The Visitation

There are many works of art that depict Luke 1:39-40, roughly translated “At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.” Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) painted this scene several times, including an oil sketch now at the Národní Galerie in Prague and a vertical panel that makes up one half of a triptych in the Cathedral of Antwerp.

Both versions have been translated into single sheet engravings and bookplates. The Metropolitan Museum of Art holds an engraving of The Visitation by Pieter de Jode II (1606–ca. 1674) after Rubens, printed somewhere between 1625 and 1674 [below]. The British Museum also has a copy, along with other variations engraved by J Hébert (flourished 1842-1846); Gillis Hendricx (flourished 1640-1677); Schelte Adamsz. Bolswert (ca.1586-1659); and one by Valentine Green (1739-1813).

The Antwerp publisher Cornelius de Boudt (active 1600s) is responsible for yet another engraving, executed by Cornelius Galle I (1576-1650) after Rubens. De Boudt spent time in Rome but returned to Antwerp, where he collaborated with the painter on several projects for the Plantin Press (the printing company founded by Christophe Plantin).

Pieter de Jode II (1606–ca. 1674) after Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), The Visitation, 1625–74. Metropolitan Museum of Art

Unlike other copies, Princeton University Library’s engraving has no scene below the stairs or added text. Someone has written Rubens’s name in brown ink at the bottom left, in case viewers did not recognize the scene. It is conceivable that the Plantin Moretus Museum of Antwerp continued to reproduce this engraving long after the copper plate was first made.

To the left is an engraving of The Visitation from a series of 130 engravings (plus title-page) forming a Picture Bible, ca. 1652, unfortunately not included in one of Princeton University Library’s copies. Our print may be an earlier or later copy after this publication.

Calhoun Steam Printing Company

On November 3, 1852, an advertisement ran in the Hartford Daily Courant announcing the opening of the Calhoun Brothers Printing House, which operated “one double medium Adams’ press for book printing; one double medium Hoe’s cylinder press for newspapers [and] mammoth posters; one Super-Royal Taylor’s cylinder press for programs, hand bills, [and] labels; one Magic cylinder press for printing endless paper; and one Card and Bill Head press for every variety of cards, bill heads, circulars.”

What the Calhoun Brothers (later Calhoun Steam Printing Company) excelled at were mammoth theatrical billboards and panoramic scenes for Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Shows. When Calhoun died the firm was taken over by William H. Higgs, Cody’s brother-in-law who rode a white mustang around the streets of Hartford.

We recently matched this 40 inch woodblock with a multi-color Calhoun print depicting a leisurely scene of cowboys resting around a fire, with their horses feeding near a covered wagon. This enormous block is cut to print the black areas, while others would have printed blue, yellow, and red.

Welcome to the American Historical Print Collectors Society

Welcome to members of the the American Historical Print Collectors Society who paid a visit to the Graphic Arts Collection on Friday 3/16/18. The group spent the morning enjoying 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century books, broadsides, prints, and ephemera from our collections.

The American Historical Print Collectors Society (AHPCS) is a non-profit group that encourages the collection, preservation, study, and exhibition of original historical American prints that are 100 or more years old. In their third decade, AHPCS has over 450 members including individual collectors, print dealers, and educational and other institutions.

Besides the finished prints, we looked at various tools and materials, including a portable map making kit, a paintbox to take with you into the wilderness, Thomas Edison’s first mimeograph machine, and S.M. Spencer’s $25.00 Stencil Outfit complete with all the tools, dies, and brass and German silver sheet stock to make small stencils. AHPCS members were allowed to read the Confidential Pamphlet, Containing an Essay on Canvassing, Instructions in Stencil Cutting, Ink Receipts, Etc., Etc. (1870).

Although few mezzotints were made in the United States, we looked at The Death of Lincoln painted and printed by the Scottish/American artist Alexander Hay Richie (1822-1895) around 1875 for the tenth anniversary of Lincoln’s murder. It was sold by subscription, with an accompanying booklet. “The scene is of the back room in Peterson’s boarding house, where Lincoln was taken the evening of April 14, 1865 after receiving the fatal shot in Ford’s Theater across the street. Doctors, Robert Lincoln, and Cabinet members such as Charles Sumner, Gideon Welles, and Edward Stanton are shown keeping their vigil by Lincoln’s bedside during the night. The image is somber and dark, except for a glow of light focused on the dying President. The detail and accuracy of the image are most impressive, with the mourners easily recognizable, and even details as to the pictures hanging in the room being carefully and correctly delineated.”

