Author Archives: Julie Mellby

Unidentified pickpocket

Detail

This pen and ink and watercolor drawing by George Cruikshank (1792-1878) in the Graphic Arts Collection has been mislabeled for a number of years. In trying to attribute it to the correction book or print a number of other pickpocket scenes were consulted, along with Rictor Norton’s text on Georgian raggamuffins and thieves. http://rictornorton.co.uk/gu11.htm

Richard Newton after Thomas Rowlandson, A Frenchman Plundered, 1792. Etching.

Isaac Robert Cruikshank, Dandy Pickpockets, Diving, December 2, 1818. Etching

Henry Heath, The Rule of Three, 1827. Etching.

Butler Clowes after John Collet, Female Bruisers, 1770. Mezzotint.

In 1820, Cruikshank was working out the plates for Pierce Egan’s Life in London, featuring the adventures of protagonists Tom, Jerry and Logic, three men about town. Although these figures are not as elegant as the published versions, it may be this watercolor was an early attempt to work out a scene never included in the final book. See more: https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/tom-and-jerry-life-in-london

Pierce Egan (1772-1849), Life in London; or, The day and night scenes of Jerry Hawthorne, esq., and his elegant friend Corinthian Tom, accompanied by Bob Logic, the Oxonian, in their rambles and sprees through the metropolis. By Pierce Egan … Embellished with thirty-six scenes from real life, designed and etched by I. R. & G. Cruikshank; and enriched also with numerous original designs on wood, by the same artists (London: Printed for Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, 1821). Graphic Arts Collection Cruik 1821

Do you have another theory?

 

 

 

 

“Destined for an audience of connoisseurs”

If you are a Friend of the Princeton University Library, you should be patting yourself on the back for your connoisseurship and good judgement in providing the funds for the purchase of this amazing new volume of satirical engravings. Congratulations.

Thanks to the generosity of the Friends, the Graphic Arts Collection has acquired a rare set of Dutch satirical engravings under the title (in English): Rome Perturbed or the Catholic Church in an uproar, presented in ten emblems showing how the papacy, but especially the monks, trespass against the Ten commandments… The volume holds eleven engravings with accompanying verses in Dutch. The imprint is false, ascribed tentatively to the publisher Carel Allard, Amsterdam. The author is identified on the title page by initials only “L.V.J.” for Liefhebber van Jansenius (an anonymous friend of Jansenius).


In his study Graphic Satire and Religious Change: The Dutch Republic, 1676-1707, Joke Spaans notes that Roma Perturbata was part of a media offensive against the Catholic Church, culminating in the schism between the Curia and the Dutch diocese in 1723. Apparently the book became something of a bestseller although copies are now extremely rare. This group of elaborate satirical prints focuses on Clement XI’s response to Jansenism in the Netherlands, with particular attention to Pieter Codde and his replacement Theodore de Coc.

The collected engravings went through two editions, one in 1706 consisting of eleven plates [now at Princeton], and an expanded edition with thirteen plates in 1707. Spaans writes

These ‘editions’ are not the fixed entities suggested by this term: the individual plates exist in several versions and the extant copies of the series show some variation in composition. This means that individual plates circulated independently before the series was conceived. The Allard firm collected these prints, altered them as and where they saw fit, and fleshed out the collection with other suitable material they had at hand.

They added a title page, on the reverse side of which they printed ten four-line stanzas that provide the reader with what amounts to a reasoned table of contents. This rhymed table interprets each of the emblems in turn within the wider context of the justification of Codde, the praise of the States of Holland for their support of the Clergy, and the vilification of DeCock, the Jesuits and the Pope and loosely connects them with the Ten Commandments, as referred to in the title of the series.

Spaans also notes that while there were many satirical pamphlets and broadside at this time of dubious quality, “all those in Roma Perturbata were intelligently made, and seem to have been destined for an audience of connoisseurs.”

 


Roma perturbata, ofte ‘t Beroerde Romen, vertoond door x zinnebeelden, toegepast op de x Geboden, door die van ‘t Pausdom … doorgaans meest overtreeden, gelijk nu in de historien van P. Codde, en T. de Kok; waar in de hoogmoedigheid van de Paus … en zyn onmacht om ‘t gewaande recht uit te voeren … voor oogen gesteld worden. By een gesteld door L.V.J. en zijn medehelpers, etc. (Loven [Amsterdam?]: gedrukt ten koste van de Groote Compagnie [Carel Allard?], 1706).

