Author Archives: Julie Mellby

Kaloolah or Journeyings to the Djébel Kumri: by someone related to the Folgers, the Macys and the Starbucks

We recently digitized another sensational female-slave narrative with a frontispiece by Felix Octavius Carr Darley (1822-1888), engraved by Benjamin F. Childs (1814-1863):
William Starbuck Mayo (1812-1895), Kaloolah, or, Journeyings to the Djébel Kumri : an autobiography of Jonathan Romer edited by W.S. Mayo, M.D. (New York : George P. Putnam; London : David Bogue, 1849). Graphic Arts Collection Hamilton 603(a)

The following letter will best explain the way in which these pages came into the editor’s hands, and the degree of credit that may be fairly given to them as an authentic record of the travels and adventures of a young American:

Dear Doctor : You must know that I have recently come into the possession of a manuscript, purporting to be the travels and adventures of a young American, in various parts of the world, but mainly in the deserts of Africa, and in the unknown, and hitherto unvisited countries south of the Soudan. The manuscript strikes me as being curious, interesting, and apparently authentic; but I have so little confidence in my own judgment, in such matters, that after a deal of patient and painful cogitation upon the subject, I find myself utterly unable to decide two questions that present themselves, to wit, is it worth publishing? and if so, what will be the best manner of giving it to the world?


“Life of adventure may be justly considered my birthright. Descended, on both sides of the house, from some of the earliest settlers of Nantucket, and more or less intimately related to the Coffins, the Folgers, the Macys and the Starbucks of that adventurous population, it would seem that I have a natural right to a roving disposition, and to a life of peril, privation, and vicissitude. Nearly all the male members of my family, for several generations, have been “followers of the sea.” Some of them in the calm and peaceful employment of the merchant service; others, and by far the greater number, in the more dangerous pursuit of the ocean monster. Whaling, it is well known, has been, almost from the first settlement of this country, the chief employment of the inhabitants of “the Island.” All were directly or indirectly interested in it. By it were bounded the hopes of the young and the memories of the old.”



Expedition to the Dead Sea, Petra, and the Left Bank of the Jordan

Honore Theodore Paul Joseph D’Albert Duc de Luynes (1802-1867), Voyage d’exploration à la Mer Morte, à Petra, et sur la Rive Gauche du Jourdain [= Expedition to the Dead Sea, Petra, and the Left Bank of the Jordan] (Paris: Arthus Bertrand, n.d. [ca.1868-74]). Graphic Arts Off-Site Storage RECAP-33945831


Alphonse Poitevin (1819-1882) won both of the 1856 photographic competitions sponsored by the Société françoise de photographie to discover a way (in short) to stop photographic prints from fading. Poitevin’s prize money was donated by Honoré d’Albert duc de Luynes (1802-1867) but when the Duke needed someone to print the photographs from his 1864 expedition to the Dead Sea basin and interior of Jordan, he passed on Poitevin and chose Charles Nègre (1820-1880).

An amateur archaeologist, Luynes organized the expedition to examine the region’s ancient ruins and perform geological and scientific observations. He took with him scientists, historians, and Lieutenant Louis Vignes (1831-1896), who served as the expedition’s photographer after receiving extensive training from Nègre. Vignes made both paper and glass plate negatives, which were carefully transported back to Paris and printed in ink as photogravures for the atlas documenting the expedition. Voyage d’Exploration a la Mer Morte à Petra et sur la Rive Gauche du Jourdain.

“Nègre was to complete the work by January 1868 for the sum of 23,250 francs. The photographs, made by the Duke’s second in command, Lieutenant L. Vignes, are for the most part rather contrasty and lacking in detail in the shadow areas. It is remarkable how Nègre was able to open up the shadows and fill them with light, detail and space. But undoubtedly the main reason the Duke chose Nègre to perform this task lay in the quality of the prints Nègre was capable of producing. Quite possibly de Luynes had expected the artist to win the prize of the Société Francaise competition, for he had achieved a control over his process which resulted in prints of rich tones, fine detail, transparency and effect.” – Borcoman, Charles Negre, pp. 45-46 and plates 199 and 200.

