Category Archives: Acquisitions

new acquisitions

Not Your Standard American Dictionary

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Laurie Spitz and Amee J. Pollack, Spitz & Pollack’s New Standard and Movable Dictionary of the American Language: Comparing Selected Words and Phrases, Re-Interpreted with Full Definitions Abridged ed. (New York: Spitz & Pollack Publishers, 2005). One of 35 copies. Gift of the artists. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2015- in process.

spitz dictionary3It isn’t often we get a book with a warning. This one comes with two. The first reads: Caution: Rule of Accountability Applied. This is a handmade, movable book requiring the readers to take action to change the text. However, excessively harsh pulling of the pieces–whether in anger or empathy with the contents–will result in permanent damage.

The second: Warning: First Amendment Invoked. Spitz & Pollack’s New Standard and Movable Dictionary, Abridged Edition, is fully protected by copyright and the First Amendment. All persons are warned against infringing on our rights.
spitz dictionary8The Graphic Arts Collection is very lucky to add one of the last copies of this limited edition artists’ book to our library. The offset and digitally printed volume includes eight movables, including wheels, slides, dissolves, and spinners.

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spitz dictionary4Amee J. Pollack and Laurie Spitz have collaborated on many projects but Pollack singled out this dictionary, completed in 2005, as one of her favorites. “Bush was re-elected, and it was quite upsetting to Laurie and me,” she said. “So we created a dictionary with movables and it was a reinterpretation of words for our times.” Manipulate the circle and the word oil becomes spoil; reason becomes treason; and so on.
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Pathé Baby Collection


In the summer of 2008, Professor Rubén Gallo discovered a treasure trove of 800 French silent movies along with the Pathé Baby home movie projector to play them. This morning, nearly seven years later, we finalized the digitization, cataloguing and mounting of these films on the internet for the world to see.

All the title frames have been transcribed and translated, so that the films are key word searchable in English and French. Give it a try:

Many people worked on this project. We must begin by thanking Lynn Shostack and the David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project for their encouragement and generous support. Thanks to grants in both 2009 and 2010, we were able to partner with the Colorlab Preservation Laboratory of Rockville, Maryland, which is one of the few companies in the United States capable of undertaking the arduous process of hand-cleaning, replasticizing, and transferring the 9.5 mm film stock to a digital medium.

Each one minute film was treated individually, and a pause was inserted at a total of 11,067 title frames to give enough time for them to be read. Then, the combined digital files had to be broken up again into each physical reel, to preserve the films in their original length. Finally, the files were converted to a universally readable format that could be played by all browsers.

Over the last few years, Vicki Principi and Ben Johnston have been the primary forces bringing this project to completion, overseeing the transcription, translating, and cataloguing of each reel. A website was designed so that all this data can be searchable by viewers around the world. In addition, a number of Princeton University students worked on this project, including Ghita Guessous, Oren Lurie, Christopher McElwain, Iriane Narcisse, Christian Perry, and Mengyi Xu.

Please join me in congratulating them on their great work. Now, enjoy the movies.




Daguerre’s Diorama

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Seventeen years before Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (1759-1851) perfected the capture of images on a silver-coated copper plate (daguerreotypes), he created the Diorama with the help of the architectural painter Charles Marie Bouton (1781-1853). The barn-size building was elaborately constructed to present a life-size painting moving past spectators with constantly changing light effects that gave the illusion of changing times of days, or weather or seasons or other magically moving pictures.

Daguerre’s Diorama opened in Paris during the summer of 1822 and was an immediate success. Within a year, a second auditorium opened in London. Each 30 minute show presented two paintings, usually one outdoor scene and one religion interior.

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Vue du Château d’Eau prise du Boulevard St. Martin. Metz: Nicolas Gengel et Adrien Dembour, 1840. Hand colored wood engraving. Graphic Arts Collection GA2015- in process

vue d'optique daguerre3This vue d’optique or optical view of the Diorama comes from the Metz studio of Adrien Dembour (1799-1887) and his successor Nicolas Gengel, where over 100 workers were employed.

Like the studios nearby in Nancy and Epinal, the Metz shop produced colorful, popular prints of historic sites and urban landmarks. This print is meant to be view with a zograscope.

We are calling this a wood engraving, but Dembour devised a relief etching process around 1834, which he called ecktypography. The relief copper plate was inked and printed the same as a woodblock. It is possible this is a metal relief print.
More articles and images about Daguerre have been collected by R. Derek Wood.


yeats poems

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a first edition of a 1935 selection of William Butler Yeats’ poetry, privately printed by the Cuala Press, 133 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin, for Eleanor Lady Yarrow. Its pages are, as yet, uncut and it is still bound in its original light blue paper wrappers.