Small folio, 314 x 185 mm, bound in contemporary Dutch speckled calf. Provenance: Bibliotheca Abbatiae Vallis-Dei (Abbot of Gottesthal?), with their ex-libris on front pastedown and stamp of same on front and rear endpaper verso. Purchased with funds donated by the Friends of the Princeton University Library. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2018- in process

 


Given the rarity and uniqueness of each copy, the potential for new research is enormous. OCLC lists only six complete paper copies of the 1706 Roma Perturbata in public collections and none in North America. With current online records and limited published research, it is impossible to know which copies differ and to what extent. Since many of these prints are altered from the original, if in fact an original is known, the study of each impression is not only valuable but essential.

In his catalogue raisonné, Frederik Muller lists the plates of the 1707 publication under numbers 3410 a and b, 1-13, as follows:
Title page: letterpress, kept with the present print
Plate 1: Three medallions, Chronogram 1705
Plate 2: “De niewe Roomse kerktrophee”, Chronogram 1705
Plate 3: “Door Munneke jagt, wordt Babel verkracht”, Chronogram 1705
Plate 4: “Zinnebeeldig pourtret v.d. Ew.Hr. Theodorus de Coc”, Chronogram 1705
Plate 5: “Jansenisten en Munneken zeef”, Chronogram 1705
Plate 6: “Coddige droom van de smalle en brede weg”, Chronogram 1705
Plate 7: “Een Jansenist smeedt met zijn knapen…”, Chronogram 1705
Plate 8: “‘t Rooms Hollands Recht”, Chronogram 1705
Plate 9: “De Rooms Hollandse Tongeslijper”, Chronogram 1705
Plate 10: “‘t Roomse Rad van Avontuur”, Chronogram 1706
Plate 11: “Coddig nachtgezicht”
Plate 12: “De Roomse Kerken-Visiteerder of de Ridder…” Chronogram 1706
Plate 13: “Sic itur ad astra scilicet”; “Rooms Cocceaans Munnike…”

However, these titles vary from the collection catalogue of the British Museum, which also gives lengthy visual descriptions of each plate, suggesting earlier versions and or variations on each theme. Until a compendium of all the extent copies can be attempted, each rare copy of Roma Perturbata in a public collection adds to the scholarship not only of the individual engravings but also to the publication history of the set.


Peep Egg

The “peep egg” is such a popular item when classes come to see the pre-photographic optical devices in the Graphic Arts Collection that we have acquired a second example. This alabaster viewer is loaded with two prints of Barmouth and its vicinity from around 1850, along with tiny examples of the crystals, stones, and dried plants in the area. Traditionally, these devices were given or sold as souvenirs.

This viewer is approximate 123 x 72 mm, with a convex lens and two turned knobs. The words, “Present from Barmouth,” are painted on one side with floral decorations. One person at a time looks into the lens and turns the handles to see each of the views. Because the translucent alabaster allows light to pass through it, no outside light source is necessary.

According to the atlas, Barmouth is a town in the county of Gwynedd, north-western Wales, lying on the estuary of the River Mawddach and Cardigan Bay. The Welsh form of the name is derived from “Aber” and the river’s name “Mawddach.”

St. Catherine / Mt. Sinai paper icon, 1759

In anticipation of the 40th anniversary of Hellenic Studies at Princeton University, 2019-2020, the Graphic Arts Collection is honored and delighted to receive the gift of this wonderful paper icon of St. Catherine/Mt. Sinai, published in Vienna, 1759 (59 x 72.5 cm). The engraving is a perfect complement to earlier gifts of Mt. Sinai paper icons https://catalog.princeton.edu/catalog/10650622 and https://catalog.princeton.edu/catalog/10668428.

Our sincere thanks go to the Program in Hellenic Studies with the support of the Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund and matching funds provided by a gift of The Orpheus Trust to the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, in honor of the 40th anniversary of Hellenic Studies at Princeton University.

In addition, I would be remiss not to single out Dimitri H. Gondicas, Stanley J. Seeger ’52 Director, Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies / Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and Hellenic Studies, ’78, who was instrumental in making these gifts possible.

