Category Archives: Acquisitions

new acquisitions

Katagami collected in Germany

buntpapierfabrik7[Portfolio of twenty-four Katagami or Japanese paper stencils with floral and ornamental designs], ca. 1850. Folio (420 x 250 mm). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2016- in process.

Not long ago, within a box of Germany ephemera a dealer found a nondescript portfolio of twenty-four stencils. They were mistaken for something European, even German, and were collected by the Graphic Arts Collection for our matrix collection, sight unseen.

When the pieces arrived, Japanese text was found on several and with further study, we confirmed that they are rare 19th-century Katagami, or Japanese stencils for the dyeing of patterns on kimono and other fabrics.


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One of the stencils has “Katagami” written on it (型紙) in addition to a partial date, which (according to my colleague) seems to be February (second month) proceeded by the character for tiger–which could refer to the year or to the month, based on the astrological calendar.

Another has a date that might indicate the reign date of Kaei, which would date it between 1848 and 1854. A third is stamped “high grade fine pattern.”



The University of Zurich’s Section for East Asian Art held a symposium last March entitled “Katagami in the West [海外での「型紙」の姿]” and has released the abstracts from those sessions. They help to understand the daily use of these matrices as well as their impact on European artisans. Hopefully, a book will come from this wonderful research. abstracts-katagami-conference02

My thanks to Gail Smith, Senior Bibliographic Specialist, Rare Books & Special Collections Department; Nicole Fabricand-Person, Japanese Art Specialist, Marquand Library; and Setsuko Noguchi, Collection Development Department for their help with this mystery.



Luis Camnitzer illustrates Martin Buber



buber1Luis Camnitzer and Martin Buber (1878-1965), Luis Camnitzer Illustrates Martin Buber (New York: JMB Publishers Ltd, 1970). 10 woodcuts printed at The New York Graphic Workshop. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2016- in process.


The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to have acquired Luis Camnitzer Illustrates Martin Buber, copy J, one of ten copies lettered A-J, each containing one original drawing by the artist and one double suite containing one suite of woodblock prints on Arches paper and one suite of woodblock prints on Natsume paper.

The portfolio includes ten folktales from the Hasidic Jewish tradition in Eastern Europe, selected by Camnitzer from the early masters section of Buber’s Die chassidischen Bücher as translated by Olga Marx. They are paired with ten woodcuts by Camnitzer titled: The Tap at the Window; The Helpful Mountain; The Deaf Man; How We Should Learn; Failure; Blessing of the Moon; To Say Torah and To Be Torah; The Mountain; The Bird Nest; and The Strong Thief.



“In 1964 after moving to New York from his native Uruguay, Camnitzer co-founded The New York Graphic Workshop, along with fellow artists, Argentine Liliana Porter and Venezuelan Guillermo Castillo (1941–1999). For six years until 1970, they examined the conceptual meaning behind printmaking, and sought to test and expand the definition of the medium. In 1964 Camnitzer wrote a manifesto on printmaking that was later adopted by the group as a statement of intent. In this text Camnitzer argues that printmaking should not restrict but rather amplify the possibilities of an artist to generate conceptually rich ideas through strong images.”—Alexander Gray Associates




See also: The New York Graphic Workshop, 1964-1970, edited by Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, Ursula Davila-Villa, Gina McDaniel Tarver ([Austin, Tex.]: Blanton Museum of Art, 2009). Marquand Library (SA) NE492.C63 N49 2009

Martin Buber (1878-1965), Die chassidischen Bücher (Berlin: Schocken, [1927]). Published in 1949 under title: Die Erzählungen der Chassidim. Recap BM198 .B778 1927

La petite sedanaise

Roger Stoddard once said, “Big books last forever, small books disappear.” We are thrilled to have this new acquisition in the Graphic Arts Collection, where it will last forever.