Together with three volumes of text, the atlas volume presents 64 of the Nègre photogravures; plus 18 lithographs, 2 maps, and 1 chart. Rachel Stuhlman, George Eastman House, writes that Nègre produced “printing plates capable of reproducing the entire gradation of tones, from the white of the paper to the strongest black…” and that he “…transformed the dull photographs into evocative images of great poetry.”


Contents: t. 1. Relation du voyage.–t. 2. De Petra à Palmyre, par m. Vignes.–Voyage de Jérusalem à Karak et à Chaubak, par mm. Mauss et Sauvaire.–t. 3 Géologie, par m. L. Lartet.–Atlas.

Decoration at Pynson Printers

Several years ago, while renovating Firestone Library, a canvas was found abandoned inside a temporary wall. The enormous painting of a Chinese bonsai tree could not be identified and was placed in our painting storage vault. Until now.

Recently we discovered this was the painting that hung in the offices of Elmer Adler’s Pynson Printers, positioned between his Pegasus logo and that of his colleague type designer Lucian Bernhard. Bernhard sublet space from Adler, who rented an entire floor in the New York Times Annex on 43rd Street beginning in 1923.

“From the twentieth of March, 1922, the Pynson Printers are at your service for the planning and production of all printing in which quality is the first consideration. We have founded our organization on the belief that the printer should be primarily an artist—a designer and a creator rather than a mere manufacturer. Toward this end, we have assembled a group whose several abilities and varied experience cover every phase of the art and business of printing. . . . We will do no work in which quality must be sacrificed to exigencies of time or cost” (Reprinted in Lawrance Thompson “Forty Mercer Street,” Princeton University Library Chronicle 2, no. 1 (November 1940): 32).

Together with designers Walter Dorwin Teague (1883-1960), Hubert L. Canfield, and David Silvé, Adler opened a small, fine press printing shop at 122 East 32nd Street named Pynson Printers, after the sixteenth-century printer Richard Pynson. Within six months, the others had moved on, leaving Adler the sole owner of the firm (see: John F. Peckham “Forty Mercer,” Princeton Alumni Weekly 41, no. 12 (December 16, 1940): 8). As stated in the opening announcement, concerns with quality rather than commercial practicality led production.

The Pynson Printers office moved to the New York Times Annex at 239 West 43rd Street, elegantly decorated by Lucien Bernhard. In a 1925 letter to Rockwell Kent (1882-1971), with whom he was already in business, Adler wrote, “Since you were last here Mr. [Lucien] Bernhard has arranged to build a studio adjoining our shop which will help create more of the kind of thing we want to have….” (Adler to Kent, February 13, 1925. CO262, box 32, Adler papers). These three men, Adler, Kent, and the recently emigrated German designer Lucien Bernhard (1883-1972), began working together on a variety of printing and design projects. Their first fine press book, Candide, began in 1925 when 27-year-old Bennett Cerf and his 23-year-old friend Donald Klopfer decided they wanted a business of their own, which became Random House.

Adler closed the Pynson Printers in 1940, when he was invited to move to Princeton, New Jersey, and established a department of Graphic Arts for Princeton University. He brought with him a personal collection—fourteen tons of books, prints, paintings, records, and equipment—which became the basis for the graphic arts collection we enjoy today. Although he donated some records of the Pynson Press to the NYPL in 1936, he retained a large amount of material with which to teach, including papers, proofs, and plates, which he sold to the Princeton University Library in 1948 for one dollar.
See also:


Graphic Arts reference collection holds four enormous volumes documenting jobs produced by Elmer Adler’s Pynson Printers from 1922 to 1940 when the press was closed. An index to these volumes has been created by Sherry X. Zhang and Jena Mayer with help from Brianna R. Cregle and AnnaLee Pauls, which is key word searchable allowing researchers, for the first time, to study Adler’s commercial work. PDFs are attached here and to the voyager record for these scrapbooks. Pynson Printers jobs. Graphic Arts: Reference Collection Oversize Z232.P99 A9f
Volume one:Copy of PynsonPrinters_Volume 1
Volume two:Copy of PynsonPrinters_vol.2
Volume three:Copy of PynsonPrinters_vol.3
Volume four:Copy of PynsonPrinters_vol.4 (1) (1)
Extras: Copy of PynsonPrinters_Presses

