Author Archives: Julie Mellby

Jelly Roll Morton Comes to Princeton

As we are approaching the birthday of Ferdinand Joseph La Mothe (October 20, 1890), professionally known as “Jelly Roll” Morton, it is interesting to note that during the depression and his most difficult years, Princeton University’s Dial Lodge (eating club) booked one of America’s first and best jazz pianists for their 1932 house party weekend.

As noted in the Daily Princetonian 57, no. 64 (April 26, 1932), “Well-known Bands Engaged to Provide Houseparties Music.” The smooth continental Enric Madriguera & His Hotel Biltmore Orchestra played for Cap and Gown, highlighting their just released rumba Adiós. “Colonial, Ivy and Tiger, according to their annual custom, will give their Houseparty dance together, and have arrangements for a Meyer Davis unit to play. This orchestra was at the Waldorf Hotel in New York last winter and has recently been broadcasting over the radio on the Lucky Strike dance hour.”

Morton’s home for a few years, 209 West 131st Street, New York City

 

Close to the bottom of the announcement is the note that “Jellyroll Morton and his orchestra will play for Dial Lodge while Phil Solari, directing a Meyer Davis unit, will furnish the music for Elm. Morton, who has been on a stage tour for two years, has made a number of records for Brunswick recently recording “Crazy Chords,” a selection which was written by himself.” They do not mention that Morton made his first recording in 1915.

“Morton was jazz’s first great composer, writing such songs as “King Porter Stomp,” “Grandpa’s Spells,” “Wolverine Blues,” “The Pearls,” “Mr. Jelly Roll,” “Shreveport Stomp,” “Milenburg Joys,” “Black Bottom Stomp,” “The Chant,” “Original Jelly Roll Blues,” “Doctor Jazz,” “Wild Man Blues,” “Winin’ Boy Blues,” “I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say,” “Don’t You Leave Me Here,” and “Sweet Substitute.” He was a talented arranger (1926’s “Black Bottom Stomp” is remarkable), getting the most out of the three-minute limitations of the 78 record by emphasizing changing instrumentation, concise solos and dynamics. He was a greatly underrated pianist who had his own individual style. Although he only took one vocal on records in the 1920s (“Doctor Jazz”), Morton in his late-’30s recordings proved to be an effective vocalist. And he was a true character.

Jelly Roll Morton’s pre-1923 activities are shrouded in legend. He started playing piano when he was ten, worked in the bordellos of Storyville while a teenager (for which some of his relatives disowned him) and by 1904 was traveling throughout the South. He spent time in other professions (as a gambler, pool player, vaudeville comedian and even a pimp) but always returned to music. The chances are good that in 1915 Morton had few competitors among pianists and he was an important transition figure between ragtime and early jazz.’

…With the center of jazz shifting to New York by 1928, Morton relocated. His bragging ways unfortunately hurt his career and he was not able to always get the sidemen he wanted. His Victor recordings continued through 1930 and, although some of the performances are sloppy or erratic, there were also a few more classics. …But with the rise of the Depression, Jelly Roll Morton drifted into obscurity. He had made few friends in New York, his music was considered old-fashioned and he did not have the temperament to work as a sideman. During 1931-37 his only appearance on records was on a little-known Wingy Manone date.” —https://www.allmusic.com/artist/jelly-roll-morton-mn0000317290

http://downbeat.com/archives/detail/jelly-roll-morton-i-created-jazz-in-1902-not-w.c.-handy

Read his autobiographical letter to “Ripley’s Believe it or not” above and see the article below announcing that Morton has been dismissed from his union.

Those of us at Princeton can play Jelly Roll Morton here: https://princeton-nml3-naxosmusiclibrary-com.ezproxy.princeton.edu/jazz/catalogue/item.asp?cid=MCD-47018-2

Otfried Culmann and Franz Kafka

 

Das Schloss, also spelled Das Schloß (The Castle) was written by Franz Kafka (1883-1924) at the end of his life and published posthumously in 1926. Princeton University Library holds more than 60 editions of the novel or critical essays concerning the text. Its protagonist, known as “K” was the inspiration for this etching by Otfried Culmann titled Das Schloß – F. Kafka [The Castle – F. Kafka] and printed in 1970 in an edition of 50. With sincere thanks to the Ike und Berthold Roland-Stiftung an impression is now part of the Graphic Arts Collection.

