Category Archives: Acquisitions

new acquisitions

Pickwick Papers Iconography

The image of Samuel Pickwick, the protagonist of The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, drawn and etched by Robert Seymour (1798-1836) had an immediate and lasting impact, reaching beyond the pages of Dickens’ novel. Seymour committed suicide shortly after the creation of this character and the iconography of the series—19 issues over 20 months between March 1836 and October 1837—went through several visual adaptations before it was completed. As new editions continued to appear, variant designs were used to present the words to the reading public, although none has yet to improve on Seymour’s original character.

No one understood the power of the visual image better than the advertising executive Samuel William Meek (1895-1981), Vice President at the J. Walter Thompson Company, who along with his wife Priscilla Mitchell Meek (1899-1999), collected Dickens. Mr. Meek helped build a worldwide advertising empire for the Thompson Company while manager of Thompson’s London office. He handled campaigns for the General Motors Corporation, Pan American World Airways, and Reader’s Digest among many others.

Meek assembled a collection of Pickwick iconography, including a unique binding proof, title pages, advertising designs, and subsequent promotional use of the Pickwick figures outside the world of literature. Thanks to the discerning eye of our generous donor Bruce Willsie, Class of 1986, two volumes of this valuable material have come to the Graphic Arts Collection. Here is a quick list (Pickwick Papers iconography ) and are a few samples:

The Independent Gold Hunter

New York lithographer and print seller Nathaniel Currier (1813-1888) published the hand colored lithograph The Independent Gold Hunter on His Way to California with no date but we assume it was made at the time of gold rush mania between 1848 and 1850.

His gold hunter is shown confidently walking to California, carrying with him all the things he might need including pans, scales, flask, kettle, shovel, sausages, fish, and other equipment.

Currier may have used as inspiration Nicolas de Larmessin’s fantastical engraving Habit de chaudronnier from the late-seventeenth-century series Costumes grotesques et habits de Métiers. Larmessin created representations of nearly 100 different occupations dressed in iconographic costumes, most walking in outdoor settings.


Within a short period, Currier’s chief competitor, the Hartford firm of Kelloggs and Comstock published a variant lithograph, equipping the gold hunter with a more practical suitcase and adding a decorative vignette at the top. Both prints sold well but the Kellogg brothers–Jarvis, Daniel, Edmund, and Elijah–marketed their image to commercial companies, leading to further variants on cigar boxes and other products cashing in on gold rush mania.


The verse in each of these prints comes from Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21:
Woe to me, mother, that you gave me birth!
a man of strife and contention to all the land!
I neither borrow nor lend,
yet all curse me.

George Schlegel, The Independent Gold Hunter On His Way To Klondike, ca. 1897. Embossed chromolithograph for the Gold Hunter Cigar company showing a prospector walking on railroad tracks at Horse Shoe Bend.

[Top] Nathaniel Currier (1813-1888), The Independent Gold Hunter on His Way to California, [ca. 1848-1850]. Hand colored lithograph. Published by Currier, Nassau Street, NY. Purchased with funds from the Western Americana and the Graphic Arts Collections. GAX 2017- in process

[Center] After Nathaniel Currier (1813-1888), The Independent Gold Hunter on His Way to California, [ca. 1848-1850]. Hand colored lithograph. Published by Kelloggs & Comstock, Hartford, CT. and Ensign & Thayer, Buffalo, NY. Posted by Metropolitan Museum of Art

How to Become a Part-Owner in Firmin-Didot, 1885

The French printer and type founder Firmin Didot (1764-1836) was a member of the Didot legacy of printers, punch-cutters, publishers, and paper manufacturers. Thanks to his significant contributions to French printing and modern type design, Napoleon appointed Didot the director of the Imprimerie Impériale typefoundry. When he retired in 1827, his sons Ambroise-Firmin Didot (1790-1876) and Hyacinthe Didot (1794-1880) took the management of the publishing business.

In April of 1885, ownership of the Paris firm of Firmin-Didot, 56 Rue Jacob, was divided into 1000 shares at 4000 francs each. The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired one of the rare certificates giving the owner 1,000th of the prestigious bookseller-publisher. Note the certificate has yet to be filled in, meaning that all the shares were not sold. It also specifies: “This share is transmissible,” and the transfer forms are also included here.


