Category Archives: Acquisitions

new acquisitions

Making Paper

bertram2The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a rare trade catalogue from the Scottish firm Bertram, presenting their entire line of papermaking machinery. Note below the watermark printed on each plate so that people can’t steal and reproduce their images.



Paper Makers’ Catalogue ([Edinburgh]: [James Bertram & Son], printed by Mackenzie and Storrie, letterpress and lithographic printers, 1890). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2015- in process

Happily the Capital Collections site for Edinburgh Libraries and Museums recently posted the history of this important manufacturer and the quote here is a portion of their text:

Bertram Limited, Sciennes was founded in 1821 in Edinburgh and developed into a major manufacturer of papermaking machinery. The firm was founded by George and William Bertram, who came from a family which had been involved in papermaking in Midlothian for generations.

After spending about twenty years in Dartford, Kent learning their craft as papermaking machinery engineers, the brothers returned to Edinburgh to set up their own business, a workshop erected near Sciennes, with a few machines and a small forge. The company moved to new, larger premises around 1859, on the site which it was to occupy for over a century. Another engineering company James Bertram & Son was set up in Leith Walk, by a younger brother in 1845.

In 1860 William Bertram retired after 40 years in the business. He died the same year. George continued to supply not only papermaking machines but other machinery used in the paper making process, including steam engines. David, George’s son took over the business from his father. He was the last of the direct line of Bertrams. When he died in 1907, the family name disappeared from the board.





An Imagined View of Philadelphia

philadelphia view3 This vue d’optique was made to be viewed through a zograscope, which would enhance the three-dimensionality of the scene. The harbor seen here is the same one seen on many other optical views, offering an imagined picture of Philadelphia by German artists who had never visited the United States.

This print has a text in two languages but there are also separate German and French versions, marketing the scenes to as many audiences as possible.

“Philadelphie la ville capitale de Pensylvanie province Nord-Americaine William Penn, à qui Charles II Roi d’Angleterre donna cette province entiére la planta en 1682, entre deux fleuves navigables et l’apella Philadelphie, parceque les habitans y vivoient dans une harmonie fraternelle.”

philadelphia view4philadelphia view2 philadelphia viewBalthasar Friedrich Leizelt (active 2d half 18th century), Vue de Philadelphie, 1776. Engraving with hand coloring. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2015- in process


The Difference between Bookbinders

james fraser

William Poole (active 1803-1807), after Robert Dighton (1752-1814), James Fraser, Aged 67, 1807. Engraving. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2015- in process

james fraser4

james fraser3

james fraser2In this portrait, master bookbinder James Fraser (1740-after 1813) of St. Martin’s Lane holds a paper headed, “A Plan for reconciling the difference between the Masters and Journeymen Bookbinders.” On the table are three books: Memoirs of Mr. Pitt, Estimates of Bookbinders, and Anecdotes of Lord Nelson, along with the newspaper The Oracle, May 28 1802.

These elements refer to Fraser’s his role as one of three “Prosecuting Masters” in the 1786 trade dispute among bookbinders. He described the costs of binding different types of books and advocated a piece-rate method of working, rather than the customary fixed weekly wage. One request was to reduce the work day from 14 hours to 13 hours. A strike, a trial and imprisonment of five men followed.

The complete story written by Lawrence Raithby, along with a reproduction of this engraving, was published in British Bookmaker: A Journal for the Book Printer, the Book Illustrator, the Book Cover Designer, the Book Binder, Librarians, and Lovers of Books Generally, Volume 5 (1892). 

Charles Dawson

Charles Dawson (1889-1981) worked as a commercial artist in Chicago during the 1920s and 1930s; and then, as a curator of the Museum of Negro Art and Culture and the George Washington Carver Museum in Tuskegee during the 1940s. In 1951, Dawson retired to New Hope, Pennsylvania, where he lived until his death in 1981. There is no record of his creating any art for the last thirty years of his life.

A startling exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center unveils Dawson’s career as an illustrator for beauty schools and products, such as Annie Malone’s Poro College and Valmor Products of Chicago. As noted in the AIGA’s biography, “with the onset of the Great Depression, which struck Chicago very hard, Dawson managed to stay afloat largely through his work for Valmor Products Company. The owner of the company, Morton Neumann, who later became famous as one of Chicago’s great art collectors, refused to allow Dawson to sign his work.”