The Roland Foundation generously donates art works to museums and libraries around the world, for example to the Goethe Museum in Rome, to the townhall of Capri, the National Library Austria, Vienna, the National Library of Switzerland, Bern, the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, and now, Princeton University. Originally owned by Dr. Berthold Roland, former Director of the State Museum of Mainz, Germany, this print is it one of many works on paper by German artists that he collected. We are especially grateful to his son Oliver Roland, Managing Director of the Roland Foundation for this donation.


Otfried H. Culmann (born 1949), Das Schloß – F. Kafka, 1970. Etching. Edition 7/50. Gift from the Ike und Berthold Roland-Foundation. Graphic Arts Collection 2020- in process

Culmann was born in 1949 and studied Academy of Fine Arts in Munich with Mac Zimmermann. This print was probably made while in Stuttgart where he work briefly with Walter Brudi at the State Academy of Fine Arts. In the 1980s, Culmann turned to writing and is known as much for his fantasy fiction as his visual art. The artist has also transformed the house where he was born, a former parsonage, into a fantastical work of architectural imagination, hopefully opening again soon to the public:

Parallèle des édifices anciens et modernes du continent Africain

 

Pierre Trémaux was a remarkable artist, naturalist, and architectural historian, best remembered for his three part publication on the architecture of Africa and Asia Minor: Voyage au Soudan oriental et dans l’Afrique septentrionale executes de 1847 a 1854; Parallèle des édifices anciens et modernes du continent Africain; and Exploration archéologique en Asia mineur. We are fortunate to be adding the second part to the Graphic Arts Collection, leaving only the third yet to be acquired.

Trémaux meant to document the people and places he saw using the early paper negative process but the quality of the prints was not good. Ultimately, the majority of the published plates are tinted lithographs. In the second volume, he bound the fading salt prints directly opposite a lithograph of the same scene, providing excellent historical comparisons for art and architectural historians. For our purposes here, only single plates are reproduced since photographing two pages in this oblong volume would make them exceptional small.

Now at Princeton: Pierre Trémaux (1818-1895), Voyages au Soudan oriental et dans l’Afrique septentrionale, exécutés de 1847 à 1854: comprenant une exploration dans l’Algérie, le régences de Tunis et de Tripoli, l’Égypte, la Nubie, les déserts, l’île de Méroé, le Sennar, le Fa-Zoglio, et dans les contrées inconnues de la Nigritie; atlas de vues pitoresques, scènes de mœurs, types de végétation remarquables, dessins d’objets éthologiques et scientifiques, panoramas et cartes géographiques (Paris: Borrani, [1852-58]). 37 x 55 cm. Graphic Arts Collection Oversize 2013-0025E. Purchased with funds from the Friends of the Princeton University Library. Fully digitized

Pierre Trémaux (1818-1895), *Parallèles des édifices anciens et modernes du continent africain: dessinés et relevés de 1847 à 1854 dans l’Algérie, les régences de Tunis et de Tripoli, l’Égypte, la Nubie, les déserts, l’Ile de Méroé, le Sennar, la Fa-Zoglo et dans les contrées inconnues de la Nigritie: atlas avec notices (Paris: Librairie L. Hachette et Cie., éditeurs, [between 1854 and 1858?]). 35 x 54 cm. Graphic Arts Collection 2020 in process

*No two extent copies are alike. This copy now at Princeton contains 84 lithographic plates (including title page) and 7 salt prints from paper negatives.