Les Pseaumes de David, Mis en rime Françoise. Sedan: Jean Jannon, 1636. 64mo in eights (62 x 36 mm). Contemporary vellum, painted black, spine with raised bands, two functioning silver clasps, silver corners, marbled paste-downs. Provenance: contemporary ink inscription A le Marg: Le Cocq fille du Juge d’Origny. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2016- in process psalterium6
Printed in the independent (up to 1651) Protestant Principality of Sedan in the Ardennes, close to the modern French border with Belgium, this Psalter in French verses is a rather sensational, albeit small, achievement of French typography and Protestant book production.

“In 1610 the Parisian master printer Robert III Estienne recommended the printer, librarian and typecutter Jean Jannon to the Prince of Sedan as a talented and Protestant man of the book. Sedan developed into an academy of Protestant erudition with an impressive collection of printed books, manuscripts and works of art. Jeannon began to print academic theses, classics and religious works, whilst designing and cutting types in Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Syriac.

The type used here, la petite sedanaise, as it became known later, after it had been pirated by a Parisian typecutter, was the smallest type created since the invention of printing. It measures a mere 4.9 points. Jannon reserved this particular type solely for his own use and did not sell it to other printers as he did with his other types. The French government seized Jannon’s printshop in 1641 and the Imprimérie Royale used this particularly small type, which was later misattributed to Garamond. Provenance: The volume belonged to a magistrate Le Cocq in the Channel Island of Alderney. This island was a safe haven for Protestant refugees from France.” –Dealer’s note

psalterium7Princeton also holds two other tiny editions of these Psalms:

Les pseaumes de David, mis en rime françoise (Geneve, chez P. Aubet, 1634). Rare Books (Ex) BS1443 .xF7 1634s  and  Les pseaumes de David : mis en vers françois (Amsterdam: Chez Z. Chatelain, [1652]). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2005-0001S


Note also James Mosley’s 2012 post in Typefoundry :


The Palace the N–H Built

“These are the wings which by estimate round
Are said to have cost forty thousand pound,
And which not quite according with Royalty’s taste,
Are doom’d to come down and be laid into waste.”

palace-that3Attributed to Joseph Hume, The Palace that N–h Built: a Parody on an Old English Poem ([London]: Thomas McLean, [1829?]). Graphic Arts Collection GAX in process



“This parody of the popular nursery rhyme ‘The House that Jack built’ is a satire on George IV’s huge expenditure of public money on the conversion of Buckingham House into Buckingham Palace (begun 1825), and the apparent venality and incompetence of John Nash, the architect responsible. Although a Select Committee of the House of Commons had exonerated Nash of any professional misconduct in 1828, the issue of the spiraling costs of George IV’s new palace remained a national scandal until the King’s death in 1830 and Nash’s replacement by Edward Blore in 1832.

The pamphlet is printed in the style and format of a typical children’s rhyme book of the period. ‘I. Hume’ has not been identified and may be a pseudonym. [British Architecture Library’s] Early Printed Books suggests that either the author may have been Joseph Hume (1767–1843), a clerk at Somerset House who translated Dante’s Inferno (1812), or that the attribution is a topical reference to the well-known radical politician Joseph Hume MP (1777–1855), a prominent and outspoken critic of government overspending. The latter possibility seems more likely. The satirical illustrations are etched in the manner of George Cruikshank; most are just legibly signed ‘G. Davies’.” — From the John Soane Museum

Austin Lee’s New Shoes


20160916_192412_resizedAustin Lee, Spheres. Designed by Philippe Karrer, printed by Musumeci SpA (Basel: Spheres, 2015). Essay by Joel Holmberg, as well as the transcript of a conversation between Austin Lee, Kati Gegenheimer, Benedikt Wyss, and Philippe Karrer. A free augmented reality app animates Lee’s images. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2016- in process

“Spheres is an artists’ book series developed in a year-long, close collaboration between one young artist and Swiss graphic designer Philippe Karrer. As a result, each book takes on a radically different form from the one that preceded it. The latest in the Spheres series, by painter Austin Lee, features Lee’s cartoonish, neon-colored iPad drawings and integrates an augmented reality app. Viewing the pages of the book through the app reveals digital animations and 3-D elements—a fun, if highly mediated book experience.”

an-augmented-reality-app-in-conjunction-with-a-book-publication-by-austinlee-from-spherespublicationSample spread with app view of Austin Lee, Spheres. Courtesy of Spheres Publication.