Dawson was the only black artist to have a substantial role in the 1933–1934 Century of Progress Fair, when he received a commission for a mural illustrating the Great Migration for the National Urban League’s display in the Hall of Social Science. He also designed, produced, and self-published a children’s book titled, ABCs of Great Negroes. The book consists of 26 portraits of African American and African leaders with brief biographies on the facing pages. The final page of text explains his inclusion of Ethiopian and Egyptian figures. Distinguished men and women include Neferti, Toussaint l’Ouverture, Rastafari, Frederick Douglas, Booker T. Washington, Alexander Pushkin, George Washington Carver, Kheops, as well as various educators, business and community leaders of the thirties.

Charles Dawson (1889-1981), ABC’s of Great Negroes (Chicago, Ill.: Dawson publishers, c1933). Cotsen Children’s Library (CTSN) Eng 20 13195

Don’t Forget A Little Chaos

Get to the theater early to pick up your tickets for the 7:00 sneak preview of A Little Chaos today, June 17, at the Garden Theatre. Thanks to the co-sponsors: the Friends of the Princeton University Library and Renew Theaters

 A Little Chaos comes to the Princeton Garden Theatre for one night only on June 17, prior to its June 26 release. This special early screening is being presented in conjunction with the Princeton University Library’s current exhibition Versailles on Paper: A Graphic Panorama of the Palace and Gardens of Louis XIV, which continues through July 19.

The exhibition will stay open until 6:30 so you can drop by before going to see the movie. Alan Rickman both directs and stars in the historical drama, which was shot in England using Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, to represent the Palace at Versailles.800px-Blenheim_Palace_panoramaBlenheim Palace:

About Renew Theaters: Renew manages the County, Ambler, and Hiway Theaters in Pennsylvania and the Princeton Garden Theatre in New Jersey. These historic movie houses function as arthouse cinemas, screening independent, foreign, and classic films for their local audiences.

For more information on the exhibition, see the website:
For more information on the Garden Theater’s films and special events, see

Georges Gremillet

gremillet5 Georges Gremillet (1893-1971), Montmartre. Descriptive notes by H. de Labruyere (Paris: Edmond Chognard, 1928?). 13 etchings variously signed, dated and titled in the plate; lettered with publication detail and address of artist on cover: Au singe qui lit, 4 Place du tertre, 12 & 14 rue Lamarck, Paris 18e. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2015- in process. Gift of David McAlpin, Jr., Class of 1950.


In the 19th century, the inexpensive working class neighborhood of Montmartre became the home for artists, actors, and writers. By the 1920s, when Georges Gremillet moved in, the bohemian 18th arrondissement was the destination for wealthy art collectors and tourists.

Gremillet specialized in etchings offering charming views of Paris, which he hung in his Montmartre shop, known as Au singe qui lit (The Monkey that Reads). Located at 4 Place du Tertre, Gremillet was in the exact center of Montmartre’s central square, in the area where artists spent their days in the sidewalk cafes and their nights in the cabarets, dance halls, theaters, and bars.

Today, Gremillet’s shop is still open, filled with postcards and posters for visiting art historians. The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to have received a gift of two Gremillet portfolios from the 1920s, holding dozens of the artist’s drypoints and etchings. Thanks to David H. McAlpin, Jr., Class of 1950 for these wonderful new acquisitions.

See more:


Thomas Annan of Glasgow: Pioneer of the Documentary Photograph


Photographic Views of Loch Katrine and of Some of the Principal Works Constructed for Introducing the Water of Loch Katrine into the City of Glasgow… (Glasgow: Glasgow Corporation Water Works; printed by James C. Erskine, 1889). Photographs by Thomas Annan. Graphic Arts Collection

Congratulations to Lionel Gossman, M. Taylor Pyne Professor of Romance Languages emeritus at Princeton University, who just released a study of the Glasgow photographer, Thomas Annan, through the online publisher Open Book. The book available for free download at:–pioneer-of-the-documentary-photograph

Dougan64_0010wfA native of Glasgow, Gossman’s own graduation portrait was made in 1951 at the studio of T. &. R. Annan in Sauchiehall Street. Several years ago, we introduced him to our nearly complete collection of Annan’s photography (bound and unbound) in the Graphic Arts Collection and Gossman was immediately entranced. The Scottish images brought him back to his roots, triggering a period of intensive research on the places depicted and the man who created them.

As a scholar committed to the open access of information, Gossman is the author of two other books published by Open Book Publishers: Brownshirt Princess: A Study of the ‘Nazi Conscience’, The Passion of Max von Oppenheim: Archaeology and Intrigue in the Middle East from Wilhelm II to Hitler. For OBP he also edited and translated The End and the Beginning: The Book of My Life by Hermynia Zur Mühlen and On History, a collection of essays by Jules Michelet in English translation.