What the Rebels Claimed in 1861

The Progress of the Union Armies. What the Rebels Claimed in 1861. What They Hold in 1863 ([New York, August 1863]). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

This rare American Civil War broadside is thought to have been published in the late Summer of 1863. To put it in perspective, here’s a brief timeline taken from:

January 1, 1863- The Emancipation Proclamation goes into effect. Applauded by many abolitionists including Frederick Douglass, there are others who feel it does not go far enough to totally abolish slavery.

May 18, 1863Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi begins. Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant attack Confederate defenses outside the city on May 19-22. If Vicksburg falls, the Mississippi River will be completely controlled by the Union.

July 1-3The Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The bloodiest battle of the Civil War dashes Robert E. Lee’s hopes for a successful invasion of the North.

July 4Vicksburg, Mississippi, surrenders to the Union Army under Grant. The capture of Vicksburg gives the Union complete control of the Mississippi River, a vital supply line for the Confederate states in the west. At Gettysburg, Lee begins his retreat to Virginia.

July 13, 1863– Draft Riots begin in New York City and elsewhere as disgruntled workers and laborers, seething over the draft system that seemingly favors the rich, attack the draft office and African American churches. The riots continue through July 16.

Publication of this broadside/election propaganda.

September –November 1863The Siege of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Confederate forces under Braxton Bragg surround the occupied city. General Ulysses S. Grant is assigned to command the troops there and begins immediate plans to relieve the besieged Union army.

November 19, 1863– Dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg. President Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address.

December 8, 1863– Lincoln Issues his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, which would pardon those who participated in the “existing rebellion” if they take an oath to the Union.

The broadside’s map of the United States in 1863 shows the “Free States and Delaware” in white, with the partially shaded area indicating “the States and Territories claimed by Jeff. Davis, and over which for a considerable period his Rebel arms were triumphant, but which have been wrested from him by our heroic soldiers.” The darkest area indicates Confederate control. A table contrasts “The Claim of the Confederacy, 1861” with “The Situation—August, 1863.”

Recognized today as a campaign poster for the 1863 New York State elections, the broadside promotes a slanted perspective on the success of the Union army. Susan Schulten observes:

“There were no shortage of war maps for the northern public, but these were unique, recording conflict as a story of territorial control rather than discrete battles. Indeed they were a kind of first draft of history, an attempt to create a story where the outcome was not as yet unknown. Yet in generalization, they imply a steady state of progress and control that was at odds with the chaos on the ground. Again, one thing that strikes me about the use of such imagery is the suggestion of ongoing territorial progress. Such a depiction allows little room to acknowledge the notorious reversals of territorial control in the east. But to boost the flagging spirits in the Union, the image was compelling indeed, supported by extensive statistics of square miles and population under Union control.”– Mapping the Nation

Compare this map to another clearly labeled as a campaign promotion:

United States: map showing loyal states in green, what the rebels still hold in red, and what the Union soldiers have wrested from them in yellow. New York; Boston; Chicago, H. H. Lloyd & Co.;B. B. Russell; R. R. Landon, [1864].

The last line of the broadside reads: “Voters of New York, the good work must go on! While our brave soldiers, of your own blood and kindred, are fighting in the field for the Union, let your votes be recorded in the same glorious cause at home!”

Two tables near the bottom emphasize the point of the map, outlining the population of the Confederate and border states and territories in 1861, contrasted by how much land had been recovered by the Union, as compared to what remained in the hands of the rebels. The tables show that of the 1,222,385 square miles possessed by the Confederacy in 1861, 909,275 of that had been reclaimed by the Union.