Nixon meets with Haldeman and Erlichman


Artist and reporter Franklin McMahon produced a series of documentary films in art that were aired on WBBM Television, Chicago and nationwide on CBS and PBS. The Portrait of an Election was a series of one-hour films using art and sound to document the national primaries, the Democratic and Republican conventions, and the presidential political campaigns.

McMahon’s painting seen above, now in the Graphic Arts Collection, was used in Portrait of an Election 1972, which received an Emmy for editing and an Emmy for best documentary.  The entire series won a Peabody Award for McMahon.

During Richard Nixon’s successful 1968 presidential run, Franklin also drew the “unelected White House guys” (H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and John N. Mitchell), that he correctly predicted would surround Nixon. This was one.

Franklin McMahon (1921-2012), President Richard M. Nixon meets with Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman and Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs John Erlichman. The White House, Washington, D.C., 1969. Provenance: from the collection of Margot McMahon. Graphic Arts Collection 2015- in process




The London Bridge Falling Down and Photographed

london bridge8The iconic London Bridge has been built and rebuilt many times, beginning in 1176 with the first construction of a stone bridge approximately 24 feet long. Changes and complete reconstructions were made in 1281, 1309, 1425, 1437, 1580s, 1762, and 1831, among many other important dates.

Between 1968 and 1971, the facing stone of the 1831 Bridge, designed by John Rennie, was dismantled and shipped to Arizona, where it was reconstructed in Lake Havasu City. A completely new London Bridge was built to replace the Rennie bridge, opening to the pubic in 1972.
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The Graphic Arts Collection is the fortunate new owner of a three volume set of albums (12 x 14 ½ inches) photographically documenting the dismantling and reconstruction of the 1972 London Bridge, now on deposit at Princeton University thanks to Bruce Willsie, Class of 1986.
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Prepared by the London construction firm of John Mawlem & Company, Ltd. and labeled “Chairman’s Copy,” presumably as a presentation set, the albums include a combination of commercial photographs and personal prints, some hand-labeled and each sequenced for these volumes in particular.
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There are approximately 200 black and white gelatin silver prints, each one annotated in the lower right hand corners and dated. In great detail they show every phase of the dismantling of the old 1830s bridge and the building of the new bridge in the same location. The excavation of the site reveled several skeletons, documented in these photographs.

These albums are now available for researchers.

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The Metropolitan Tabernacle and Its Institutions

metropolitan tabernacle4The Rev. Charles Haddon Spurgeon at Home. Study Portrait.

metropolitan tabernacleAn 1882 book review of The Metropolitan Tabernacle and its Institutions (London: Passmore and Alabaster) and Glimpses of Home at Westwood (London: Passmore and Alabaster) published in the journal The Sword and the Trowel, written and edited by evangelist Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), reads:

“These are two beautiful volumes of photographs, which will be specially interesting adornments for the drawing rooms of our friends. The views of Westwood are singularly charming and artistic. Mr. Tom Brine [interior designer] excels in this department. We do not suppose that a large edition of these works of art will be issued, and, indeed, we have no particular desire to see them sold except to our very special friends. To these we commend them very heartily.”

The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to have become one of Spurgeon’s special friends, acquiring a very rare copy of his Metropolitan Tabernacle and its Institutions. The volume offers twenty-four striking Woodburytypes, credited to the Woodbury Permanent Photographic Printing Company, and an introduction by Vernon J. Charlesworth (1839-1915), one of the Ministering Elders of the Tabernacle.

metropolitan tabernacle5This is certainly the most luxurious book published by Joseph Passmore (1823-1895) and his partner James Alabaster (1826-1892), who printed all of Spurgeon’s sermons from 1855 forward, as well as his memoirs, journals, and numerous other publications.