Alexander Hastie Millar (1847-1927), Castles and Mansions of Ayrshire: illustrated in seventy views, with historical and descriptive accounts ([Edinburgh : W. Paterson], 1885). Includes albumen prints by Thomas Annan. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2008-0021E

Mitchell’s new book will be ready in 100 years

Princeton students will have the pleasure of reading David Mitchell’s new book, in 2115. The British novelist has been named as the second writer to contribute to Future Library, a public artwork by Scottish artist Katie Paterson that will unfold over the next 100 years. A thousand trees have been planted in Nordmarka, Norway, which will supply paper for a special anthology of books to be printed in 100 years’ time. Between now and then, one writer every year will contribute a text, with the writings held in trust, unpublished, until 2114. As a member of the Future Library, Princeton University Library will collect its new books in 100 years.

The first text has been written and delivered by the internationally renowned Canadian author Margaret Atwood, titled Scribbler Moon. David Mitchell will hand over his manuscript at a special ceremony in Norway in 2016. In the meantime, you can read other books by David Mitchell including: Ghostwritten (1999); Number9dream (2001); Cloud Atlas (2004); Black Swan Green (2006); Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (2010); Reason I Jump (2013); and Bone Clocks (2014).

On being invited as the 2015 author David Mitchell commented:

“Civilisation, according to one of those handy Chinese proverbs, is the basking in the shade of trees planted a hundred years ago, trees which the gardener knew would outlive him or her, but which he or she planted anyway for the pleasure of people not yet born. I accepted the Future Library’s invitation to participate because I would like to plant such a tree. The project is a vote of confidence that, despite the catastrophist shadows under which we live, the future will still be a brightish place willing and able to complete an artistic endeavour begun by long-dead people a century ago. Imagine if the Future Library had been conceived in 1914, and a hundred authors from all over the world had written a hundred volumes between 1915 and today, unseen until now – what a human highway through time to be a part of. Contributing and belonging to a narrative arc longer than your own lifespan is good for your soul.”

The Prophecies of the Sibyls

Philippus de Barberis (ca. 1426-1487), Opusculum de vaticiniis Sibillarum (Oppenheim: [Jacob Köbel, ca. 1514). Large woodcut on title-page and 12 full page woodcuts of female soothsayers. Previous owner: W.J. Le Mattre. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2015- in process

This collection of the prophecies of the Sibyls was printed by Jacob Köbel (1460-1533), who ran a press in Oppenheim from 1503 to 1532. Although there is no date in the book, we believe it was printed about 1514 (Goff B-122, after 1500). Counting the title page, there are 13 large woodcuts with quotations and architectural borders. This is not the copy owned by Arthur Vershbow but in equally good condition.
silillarum4The source for the texts of the prophecies of the Sibyls is by the Dominican Philippus de Barberis, Discordantiae sanctorum doctorum Hieronymi et Augustini adiunctis aliis opusculis, which was compiled c. 1479 and appeared in several printed versions.

“L’Opusculum de his in quibus Augustinus et Hieronymus dissentire videntur in divinis litteris fu riedito in una raccolta di scritti detta Opuscula (pubblicata perla prima volta nel 1481; il titolo è ricavato dalla prefazione), con il titolo di Discordantiae sanctorum doctorum Hieronymi et Augustini (unico opuscolo della raccolta che sia opera del B.): il contenuto degli altri scritti degli Opuscula (i vaticini delle sibille, i carmi della poetessa Falconia, il simbolo anastasiano, l’orazione domenicale, la salutazione angelica, ecc.) induce a pensare che questa raccolta fosse destinata a uso scolastico; essa, comunque, ebbe una certa fortuna e varie edizioni, alcune delle quali successive alla morte del Barbieri. Iù stata avanzata dal Di Giovanni l’ipotesi che il B. fosse anche l’autore di un’opera intitolata De vita et moribus philosophorum (Codice 3. Q.q. A. III, cc, 65 della Biblioteca comunale di Palermo): centoventotto biografie di filosofi, poeti e scrittori, seguite, per meglio porne in evidenza il pensiero, da brani delle opere dei biografati. Poiché il manoscritto proviene dal convento domenicano di Palermo e fu copiato in Sicilia, poiché il B., sino al Quattrocento, fu l’unico a interessarsi di storia delle scienze, il Di Giovanni gli attribui questo lavoro, seppure con riserva. Questa conclusione tuttavia non può che rimanere allo stato di ipotesi; né si può ritenere che tale lavoro sia da identificarsi con il De inventoribus,noto soltanto attraverso la citazione della Viroruni illustrium cronica dello stesso Barbieri.” Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani – Volume 6 (1964)