The inscription at the top of this view reads: “Eleō theou Archiepiskopos tou hagiou kai theovadistou horous [sic] Sina Kōnstantios.” Our thanks to Kalliopi Balatsouka, Modern Greek Archivist for Special Collections, who worked on the icon’s description and the transcription of the Greek text (which also appears in Latin and Slavonic).

The main composition is divided into two symmetrical parts by the scene of the crucified Christ under a cloud in the top middle of the image. To the upper left, predominates a scene of the Old Testament where Moses [seen above], according to the Book of Exodus, ascended Mount Sinai to receive the Tables of Law from the hand of God, who offers to Moses two pieces of stone inscribed “ho dekalogos” (the Ten Commandments).

To the upper right, a scene of the New Testament, shows winged angels transporting the relic of the Great Martyr Saint Catherine from Alexandria, Egypt to the highest mountain, now called Mt. Saint Catherine, next to Mount Sinai. A Greek inscription, next to this scene, from the megalynarion of St. Catherine reads: “Echei to son pneuma, ho houranos, sōma de to theion / tethēsauritai en Sina haima martyriou, / en alexandrou polei sophē Haikaterina [sic] / skepe tous doulous sou.”

Inscription in the top left corner in Latin reads: “… Sacri Montis Sinai in Arabia Archiepiscopus… Illustrisse D.D.V.V. … Hieromonachum nostrum Mercurium humillime presentatur.”

The print is rich with history and iconography. To the left and right of the central composition there are two explanatory numbered lists, 62 in total (30+32) about the events taking place in the picture, such as: “Hē proypantēsis tou archiepiskopou,” “to perivoli,” “to koimētērio tōn paterōn,” “to monastērion,” “hoi araves lamvanoun trophēn,” “to mega orama tou prophētou mōyseōs,” hē anodos tou orous,” “hē thyra tēs exomologēseōs,” “Monē tou prophētou Ēliou,” “ho Mōysēs hopou elave tas plakas tou nomou,” “ai pyramēdes,” “aphanismos tou pharaōn,” “hē skēnē tou martyriou,” “Hē phylakē tou klēmakos,” “Hoi hagioi saranta martyres,” “hoi angeloi pherousi tēs hagias to leipsanon apo tēn alexandreian to sineian oros,” and “hē erythra thalasa.”


At the foot of Mount Sinai is depicting Saint Catherine’s monastery and next to it the image of the Virgin Mary as “The Burning Bush.” At the entrance of the monastery, monks welcome an archbishop.

 

Text below the main scene in two columns both in Greek and in Slavonic refers among other things, to the restoration of the print:

“Ou monon ō eusevē anagnōsta en diaphorois pote kairois ho theos edoxase to entautha schediasthen hagion oros tou sina, phainomenos eis auto kai homilōn / meta mōyseōs, kai Hēliou tōn prophētōn tën martyrian tēs hagias Graphēs, alla kai metepeita di’angelōn metakonisas apo Alexandreias eis auto / to oros to leipsanon tēs hagias parthenomartyros Aikaterinēs …. Anekainisthē ho parōn Typos eulogia men, kai protropē tou panierōtatou Archiepiskopou Karlovitzas k[yriou] k[yriou] Paulou / Nenadovik syndromē de kai epimeleia tou panosiötatou Prōtosyngelou sinaitou kyriou Iōannikiou kai dapanē ton timiōtatōn kai philochristōn pragmateōtōn tou te markou pouliou tou ek siatistēs, kai tou kyriou Kyrou Dēmou tou ek naousēs, etei 1759. en viennē.”


Note, this print is not listed in the Papastratou catalogue, but might be a revised or updated version of no. 385.

More celebrations to come in 2019-2020. Watch for upcoming events here: https://hellenic.princeton.edu/events

Black minstrel song sheets, 1850s

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired 10 small minstrel song sheets with lyrics and small vignettes. Many, not surprisingly, are racially charged and offensive. Here are a few. Massa’s In De Cold Ground (caption title above). London: Printed and published by H. Such, [ca. 1850]. British music sheet with a West India slave woodcut vignette at top, printing the words to a black minstrel song: “Round de meadows am a ringing / De darkies mournful song, / While de mocking birds are singing, / Happy as de day am long; / While de ivy am a creeping / O’er the grassy mound; / Dere de old man am a sleeping. / Sleeping in the cold, cold ground.”

Massa’s In De Cold Ground (caption title below). [N.p.]: W.S. Fortey, [ca. 1850]. Beehive woodcut vignette. British song sheet with black minstrel-style song.