Not only is our book one of only 30 copies printed by the poet’s sister, Elizabeth Corbet Yeats (1868-1940) but it is Miss Yeats’ own copy, with her bookplate inside the cover [pictured to the left].

The hand colored frontispiece [seen below] was designed by Dublin artist Victor Brown, a frequent Cuala Press contributor, then heightened with gold. Miss Yeats added hand drawn initials and ornaments throughout the volume.

The collection includes nine W.B. Yeats’ poems: “The Lover Tells of the Rose in his Heart,” “Into the Twilight,” “He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven,” “The Fiddler of Dooney,” “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” “When You are Old,” “A Faery Song,” “The Song of Wandering Aengus,” and “The Pity of Love.”

This book is considered one of the rarest and most desirable of all the Cuala Press books (only one copy is known to have appeared at auction in the past thirty years) and we are thrilled to add it to Princeton University Library’s already extensive Irish collection.

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William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Poems (Dublin: Cuala Press, 1935). One of 30 copies. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2015- in process.

For more on Elizabeth Yeats and the Cuala Press, see the exhibition website:


yeats poems6The Lake Isle of Innisfree
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin built there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine been rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.


Fifteen Engravings Accompanied by a Heroic Crown of Sonnets


Encheiresin Naturae: Fifteen Engravings by Barry Moser Accompanied by a Heroic Crown of Sonnets by Paul Muldoon (Santa Rosa, Ca.: Nawakum Press, 2015). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2015- in process


The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to have acquired Encheiresin Naturae, a collaboration between Barry Moser, Smith College Professor-in-Residence in Art & Printer to the College, and Paul Muldoon, Howard G.B. Clark ’21 University Professor in the Humanities; Director, Princeton Atelier; Professor of Creative Writing; and Chair, Fund for Irish Studies.

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“Fifteen abstract relief engravings were invented and engraved by Moser in his studio in Hatfield, Massachusetts in 2014. They were inspired by the phrase encheiresin naturae taken from reading Goethe’s Faust, referencing an alchemist’s experiments in “manipulating nature.” Muldoon was asked to respond to the images poetically and he chose an advanced form of a crown of sonnets, known as a sonnet redoublé, or heroic crown of sonnets for his tour-de-force response.”–prospectus


Encheirisen Naturae was printed by Art Larson at Horton Tank Graphics directly from the blocks on a Vandercook Universal IV. The paper is mouldmade Zerkall and Twinrocker handmade. Jemma Lewis of Wiltshire, UK, designed and produced the marbled papers. The binding is by Craig Jensen of BookLab II in San Marcos, Texas.


The Clipper Quartette

songerster bookletThe Clipper Quartette Songster: containing the first and only edition of these most elegant singers’ original songs now being sung by them throughout the United States … together with a number of the latest hits … (Pittsburgh, Pa.: American Publishing Company, 1883). Lyrics without music. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2015- in process

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In the fall of 1880, the Detroit Free Press announced, “The four gentlemen who disguise themselves under the title of the Clipper Quartette deserved what they received, round after round of applause and four encores to which they responded. Their Laughing chorus and going to the picnic were especially fine.” The Clipper Quartette was formed by [John] McIntire, Frank T. Ward, Campbell, and Hayward. They were billed as “the only organized vocal Quartette on the stage doing their line of business.”

Later, the Quartette worked for Thatcher, Primrose & West’s Minstrels, now including “sweet-voiced John P. Curran, Frank T. Ward, Al Hart and W. H. White.” By the 1890s, Curran and Ward were the listed as the 2 Clippers, performing as a duo.

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Sing to Me

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owen sing to me1Jan Owen, Sing to Me. Text from the Odyssey by Homer, translated into English by Robert Fagles. [Bangor, Me.: Jan Owen], 1997. 1 volume ([1] folded leaf); 63.5 cm. Gift of Lynne Fagles. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2015- in process

In 1997, Maine artist Jan Owen created a calligraphic artists’ book from a single sheet of folded paper. The text she chose was from Homer’s Odyssey, translated by Robert Fagles (1933-2008), former Arthur Marks ’19 Professor of Comparative Literature Emeritus at Princeton University and renowned translator of Greek classics. By 2003, Ms. Owen had created several others to form a set of three calligraphic foldouts using the words of Homer.

Thanks to the generous gift of Lynne Fagles, the Graphic Arts Collection now holds the first of these unique creations. The book is designed to double as a hanging sculptural, with lettering in gouache on decorated paste papers, painted additions, and gold leaf. Cloth covered portfolio case houses the folded leaf, which is topped with a gold and yellow woven Tyvek circle to complete the design.