Dictionnaire botanique or livre d’artiste, take your pick

J.J. Audubon spent his life tracking and painting all the birds in America. Edward Curtis spent the majority of his adult life photographing the Indians of North America. In this extraordinary set of four volumes, a Belgian natural history enthusiast or scientist or doctor spent “most of my life” writing and illustrating a study of transformism, or what we would call evolutionary theory. And if that weren’t enough, the elephant folio Étude sur la transformisme comes with a three volume Dictionnaire botanique, every page hand written and hand colored.

This massive and extraordinary gathering of knowledge addresses everything from air currents to the working of the inner ear; from geography to biology; from Charles Darwin to Victor Hugo. The books are illustrated throughout with thousands of the watercolor paintings. It has been dated from the early 20th century, although the truth is there is no date yet found in any of the volumes. We can only hope it will catch the interest of a future researcher, patient enough to read the small print and find out the truth about the books and their anonymous author.

Étude sur la transformisme holds approximately 150 leaves, many folded, all heavily illustrated in full color. The three volume Dictionnaire botanique offers more than 1200 with several thousand color diagrams, charts, and paintings.

Although the sheer weight of the volume is pulling the paging from the binding, its impressive cover still holds the book together, offering four quotes to the reader:

La vie sans science est presque l’image de la morte, C. Volpi = Life without science is almost the image of the dead

Chercher. Comprendre. Vouloir. Pouvoir. Oser. Sentir. Méditer = Search. Understand. Want to. Power. Dare. Feel. Meditate

Naître, mourir et renaître sans cesse, telle est la loi, telle est lavie. V. Hugo = To be born, to die and to be reborn without ceasing, such is the law, such is the life.

Travailler pour être estimé. Etre estimé pour être aimé. Etre aimé pour être heureux = Work to be esteemed. To be esteemed in order to be loved. To be loved to be happy



There is the name Dumoulin, but we known absolutely nothing about him or her or them. It is unlikely this refers to the French artist Louis-Jules Dumoulin (1860–1924), who founded the Société Coloniale des Artistes Français in 1908. “Dumoulin is an Orientalist painter linked to the official artistic circles and a great traveler from the various missions that will be entrusted to him. He made his first major trip outside Europe in 1888 on the occasion of an official mission to Japan ordered by the Ministry of Education.”




Here is the description that comes with the set:

The large folio volume is really a huge collection of charts devoted to human anatomy, animal and plant biology, the fossil record and evolution (or transformisme). Botany makes up the largest proportion, but there are sections on insects, reptiles, birds, flying lizards, marsupials and mammals. Dumoulin also had an interest in Africa and there are sections on the Sahara and on the Belgian Congo. The focus is worldwide and is drawn from reference works rather than original research, but the arrangements are highly idiosyncratic. Several evolutionary charts are attempted, mentioning Linnaeus, Darwin, Lamarck and Jussieu.

The Dictionnaire botanique is a large 3 volume compilation mainly devoted to botanical classification, from the smallest mosses and seaweeds, to exotic flowering plants and forest trees. Like the larger folio volume, these volumes are illustrated throughout, with accompanying text in coloured inks and often containing emblematic figures of human figures appropriate to the origins of the plant: including Africans and Americans. They have apparently been bound from a large number of separate files (whose stiff paper cover with labels are preserved) each devoted to a different botanical family. The third volume contains additional materials at the end, including a study on Pasteur and germs, another on insects and another on bird classification. Like the preceding parts, these are also copiously illustrated in colour.

There is a note inserted that the author hoped his/her/their work would find its way into a university. Happily, the unusual set found a home in the Graphic Arts Collection at Princeton University. Please share the few facts presented here with colleagues and let us know if you have a theory about this massive undertaking.


High noon at the Whitney Museum of American Art, week 2 open to the public.

Aaron Douglas, Into Bondage, 1932.

Diego Rivera, Flower Festival: Feast of Santa Anita, October 13, 1931

Charles Demuth, My Egypt, 1927

Alexander Calder’s Circus


Political Animals. Note: this post includes offensive racial slurs

Politicians frequently use animals to symbolize their party, currently a donkey for the Democrats and an elephant for Republicans. Beginning in the 1840s, the American Whig party took the raccoon as its symbol, along with its associations with independent frontiersmen and their raccoon-skin caps. Nineteenth-century Democrats used the rooster.

