Author Archives: Julie Mellby

Graphic MoMA

[left] Book shelves as wall paper.

A first look at the rehung MoMA revealed a surprising number of works on paper, lettrism, fluxus, artists’ books, visual poetry, and other graphic arts. Beginning with the major exhibitions such as Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures, there are more than the usual number of letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs of text, in and among the oil on canvas.

“The Museum of Modern Art will open its expanded campus on October 21, 2019, with a reimagined presentation of modern and contemporary art.

The expansion, developed by MoMA with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in collaboration with Gensler, adds more than 40,000 square feet of gallery spaces and enables the Museum to exhibit significantly more art in new and interdisciplinary ways.

The Studio in the heart of the Museum will feature live programming and performances that react to, question, and challenge histories of modern art and the current cultural moment. …Street-level galleries, free and open to all on the expanded ground floor, will better connect the Museum to New York City and bring art closer to people on the streets of midtown Manhattan.”

Here are a few examples:

Mirtha Dermisache, Augusto de Campos, et al. Visual poetry.


Dieter Roth (1930-1998), Literature Sausage, 1969. Artists’ proof.

Various artists, Fluxkit, 1965-66. Designed and assembled by George Maciunas.

Mira Schendel (1919-1988), untitled from Objetos graficos, 1967.




Finishing touches in the Frank O’Hara room

Wall corner note


Waldemar Cordeiro, et al., Manifesto Ruptura, 1952.


Lygia Pape (1927-2004), Livro da criação  (Book of Creation), 1958-1960.


The Black Factory Archive, 2004-

To theovadēston oros tou Sēna

To theovadēston oros tou Sēna ([Place of publication not identified] : [publisher not identified], 1699). Hand colored woodcut, 30.2 x 34.5 cm sheet 34.6 x 45.2 cm. Gift of Theodore Theodorou to the Program in Hellenic Studies for the Princeton University Library, in honor of the 40th anniversary of Hellenic Studies at Princeton. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired two prints thanks to the Program in Hellenic Studies with the support of the Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund for the gift. Thanks go to Kalliopi Balatsouka for the translation and description of these works on paper.

Inscription in Greek runs from left to right at the upper part of the print: “To theovadēston oros tou Sēna.” Below the main scene, in 6 columns, there is a numbered list (from 1 to 56) of the events taking place in the print. In the last column, inscription in capital letters states: “Cahtzē Kirgēakis / Vourliotis Sēnaitēs / eneti – 1699: minē Iouliou.” In the far right, next to the last column, there is another tiny column with the inscription: “Hiero/mo/nach/ou Dio/nē/si(ou) hē … .” At the right corner below the main scene, a four-line inscription in Slavonic (?) is enclosed by a roughly square frame: “Hierodiakon Nikodēm … .”

This paper icon depicts a bird’s-eye view of Mount Sinai, including 56 scenes. The main composition of the print represents the Saint Catherine Monastery, the dormition of Saint Catherine, and Moses receiving God’s Law on Mount Sinai, divided into two symmetrical parts. To the upper left, predominates a scene of the Old Testament where Moses, according to the Book of Exodus, ascended Mount Sinai to receive the Tables of Law. To the upper right, a scene of New Testament, shows winged angels transporting the relic of the Great Martyr Saint Catherine from Alexandria, Egypt, to the highest mountain, now called Mount Saint Catherine, next to Mount Sinai, while a dove who carries a ring in his beak flys away from the Mountain.

Also acquired, thanks to a gift of the Program in Hellenic Studies with the support of the Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund is the print below:


[Patriarch Gennadius II Scholarius and Sultan Mehmed II]. Text in Modern Greek, French, and Armenian ([Place of publication not identified] : [publisher not identified], between 1901-1929. Lithograph. Gift of the Program in Hellenic Studies with the support of the Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process.

The subjects of this Greek/Ottoman lithograph are Gennadius II, Patriarch of Constantinople, approximately 1405-approximately 1472 and Mehmed II, Sultan of the Turks, 1432-1481. The scene takes place after the appointment of Gennadius as Patriarch of Constantinople and certain privileges granted to the ecumenical patriarch by Mehmed II, the Conqueror, about the Greek Orthodox Church in Constantinople in 1453.