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owen sing to me5 The artist writes, “Our age of computer technology is as exciting as when Gutenberg developed the printing press. While digitized information soars through space, I write with pens and brushes. Independent of technology, the power and beauty of words are constant; the depth of thought and leap of metaphor are vital. The complex rhythm of our bodies; our breath and our gestures found in handwritten letters still captivates me.

Hand lettering is the craft of gestural, abstract line becoming letter. The letters combine to make words and a visual conversation begins between writer and reader. I select words that have rhythm and meaning, then letter them into artist books and panels. I want to call attention to words through design and form in an object of beauty.”

The most extensive rolling press manual ever published

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The Graphic Arts collection recently acquired the 1st edition, 1st issue and the 1st edition, 2nd issue of the most extensive rolling press manual ever published:

Berthiau (later Berthiaud) and Pierre Boitard (1789?–1859), Manuels-Roret. Nouveau manuel complet de l’imprimeur en taille-douce. Par MM. Berthiau et Boitard. Ouvrage orné de planches. Enrichi de notes et d’un appendice renfermant tous les nouveaux procédés, les découvertes, méthodes et inventions nouvelles appliquées ou applicables a cet art, par plusieurs imprimeurs de la capital.

The first: Paris: A la Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret rue Hautefeuille, 12 [no date] (Colophon: Toul, imprimerie de Ve Bastien), [1836?].

The second: Paris: A la Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret rue Hautefeuille, No 10 bis (Colophon: Toul, imprimerie de Ve Bastien), 1837.manuel de l'imprimeur5

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Book historian Roger Gaskell has done an exdended description of these volumes and with his permission, I will repeat it here for the benefit of others.

The first edition, first issue has the half-title is headed Encyclopédie-Roret and has an Avis on the verso with authenticating facsimile signature; the titlepage is undated, headed Manuels-Roret and Berthiau is so spelled. Copies with this state of the half-title and title were re-issued with advertisements dated 1880 and 1885.

In the second issue the first bifolium is re-set, and among other differences there is no mention of the Manuels Roret, the verso of the half-title is blank, the titlepage is dated 1837, and the author spelled Berthiaud. Bigmore and Wyman I, p. 52; Stijnman 029.1, both describing the issue dated 1837.

This is the most extensive rolling press manual ever published and the first original manual since Bosse (1645). Pierre Boitard explains in his Avertis-sement that he took the part of an editor for material supplied by Berthiau, an experienced copper-plate printer. Both wooden and iron presses are described and illustrated, making this the first published account of the iron rolling-press and its operation.

It is the first manual to discuss the use of intaglio illustrations in printed books. Berthiau travelled to England to investigate copper-plate printing in London, where plates for books were apparently much better printed than in Paris.manuel de l'imprimeur6Boitard attributes this to the higher price of books in London. In his long Appendice de l’éditeur, he makes proposals for the improvements in the economy of copper-plate printing. Many of the Manuels Roret were first published as Manuels with revised editions as Nouveu Manuels, but there seems to have been no earlier edition of this manual.

This issue, which I take to be the first, is undated but Boitard says that Bosse’s Traité was published 193 years ago in 1643, giving a date of 1836 (actually the Traité was published in 1645; Boitard repeats his error on the following page).manuel de l'imprimeur3

The priority of this undated issue seems to be confirmed by the fact that the author’s name is here consistently spelled Berthiau (on the titlepage and on pp. 4 and 5) while in the 1837 dated issue it is Berthiaud on the titlepage but unchanged in the text which is printed from the same setting of type (presumably from stereotype plates).

If the OCLC holdings are to be believed, this original issue is much rarer than the later issues, with copies at the V&A and University of Virginia only; compared with 8 copies in North America of the 1837 issue and 4 undated but with 1880 advertisements.

In the first edition, second issue, the first bifolium is re-set, omitting any mention of the Manuels Roret. The verso of the half-title is blank, the titlepage is dated 1837 and the author spelled Berthiaud. (In the first issue the half-title is headed Encyclopédie-Roret and has an Avis on the verso with authenticating facsimile signature; the titlepage is undated, headed Manuels-Roret and Berthiau is so spelled – see above). Bigmore and Wyman I, p. 52; Stijnman 029.1, both describing this issue.

In this issue the relationship between author, Berthiaud, and editor, Boitard, is spelled out on the titlepage and plusieurs imprimeurs de la capitale whose improvements are reported are now identified as, MM Finot, Pointot and Rémond and other printers of the capital.