During the presidential election of 1844 between Democrat James K. Polk (1795-1849) and Whig Henry Clay (1777-1852) these two symbols were used effectively in rude and offensive caricatures of the other party. According to the Dictionary of Etymology the abbreviation for raccoon was already in use as a vulgar reference to African Americans, giving added weight to the ridicule loaded into anti-Whig texts and images.

“The now-insulting U.S. meaning “black person” was in use by 1837, said to be from barracoon (by 1837), from Portuguese barraca “slave depot, pen or rough enclosure for black slaves in transit in West Africa, Brazil, Cuba.” If so, no doubt this was boosted by the enormously popular blackface minstrel act Zip Coon (George Washington Dixon) which debuted in New York City in 1834. But it is perhaps older (one of the lead characters in the 1767 colonial comic opera “The Disappointment” is a black man named Raccoon).”–


One of the chief issues in the 1844 election was slavery and the annexation of the Republic of Texas. This can be seen in the use of the raccoon caricatures in the anti-Whig newspaper The Ohio Coon Catcher, published by the Democrats in the pro-Whig state of Ohio. There were several other similar newspapers on either side.


The Graphic Arts Collection has an incomplete run of The Ohio Coon Catcher, which was published between August and November 1844, during the first American election held in November. A complete digital run has been posted by the Ohio Memory project The paper was the project of Samuel Medary (1801-1864) the editor and publisher of the Ohio Statesman, as well as head of the Ohio delegation to the democratic National Convention. In both text and image, it promoted Polk’s candidacy with news items, political opinion, testimonials of reformed Whigs, poems, and cartoons.



In the national popular vote, Polk beat Clay by fewer than 40,000 votes, a margin of 1.4%.

See also: W. Miles, The people’s voice: An annotated bibliography of American presidential campaign newspapers, 1828-1984. Westport, CT: Greenwood press, 1987.


Sister Isabella Piccini’s first known work

Giovanni Palazzi, De Dominio Maris, Libri Duo. Serenissimae Venetae Reipublicae dicati. Venice: Combi & La Nou, 1663. Graphic Arts collection GAX 2020- in process

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired what we believe is the first book engraved by Suor (Sister) Isabella Piccini (1644-1734). A Venetian law book with “laws of the Adriatic Sea,” the frontispiece is signed: Elisabeta Piccini [i.e. Isabella Piccini] f. B.R. in. For Graphic Arts, it is Piccini who is of particular importance. The daughter of the printer Giacomo Piccini (died 1669), she has become known for her many 17th- and 18th-century engraved portraits commissioned by Venetian publishers. In 1666 she entered the Convent of Santa Croce in Venice and took the name Suor (Sister) Isabella, while continuing to work as an artist. This work predates her convent years.

Here is the information that comes with the volume, ripe for a senior paper:

Scarce sole edition of this wide-ranging work by an Italian legal theorist, partly answering the treatises of John Selden (1635) and Hugo Grotius (1609) on the freedom of the seas. Palazzi (1640-1703) is of course most concerned with the sea-going activities of Venetian merchants and navies around the Mediterranean, but broadens his scope to give an account of historical claims to the high seas by the ancients Hebrews, Egyptians, etc. Quoting Selden and Grotius frequently, Palazzi also examines claims made by modern powers – including a legal discussion of the discovery of America on pp. 111-112 – and the recent problematic maritime activities of the Ottoman Turks.

Quite aside from its scholarly content, the present work is noteworthy as the first verifiable piece of engraving by Elisabetta / Isabella Piccini (1644-1734), the nun-engraver of Convent of Santa Croce in Venice. Thanks to the unequivocal date of the book and the full signature of the engraver (rather than ‘I. Piccini’, which referred to her father Iacopo), the 1663 De Dominio Maris thus bears a significant place in the canon of her works. It must have been executed when Piccini was just 19 years old – before she joined the convent and took the nom de religion of Isabella – and is figuratively quite striking for the work of a teenager. A nude female figure with bare breasts is seated atop a chariot being pulled by an unfortunate-looking male savage (perhaps signifying ‘Land’?); at her feet, a lion wields a sword, with a trident in its other hand poised to dig into the flesh of the man-of-burden.