Title is written in Turkish above the main scene of the lithograph as well as in Greek and French below, in two columns, with a laurel wreath in between bearing an inscription in Armenian. The Greek title to the left reads as follows: “Ho Soultanos Mōameth B’ ho porthētēs episemōs aponemei tō / Oikoumenikō Patriarchē Gennadiō tō Scholariō ta pro- / nomia tēs ekklēsias en etei 1453 (Antigraphon ex archaias eikonos)” and the French title: “Sultan Mohamed II vainqueur, de Constantinople offre / officiellement au patriarche œcuménique Yénnadios / scholarios les concessions ecclessiastiques. Année 1453.” “Euriskontai en tō typographeiō Lagopoulou Zoump[…] Chan ar. 6 (?).”

Cuir-ciselé from Berville

P. Berville. Wooden box containing leather working tools, 12 glass bottles with different colors and chemical substances, sealed and with illustrated original paper labels. 4 other glass bottles containing further colors with wooden screw top and with original illustrated paper labels. Brushes, paper and leather samples, four original watercolor designs for cuir-ciselé or diseño de cuero = Leather craft or leather design. Paris, ca. 1900. Dimensions: 420 x 350 x 105 mm.

Maison Berville was established around 1833 and managed by Jules Berville 1834-1869 at 29 rue de la Chaussée d’Antin; Léon Berville 1870-1895, 25 rue de la Chaussée d’Antin, and P Berville, 25 rue de la Chaussée d’Antin, 1896-1937.

Best known for their painting supplies, the highly esteemed Berville also sold scientific instruments and other technical devices (including camera lucida). This set includes all sorts of materials for working and coloring leather used in book bindings, clothing, and other decorative arts. Samples of paper and design seem to be added by the previous owner. Most of the pigment bottles are still half full of liquid.

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired this box, as part of its collection of portable painting boxes, map printing boxes, writing boxes, and other color sample kits.

Lugt, Les Marques des Collections 3338: “Le choix de la palette par un marchand de fournitures pour artistes peut se comprendre et il nous paraît plausible que le même Berville ait vendu de temps à autre des oeuvres graphiques. Ce Berville ne fut alors pas un collectionneur au sens propre du terme, mais un marchand occasionnel qui aurait adopté pour cette activité la marque décrite ici”.


Modelage & décoration du cuir preparation pour bourrer le cuir


Pigments and other products were manufactured by the Paris-based firm Bourgeois aîné (1867-1965).


The Printing Workshop as a Laboratory of Knowledge

Johannisberger stop-cylinder press from 1924, restored in the 1980s and still working at the Lettertypen in Berlin

In case you could not attend the last conference of the Association of European Printing Museums (AEPM) at the Nationaal Museum van de Speelkaart, Turnhout, Belgium, 23-26 May 2019, they recently posted the talk given by Katharina Walter and Ulrike Koloska (Berlin, Germany): Safeguarding Intangible Heritage: Passing on Printing Techniques to Future Generations.

Here is the link:

The aim of the AEPM is to encourage the sharing of knowledge, experience, initiatives, and resources in all fields of the graphic arts as they have been practised from the time of Gutenberg until the present day. Originally founded as an association of European printing museums, the AEPM has gradually enlarged its remit to include a broad range of organisations and individuals interested in printing heritage, both in Europe and beyond. Membership is open to all print-related museums, heritage workshops and collectors actively involved in preserving the heritage of the printing industry.

Don’t forget to use their “Museum finder for printing and related museums in Europe and worldwide”.

Typographic (J. Theobaldy), 70 x 100 cm, Simultan – Kunststücke, 1975

Women Vote!