Architect, orientalist and photographer, Pierre Trémaux (1818-1895) made a first naturalist trip in 1847-1848 in Algeria, Tunisia, Upper Egypt, eastern Sudan and Ethiopia; Leaving Alexandria, he sailed up the Nile to Nubia and brought back many drawings. He left in 1853 for a second trip to North Africa and the Mediterranean (Libya, Egypt, Asia Minor, Tunisia, Syria and Greece), from where he brought back this time a precious set of superb photographs, taken on the spot using pioneering techniques for the time, as well as a fascinating travelogue and an interesting collection of natural history.

For this work devoted to the architectural history of Asia Minor and Africa and published in 3 parts over several years (1847-1862), Trémaux drew inspiration from his daguerreotypes, his own sketches and calotypes by the suite to compose the lithographic illustrations. Subsequent issues of his Voyage au Sudan Oriental et dans l’Africa Nord, from 1847 to 1854, contained prints mounted on salted paper which, poorly preserved, had to be replaced by lithographic reproductions.—rough translation from the listing by Pastaud Maison de Ventes aux Enchères

Complete images: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b10101719c.image

“These luxe publications, produced with the support of the French government, exploit an array of graphic techniques; they combine salted paper prints, engravings, tinted and colour lithographs, photolithographs, and texts in ways never previously attempted. Their examination provides insights into the ways these media interacted, and how comfortably photography in fact sat amongst its predecessors within the long-established context of the travel narrative.” –https://doi.org/10.1080/17540763.2017.1399287

Like many pictorial albums, few historians take the time to read Trémaux’s texts but are content to study and enjoy his images. Recently, some scholars have begun to evaluate his racist views on the populations he documented in Africa and later described in Origine et transformations de l’homme et des autres êtres (1865). For a discussion of Trémaux and Darwin, see: Wilkins, John S. and Nelson, Gareth J., “Trémaux on Species: A theory of allopatric speciation (and punctuated equilibrium) before Wagner”, Archives of Philosophy of the Science, University of Pittsburgh, 2008; texte repris dans la revue History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 2008, 30, pp 179-206.

 

 

This acquisition lives in the Graphic Arts Collection but was made with sincere thanks to Deborah Schlein, Near Eastern Studies Librarian; Alain St. Pierre, Librarian for History, History of Science and African Studies; Holly Hatheway, Head Librarian, and Nicola Shilliam, Western Bibliographer for Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology; and Patty Gaspari-Bridges, Assistant University Librarian for Collection Development.

Over-dressed prints


Dressed prints; Decoupés prints; Adorned prints; Spickelbilder (embroidered pictures); Stoffklebebilder (pasted textile pictures); Tinsel prints (metal); Gusseted pictures

These are just a few of the many terms that have been used to describe the prints collaged with cut pieces of fabric or tin or paper. We have yet to agree on the terminology, perhaps because there are few large collections. Or maybe because they are so odd. Pictured here are four from a small group that recently joined the Graphic Arts Collection.

Our new collection of dressed prints are after Martin de Vos’ Life and Passion of Christ, one signed as engraved by Johann Bussemacher (active 1580-1613), one signed by Johann Christoph Weigel (1654-1726), others all unsigned. Each includes German Bible text at the bottom and are dated ca. 1710.

Alice Dolan wrote: An adorned print: Print culture, female leisure and the dissemination of fashion in France and England, around 1660-1779, RCA/V&A MA in History of Design http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/journals/research-journal/issue-03/an-adorned-print-print-culture,-female-leisure-and-the-dissemination-of-fashion-in-france-and-england,-c.-1660-1779/

Prints adorned with fabrics have largely been treated as extensions of the ‘fashion plate’, by historians, but this terminology fails to do justice to their complexity. (1) American museums have favoured the term ‘dressed plates’, but this phrasing too belies the complexity of the object, suggesting only a surface alteration, when, in fact, the majority of the decoration was placed underneath the print. (2) This article will use the terms ‘adorned prints’, ‘modified prints’ and ‘decorated prints’, although like ‘fashion plate’ and ‘dressed plate’, none of these terms were used by contemporaries.