See also: and

Graphic Arts also holds the second Italian edition of an account of the conquest of Mexico by Spanish forces under Hernando Cortéz (1485-1547). The work describes the three years between the appointment of Cortéz as commander of the invasion expedition and the fall of Mexico City, which contains three marvelous full-page engraved portraits of the author, Cortéz, and Montezuma by Suor Isabella Piccini and five other plates engraved by Alessandro della Via, illustrating significant scenes of the conquest.

For more, see the entry in the Enciclopedia delle donne:

This new acquisition is in addition to other volumes engraved by Piccini:

Carlo Labia, Dell’imprese pastorali (Venetia: Appresso Nicolò Pezzana, 1685). Rare Books (Ex) Oversize N7710 .L12q

Carlo Labia, Simboli predicabili estratti da sacri evangeli che corrono nella quadragesima, delineaticon morali, & eruditi discorsi da Carlo Labia….(Ferrara: Appresso B. Barbieri, 1692).Rare Books (Ex) Oversize N7710 .L122q

Bernardo Lodoli, Serenissimo Venetiarum Dominio ill[ustrissi]mo, et ecc[ellentissi]mo Arsenatus regimini Bernardi Lodoli … fidele votum …([Venetiis], [1703]).

Antonio deSolís (1610-1686), Istoria della conquista del Messico della popolazione, e de’ progressi nell’ America Settentrionale conosciuta sotto nome di Nuova Spagna / scritta in castigliano da D. Antonio de Solis … e tradotta in toscano da un’accademico della Crusca (Venezia : Per A. Poletti, 1715).

Missale Romanum : ex decreto Sacrosancti Concilii Tridentini restitutum, S. Pii V. Pontificis Maximi jussu editum, Clementis VIII. & Urbani VIII. Auctoritate recognitum ; in quo missæe novissimæ Sanctorum accuratè sunt dispositæ (Venetiis : ex Typographia Balleoniana, 1727 (MDCCXXVII)). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2012-0009F


Guillermo Deisler and the Peacedream Project


The Chilean-born visual poet Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995) was imprisoned in 1973 under the Pinochet government before being exiled to France, Bulgaria, and finally Germany. It was in Halle (Saale) that he began publishing the international mailart portfolio known as the Peacedream project UNI/vers(;) together with Hans Braumüller, Theo Breuer, David Chikladze (Georgia), Pedro-Juan Gutierrez (Cuba), Joseph Huber (Germany), César Figueiredo (Portugal), K. Takeishi-Tateno (Japan), Spencer Selby (USA) and many others.

“For the Latin Americans,” wrote Deisler, “including some of us right now, that voluntarily or driven by political circumstances are obligated to exile, those that work in ‘art by mail’ transform into a palliative that neutralizes this situation of ‘deceased citizens,’ the name coined by Paraguayan writer Augusto Roa Bastos for this massive emigration of cultural workers from the South American continent”

Published between 1987 and 1995 in 35 numbers, Deisler edited each issue focused on visual and experimental poetry. “The project encouraged visual and experimental artists to submit 100 works. 40 artists were put together in one issue, each artist receiving a copy of the magazine. Uni/vers (;) transmitted messages and poetry with simple matters. It was poetic communication bearing in mind the mass being available. In its best case an issue was simultaneous poetry in a collective form without censorship or borders.”–From;

The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to acquire a partial run of UNI/vers(;) as well as a small group of his artists’ books and concrete poetry.

