mycall and Tinges, [1775]). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Hamilton 1334.

On the title page of this 18th-century almanac is a crude woodcut depicting “Mercury introducing Concord, Agriculture, and the Arts, to America.” Sinclair Hamilton noted that “Concord’s nose appears to be broken and Mercury is quite bald,” (Early American Book Illustrators and Wood Engravers. Supplement).bickerstaff almanackThe almanac offers “A description of the frontispiece” [spelling as printed]:

It represents Mercury introducing Concord, Agriculture, and the Arts, to America. Mercury, the inventor of useful arts, and the God of Commerce, is represented, as usual, with his caduce, or conjuring rod, in his hand, the virtue of which was such, that with a single touch it could reconcile any two of the most inveterate enemies. Concordia is represented by the goddess Concordia, with her crown of Pomegranates upon her head, and a jewel in the shape of a heart upon her breast. Agriculture is represented by the goddess Ceres, the constant companies of the former, and has her cornucopia and nosegay of poppies in her hand, a crown of wheat ears on her head, and a plough near her feet. And in the back ground, to represent the useful arts are a tenter ground, a country village, a farm-house, &c. &c.

Happy the man who free from law and strife, with his own oxen ploughs his father’s field.

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Mark Twain publishers’ bindings


twain6“Elisha Bliss, head of the Hartford, Connecticut subscription house, the American Publishing Company … suggested that [Mark] Twain rework the newspaper letters into a ‘humorous work,’ and referred him to the company’s success with the work of Albert Deane Richardson, a newspaperman and acquaintance of Twain.

Twain saw an opportunity for success where, The Jumping Frog had failed and began an intermittent, though ultimately life-long commitment to subscription book sales. …Beginning with The Innocents Abroad (the book about his Quaker City trip), published in 1869 by the American Publishing Company, Twain brought out the majority of his titles by subscription.”
–Scott E. Casper, Joanne D. Chaison, and Jeffrey D. Groves, Perspectives on American Book History: Artifacts and Commentary (2002)

Subscribers were offered the choice of several bindings, some more elaborate and expensive than others. Sinclair Hamilton collected the top of the line, which are now in Princeton’s collection.
twain7Mark Twain (1835-1910), The Innocents Abroad, or The New Pilgrims’ Progress: Being some account of the steamship Quaker City’s pleasure excursion to Europe and the Holy Land: With descriptions of countries, nations, incidents and adventures, as they appeared to the author: With two hundred and thirty-four illustrations (Hartford, Conn.: American Publishing Company; Newark, N.J.: Bliss & Co.; Toledo, Ohio: R.W. Bliss & Co.; Chicago, Ill.: F.G. Gilman & Co.; Cincinnati, Ohio: Nettleton & Co.; St. Louis, Mo.: F.A. Hutchinson & Co.; San Francisco, Cal.: H.H. Bancroft and Company, 1869). Hamilton copy: Gold and blind stamped, pictorial cloth binding. Inscribed “Henry A. Goodwin, September 1st, 1869”–in ink, on third fly-leaf. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Hamilton 1288

Mark Twain (1835-1910), Roughing It (Hartford, Conn.: American Pub. Co., 1872). Original blind and gold stamped, pictorial cloth binding; all edges speckled. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Hamilton 1289

Mark Twain (1835-1910), Mark Twain’s Sketches, new and old (Hartford, Conn.: American Pub. Co., 1875). Black and gold stamped publisher’s cloth binding. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Hamilton 1290



twain5Samuel and Olivia Clemens married in 1870 and moved to Hartford in 1871. Their family enjoyed what the author would later call the happiest and most productive years of his life in their Hartford home.

Arthur Train

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While moving the glass negative collection, we found a box labeled “Train.” It turned out to be portraits of Arthur Train (1875-1945), lawyer and author of crime fiction from the 1910s and 1920s. Here are computer positives from the glass negatives.
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train port11On of his famous characters was the attorney Ephraim Tutt, first introduced in Tutt and Mr. Tutt (New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1920). PS3539.R23 T888 1920


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$1000 in gold payable July 1, 1897


The Graphic Arts Collection only has a few bank certificates and bond notes in its collection of early American printed ephemera. Here are two examples.

Plymouth, Kankakee & Pacific Railroad Bond. New York: Henry Siebert & Bros; Ledger Building cor. Williams & Spruce Street, Issued 1871 (1874). Graphic Arts Collection GA 2016.00178. $1,000 railroad bond, uncancelled, payable in gold coin. 55 bond coupons attached.

District of Richmond [Bank certificate], Philadelphia, J.W. Steel, 1854. Certificate of a loan for $500 to Robert Allen or Beaver at 6%. With 77 certificates for $15 each payable half yearly. Graphic Arts Collection American broadsides