Considered the largest church in London at that time, the Tabernacle opened on March 18, 1861. Designed by William Wilmer Pocock (1813-1899), the main auditorium seated 5,000 people, with standing room for another 1000. In addition, there was a Pastor’s College; the Tabernacle Almshouses and School; and the Stockwell Orphanage. Spurgeon served as the charismatic pastor of the congregation until his death in 1892.

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For a brief biography of Spurgeon, see:

metropolitan tabernacle9The Stockwell Orphanage. The Dining Hall – Interior.

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metropolitan tabernacle7The Pastor’s College. The Library.

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Below, some of the children of the Stockwell Orphanage.metropolitan tabernacle11The Metropolitan Tabernacle and its institutions, with an introduction by Vernon J. Charlesworth (London: Passmore and Alabaster, [1882]). 24 woodburytypes. Inscribed “Jas. Harvey Esq. with the grateful love of Ch. Spurgeon, Feb. 82. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2016- in process.

Princeton’s Paul Robeson

paul robeson

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired this photograph of Paul Robeson (1898-1976) taken by Carl Van Vechten (1880-1964) on June 1, 1944. Robeson is posing in his costume for a production of Othello. The print will be on view this fall at the Princeton University Art Museum in our exhibition “Remember Me” in honor of Shakespeare’s anniversary.
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In August 1942, the Daily Princetonian announced that “Paul Robeson Will Appear in Othello at 8:40 in [McCarter Theater]. Margaret Webster Stages Coming Play, Seventh Production of Princeton Playgoers. Lead Player was born here. Production Had Premiere Last Monday in Cambridge, Mass.— Unlikely To Move into New York.”

“Paul Robeson returns to Princeton, where he grew up, this evening as star and titled player of Margaret Webster’s new production of Shakespeare’s Othello, which opens at 8:40 in McCarter Theatre as the seventh and next to last production of Richard Skinner’s Princeton Playgoers for this season. This week’s presentation in McCarter marks the only performance by Mr. Robeson of Othello in this area. … Margaret Webster … will play the part of Emelia. Jose Ferrer ’33 … has been cast as Iago. His wife, Uta Hagen … will be Mr. Robeson’s Desdemona. Miss Webster’s company includes Philip Huston, William Widdecombe, William Woodson, George Keane, Ernest Graves, Alfred Etcheverry, Russell Collins, John Ireys and Robert Harrison.”

“Mr. Robeson … was born and grew up in Princeton. He attended elementary school and high school here, before graduating from Rutgers University with a Phi Betta Kappa key. … Alexander Woollcott, as dramatic critic of the old New York World, said of Robeson that ‘of all the countless people I have known in my wanderings about the world, Robeson is one of the few who, I would say, had true greatness.’”


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The Mudd Library holds the records of the Princeton Playgoers, 1941-1942 [Mudd AC315], including Othello. Their record notes “Princeton Playgoers, Inc. was a theater production company formed in 1942, during the wartime period when the engagements of Triangle Club were limited. The records consist of financial records, correspondence, records of ticket sales, advertisements, contracts, and other materials documenting the planning and production of plays at McCarter Theatre in the summer of 1942.”

How Einstein Signed Twice

img507Thanks to Judy Spencer Bolton for writing this piece in the summer newsletter of The American Historical Print Collectors Society (AHPCS), a non-profit group that encourages the collection, preservation, study, and exhibition of original historical American prints.

Besides this particularly interesting story about Princeton University’s Print Club, the AHPCS offers substantial scholarship on American prints in their journal: Imprint: Journal of the American Historical Print Collectors Society (Westport, Conn.: American Historical Print Collectors Society). Marquand Library (SA) NE505 .I48. Individuals should also consider joining the organization.

The scrapbooks of the Princeton Print Club can be viewed at: