Author Archives: Julie Mellby

Traveling back to Princeton 2021

Still 1¢, now searchable online

Rita Corbin

Brother Mickey McGrath

Founded in 1933 by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, The Catholic Worker movement began in New York City and has grown into an international faith-based, grassroots movement for peace and social justice through nonviolent direct action. The Catholic Worker newspaper documents the voices, events, and values that shaped the movement across the decades. Thanks to the Catholic Research Resources Alliance and Marquette University, all but the first ten years of the newspaper are now digitized and available online for all. Current issues on paper are still available for only one penny.

The graphic artists in this month’s issue include Michelle Dick from the Island of Kaua’i, Hawaii; Brother Mickey McGrath from Camden, NJ; Meg Crocker Birmingham (1951-2011), and Rita Corbin (1930-2011).
Michelle Dick

“A major collection of archival materials relating to Day and to the Catholic Worker movement is held by Raynor Memorial Library’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives. The collection now comprises more than 200 cubic feet, including the personal papers of Day, Maurin, and others involved in the movement; records of past and present Catholic Worker communities; photographs; audio and video recordings of interviews, talks, television programs, and peace demonstrations; and a wide variety of publications.”

Visit the digital archive to explore issues of The Catholic Worker. Find out about the Dorothy Day/Catholic Worker collection at Marquette. Thanks very much to Raynor Memorial Libraries, 1355 W. Wisconsin Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53233

Rita Corbin

Rita Corbin

Michelle Dick

You might enjoy watching:

Centenary of “Arrangements of the American Landscape Forms”

End of the Parade, Coatesville, Pa., 1920. Tempera and pencil. The collection of Deborah and Ed Shein.


One hundred years ago at the Charles Daniel Gallery, the premier New York City venue for American modernism, Charles Demuth (1883-1935) exhibited his “Arrangements of the American Landscape Forms,” which included twelve tempera and gouache paintings: Pennsylvania now called In the Providence, After Sir Christopher Wren, New England, Waiting, Pennsylvania, The Merry-Go-Round, For W. Carlos W. now called Machinery, New England, The End of the Parade—Coatesville, Pa., New England now called Lancaster, Chimnies [sic], Ventilators or Whatever, now called Masts, and New England.

Charles Demuth self-portrait with Marcel Duchamp entitled The Purple Pup, about 1918. Watercolor over graphite. Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

With this leap forward, Demuth replaced traditional American landscape painting with industrial architecture, as seen in his hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The reference to William Carlos William (1883-1963), Demuth’s friend since their college days, with the title of Machinery was an inside joke since Demuth knew Williams would object to the perceived teapot imagery, rather than letting the forms and colors speak for themselves.

Machinery, 1920. Tempera and pencil. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alfred Stieglitz Collection.


Williams complimented his friend by purchasing End of the Parade [above], which in turn inspired his poem: “The End of the Parade / The sentence undulates, / raising no song; / it is too old, the / words of it are falling / apart. Only percussion / notes continue / with weakening emphasis what was once / all honeyed sounds / full of sweet breath.” –Collected Poems, 1921–1931 (Objectivist Press, 1934.

Ohio collector Ferdinand Howald snapped up The Tower [above], which was later donated to The Columbus Museum of Art (not to be confused with After Sir Christopher Wren, given to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, by Scofield Thayer). Walter Arensberg bought one of several works listed as New England, which he later gave to the Philadelphia Museum of Art under the title Lancaster.

After Sir Christopher Wren, 1920. Watercolor and gouache. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of Scofield Thayer.


In the backroom, Charles Daniel continued (as he had since 1916) to show trusted friends Demuth’s watercolors after Émile Zola’s 1880 novel Nana. The critic Henry McBride wrote “Mr. Daniel . . . showed us all, surreptitiously, some figure drawings. They were not precisely shocking, but one or two of the drawings illustrated points in Zola’s Nana and just before the war we were still sufficiently Victorian to shudder at the thought of exposing pictures of reprehensible Nana on the walls of the public gallery.” –(“Water Colors by Charles Demuth,” Creative Arts September 1929).

Another critic, Forbes Watson noted that “whoever enjoys a whimsical imagination will revel in Mr. Demuth’s illustrations of Zola’s Nana… The man who obtains this group of illustrations will be a lucky man.”—(“At the Galleries,” Arts and Decoration, January 1921). One year later, Albert Barnes purchased eight of the twelve Nana watercolors [three seen here] for what is now the Barnes Foundation, where a total of forty-four Demuth paintings hang.


Demuth’s now lost “Merry-Go-Round” is presumed to be inspired by Richard Oswald’s 1920 silent film The Merry-Go-Round (Der Reigen – Ein Werdegang), with a story similar to Nana and Frank Wedekind’s Lulu plays, also illustrated by Demuth.

Demuth was introduced to The Daniel Gallery by Daniel’s protégé, another gay modernist painter Preston Dickinson (1891–1930), also in Paris during 1910, renting a room on the same street as Demuth. Together with Thomas Hart Benton, Louis Bouché, and Marguerite Thompson (Zorach), the Americans returned to New York where they all found a welcome home for their work with The Daniel Gallery at 2 West 47th Street (Katherine Dreier rented rooms across 5th Avenue and shared exhibitions with Daniel). Daniel celebrated his good fortune by arranging eight one-person shows for the young Demuth and included his paintings in thirty-one group exhibitions, more than any other artist.

Lancaster, 1920. Tempera and gouache. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Arensberg Collection.

Why go further? One might conceivably rectify the rhythm, study all out and arrive at the perfection of a tiger lily or a china doorknob. One might lift all out of the ruck, be a worthy successor to—the man in the moon. Instead of breaking the back of a willing phrase why not try to follow the wheel through—approach death at a walk, take in all the scenery. There’s as much reason one way as the other and then—one never knows—perhaps we’ll bring back Eurydice—this time! –William Carlos Williams, Kora in Hell: Improvisations (1920. Section 2).


In the Province, 1920. Gouache and pencil. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.


That Little Game

From 1916 to 1927, a daily poker game was played inside the pages of the Pittsburgh Press. Bert Link (1884-1964) drew the popular comic strip, using a single panel each day to move the game forward. lists a few details about Bertin Frederick Link’s real life, including his draft card from WWI and his official death certificate [below].

They don’t mention that Link began drawing an almost miniature strip called Looey the 8th, running the full eight column width of the newspaper. Difficult to read, even in person, this was quickly replaced by his iconic poker table, first called “Penney Ante” and then, “That Little Game.” Link continued to publish drawings after the poker game ended and was celebrated by the Pittsburgh Press for his 40 year career.

Here are a few games with Bob, Eddie, and the other boys.




…based on Elias Canetti’s ‘Auto da Fé’

Ronald King and George Szirtes, The Burning of the Books. A poem sequence by George Szirtes based on Elias Canetti’s novel ‘Auto da Fé,’ illustrated by Ron King. Artist edition (London: Circle Press, 2008). No. 4 of 30. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

Writer George Szirtes and artist Ronald King collaborated on this sequence of 14 poems and 15 etchings, inspired by Elias Canetti’s famously grotesque yet marvelous novel Auto da Fe set in pre-war Vienna. Quoting from the prospectus:

“Back in 1971 Ron King at the press in Guildford tried to obtain permission from the publishers to illustrate Elias Canetti’s great novel Auto da Fé. Permission was denied to him, as to all others who had requested it, as the author did not wish his work to be illustrated or made into a play or film. In 1981 the novel won Canetti the Nobel prize for literature but still the writer would not release his tight grip on the copyright. Canetti died in 1994 and ten years later King took it on himself to persuade George Szirtes winner of the Eliot prize for poetry 2004, to make a book with him on the theme of Auto da Fé. Within a short time poem after poem of a powerful sequence directly related to or inspired by his re-reading of the book, the poems living as it were, in the crevices of Canetti’s text, arrived at the press from Szirtes.”

George Szirtes, Introduction: “The sequence is titled ‘The Burning of the Books’ since that is what happens at the end of Auto da Fé. The scholar’s library burns in anticipation of the Nazi book-burnings to come. The poems are fuel for King’s visual symbiotic-organisms, joining them in a mutual homage-cum-conflagration.”

Elias Canetti (1905-1994), Auto-da-fé [Blendung]; translated from the German under the personal supervision of the author by C.V. Wedgwood (New York: Stein and Day, 1946). ReCAP, 3437.27.313.9



Originally formed by Ron King in 1967, the Circle Press, is both part of a tradition and a breaker of tradition. The stages of its life are marked not only by the individual natures of those whose books and prints it has published but also by the differing character of the decades through which it has passed. “The name Circle Press was chosen by Ron to suggest his vision of a group of like-minded persons working within a shared, supportive framework, a circle which over the period of time has enlarged to include over 100 artists and poet.” Its past history is documented in Cooking the Books – Ron King and Circle Press. See also:



George Szirtes, “What being bilingual means for my writing and identity,” The Guardian Mary 3, 2014. Hungarian-born poet George Szirtes writes in both English and his native tongue. He contemplates bilingualism and belonging:

Sometimes language seems no more than a piece of tissue paper carried on the wind: flimsy, semi-transparent, endlessly vulnerable, like a deflated talks-bubble, almost weightless. At other times it is a brick wall, or worse still a room with dense walls and no exit, with only the sense of voices beyond the wall, faintly audible and never clear enough, everything they say immediately becoming part of the wall. Always provisional, language appears this or that way to us according to our own disposition and relation to it. …

Victorian humor digitized

A newly acquired Victorian album of hand-drawn cartoons and watercolors titled “Scraps by many hands,” has been digitized allowing the online reading of pages, which are difficult to decipher even in person. Not surprising, the jokes are based on degrading ugly women, fat men, indigenous people of British India, Asians, Africans, and others outside upper class Victorian London society.

It is surprising the number of drawings collaged with original photographs, such as the image above, where a British gentleman recommends a casual pose while having a photograph taken – head in hand. The album can be enjoyed at

caption enlarged below:

The album is clearly inspired by George Cruikshank (1792–1878) who published a collection, called Scraps and Sketches, each year between 1824 and 1834. See Special Collections – Graphic Arts Collection » Oversize 2015-0065, 0066, 00677F, and many other copies.

Here are a few pages from “Scraps by many hands” but it is worth a few minutes to browse the digital pages.


There are many references to Malvern, a spa town in Worcestershire, England, where the owner of the album may have lived. Wikipedia notes:

C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien are among the authors that have frequented Malvern. Legend states that, after drinking in a Malvern pub one winter evening, they were walking home when it started to snow. They saw a lamp post shining out through the snow and Lewis turned to his friends and said “that would make a very nice opening line to a book”. The novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by Lewis later used that image as the characters enter the realm of Narnia. J.R.R. Tolkien found inspiration in the Malvern landscape, which he had viewed from his childhood home in Birmingham and his brother Hilary’s home near Evesham. He was introduced to the area by C. S. Lewis, who had brought him here to meet George Sayer, the Head of English at Malvern College. Sayer had been a student of Lewis, and became his biographer, and together with them Tolkien would walk the Malvern Hills. Recordings of Tolkien reading excerpts from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were made in Malvern in 1952, at the home of George Sayer. The recordings were later issued on long-playing gramophone records. In the liner notes for J.R.R Tolkien Reads and Sings his The Hobbit & The Fellowship of the Rings, George Sayer wrote that Tolkien would relive the book as they walked and compared parts of the Malvern Hills to the White Mountains of Gondor.



[Atchison, Kansas, Police Department ledger containing wanted posters, bulletins, circulars, and other law enforcement notices from across the United States and Canada. Atchison, KS, 1910]. [280]pp., with approximately 375 mounted broadsides, circulars, and bulletins, ranging in size from 16 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches to 6 x 5 1/2 inches, with most in the range of 12 x 9 1/4 or 10 x 6 inches. A few with original mounted photographs. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process



Sam Turrisi kidnapped two children, Grace and Tommaso Viviano, asking $25,000 for their safe return. He fled the country and the children turned up several month later in Chicago. The story made national headlines.




See Cros listed below as deserted from the U.S. Army December 11, 1908



The assortment of crimes includes kidnapping, military desertion, murder, larceny, pickpocketing, “child mistreatment,” grand theft auto, swindling, assault, forgery, counterfeiting, burglary, embezzlement, and prison escapes, among others. A few criminals are widely known but the others are just as interesting.

Women are wanted as well as men, including Ada Martell [above], a 22-year-old accomplice wanted for forgery. Mildred H. Higgins, age 15, a “stubborn child” was abducted from her house by a thief named John Harris. Grace Allen is wanted in Hannibal, Missouri as part of a husband-and- wife team of forgers. And so on.


Although the stories of these men and women are compelling, the first 48 pages of this album contain a detailed list of “Animals Impounded” from 1886 until 1901. Hundreds of cows, horses, and mules were captured and held until their owners paid a fine to get their animals back. The album has been attributed to Owen Seip, Chief of Atchison Police from 1897 to 1901, who may have been the person who maintained this ledger.

[Below] A “stationary engineer” named G. M. Grose (alias W.E. Swank) was sentenced March 17, 1909 from Montgomery County, to a term of 1 to 10 years fro forgery. He was paroled June 2, 1909 but violated his parole September 1, 1909. His complexion is medium and his eyes are hazel.




Although the album touches on many cities within the United States and Canada, none of these criminals come from New York City. “There are eight million stories in the Naked City;” but this has none of them.


The Legend of John Brown’s Last Kiss

John Brown Meeting the Slave Mother and Her Child on the Steps of Charleston Jail on His Way to Execution, 1863. Published by Currier & Ives. Hand colored lithograph heightened with gum arabic. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

[left] Attributed to Martin M. Lawrence, John Brown in 1859. Salt print, reproduction of daguerreotype. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.


John Brown (1800-1859) led a raid on a federal armory in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia) in October 1859. He was arrested and after a brief trial, convicted and executed by hanging at Charles Town (Charleston), Virginia, on December 2. The anti-slavery New-York Daily Tribune editor Horace Greeley published more than 176 articles on these events, climaxing on December 5, with Edward H. House’s greatly embellished account of Brown’s last day.

“As he [John Brown] stepped out of the door a black woman, with her little child in arms, stood near his way. His thoughts at the moment none can know except as his acts interpret them. He stopped for a moment in his course, stooped over, and with tenderness of one whose love is as broad as the brotherhood of man, kissed it affectionately.”–“John Brown’s Invasion: John Brown’s Remains,” New-York Daily Tribune, December 5, 1859: 5.


This fictional account was reprinted in many other newspapers and in early Brown biographies, as well as in paintings, prints, songs, and poems. The Utica, New York, artist Louis Ransom (1831-1926) was so inspired by House’s story that he began painting a 7 x 10 foot canvas entitled “John Brown on His Way to Execution.” P.T. Barnum was the first to exhibit Ransom’s painting in 1863 at his American Museum in New York City. So incendiary was the scene, and so great was Barnum’s fear of violence due to the New York City draft riots, that he removed the painting in July 1863 (replaced by Tom Thumb).

At the same time, two blocks east, the firm of Currier & Ives released a black and white lithograph (priced extra for hand coloring) reproducing Ransom’s painting, entitled  John Brown Meeting the Slave Mother and Her Child on the Steps of Charleston Jail on His Way to Execution, 1863 (Gale 3514). Their excellent distribution system placed the print in homes and schools across the United States, where it was accepted as a true account of the events around Brown’s death. Meanwhile Ransom’s painting remained unsold and was eventually given to Oberlin College in exchange for $1.


The poem “Brown of Ossawatomie” by John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) appeared in the New York Independent three weeks after Brown’s death and three years later Thomas Satterwhite Noble (1835-1907) painted John Brown’s Blessing (1867), [currently on view at The New-York Historical Society].

As the Civil War faded in the public conscience Currier & Ives issued a second version of the print in 1870 (Gale 3515), minus its political references [below].



Perhaps the most celebrated of all the artistic scenes was The Last Moments of John Brown (1884) by Thomas Hovenden (1840-1895) and it was the 1885 exhibition of this painting [left] that made historians question the John Brown legend. “How the Story About Kissing the Negro Child Originated,” appeared in New York Sun October 1885, reprinted in Daily Alta California, October 9, 1885, and other papers, reveling or at least confirming that House invented the story published in the Tribune:

“An interesting discussion about an alleged historical incident is now going forward in the columns of the Index of Boston. The question has been mooted before, but it has arisen in the present instance in consequence of a picture painted by Mr. Thomas Hovenden, now on exhibition in Philadelphia. The theme is The Last Moments of Old John Brown and the particular episode represented is that of the old man, while on his way to the scaffold, stooping to kiss a colored child lying in its mother’s arms.”

“…Mr. House was present during the entire trial of John Brown and remained at Charlestown until after the execution. His correspondence was, upon the whole, the most valuable, as it was the most copious that appeared respecting the whole affair. …[but] there was no truth in the published statement of the old man kissing the colored child, and that he (Redpath) had been informed by ” Ned House” that he had ‘invented it.’”

Mr. Edward F. Underhill, who was then attached to the Tribune assigned to the duty of eliciting the occurrences which Mr. McKim had learned, and putting them into the form of correspondence . . . Mr. McKim told the story in question, not as an incident that he had himself seen, for he had not been in Charlestown, but one that he had heard …, had got it by hearsay. …But in 1861 [Underhill] had an opportunity at the Jail in Charlestown of investigating the matter, and was informed by the jailer then in charge that there was no foundation whatever for the story; and he further said that from his own knowledge of the surroundings at the time that it was impossible for the incident to have occurred.”

Published Currier & Ives, 1870.

Brown of Ossawatomie by John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

John Brown of Ossawatomie spake on his dying day:
‘I will not have to shrive my soul a priest in Slavery’s pay;
But let some poor slave-mother whom I have striven to free,
With her children, from the gallows-stair put up a prayer for me!’

John Brown of Ossawatomie, they led him out to die;
And lo! a poor slave-mother with her little child pressed nigh:
Then the bold, blue eye grew tender, and the old harsh face grew mild,
As he stooped between the jeering ranks and kissed the negro’s child!

The shadows of his stormy life that moment fell apart,
And they who blamed the bloody hand forgave the loving heart;
That kiss from all its guilty means redeemed the good intent,
And round the grisly fighter’s hair the martyr’s aureole bent!

Perish with him the folly that seeks through evil good!
Long live the generous purpose unstained with human blood!
Not the raid of midnight terror, but the thought which underlies;
Not the borderer’s pride of daring, but the Christian’s sacrifice.

Nevermore may yon Blue Ridges the Northern rifle hear,
Nor see the light of blazing homes flash on the negro’s spear;
But let the free-winged angel Truth their guarded passes scale,
To teach that right is more than might, and justice more than mail!

So vainly shall Virginia set her battle in array;
In vain her trampling squadrons knead the winter snow with clay!
She may strike the pouncing eagle, but she dares not harm the dove;
And every gate she bars to Hate shall open wide to Love!



Read more: “The John Brown Legend in Pictures. Kissing the Negro Baby” by James C. Malin in Kansas Historical Quarterlies November, 1940 (Vol. 9, No. 4), pages 339 to 341.

Social distancing with hats

William Heath (1794-1840), We Have the Exhibition to Examine (Shakespeare Much Ado About Nothing) Paul Pry says, “ah if one could but see”, ca. 1828. Hand colored etching. Graphic Arts Collection

included in:

Select collection of humourous engravings, caricatures &c. by various artists ; selected and arranged by Thomas McLean ([London]: Thomas McLean, [1827-1829]). Graphic Arts Collection Oversize 2013-0002E. Album of hand-colored caricature engravings created by various British artists. Most prints signed by William Heath; three signed by Robert Seymour (a.k.a. Shortshanks); one signed by Robert Cruikshank; one signed “M.E.”; three unsigned. Entire album digitized:

Much Ado About Nothing
Act 4, scene 2
Is our whole dissembly appeared?
Oh, a stool and a cushion for the Sexton.
[A stool is brought in. SEXTON sits.]
Which be the malefactors?
Marry, that am I and my partner.
Nay, that’s certain; we have the exhibition to examine.
But which are the offenders that are to be examined? Let
them come before Master Constable.
Yea, marry, let them come before me.
What is your name, friend?
[BORACHIO and CONRADE come forward]
What’s your name, friend?
Pray, write down, “Borachio.”—Yours, sirrah?
I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is Conrade.

Lining paper with a round ruler or rolling ruler?

Thanks to the thoughtful donation by W. Allen Scheuch II, class of 1976, the Graphic Arts Collection now hold seven ebony wood and one glass round rulers, also called cylinder rulers or rolling rulers. These perfectly round, variously sized tools were used to line paper when writing letters or for technical documents. Eventually John Tetlow filed the British patent no. 963, “Machine for ruling paper for music and other purposes,” June 15, 1770, later published by Eyre and Spottiswood, at the Great Seal Patent Offices, 1850, and by the mid-1800s machine lined paper was readily available.

In a search for the correct term for these polished rulers, a mention is found by John Dougall in The Young Man’s Best Companion and Guide to Useful Knowledge (1815):

In ruling the paper for writing, the close marks of the wires used in the manufacture of the paper and the open lines running across them, will be of great service : but the beginner should not trust implicitly to this help : he should mark off, with a pair of compasses, on the margin of the paper, a number of points, at regular distances, and through them draw light pencil lines, within which the writing must be confined. At first compasses and a plain flat ruler are to be employed; because by them the lines are drawn with the greatest accuracy: but when the writer’s eye is more experienced, he may judge of the distance to be left between the lines, without using compasses; and then for expedition’s sake, employ a round ruler, which ought to be perfectly cylindrical, that is of precisely the same thickness in every part of its length.


The 1851 Penny Cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge listing for a “Ruler, Parallel” notes:

“A good form of this instrument is explained in Mabquoi’s Rulers, P. C. S., which is particularly applicable to the case in which numerous and related parallels or perpendiculars are to be drawn. The ordinary instruments arc of two kinds, which might well be called parallel riders and parallel rollers. … The simplest kind of roller is the common round ruler, which, with a little practice, will draw parallels for ordinary use very well. It is good practice in the use of instruments to draw parallels in this way; the ruler being held in the middle and gently allowed to take its own rolling motion.”


Using an Ngram viewer, there is no evidence of the term cylinder ruler. Round ruler gets the most hits, peaking around 1840.

The American Bookbinding Museum notes:

Stationery binders would usually rule the blank books they produced, inking in horizontal lines to write on and vertical lines to write between, a practice that goes back to the Middle Ages. When ruling was done by hand using cylindrical rulers and dip pens, the time that went into ruling an account book must have been the largest single component in its price. Early in the 19th century the pen-ruling machine was invented (2); this reduced the cost of wages for ruling but also became the greatest capital expense in the stationery binder’s shop. This change is reflected in the American directories of the later 19th century, which used the term “blank book manufacturers” for what the English continued to call vellum binders. The factory had taken over from the craftsman.

The National Museum of American History offers this “patent model demonstrates an invention for a paper-ruling machine which was granted patent number 42418. The invention produced both feint lines (ruled) and down (striker) lines (blank spaces where the pens were lifted from the paper).” Credited to Edward Town and James L. Chichester, ca 1864.

Eight round rulers, ca. 1800. Ebony wood and glass. Gift of W. Allen Scheuch II, class of 1976. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process.