This copy belonged to a practicing copper-plate printer. Adolfo Ruperez was the leading printer of artists’ prints in Spain in the first half of the twentieth century; he learned his craft in Paris. OCLC locates copies of this issue at Getty, LC, Newberry, University of Illinois, Brandeis, Columbia, Harvard and NYPL.manuel de l'imprimeur7

Jamaica Rebellion broadside

gordon and eyre broadsideIn 1976, the Bank of Jamaica issued a new $10 note featuring George William Gordon (1820-1865) on the bill. Gordon, who was hanged following the October 11, 1865 insurrection known as the Morant Bay Rebellion, was finally being recognized as a patriot and a national hero.

Many appreciated his work at the time. On December 26, 1865 The New York Daily Tribune ran the headline “George William Gordon, the Jamaica Martyr.” The article began, “In the person of the late George William Gordon, Jamaica has just added another name to the list of those who have sealed their devotion to liberty with their lives; another victim to the accursed spirit of negro Slavery.”

Gordon was the son of a Scottish plantation owner and one of his slaves. The self-educated businessman joined the Jamaica House of Assembly and became an advocate for social reform in Jamaica. Although not directly involved in the Morant Bay events, Gordon was arrested and convicted of inciting the riot. He was hanged on October 23 of that year.

Edward John Eyre (1815-1901) was an English land owner and the Governor of Jamaica who called for Gordon’s arrest. Eyre was himself later tried for his part in the rebellion and subsequent murders.

This enormous broadside, 139 x 109 cm (4’ 7” x 3’ 7”) denouncing Eyre was issued in 1866 by the Committee of the British and Foreign anti-Slavery Society and printed in Birmingham, England, by E.C. Osborne. It reads:

“Gordon and Eyre. The committee of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society have received the following communication from Jamaica. “In a dispatch from Mr. Eyre to Mr. Cardwell, dated January, 1866, the following paragraph appears. ‘It is also well known out here, that Mr. Gordon was universally regarded as a bad man in very sense of the word. Reported to be grossly immoral and an adulterer, a liar, a swindler, dishonest, cruel, vindictive, and a hypocrite; such are the term applied to the late G. W. Gordon, and I believe abundant proof might be adduced of all these traits.’ We the undersigned having resided in the island for many years, and having had very considerable opportunities of knowing and forming an estimate of the late Mr. Gordon’s character in his various relations in life, do hereby protest against the foregoing allegations as made by Mr. Eyre, and declare them to be utterly without foundation …” [followed by the names and residences of 12 respectable citizens of Jamaica].

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This is the only recorded copy of the broadside in the United States. For a photographic record of the Jamaica rebellion, see:

Thomas Nast’s Passport

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Passport no.7365 belonging to Thomas Nast (1840-1902), 17 x 10 ½”, signed by G[eorge] M. Dallas, and issued to “Monsieur Thomas Nast” by the “Légation des Etas Unis d’Amérique”, granting him permission to travel “allant en France et partout le Continent.” London, 17 May 1860. Graphic Arts Collection GA2015- in process

The American artist Thomas Nast was nineteen years old when he was issued this passport, signed by former United States Senator and former Vice-President, George M. Dallas (1792-1864), then serving as Minister to the Court of St. James. At that time, passports included a physical description of the passport holder since no photograph was yet attached. Nast is described as a diminutive lad, 5’5” tall, with a round body, a round face, brown eyes, small chin, straight nose, brown complexion, and black hair.

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Our thanks go to the antiquarian dealer Rusty Mott, who somehow read through the entire document, which is covered with stamps and signatures on both sides. Mott records authorizations for travel to Great Britain, France, Germany, and Italy, including stops in London, Genoa, Turin, Florence, Naples, Palermo, Rome, and Trapani, Sicily. Besides Dallas, the American officials represented by their signatures and stamps include Alexander Hammett of Maryland, who for 52 years, from 1809 to 1861, represented the United States in Naples; W. L. Patterson, American consul at Genoa; and Henry H. Barstow (1823-1875), at Palermo.

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thomas nast passport
In 1859, Nast was hired by the New York Illustrated News but this passport was issued on 17 May 1860 so he could travel to Sicily representing The Illustrated London News and report on Giuseppe Garaibaldi’s military campaign to unify Italy. Mott notes that “Nast had not been paid by his employer, and had no money to make his Italian trip until Heenan, the American pugilist, lent him the necessary funds. Nast followed Garibaldi from Sicily to Naples, right through the battle of Volturno, October 1-2, and his articles and illustrations covering the war captured the American imagination.”

“He left Italy on Friday, November 30, 1860, making his way north to Germany, with stops in Florence, Milan, Genoa, on through Switzerland, to his boyhood home in Bavaria (hence the November and December authorizations), then back to London. He sailed for New York on January 19, 1861.”

For the Graphic Arts Collection of Thomas Nast prints and drawings, see