 

Miss Lucy Long (caption title). Birmingham: Printed and Sold by T. Watts, [n.d. but ca. 1850]. English minstrel song sheet with woodcut vignette of a street peddlar surrounded by several children: “Since you wish to hear me, / Sing a little song, / I’ll sing a very pretty one, / Concerning Lucy Long, / She used to play the fiddle, / When to parties we did go, / And I used to charm the niggers, / Upon the old banjo.”

 

https://tunearch.org/wiki/Annotation:I%27m_Off_to_Charlestown

 

I’m Off To Charlestown (caption title above and below). [N.p.]: Disley, Printer, [ca. 1850]. British song sheet with black minstrel-style song: “My massa and my missus have both gone away, / Gone to the Sulphur springs the summer months to stay; / And while they’re off togedder on a little kind of spreee / I’ll go down to Charlestown de pretty gals to see.” With somewhat incongruous woodcut vignette of a cavalier at top.

“Air and dance tune (2/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. The first several bars of melody are shared with the American old-time song “Old Plank Road.” The tune is included in Kerr’s along with a hodgepodge of tunes, including several from America. “I’m Off to Charlestown” was popularized by Christy’s Minstrels, a blackface minstrel troupe, and was written by William B. Donaldson and dedicated to Charles White Esq. It was published in 1850.

My massa and my missus have both gone away,
Gone to the sulpher springs, the summer months to stay;
And while they’re off togedder, on a little kind of spree,
I’ll go down to Charlestown, the pretty gals to see.

William Donaldson (1822-1876) was a left-handed banjo-player who hailed from Poughkeepsie, New York, whose career alternated between clowning for the circuses (where he was the first to perform in black-face) and performing as a theatre minstrel. He made his debut in 1836 at the age of thirteen in Poughkeepsie, as “Young Jim Crow” (after the style of “Daddy” Rice) and ten years later was known mainly as a clown. According to E. Le Roy Rice (Monarchs of Minstrelsy), he “was the inventor of the jawbone as a musical instrument by black-face performers several years before the first minstrel performance was given…In June, 1847, he was one of the five original members of the first Campbell’s Minstrels. About three years before his death he became the proprietor of the Lockwood House in Poughkeepsie. The individual he dedicated the song to, Charles White, owned a minstrel company, White’s Melodeon on the Bowery in New York. William Donaldson, Dan Bryant, Lilly Coleman, and Dan Emmitt performed together for Charlie White in the mid-1850s.

There is an interesting story entitled “Capture of the Slave-Ship ‘Cora'” in the periodical The Century [2] (May, 1894, pp. 115-129) by Wilburn Hall that features Donaldson prominently in the role of Captain of the slave-ship Cora, the last slave ship captured by the United States. The story concludes with a chance meeting between the naval officer who captured him and Donaldson, performing as a clown. After the show the two talked: I met him as agreed–and what a change! Once more the tall handsome man, a little older, perhaps a little more rugged, but strong and manly in figure, and winning in manner and word. He told me much of himself now, and gave me his real name, which was Donaldson. He had been a sailor, lounger, and pseudo-gentleman of leisure on Broadway, negro minstrel, clown, slave-captain–perhaps the list had better be closed; but he had a faithful, generous heart. He was a brave man, even though a statutory pirate.” See also the march variant “Off to Charleston” in Hopkin’s American Veteran Fifer (1905). —https://tunearch.org/wiki/I%27m_Off_to_Charlestown

https://digital.nls.uk/broadsides/view/?id=16043

 

Billy Pattison (caption title). London: H. Disley, [n.d. but ca. 1850]. British song sheet with woodcut vignette of a Black man with pipe. “Oh, white folks listen unto me, / Oh, Billy Pattison, / The subject of my story, I’ll tell unto thee, / Don’t tell me, don’t tell me, / The name of my song I’ll tell unto thee, / Is oh, Billy Pattison… / Billy Pattison, good-bye, / I think your horse will die, / If he don’t I’ll ride again. / If he dies I’ll tan his hide. / I’ll lay ten dollars down, / I’ll leave it in my will, / Show me the man in this yer town, / That struck my brother Bill.”

 

 

Jesse Jackson Sr.