In the name of Mr. ____ following declaration in the transfer book. The Managers

See also: André Jammes, Spécimens de caractères de Firmin et Jules Didot ([Paris]: Librairie Paul Jammes: Editions des Cendres, 2002). Copy no. 21 of 275 exemplaires, in portfolio box; prospectus and sample pages laid in. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize Z232.D53 J36 2002e

Eugène Piton, Famille Firmin-Didot, imprimeurs, libraires, fondeurs, graveurs, papetiers, inventeurs et littérateurs (Paris: Se trouve chez l’éditeur [Impr. de H. Carion] 1856). Rare Books (Ex) 2004-1687N

A Practical Guide to the Varieties & Relative Values of Paper

The study of paper is not virtual. You hold it in your hand and feel the weigh of the sheet. You bend it to see which direction the paper fibers are running. You place it over a light and search for a watermark, then shine the light at an angle to see the texture of the surface. Are there chain lines? How big was the sheet originally and how many times was it cut to make the present page?

It is an intimate investigation best learned with paper samples that have already been identified and documented and yet, finding such rare samples is, of course, difficult.


Among the earliest encyclopedic gatherings of different types of paper is Richard Herring’s A Practical Guide to the Varieties & Relative Values of Paper, first published in London in 1860. The Graphic Arts Collection now owns a copy of this very rare volume.

Herring’s Guide was and is the most comprehensive published paper specimen book issued in the nineteenth century up to 1860. Herring calls for 246 samples but the copy recently acquired by Princeton has 244. Copies in the British Library and St. Bride’s Library each have only 242 samples. Undoubtedly, these volumes were each unique, hand bound treasures.

“The object of this work,” writes Herring, “is to furnish similar assistance to the stationer to that which afforded to the bookseller by the London catalogue. It is so arranged that by a very simple mode of reference to two hundred and forty-six samples of paper, which are appended to the work, no fewer than six hundred and eighty-one distinct kinds, with the relative prices of each affixed, are represented . . . Nearly every variety of paper, with its characteristic technicalities, dimensions, and weight, has been accurately given . . . .” –preface.

Antiquarian Charles Wood III writes, “The range and variety of papers is astonishing and endlessly fascinating; there are writing papers, printing papers, cartridge papers, wove papers, filtering paper, drawing papers, glazed boards, milled boards, etc. etc. The author was a in a unique position to produce this work; he was stock-taker to Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.”


Here is one of the original advertisements in Bookseller: The Organ of the Book Trade and Many Other Trade Publications, in which Herring wrote:

A Practical Guide to the Varieties and Relative Values of Paper by Richard Herring, in a convenient quarto Guinea volume. Prefixed is a very able history of the Art of Paper Making, full of interesting facts this had previously been contributed by the author to the new edition of Lire’s Dictionary. Next, we have a list of the Varieties and Relative Values of Paper with the sizes of every description and the prices per ream, all the references being to actual specimens of paper contained in the latter portion of the volume. The samples embrace nearly every kind of paper made, together with some of glazed and milled and bag-cap boards. The work, altogether, is so useful that we have little doubt a large number of Stationers will be glad to avail themselves of it.—Bookseller. [The Maker’s price for each sort, including the duty of three halfpence per pound, was exactly two-thirds of the price quoted in this list when the Paper Duty was repealed.—R.H.]

Richard Herring (born 1829), A Practical Guide to the Varieties and Relative Values of Paper: Illustrated with Samples of Nearly Every Description and Specially Adapted to the Use of Merchants, Shippers, and the Trade: To Which Is Added, a History of the Art of Paper Making (London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1860). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this acquisition possible.

Bookplates inside front cover:

See also Herring’s earlier catalogue with only 25 samples, from the collection of Elmer Adler:
Richard Herring (1829-18 ), Paper & Paper Making, Ancient and Modern; with an Introduction by the Rev. George Croly (London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1855). xvi, 125, 24 p., [5], 25 leaves of plates (2 folded) : ill., 25 samples (some col.); 23 cm. “Founded upon lectures recently delivered at the London Institution”–Preface. Samples comprise 8 sheets with watermarks (3 line, 3 light and shade, 2 impressed), 5 of writing paper (2 laid, 3 wove), 4 of wrapping paper, 2 of paper made from 80% straw and 20% rope, 1 made almost entirely from wheat straw, 1 of printing paper and 1 sample each of water leaf, unsized, sized and glazed paper. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) TS1090 .H477 1855

Things Japanese, 1742

The Graphic Arts Collection holds a complete 10 volume set of the rare Illustrated Book of Comparable Things in Yamato (Japan), also called Illustrated Study of Things Japanese, written and published in 1742. Each book is bound in black paper with unique floral decoration painted in gold.