The Morgan Museum and Library’s “twenty-one volumes entitled Engraved British Portraits contain nearly eight thousand prints, most of which date to the eighteenth or early nineteenth century. The collection of fashion prints consists of 391 examples from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Most are mounted, hand-colored extracts from published albums. Thirty-two of the plates are “dressed” or decoupés, created by cutting out portions of the print and facing them from the reverse side with fabric.”

Elsewhere the term Stoffklebebilder or Spickelbilder is used to describe extra-illustrated prints.

Michael Twyman’s Encyclopedia of Ephemera describes the tinsel print as “a hand-coloured print embossed with metallic foil and other materials,” making it one variations of the larger vogue to decorate prints particularly in 17th century France. “Flock and tinsel prints” by Laura Suffield in Grove’s Dictionary of Art, https://doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T028587 adds limited assistance but has a good bibliography: “Collective term for a type of woodcut to which powdered wool (flock) or tinsel (small fragments of metal) was applied. Such prints are rare. The technique was developed to imitate a patterned velvet in texture and appearance, its French and German names reflecting its appearance: empreinte veloutée, Samt-Teigdrucke.” Bibliography:
W. L. Schreiber: Manuel de la gravure sur bois et sur métal au XVe siècle, 5 vols (Berlin, 1891–1910) [s]
W. L. Schreiber: Die Meister der Metallschneidekunst nebst einem nach Schulen geordneten Katalog ihrer Arbeiten (Strasbourg, 1926)
C. Dodgson: Woodcuts of the XV Century in the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford, 1929)
A. M. Hind: An Introduction to a History of Woodcut, 2 vols (London, 1935, 2/1963)
A. Griffiths: Prints and Printmaking (London, 1980)
J. Hermans and P. Mahoney-Phillips: ‘Paper, Textiles and Tinsel Prints’, Paper and Textiles: The Common Ground: Preprints of the Conference Held at the Burrell Collection, Glasgow, 19–20 Sept 1991, 125–32

Note that ours are both hand colored and dressed with fabric. It is hard to tell if they are finished.

The First Alphabet

Premiering this Wednesday is a documentary on the history of writing that experts have been working on for sixteen years; twelve years to puzzle out a story and four to film and edit. The first of three episodes will be airing on NOVA/PBS Wednesday, 23 September 2020, 9:00 pm EST.
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/a-to-z-the-first-alphabet/

“Where would we be without the world’s alphabets? Writing has played a vital role in the expansion and domination of cultures throughout history. But researchers are only now uncovering the origin story to our own alphabet, which may have gotten its beginnings in a turquoise mine 4,000 years ago. From the shape of the letter A to the role of writing in trade and storytelling, discover how the written word shaped civilization itself.”

The second episode will air Wednesday, 30 September 2020, 9:00pm EST and the third will go online afterwards.

“Just as writing changed the course of human history, the evolution of paper and printing revolutionized the spread of information. The printing press kicked off the Industrial Revolution that fast-tracked us to the current digital age. But as the 4,000-year-old tradition of penmanship falls out of favor, should we consider what might be lost in this pursuit of ever more efficient communication?”

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/a-to-z-how-writing-changed-the-world/

“NOVA brings you stories from the frontlines of science and engineering, answering the big questions of today and tomorrow, from how our ancestors lived, to whether parallel universes exist, to how technology will transform our lives. Visit the official website to watch full-length documentaries, or explore our world through short-form video, on our digital publication NOVA Next.”

Uncirculated proof-like condition, eco-accommodating

When announcing the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020), Fox news first posted an advertisement for Donald Trump Playing Cards, described as “uncirculated proof-like condition.” This is a variation on the US Mint descriptions for coins, not paper products. See glossary below.


Amazon sells them for the GOP shop, advertised as a gift for men.

“Made of superb paper, eco-accommodating, printed and covered well to ensure these cards work incredible for you, the edges are smooth, difficult to part, you can rearrange them easily. Playing cards are great for all card games: bridge, go fish, poker, euchre, hearts, blackjack, canasta, texas, pinochle, baccarat, casino night and more.”