On the twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost, 11/11 at 11:11 am, a multi-faith service for peace was held in the Princeton University chapel to mark the end of WW1, with a sermon by guest preacher, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

Rev. Jackson is the founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and one of America’s foremost civil rights, religious, and political figures. Over the past fifty years, he has played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for empowerment, peace, civil rights, gender equality, and economic and social justice.

This was a reminder of the painting held in the Graphic Arts Collection of Jackson’s sermon thirty years ago at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church.  Franklin McMahon (1921-2012), Reverend Jesse Jackson, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga. 1988. Graphite, charcoal, and acrylic paint on paper. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2015

As reported in the New York Times, “The Rev. Jesse Jackson came to Ebenezer Baptist Church to preach from the pulpit that once belonged to Martin Luther King Jr. and to cloak his Presidential campaign in the glory of the movement that Dr. King led. It was a rich mix of God, politics and history, of civil rights movement veterans, political leaders and average churchgoers, all crammed into the narrow wooden pews of Ebenezer Baptist, two days before the Super Tuesday primaries across the South. . . ”

 

“. . . Then Mr. Jackson took his place at the simple white pulpit. He noted that it was the 23d anniversary of ‘Bloody Sunday,’ when civil rights demonstrators were beaten on a bridge in Selma, Ala., as they tried to march for the right to vote. He then paid tribute to John Lewis, now an Atlanta Congressman, who had led that march and been savagely beaten and on this Sunday morning was in a front pew. Mr. Jackson went on to present Super Tuesday as the outgrowth of the bloodletting on that Selma bridge. ‘Tuesday, 23 years later, we can transform the crucifixion,’ he said. ‘And on Tuesday roll the stone away, and on Wednesday morning have a resurrection: new hope, new life, new possibilities, new South, new America.’

‘I’m proud of the the New South,’ Mr. Jackson said. ‘No more governors standing in the school house door, no more dogs biting children.’ But, he continued, ‘It’s not enough to have kind governors and tame dogs. It’s not enough.’ He argued that ‘the fight for economic justice’ was the principle challenge before the South and the nation. It was a fight for the economic rights of garbagemen, Mr. Jackson noted, that drew Dr. King to Memphis, where he was assassinated in 1968. When Mr. Jackson had finished, the congregation sang him on his way with ‘I’m on the Battlefield for My Lord.’ And Mr. Roberts adlibbed, ‘And I promise not to serve him just ’till Super Tuesday but until I die.’”–Robin Toner, “Hosannas to God and Votes for Jackson,” Special to the New York Times, March 7, 1988.

 

Following yesterday’s service at Princeton University, the 39th Annual Conference and Multifaith Service for Peace sponsored by the Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) and co-sponsored by 31 religious and civic groups in the region (see www.peacecoalition.org) with Rev. Jackson and Ambassador Wendy Sherman.

Sherman led the U.S. negotiating team and was a central player in reaching a successful conclusion of the Iran nuclear agreement. In recognition of her diplomatic accomplishments, she was awarded the National Security Medal by President Barack Obama. Amb. Sherman’s latest book Not for the Faint of Heart, is on order. Here is a preview.

 

Taxiphote glass stereoviews


Thanks to Rubén Gallo, Walter S. Carpenter, Jr., Professor in Language, Literature, and Civilization of Spain at Princeton University, the Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a Taxiphote Stereo-Classeur (French stereo viewer).

Today we received approximately 244 glass stereoviews, housed in four wood drawers, to put inside and use with the viewer. Each drawer holds four cassettes of the fragile slides.  Most are Swiss landscapes and tourist views but some are portraits. A few also have labels, dated as early as 1902. Here is a sample:

 

 






 

Russkii Revolyutsionny Plakat

Every once in a while, instead of a book coming to the Graphic Arts Collection (GA), it ends up on the open shelves with the Library of Congress classification GA or geography. This was the case with Vyacheslav Polonskii’s beautiful book Russkii Revolyutsionny Plakat (Russian Revolutionary Posters), 1924.

Over the years, a number of students checked it out and enjoyed the 56 bright lithographic plates, along with information on 850 revolutionary posters by Demi, Ivanov, Lebedev, Mayakovsky, and many other, most produced between 1917 and 1925 with homages to Marx and Lenin. We are very glad to have this now rare publication in the vault.