Nine of the ten volumes are filled with illustrations by Nishikawa Sukenobu (1671-1751) of Kyoto, compiled by Ban Yūsa of Naniwa of Osaka. The cutting of the blocks was done by Fujimura Zenyemon and Murakami Genyemon.

Each volume is dedicated to one genre or subject matter, including 1. Preface, landscapes, animals.–2. Historical figures of poets and painters.–3. Historical figures of women.–4. Historical subjects.–5, 6. Historical figures in literature.–7. Miscellaneous historical figures.–8. Historical figures in anecdotes.–9. Illustrations of poems.–10. Contents, text and notes.


Nishikawa Sukenobu (1671-1751), Ehon Yamato hiji / Naniwa Ban Yūsa sanshū · Heian Nishikawa Sukenobu gazu = 繪本和比事 / 浪華伴祐佐纂輯·平安西川祐信畫圖 = Illustrated Book of Comparable Things in Yamato (Japan) (Ōsaka: Kanseidō Kawauchiya Uhezō ban, Kanpō 2 [1742]) 10 volumes. Graphic Arts Collection 2017- in process

The Graphic Arts Collection also includes Nishikawa Sukenobu’s Ehon mitsuwagusa ([Japan]: [publisher not identified], [between 1750 and 1760]) and his Ehon fudetsubana [ge] (Kyōtō: Kikuya Kihē, Enkyō 4 [1747]).

Ancient Textile Patterns

Shinsen kodai moyō kagami. ten / Kodama Eisei hen = 新撰古代模様鑑. 天 / 児玉永成編 = Collection of Newly Selected Ancient Patterns, volume 1. (Tōkyō: Ōkura Magobe, Meiji 18 [1885]. 48 unnumbered pages. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2017- in process

This is the first of a two-volume set of ancient textile patterns. Each small textile sample is labeled by its source. The preface was written in 1885 by classical scholar and member of the Meiji government’s office of Shinto worship, Fukuba Bisei (1831-1907). His seal is stamped near his signature. The editor provides introductory remarks. –research and cataloguing by Tara McGowan, PhD

“Fukuba Bisei was Under-Secretary in the Office of Rites in 1868, and instructor to the Meiji Emperor in matters of Shinto ceremonial. Along with Vice-Minister of Rites Kamei Koremi, he was among the chief officials responsible for the shinbutsu bunri (“separation of Buddhism and Shinto”) policies. He was an adherent of the kokugaku (Nativist) teachings of Okuni Takamasa.” –James Ketelaar, Of Heretics and Martyrs in Meiji Japan, Princeton University Press (1991)

Where the West Begins

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a small photography album compiled by Elbert John “Dutch” Reuter (1896-1975), an Arizona printer, typographer, and publisher. Through approximately 230 photographs, the album documents Reuter’s trip from Peru, Indiana, to his new home in Prescott, Arizona. The pages are decorated with captions and poems presumable by Reuter himself, although he soon married Ruth Sylvia Reed in Gallup, New Mexico, and she might of helped to layout the book.


At the age of 14, Dutch became an apprentice to a printer in his hometown of Peru, Indiana, and learned all aspects of the printing and publishing trade. Not long after his 21st birthday, he joined the army but a few days later the  armistice was signed that brought World War I to a close and his release followed soon after.

In 1923, Dutch and a friend applied for a printing job at the Jerome Verde Independent in Arizona but when they showed up for work–after driving cross country for many days–the boys were told the paper decided not to expand and didn’t need them.  Two weeks later, they were hired by the Journal-Miner in Prescott, where Reuter remained for the rest of his life.

Eventually, Dutch became owner and publisher of the Yavapai County Messenger and manager of the Prescott Printing Company. The album follows him through his first years in Arizona as he gets to know the people and the landscape. Several photographs document his joining the “Smoki People,” a group of Prescott businessmen who dressed up and performed their own versions of Hopi ceremonial dances and rituals (finally shut down in 1990).