Christine Heller, Women Vote!: Fifteen New York State Suffragists: in Celebration of the 2017 Centennial of Women’s Right to Vote in New York State ([New York (State)?] : Christine Heller, 2018). Copy 8 of 10. Graphic Arts Collection 2019- in process

Christine Heller’s limited edition portfolio Women Vote! celebrates suffragists who fought for 70 years to secure the vote for women. The project pairs lithographic images of fifteen suffragists with brief biographical texts printed in letterpress. Heller included well known suffragist leaders such as Susan B. Anthony as well as women who have been forgotten over time, one such example being Hester Jeffrey, who was a friend of Anthony’s and a leader who fought to improve the lives of African American women.

The artist was inspired by the courage and persistence of these suffragists and the determination of white and black women to work together despite occurrences of racism. She depicted the women with piercing eyes that challenge us to push back against the current erosion of women’s rights. Heller worked with the same palette that the suffragists chose to symbolize their movement: gold, which represented the guiding light of their cause, and purple, which signified an unshakable dedication to their mission.

The introduction to Women Vote!, which provides an overview of the larger struggle, was written by Susan Goodier, author of Women Will Vote: Winning Suffrage in New York State. The portfolio was printed on Arches cover and includes lithographs produced by master printer Tim Sheesley from the artist’s original drawings. All text pages were printed letterpress by Maureen Cummins with typographic assistance from Kathleen McMillan. The typefaces are Della Robbia and Goudy Bookletter. The portfolio is housed in a shantung-covered clamshell box with gold-stamped titling, designed and crafted by Mark Tomlinson.



Printed wrappers designed by André Beaudin

Cover design by André Beaudin (1895-1979), here’s a short biography:

“French painter, sculptor, draughtsman, graphic artist, ceramicist and tapestry designer. He attended the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, from 1911, until he joined the army in 1915. After World War I he devoted himself primarily to painting. In 1922 he met Juan Gris with whose encouragement his early Matisse-influenced rhythmical compositions acquired greater stability. In the late 1920s he was promoted by Tériade as a successor to the Cubists, with such works as The Mirror (1929; Paris, Pompidou), in which a highly simplified figure and its mirror-image are defined by patches of flat colour and fragments of linear contrast, and by the 1940s he was seen as one of the major representatives of the Ecole de Paris. In the 1950s his earlier predilection for curvilinear shapes gave way to a more angular and dynamic geometry, as in the First Race (1952; Paris, Pompidou).

…From 1930 Beaudin produced a number of sculptures in bronze in which he adapted to three dimensions the geometric stylization of his paintings … He also illustrated a number of works, for example Virgil’s Bucoliques (published by Skira, Geneva, 1936), with original etchings; Paul Eluard’s Double d’ombre (Paris, 1945), with reproductions of drawings; Gérard de Nerval’s Sylvie (published by Tériade, Paris, 1960), with original colour lithographs.” –by Valerie Holman Grove Art Online

Although we have a strong run of the Arts & Metiers Graphiques, no 62 was missing. Happily, we have again acquired this volume with a splendid cover.

See also: Paul Eluard’s Double d’ombre Graphic Arts Collection GAX Oversize NK8667.B42 E48q.

André Beaudin; œvres, 1921-1970 ([Paris, Centre national d’art contemporain, 1970]). Marquand Library ND553.B332 .C4

Paris 1937 / Expositions Internationales / New York 1939 (Paris: Arts & Metiers Graphiques, 1938). Cover design by Andre Beaudin and printed lithographically by “les presses de Mourlot Freres.” GAX – in process.

Welt-Ausstellung in Wien 1873

While you might think this was one of the national pavilions at the 1873 International Exhibition in Vienna, is was in fact one of the many restaurants, beer halls and coffee houses opened throughout the fairgrounds. Run by two New York restaurant owners and staffed with a wide variety of non-white waiters, the bar served martinis and other cocktails, described as typical American drinks.

The photograph was made by Josef Löwy (1834–1902), an Austrian painter, publisher, industrialist, and Royal court photographer. Löwy operated a popular photography studio in Vienna, known especially for celebrity portraits. He was also a member of the Wiener Photographen Association, which had their own building at the fair. Oscar Kramer led the Association and was the publisher of this album, recently acquired by the Graphic Arts Collection.