Read: Imprint: Journal of the American Historical Print Collectors Society (Westport, Conn.: American Historical Print Collectors Society, Vol. 1, no. 1 (Feb. 1976)- Marquand Library NE505 .I48

North Drive Press

Founded by Matt Keegan and Lizzy Lee in 2003, the North Drive Press published its 5th and final issue in 2010. All except one of the annual publications are out-of-print and so, it was a wonderful surprise when #3 and #5 were donated to the Graphic Arts Collection by James Welling. Both issues include work by current and former Princeton University instructors.

The first issue was distributed in a brown vinyl sleeve but when Susan Barber joined the team, the container was switched to a cardboard box. Many texts are now also available online at:

“…North Drive Press has provided hundreds of artists and arts practitioners with the opportunity to produce and cheaply distribute new works in multiple form. The annual publication has included 7″ records, posters, books, ready-mades, soap, temporary tattoos, photographs, perfume, and more. Interviews and texts—a core part of the project—are conversational, experimental, and available on our website for free download.

For NDP#3 and NDP#4, Sara Greenberger Rafferty, another artist committed to collaboration and artist-produced publications, joined North Drive Press as co-editor. Sara and Matt expanded North Drive Press to include exhibition and print publishing programs—separate from but complementary to the annual NDP publication.

They organized an evening at New York’s performance venue The Kitchen, published a suite of Exquisite Corpse prints, and exhibited at NADA and various other venues.

NDP #5 is a great note to end on: we’ve helped produce a dynamic assortment of artists’ multiples, from temporary tatoos to custom-made soap; and published a varied and compelling collection of interviews, panel discussions, and texts. We hope North Drive Press has added to the long, rich history of innovative, artist-made publications, and we hope our readers will be inspired to continue to investigate the exciting possibilities that non-traditional formats have to offer.”

North Drive Press #3. Work by Matt Keegan; Sara Greenberger Rafferty; Su Barber; Domenick Ammirati; Leslie Hewitt; Fia Backström; Kelley Walker; Frank Benson; Matt Johnson; Walead Beshty; James Welling; AA Bronson; Paul O’Neill; Pablo Bronstein; Anna Craycroft; Champion Fine Art; Lauren Cornell; Lillian Schwartz; Sarah Crowner; Paulina Olowska; Shannon Ebner; Arthur Ou; Lia Gangitano; Lisa Kirk; Sabrina Gschwandtner; Dara Birnbaum; Rebecca Cleman; Ed Halter ([Brooklyn]: North Drive Press, 2006). Gift of James Welling. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2018-in process

North Drive Press #5. Work by B’L’ing; Kenneth Goldsmith; Fia Backström; Joseph Logan; Kathrin Meyer; Andreas Bunte; Ann Craven; Amy Granat; Trinie Dalton; Francine Spiegel; Roe Ethridge; Eve Fowler; A.L. Steiner; Luke Fowler; Matt Wolf; Martha Friedman; Heather Rowe; Georg Gatsas; Norbert Möslang; Sam Gordon; B. Wurtz; Matt Hoyt; Jay Sanders; Melissa Ip; Cary Kwok; Matt Kegan; Su Barber ([Brooklyn}; North Drive Press, 2010). Gift of James Welling. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2018- in process

Quaestio Theologica

Pièrre-Etienne Maillard, respondens. Quaestio Theologica. Quis fecit hominem ad imaginem suam? Paris: Printed by Hecquet for the Sorbonne, 1768. Large double-sheet engraved broadside, upper sheet with engraving, lower sheet with engraved cartouche containing letterpress text. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2018- in process

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired two spectacular, previously unrecorded Sorbonne thesis broadsides, one from 1768 and the other 1769. Both are published by Robert Hecquet (1693-1775) announcing the defense of two doctoral dissertations at the Faculty of Theology of the Sorbonne. These monumental engravings would have been posted on the walls of the school to announce the pubic defense of the student’s thesis.

For each, two large sheets have been pasted together with the individual plate marks approximately 53 x 68 cm at the top and 54 x 70 cm at the bottom. The top print features an allegorical scene and the bottom the text of the thesis, so the size varies according the the length of the text.