See more of his biography here:

Read more about the Smoki People here:

Dutch Reuter at the top right with his Linotype machine.

Dante and Virgil Attend an Exhibition

Antonio Manganaro (1842-1921), L’Esposizione Marittima Visitata da Dante e Virgilio. [The Maritime Exhibition visited by Dante and Virgil] Allegoria di A. Manganaro ([Naples: 1871]). 32 hand colored lithographs including the pictorial title-page. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017 in process. Acquired with special thanks to Patricia A. Gaspari-Bridges.

Since Dante’s Divine Comedy (Divina Commedia) first appeared in 1320, visual artists have been rethinking Dante’s trip into hell with Virgil as his guide. Eugène Delacroix chose the subject for his first major painting, The Barque of Dante, also known as Dante and Virgil in Hell, which introduced the artist at the Salon of 1822. A few years later, William Blake drew visions of the Divine Comedy in London while G.G. Macchiavelli did the same in Bologna. William-Adolphe Bouguereau painted Dante and Virgil in Hell in 1850; Edgar Degas finished Dante and Virgil at the Entrance to Hell in 1858; and Gustave Doré financed his own Inferno in 1861, finishing the trilogy in 1868.

In the wake of Doré’s popularity, the Italian caricaturist Antonio Manganaro (1842-1921) translated Dante’s epic to his own era, imagining what would happen if Dante and Virgil attended the opening of The International Maritime Exhibition held in Naples in 1871. Manganaro’s rare lithographic volume, recently acquired by the Graphic Arts Collection, includes plenty of ghosts, fish, and wine. Here are a few images.



Pour Raillerie

Bookplate collections often include prints that have names embedded in their design, mistaken as bookplates. This is the case with the above engraving found in a box of unsorted bookplates in our collection.

It is the title page for a series of eight plates by the Swiss engraver and entomologist Johann Rudolph Schellenberg (1740-1806). The small volume was called Pour raillerie (For mockery or All in Mockery) and was originally published in Winterthur, Switzerland, in 1772. (available for free download by the Swiss National Library):

Schellenberg partnered with Johann Caspar Fuessli (1743-1786) on multiple projects, most notably Archiv der Insectengeschichte / Archives de l’histoire des insects (Winterthour: Chez J. Ziegler, 1794). “The figures, which occupy 37 plates, are designed, etched and coloured by Mr. Schellenberg, of Winterthur, a man of uncommon knowledge in this branch of painting, whether we consider fidelity of character, high finish, or spirit of altitude. They appear chiefly to have been drawn from the insects themselves, a few excepted, in which the figures of Roesel may be traced.” –J. Johnson, Analytical Review: Or History of Literature, Domestic and Foreign, vol. 10 (1791).

We have yet to find the other plates in Pour raillerie, but they may still turn up.

The Chariot Race at Barnum and Bailey’s Show, 1898

While reorganizing and rehousing our circus poster collection, we can across this drawing for the weekly London newspaper, The Graphic. The drawing is mounted on the board’s recto and the published wood engraving on the verso. A double window mat is being made to house both as they are mounted.

The drawing is by William Small (1843-1929), who was a regular on the staff of The Graphic. Originally from Edinburgh, Small moved to London where he illustrated novels, magazines, and children’s books. Besides The Graphic, his work can be found in The Quiver, Good Words, and the Sunday Magazine, among others.

William Small, The Chariot Race at Barnum and Bailey’s Show, 1898. Graphite, chalk, gouache drawing. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2017- in process. Mounted with published wood engraving on verso.

William Small, The Chariot Race at Barnum and Bailey’s Show. Published in The Graphic, London, February 12, 1898. Wood engraving. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2017- in process

In the same issue of The Graphic is an advertisement for the performance at the Olympia on Hammersmith Road. Two performances were held each day, announced here “in its seventh week.”

Here is the art studio at The Graphic, posted at Spartacus Educational, where they note: “When it was first started, the journal was produced in a rented house. However, by 1882 the company owned three buildings, twenty printing machines and employed over 1,000 people. The Christmas edition, printed in colour and costing a shilling, was particularly popular, selling over 500,000 copies in Britain and the USA.”