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Exclusivo hecho para usted (Juego) (Antofagasta, 1971). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

Gregorio Berchenko, Knock-out: poemas visuales / Gregorio Berchenko; cubierto, Guillermo Deisler (Antofagasta, Chile: ediciones Mimbre, [1971?]). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Poemas visivos y proposiciones a realizer (Antofagasta: Ediciones Mimbre, 1972). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Poesia visiva en el mundo / selección y notas de Guillermo Deisler (Antofagasta, Chile: Ediciones Mimbre, [1972?]). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Le cerveau (Marseille: Nouv. Eds. Polaires, 1975). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Stamp, 1990. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), UNI/vers(;): visuelle und experimentelle Poesie international: Magazin 1 / 5 jahre 5 years peacedream project uni/vers(;) 1984 – 1992 / peacedream project uni/vers(;) visuelle und experimentelle … (Berlin, 1992-1994). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process
See all issues online:

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Everything I do is poetry (Cleveland, OH: Generator Press, 1996). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Adler’s paper sample resources

Recently two paper sample cabinets owned by Elmer Adler (1884-1962) came back from off-site storage to our vaults, including this one housing sample books from the Alling & Cory Company.

“Alling and Cory was a privately owned printing paper and packaging distributor headquartered in Rochester, New York, [Adler’s hometown]. Founded by Elihu F. Marshall in 1819, the company was the first paper merchant in the U.S. The company remained independent until 1996 when it was bought by Union Camp. Assumed to be among its employees were two United States Presidents and other United States statesmen.

At its height, Alling and Cory owned more than 20 branch offices from Toledo, Ohio to New York City. At one point, it was the United States’ oldest privately owned company in continuous operation. In 1910-1911, they built the Alling & Cory Buffalo Warehouse and in 2010, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.”

See The New York Times article: “Alling & Cory Sold for $88 Million to Union Camp” from Dow Jones, April 16, 1996.

A second cabinet holds this wonderful color sample brochure. Here is a small part of the business history posted by the Beckett Paper Company:

With sales of less than $100 million, Beckett Papers is a rather small, yet distinctive, segment of the Fine Papers Division of Hammermill Paper Co., itself a subsidiary of $20 billion International Paper Co. Nevertheless, Beckett enjoys a long and distinguished heritage in the paper industry, stretching back 50 years earlier, in fact, than that of International Paper. Established in 1848, Beckett was controlled and managed by descendants of founder William Beckett until 1959, when it became a subsidiary of Hammermill Paper Co. Hammermill was in turn acquired by International Paper in 1984.

A well-established brand presence in the fine papers, stationery, and uncoated recycled stock segments enabled Beckett to retain its own identity and logo through the mid-1990s. But while its goods continued to be milled at the company’s birthplace in Hamilton County, Ohio, its headquarters was moved to East Granby, New Jersey, along with the rest of International Papers’ Fine Papers Group.

Beckett Papers was founded and eventually named for William Beckett. Born in 1821 and educated at southern Ohio’s Miami University, Beckett, along with a couple of partners, bought into an abandoned paper mill in the town of Hamilton in 1848. At first, the mill churned out newsprint made of rags for sale to newspaper publishers in nearby Cincinnati. Though the mill struggled to stay in the black during its first two years, efficiencies achieved through the addition of a second paper making machine led to a decade-long period of profitability. The Civil War helped to lengthen this prosperous period, as newspaper sales skyrocketed, fueled by public hunger for news from the battlefields. These high times subsided during the late 19th century, when panics and recessions hurt the company’s results.

Partners came and went over the course of the company’s first four decades in operation, and the business endured several name changes before its incorporation as The Beckett Paper Company in 1887. By this time Thomas Beckett, son of the founder, had joined the company. The second-generation leader brought new production methods to the company, including modern paper making machines that used wood pulp. Though his changes were vehemently resisted by some managers, modernizations kept the company’s costs competitive and eventually brought it out of the red. Thomas launched the Buckeye Cover brand of colored paper in 1894, a stock that soon gained a reputation for high quality. The buckeye, Ohio’s state tree, would serve as Beckett’s corporate logo for some 100 years, until the launch of a new logo in mid-1998.

Read more:



These resources were originally moved from Elmer Adler’s office in The New York Times annex to Princeton in 1940, when he established a graphic arts program at the university. Special thanks go to my colleagues Jen Meyer and Mike Siravo, who arranged the moving and new storage for these important resources back into the department.