The first from 1768 was created for Pièrre-Etienne Maillard, responding to the question: “Quaestio theologica: Quis fecit hominem ad imaginem suam? Gen. c. 1. v. 27 “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them”. The second from 1769 lists Augustin Maillard as the respondent, with his subject “Quis de tenebris nos vocavit in admirabile lumen suum? from Peter c. 2.v. 9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people”.


We are fortunate to have the name of the artists responsible for the second engraving inscribed: “Boucher pinx,” and “Hecquet excudit,” at the bottom of the top sheet. This refers to the extraordinarily talented painter and printmaker François Boucher (1703-1770), who was to the end of his illustrious career. Only four years earlier, he had been appointed to the two highest positions in the French arts establishment: first painter to the king and director of the Royal Academy.

Unfortunately, the inscription on the 1768 engraving is cut-off: “à Paris chez Hecquet place de Cambray à l’Image St. Maur.” One might assume it is also the work of Boucher, but there is no proof.

In her paper “Disputatio and Dedication: Seventeenth-century thesis prints in the southern Low Countries,” Gwendoline de Mûelenaere writes,

“In early modern institutions of higher education, academic dissertations to be defended
in public were published in the form of decorated broadsheets summarising the student’s conclusions. The aim of these engraved posters was mainly to advertise the disputation and to introduce the theses in question. They also presented a visual programme of its unfolding, and could be collected as a souvenir after the ceremony. This practice was common mostly in Catholic countries: Italy, France, the Southern Netherlands, Germany and Austria. From the early seventeenth century onwards, thesis prints developed into abundantly illustrated documents accompanied by a dedication, and they were meant to affirm the laureates’ position in society and to glorify their patrons. Artists created elaborate communicational devices to convey scientific as well as rhetorical messages to the spectators of the defence and to subsequent readers of the poster.”

François Boucher (1703-1770), artist. Augustin Maillard, respondents. Quaestio Theologica. Quis de tenebris nos vocavit in admirabile lumen suum? Paris: Printed by Robert Hecquet for the Sorbonne, 1769. Large double-sheet engraved broadside, upper sheet with engraving, lower sheet with engraved cartouche containing letterpress text. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2018- in process


Grand jeu de l’histoire

No publisher is credited with this or any of the other sets of French playing cards featuring twenty-five monarchs or literary scenes or fairy tale characters. Princeton’s newly acquired set features English royalty from Egbert (771/775–839), King of Wessex to George III (1738–1820), King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Three historical figures are engraved on each card with biographical details and stencil coloring.

Other known titles within the same series include
Grand jeu des Aventures de Robinson avec figures coloriées (1810)
Grand jeu des Aventures de Gil Blas avec figures coloriées (1800)
Grand jeu des Aventures de Don Quichotte avec figures coloriées (1800s)
Grand jeu des fables choisies avec figures coloriées (1810)
Grand jeu des Fables D’Ésope avec figures coloriées (1809)
Grand jeu des Fables de la Fontaine avec figures coloriées (1810)
Grand jeu de l’Histoire de Paul et Virginie: avec figures coloriées (1815)
Grand jeu de La petite cendrillon avec figures coloriées (1800s)

Grand jeu de l’histoire d’Angleterre depuis Egbert jusqu’à George III = Great Game in the History of England from Egbert to George III ([Paris?, ca. 1810]). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2018



The Black Panther, not the movie

“The initial idea behind the paper was to inform and to enlighten and to educate people about the basic issues in the community and to tell our story from our own perspective. We had an X-acto blade, some white sheets of paper, and we would typeset [the pages] on the typewriter with the ball. We couldn’t hardly afford but one color ink and so it was black with one other color. . . To get that bold, broad look, I began to mimic woodcuts with markers and pens, playing with shadows . . . We were creating a culture, a culture of resistance … [and] I became the minister of culture.”–Emory Douglas.

A request came recently to see what graphics we had by Emory Douglas (born 1943), minister of culture for the Black Panther Party from 1967 to 1980. The Princeton University Library holds an incomplete run of The Black Panther newspaper, founded by Huey P. Newton (1942-1989) and Bobby Seale (born 1936) in 1967.

Happily, the issues are not faded or damaged, but filled with bold graphics designed by Douglas, many reproduced as posters and fliers after they appeared in the paper.

Printed by Howard Quinn Printers in San Francisco, The Black Panther Intercommunal News Service came out on Wednesday evening and at its height, 100,000 copies were sold weekly in 30 cities across the country [subscription numbers vary widely]. During the 1970s, one issue cost 25 cents.