Hand-crafted. Made in China

https://catalog.usmint.gov/faqs-faqcategory-products-programs/products-programs-coin-design.html?fdid=faqcategory-products-programs

Proof Coins: Are the finest quality of coin produced by the United States Mint. The term “proof” refers to the coin’s finish. Proof blanks are specially treated, hand-polished, and cleaned to ensure high-quality strikes. The blanks are then fed into presses fitted with specially polished dies and struck at least twice. The coins are then carefully packaged to showcase and preserve their exceptional finish.
These coins: Are struck at least twice, which gives the coin a frosted, sculpted foreground for a glamorous shine; defined, intricate design; and mirror-like background.

Uncirculated Coins: Are hand-loaded into the coining press and struck on specially burnished blanks, yet have a soft, matte-like finish appearance. These coins: Are made like circulating coins (which are used everyday as money), but with a special process that produces a brilliant finish.

These cards are not included in the Graphic Arts Collection.

Exércices d’imagination de differens charactéres[sic] …

Joseph François von Götz (baron, 1754-1815), Exercices d’imagination de differens Caractères et Formes humaines, inventés peints et dessinés par J.F.de Goez (Augsburg: Academie Imperiale d’Empire, ca. 1785). Graphic Arts Collection 2020-in process

 

Reproduced here are a few of the 100 engraving printed in differing shades of sanguine inks over black by Robert Brichet (French, active 1775–90) after designs by Götz (or by Götz himself). The social satires act as occupational “cries” of Augsburg rather than personal caricatures. This volume merges the French and German series, which appears elsewhere as Die heutige sichtbare Körperwelt oder 100 Charakter Züge. Only a very few copies were printed in colored ink.

 

Götz is credited with publishing the first graphic novel (Leonardo und Blandine, 1783). [c.f. Cohen-De Ricci, col. 443 («Il y a des exemplaires dont les figures sont tirées en rouge»); Hiler, p. 383; Lipperheide 3522; cf. Colas 1277, although as we all know, statements like that beg to be proven wrong. James Gillray was also publishing sequential image narratives. See: https://konkykru.com/e.goez.1783.lenardo.und.blandine.1.html

Decrees of the King’s Council of State

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired an important collection of 35 Arrêts du Conseil d’Etat du Roi = Decrees of the King’s Council of State (1771 to 1789). These join several other collections of decrees in special collections beginning in 1704. The new acquisitions include parliamentary papers regulating the printing and book trade in France, most published in Paris but some from Lille. Here are a few examples.

In order to understand the nature, evolution, and basic conceptions of French administrative law, it is essential to study the role of the Conseil d’État, the supreme administrative tribunal. Creative and dynamic, often even bold, the jurisprudence of this remarkable body remains nevertheless prudent and fundamentally evolutionary. One would search in vain for the major principle of French administrative law in the legislative texts; they have been developed by the jurisprudence of this Council as it proceeds, by a series of successive decisions, from specific cases to ultimate yet flexible generalizations, establishing basic legal concepts not only by the skillful interpretation of texts, but also by creative construction when the texts are silent.

Together with its doctrinal achievements, the Council’s usus fori or judicial practice forms a flexible source of principles applicable to specific cases. The legislator may regulate according to circumstances and the necessities of the moment, without concerning himself with general principles or even conforming rigorously to those created by jurisprudence and theory. But the administrative judge, in administering justice, performs a genuinely creative task and establishes bases for legal thought.– Georges Langrod, The French Council of State: Its Role in the Formulation and Implementation of Administrative Law: https://doi.org/10.2307/1951432

 


 

The new normal

We continue to teach live using the original material in the graphic arts collection to reach our students who are not on campus. Today was the practice run for Professor Linda Colley’s Junior Seminar in History, in which we will compare George III with George Washington while demonstrating the many mediums and formats through which you can learn. Here is a pochoir print reproducing the oil painting by Charles Willson Peale of George Washington at the Battle of Princeton together with a mezzotint after Thomas Gainsborough’s George the Third, King of Great Britain.

 

 

One of the many complications is adjusting the equipment to accommodate the very large as well as the very small, while continuing to talk about specific details.