 

Vyacheslav Polonskii, Russian Revolutionary Posters (Moscow; Gosudarstvennoye Izdatel’stvo, 1924). Graphic Arts Collection GA Oversize 2006-0266Q

Water Yam

https://music.princeton.edu/events/tim-ruszala-fluxus

It isn’t often that our artists’ books get a performance, but that is the case with the new acquisition of George Brecht’s Water Yam (Fluxus no. C, 1963). At 4:30 on Friday, November 16, 2018, music major Tim Ruszala will present a Junior Paper recital about Fluxus, a radical avant-garde interdisciplinary art movement of the early 1960s.

He writes, “A large part of their corpus consisted of written instructions or short phrases, intended for performance / reflection, and the pieces were often framed in musical terms or had to do with questioning art production and conventions of consumption.” Tim will hold a recital in Theatre Intime of a selection of interesting pieces that he found in this process, including Brecht’s Water Yam.

When the BBC described Water Yam, they noted:

In a series of classes given at the New School for Social Research between 1956 and 1960, John Cage influenced a generation of artists who would develop the performance script into an art form, and lay the ground for Happenings and Fluxus. Having earlier embraced chance compositional procedures as a means of effacing his own likes and dislikes (and, as he put it, ” imitating nature in her manner of operation”), Cage encouraged students who already were using chance in their work – such as George Brecht and Jackson Mac Low – and prompted others – such as Allan Karpow, Dick Higgins and Al Hanson – to do so. And his classroom assignments led to instructions for events and performances that yielded some of the most important intermedia activity of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Out of the Cage class came the kind of event cards for which Fluxus would become well-known, an evocative form whose power is best appreciated in the 1959-66 works of George Brecht published by the movement’s impresario George Maciunas in a box called Water Yam. While most Fluxus event cards are performance scripts, Water Yam also includes instructions for the creation of objects or tableaux–obscure directions whose realization left almost everything to the realizer. In such works as Six Exhibits (“ceiling, first wall, second wall, third wall, fourth wall, floor”) and Egg (“at least one egg”), Brecht applied to objects and physical situations the freedom of execution and openness to serendipity that is the hallmark of a Fluxus performance.

Water Yam, arranged by George Brecht ([New York]: Fluxus, [1963?]). 1 cardboard box with 76 cards. Fluxus ; no. C. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2018- in process

W.I. Swain’s Jesse James

The American outlaw Jesse James (1847-1882) robbed banks, stagecoaches, and trains until he was shot in 1882 by Robert Ford. Like Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley, James was celebrated as a legendary figure of the Wild West with multiple productions that traveled throughout the United States.

The W. I. Swain Jesse James show was one of the largest productions and at their height in the first decade of the 20th century. A recent reading room request brought out several lithographic posters held in the Graphic Arts Collection, announcing the variety of stories included in Swain’s three-hour production.

It is surprising to see black and white actors, male and female, together as members of the James gang, as well as Native Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, professional cowboys, ranchers, and clowns in the company. No race or occupation was exempt from exaggerated caricature and burlesque.

 

**Note, some of the images are openly racist and offensive.**

 

Similar stories ran in local newspapers to advertise Swain’s “one night only” productions, such as:

“JESSE JAMES. The Little Rock (Ark) Daily Democrat has this to say about the W.I. Swain Jesse James show that is to appear here Wednesday, April 10 [1906]: The citizens of Little Rock were royally entertained with a new form of amusement last night. The W.I. Swain Jesse James company presented a three hour show last night and it is safe to say that never in the history of Little Rock did so many people gather together to see a show except to the biggest of the big circuses. The entertainment was of the western character, portraying the James boys during their famous career covering the time from the war to the death of Jesse.

The show was moral, and of a much different character than one is led to believe before seeing the show. Instead of all shooting and dime novel play, it teaches a grand lesson, showing the hardships and deprivations of the outlaw and the sufferings of a man after becoming an outcast. Perhaps the happiest character in the production is Lige, the old negro, who follows “Marse Jesse” through thick and thin. However, the sleeping Indian caused Lige no little concern, until she succeeded in dispatching Mr. Injun to his happy hunting ground with the [ever] trusty razor. The tent, which is a huge one, was tested to its utmost capacity, many being turned away. The Swain company gives a good show and if they ever return to Little Rock they will be greeted by a big crowd.”

    “The Plot of this Sensational and Instructive Production is based upon the life of the Most Interesting Character American History has Furnished.”

(c) Library of Congress