Several of Löwy’s photographs won medals during the Exhibition, leading to his appointment as official photographer to the Austrian Court. It is noteworthy that after his death Mathilde Löwy (1854-1908), his wife and also a talented photographer, took over the operation of the studio until her death. His nephew, Gustav Löwy, followed as owner, renaming the studio “Art Institute J. Lowy”.

Welt-Ausstellung in Wien, 1873 ([Vienna: Oskar Kramer, 1873]). Graphic Arts Collection 2019- in process. Album of 24 albumen silver prints of the Vienna International Exhibition of 1873.

The 1873 Vienna Welt-Ausstellung was open from May 1, 1873 through November and it was the first international exposition held in Austria. Here are a few more plates:

Elmer Adler Undergraduate Book Collecting Prize

Are You a Collector?
Submit Your Essay to Win the 2019-2020
Elmer Adler Undergraduate Book Collecting Prize

Deadline: Saturday, November 30, 2019

Are you an avid collector of books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, recordings, coins, or other materials–the types that can be found in library collections? If so, consider submitting an essay about your collection for a chance to win the 2019-2020 Elmer Adler Undergraduate Book Collecting Prize!

Endowed from the estate of Elmer Adler (1884-1962), who for many years encouraged the collecting of books by Princeton undergraduates, this prize is awarded annually to undergraduate students who, in the opinion of a committee of judges, have shown the most thought and ingenuity in assembling a thematically coherent collection of books, manuscripts, or other material normally collected by libraries. This includes a vast array of formats and potential subject areas. For examples, see the various collections that are housed in the Department of Special Collections at Princeton University Library. Past winning essays include those that described collections of books, comic books, miniature books, poetry, photographs, maps, sheet music, vinyl records, Blu-ray movies, to name some examples.

Please note that the rarity or monetary value of a collection is not as important as the creativity and persistence shown in collecting and the fidelity of the collection to the goals described in a personal essay.

The personal essay should reflect an actively-curated collection rather than merely describe the contents of the student’s library. It should articulate the thematic or artifactual nature of the collection and discuss with some specificity the unifying characteristics that have prompted the student to think of certain items as a collection. It should also convey a strong sense of the student’s motivations for collecting and what his or her particular collection means to the student personally. The history of the collection, including collecting goals, acquisition methods, and milestones, is of particular interest, as are a critical look at how collecting goals may have evolved over time and an outlook on the future development of the collection.

Essays are judged in equal measure on the strength of the collection and the quality of the writing. Winners will receive their prizes at the annual spring dinner of the Friends of the Princeton University Library, which they are expected to attend. The first-prize essay has the honor of representing Princeton University in the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, organized by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America. Please note that per the ABAA’s contest rules, the winning essay will be entered exactly as submitted to the Adler Prize contest, without possibility of revision. In addition, the first-prize winner will have the opportunity to have his or her essay featured in a Library-affiliated publication.

Prize amounts:
First prize: $2000
Second prize: $1500
Third prize: $1000

The deadline for submission is 11:59 p.m. Saturday, November 30, 2019. Essays should be submitted via e-mail, in a Microsoft Word attachment, to Minjie Chen, They should be 9-10 pages long, 12pt, double-spaced, with a 1-inch margin, and include a separate cover sheet listing the contestant’s name, class year, residential address, email address, and phone number. In addition to the essay, each entry should include a selected bibliography of no more than 3 pages detailing the items in the collection.

Download the submission template at
Please note that essays submitted after the deadline, or in file formats other than Microsoft Word, or without a cover sheet or bibliography, will not be forwarded to the judges. For inquiries, please contact Minjie Chen.

Previous Adler Prize Winning Essays
Annabel Barry ’19. “The Emigrant’s Dilemma: Collecting Books About Ireland.”
Bruno Mikanowski ’04. “To the Kingdom of Gog: A Map Collection.”
Lindsey Breuer ’11. “If Only I Could Apparate, My Harry Potter Collection Would Truly Appreciate,” Princeton University Library Chronicle 72:3 (spring)[also available through EBSCO]
Mary Thierry ’12. “Mirror, Mirror: American Daguerrean Portraits,” Princeton University Library Chronicle 73:3 (spring)
Nandita Rao ’17. “Of Relationships: Recording Ties through My LP Collection.”
Samantha Flitter ’16. “The Sand and the Sea: An Age of Sail in Rural New Mexico.” Recipient of the 2016 National Collegiate Book Collection Contest Essay Award.

Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
The National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest
Winners of the 94th annual Elmer Adler Undergraduate Book Collecting Prize (April 2019)
Winners of the 93rd annual Elmer Adler Undergraduate Book Collecting Prize (April 2018)

Buffalo Bill Novel Magazine Covers

Robert Prowse, Jr (1858-1934?), Collection of 71 pieces of original cover art for the Buffalo Bill Novels Magazine series. [London: Aldine Publishing Company, 1918-1932]. Watercolor and gouache paintings, about 14 x 11 in. each. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process.


With the much appreciated support of the Friends of the Princeton University Library, the Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a remarkable group of original cover art for the Buffalo Bill Novels, a British pulp magazine for boys and girls, published from 1916 to 1932 by the Aldine Publishing Company in London. Despite its name, the stories were not always about Buffalo Bill, though they were always set in the American West and featured plenty of cowboys and Indians (and even female heroes!).

The paintings are all signed by Robert Prowse (R.P.), who did artwork for this and other similar projects; some are dated below his initials. The series ran for 342 issues, though the last cover in this collection is for No. 344, possibly an unpublished issue, as we could find no trace of this title associated with the Buffalo Bill Novels. See more here:


This acquisition will allow students and researchers to study the cover art along with the text, given the large number of these books already owned by Princeton. As outlined on the Special Collections website, “the Library’s extensive holdings relating to Dime Novels are divided chiefly among two collections.

One major portion, about 1,700 individual issues, is in the Cotsen Children’s Library. Some details about these are covered in the exhibition “Cheap Thrills,” mounted in Cotsen during the fall of 2006. The second major portion is in the general rare books collection, chiefly in three sub-units thereof, namely The Stanley Lieberman Memorial Collection (900 individual numbers); The Mary Robinson Memorial Collection of Hero Fiction (400 individual numbers); The John Murray Reynolds ’22 Collection, consisting of 111 issues of various dime-novel, mystery, and other such pulp magazines published in the United States between 1925 and 1947.

Each issue contains a story or contribution by John Murray Reynolds of the Class of 1922. A checklist is available here: The Stanley Lieberman Memorial Collection and the Mary Robinson Memorial Collection of Hero Fiction complement each other to form a fine collection of Hero Fiction, with a total of about 1,300 volumes. There is also the John Murray Reynolds ’22 Collection, which consists of 111 issues of various boys, dime-novel, mystery, and other such pulp magazines published in the United States between 1925 and 1947.”



Above: original painting for cover.       Below: published volume with printed cover.

American publishers weren’t the only ones cashing in on the pulp magazines craze and this collection offers a good example of international hegemony of the genre. The Aldine Publishing Company of London produced, from the late 1880s onwards, reprints of American dime novels, such as the adventures of Buffalo Bill, eventually opening a subsidiary in New York.

Complementing the watercolors, Princeton also holds proof covers for the first 51 numbers of the Aldine Publishing Company’s “O’er Land and Sea” Library. These single octavo leaves, rough trimmed, some mounted on thin card, others showing signs of mounting. [London, 1890-1891], available at (Ex) Item 4697736.