Some material like the John Trumbull’s 1786 sketch of the Death of General Mercer [Sketch for The Battle of Princeton] is already digitized online: https://catalog.princeton.edu/catalog/10660639. But others, like the watch in an open face case worn by Col. Thomas Turbott during the Battle of Princeton, is not.

 

 

Besides it is more fun to see and talk about the material live, than to hand out digital addresses. Such as Baricou Montbrun’s L’Apotre de la liberte immortalize (The Apostle of Freedom Immortalized or The Apotheosis of Benjamin Franklin), [Paris: Montbrun, ca. 1790], a stipple engraving in which Franklin is being assumed into heaven as the world mourns his loss.

Or Wha wants me, 1792, in which Thomas Paine holds a scroll of the “rights of man” surrounded by injustices and standing on labels.

Thanks to the many, many people who have helped set this up and continue to make these classes possible.

 

 

Anaïs Nin’s first American Publisher

When Anaïs Nin bought a printing press and set up shop in Greenwich Village, Jimmy Cooney made a number of trips into town to give her printing lessons and publishing advice. Who was he?


In the 1930s, Blanche and James Cooney moved “on the Maverick,” an artists’ colony outside Woodstock, NY, founded by Hervey White in 1905. They had no telephone or indoor plumbing but acquired a full stockpile of metal type and a small hand press. Notices were placed in The New York Times Sunday book review section and the Herald Tribune asking for manuscripts to be published in a new magazine. “We would print it ourselves; it would be the rallying point, through it we would spread the word of a community of separate dwellings and shared land and stock and tools; …We would publish writers whose unpopular or seditious views would have no chance in the commercial press.” It would be called The Phoenix, in honor of D.H. Lawrence.

Henry Miller wrote from Paris that both he and his friend Anaïs Nin would send material, happy that someone welcomed their provocative stories. Each was published in The Phoenix several times before they were forced to leave Paris for New York City.

As soon as Anaïs was settled, she and her husband Hugh Guiler (Hugo) made a pilgrimage to meet the Cooneys and the press that was not afraid to publish her work. Anaïs’s famous diaries do not mention of this trip, probably because Hugo asked her not to write about him and she agreed. However, the visit is chronicled in Blanche Cooney’s autobiography:

“In 1940, on her return from Europe, Anaïs came to Woodstock with her husband Hugh Guiler to stay with us for a few days. She wanted to meet her first American publisher, we wanted to meet the fabled Etre Étoilique [Miller’s 1937 short story about Anaïs]. A great pleasure to look at, she moved like the dancer she was, a fluid supple line in a dress of purple wool. . . Hugo—Anaïs called him Hugo and he said we were also to call him Hugo—was the banker, an international banker. A tall lean Scotsman, gentle, handsome, he deferred to Anaïs, his adored one, his indulged one. No whim, no quirk, no passion, or bizarre appetite would he deny her, Yes to a houseboat on the Seine, Yes to the Miller connection, to a fling with a woman, an English poet, a Peruvian Indian, Yes….

Hugo, Anaïs said, will be studying engraving with Stanley Hayter at the New School. Hugo had a definite talent; he will do the covers and illustrations for her books, she said; they will find a printer and publish privately. “my text and Hugo’s decorations.” Anaïs smiled into Hugo’s eyes with intimate secret reference. The visit went well, no explosions, no denunciations . . . .”–Blanche Cooney, In My Own Sweet Time (Ohio: Swallow Press, 1993). Z473 .C755 1993

The Phoenix ([Haydenville, Mass.: Morning Star Press, 1938-1984.]). Vol. 1, no. 1 (Mar./May 1938)-v. 9, no. 3 & 4 (1984). AP2 .P464

Natashia Troubetskoia, Anaïs Nin, ca. 1932. Oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Want to know more? Please join us at 2:00 p.m. on September 25, 2020 for the fifth in our series of webinars highlighting the Graphic Arts Collection at Princeton University. Register for free here: https://libcal.princeton.edu/event/6949414

 

The history of the Maverick: https://player.vimeo.com/video/11435652