Jonina Abron, who served as the editor of the paper from 1978 until September 1980 when it closed, stated that “the newspaper staff met weekly to discuss the content of the paper and sought to communicate visually the message contained in the printed articles.”


In 2015, Douglas was recognized with the American Institute of Graphic Arts Medal “for his fearless and powerful use of graphic design in the Black Panther party’s struggle for civil rights and against racism, oppression, and social injustice.”  To read more about this event, see:

Retrospective exhibitions of Douglas’s graphic art were held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles from 2007 to 2008 and a second at the New Museum in New York the following year.





Black Panther Party. Ministry of Information, The Black Panther (Oakland, Calif.: Black Panther Party for Self Defense San Francisco, CA : The Black Panther Party, Ministry of Information, 1967-1980). Began with volume 1, number 1 (April 25, 1967); ceased with v. 20, no. 9 (Sept. 1980). Annex A 0921.183F


Tattoos in Japanese Prints

Please join us on April 6, 2018, for this event co-sponsored by the P. Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art.

Auguste Rodin Cutouts

While in his sixties, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) made hundreds of sketches from female models, added watercolor in one or two strokes and then, loosely cutout the forms. When he ran out of paper, an assistant was sent over to the local boucherie (butcher shop) for more.

These silhouettes were combined in various groupings, the artist arranging and rearranging them to form compositions of female forms. Six examples of Rodin’s cutouts can be found in the Graphic Arts Collection thanks to the students of René Chéruy, Rodin’s secretary from this period.


In “Glimpses of Rodin” in the Princeton University Library Chronicle 27, no. 1 (Autumn 1965), Howard C. Rice, Jr. writes

“Material about the French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), including several letters, notes, and sketches in his autograph, has recently been added to the Library’s collection of modern manuscripts. This small but attractive group of mementoes, which had been preserved by René Chéruy, one time secretary of Rodin, who subsequently resided in the United States as a teacher of French at the Loomis School in Windsor, Connecticut, has been presented to the Princeton University Library in Mr. Chéruy’s memory by a group of his former students, including Jewett T. Flagg, James Parton, and William H. Scheide. Several pencil and watercolor drawings by Rodin, as well as examples of his dry points…, which also belonged to Mr. Chéruy, have been added to the initial gift by Thomas S. Brush. The souvenirs, now at Princeton evoke mainly the years 1902-1908, when Chéruy, then in his twenties, was performing numerous secretarial chores for “the Master,” who was in his sixties and at the peak of his contemporary fame.”


The cutouts, sketches, lithographs, and other works on paper at Princeton were recently reviewed for an upcoming exhibition of Rodin’s cutouts at the Musée Rodin in Paris next fall. Like 50% of the sketches attributed to Rodin in collections around the world, many of the holdings have questionable artistic provenance but one pencil sketch with watercolor [above] was a beautiful surprise. Unquestionably from the hand of the master, this sheet has light damage from over-exposure but otherwise is a clear example of his late work.

We also solved the mystery of why one of the cutouts had such strange endings at the arms and legs. When the figure was turned slightly, it became obvious the form was drawn at the bottom corner of the sheet to produce a female languidly relaxing rather than standing upright.

“An idea came to me suddenly and enlightened me,” wrote Rodin, “this is art, this is the revelation of the great mystery, how to express movement in something that is at rest.” –quoted in Rodin’s Art : The Rodin Collection of Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center of Visual Arts at Stanford University (2003). Marquand library SA NB553.R7 E473 2003

How much did a wood engraving cost in 1862?

In 1862, when Benson John Lossing (1813-1891) wanted a small image for one of his illustrated American history books, he got in touch with the leading printmaker of the day, Alexander Anderson (1775-1870). Here is a receipt for Anderson’s political caricature Ograbme, or the American Snapping Turtle, originally published in 1807 in response to Thomas Jefferson’s Embargo Act on American merchants (Ograbme is embargo spelled backwards).

The Sinclair Hamilton Collection holds several receipts that give us wonderful information about the business of printmaking and book publishing during the early 19th century. One reduced size print–meaning the picture had to be completely re-cut–cost Lossing $6 and another $5.

The second order is for Anderson’s To the Grave Go Sham Protectors of Free Trade and Sailors’ Rights–And All The People Say ‘Amen’ (1814). The caricature comments on James Madison (1751-1836) who cuts the head off Ograbme (the Embargo Act) but is bitten anyway.