See also:
Chambliss, Julian and William Svitavsky (2008), “From Pulp Hero to Superhero: Culture, Race, and Identity in American Popular Culture, 1900–1940,” Studies in American Culture 30 (1) (October)
Dinan, John A. (1983) The Pulp Western : A Popular History of the Western Fiction Magazine in America. Borgo Press, ISBN 0-89370-161-0.
Goulart, Ron (1972) Cheap Thrills: An Informal History of the Pulp Magazine, Arlington House, ISBN 978-0-87000-172-7.
Gunnison, Locke and Ellis (2000). Adventure House Guide to the Pulps (Adventure House) ISBN 1-886937-45-1
Lesser, Robert (2003). Pulp Art: Original Cover Paintings for the Great American Pulp Magazines (Book Sales) ISBN 0-7858-1707-7
Locke, John-editor (2004). Pulp Fictioneers – Adventures in the Storytelling Business (Adventure House) ISBN 1-886937-83-4
Robbins, Leonard A. (1988). The Pulp Magazine Index (Six Volumes). Starmont House. ISBN 1-55742-111-0.
Robinson, Frank and Davidson, Lawrence (2007). Pulp Culture (Collector’s Press) ISBN 978-1-933112-30-5
Sampson, Robert (1983) Yesterday’s Faces: A Study of Series Characters in the Early Pulp Magazines. Volume 1. Glory figures, Vol. 2. Strange days, Vol. 3. From the Dark Side, Vol. 4. The Solvers, Vol 5. Dangerous Horizons, Vol. 6. Violent lives. Bowling Green University Popular Press, ISBN 0-87972-217-7.
Springhall, John (1994), “‘Disseminating Impure Literature’: ‘The ‘Penny Dreadful’ Publishing Business Since 1860,” The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 47, No. 3. (August), pp. 578.

The Living Skeleton

Claude Ambroise Seurat. Description intéressante de Claude-Ambroise Seurat appelé l’homme anatomique, ou le squelette vivant par M. le Comte Joseph de Cissé [Douai: Wagrez, n.d., soon after 1828]. Woodcut frontispiece.  Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process


“A few words may here be said with regard to the individuals occasionally exhibited at Shows and Fairs, and known popularly as “Living Skeletons,” for in some of them it is probable that we have to do with a congenital absence of the subcutaneous fat which has persisted till adult life. …In 1826, Claude Ambroise Seurat, the so called ” Anatomie Vivante,” or ” Living Skeleton,” was exhibited in the Chinese Saloon, Pall Mall, London, and in other towns of the United Kingdom. He was then 26 years of age, about five feet and a half in height, and showed such a markedly atrophic state of the subcutaneous fat, and to some extent of the muscular system also, as fully to justify the designation “Living Skeleton,” which was popularly applied to him.

In one of the newspapers of the time the following statement occurs :*—” His father and his stepmother are both with him, and if we credit their account, he was brought into the world thus afflicted, grew to his present height at fourteen years old, and has never had a day’s illness in his life.” His parents, however, do not seem to have been very clear about the congenital character of the anomaly, for in another account, written for some paper by a medical man, the following sentence occurs: “According to the statement of his father (the mother is dead), he presented nothing extraordinary in his appearance at the time of birth; though, in my own mind, I have no doubt but the same malformation was existent then, which is so apparent now.”

One of the advertisements with regard to this man reads thus:—”Anatomie Vivante, Or Living Skeleton.—This extraordinary production of Nature has been examined by many of the most eminent of the Faculty in France and in England, who pronounce him a great phenomenon. He has been brought to this country at a considerable expence [sic], in the confident hope that he will contribute to the advancement of science. He is 28 years of age, in good health, and has from his birth resembled a Skeleton, although he has attained an enlargement of bone equal to any of his age.—The Faculty and the Public are invited to view so unparalleled a Being, who will be exhibited on TUESDAY next, 9th inst, at the Chinese Saloon, 94 Pall Mall.— Hours of exhibition from 10 to 1, and from 2 to 6.—Admission, 2s. 66.” — John William Ballantyne, The Diseases and deformities of the fœtus, v. 2 (1895)


Avez-vous peur des revenants ?
Belles, voyez l’homme squelette :
Ses bras, de forme d’allumette,
Ne sont rien moins qu’entreprenans.
Dans une machine aussi frêle
Un grand sens trouve à se loger ;
Pour montrer qu’à l’âme immortelle
Notre corps est presqu’étranger.


See also various caricature by Robert Cruikshank (1789-1856), The Living Skeleton, September 1825. Hand colored etching. Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library. Historical Library