Category Archives: Acquisitions

new acquisitions

Checking the provenance of John Foster’s 1670 woodcut

Have you checked to bottom of your sewing basket recently for rare prints?

For many years, an impression of the first woodcut portrait printed in colonial America laid in the bottom of the work-basket of Sarah Catherine Mather (1840-1924) before it was discovered. The rare print was passed down to her nephew Frank Jewett Mather Jr. (1868-1953), former art history profession at Princeton University and a direct descendant of the subject of the print, Reverend Richard Mather (1596-1669). In 1957, the woodcut was given to the Princeton University Library, in memory of Frank Jewett Mather, Jr., by his wife, son, Frank Jewett Mather III, and daughter, Mrs. Louis A. Turner.


Sinclair Hamilton wrote,

“This cut is not only the first woodcut portrait produced in what is now the United States, it is also our first portrait print. Indeed, it is the first print of any significance to be made in this country, in any medium or of any kind, and may be said to mark the beginning of engraving, using that word broadly to embrace all types of cuts, in North America. … It is further reported by a good friend of his that, when the cut finally came into [Frank Mather’s] possession, he hung it near the front door so that, in case of fire, it would be the first object to be rescued, even before his Giorgione painting, which, a gift from him shortly before his death, now hangs in Princeton’s Art Museum”.

There are four other extant impressions from Foster’s woodblock. The first to be given to a public institution was presented in 1807 to the Massachusetts Historical Society by Arthur Maynard Walter, a descendant of Richard Mather.

William Bentley, another descendant of Mather, willed his copy of the print to the American Antiquarian Society, who acquired it in 1819. Green compared this copy with the one at the Massachusetts Historical Society, saying “A similar engraving, in which the two parts fit, is owned by the American Antiquarian Society at Worcester. Evidently this is a later impression from the same block, as the two parts fit; and furthermore, the left arm has been considerably pared off.”

According to Gillett Griffin in his 1959 article in PaGA, “The Harvard copy alone has a satisfactory seventeenth-century provenance. The handwriting of William Adams of Dedham, who died in 1685 and the fact that the print also belonged to his son, Eliphalet Adams of New London, who had it ‘bound in 1701-2’, provide the means of establishing its record.” This copy in the Houghton Library was not purchased individually but found, according to Samuel A. Green, “pre fixed to a copy of Increase Mather’s The Life and Death of That Reverend Man of God, Mr. Richard Mather, Cambridge, 1670, which in turn was bound up with a number of other pamphlets. Except for this one instance, nothing has been recorded which would indicate that the cut was originally intended for use as a frontispiece.” No date of the discovery is given.

In 1935 Tracy William McGregor (1869-1936) acquired the best collection in private hands of books and manuscripts written by or relating to the Mathers. Formed by William Gwinn Mather of Cleveland, Ohio, the collection numbered over 2,100 items, including John Foster’s woodcut of Richard Mather. Three years later, the trustees of the McGregor Fund donated the collection to the University of Virginia, beautifully housed today in the Tracy W. McGregor Library of American History.

Circle of Giorgione, Infant Paris Abandoned on Mount Ida, ca. 1510. Oil on wood panel. Gift of Frank Jewett Mather Jr., y1948-65

Illustrious Providences and Other 1684 Stories

Increase Mather (1639-1723), An essay for the recording of illustrious providences: wherein, an account is given of many remarkable and very memorable events, which have happened in this last age; especially in New-England. By Increase Mather, teacher of a church at Boston in New-England (Boston in New-England: Printed by Samuel Green for Joseph Browning and are to be sold at his shop …, 1684). William H. Scheide Library 100.9. Reproduction here from the University of Michigan’s copy.

This collection of spellbinding and miraculous stories was published in 1684 by Increase Mather (1639-1723) under the title: An essay for the recording of illustrious providences: wherein, an account is given of many remarkable and very memorable events, which have happened in this last age; especially in New-England. Several digital copies are available, highly recommended as bedtime reading. The stories include shipwrecks, witches and demons, pirates, earthquakes, and many other miraculous events. Here is one (images added here not in the book):

In the Year 1616. A Fleming whose name was Pickman, coming from Norway in a Vessel loaden with Boards, was overtaken by a Calm, during which the Current carried him upon a Rock or little Island towards the extremities of Scotland To avoid a Wreck he commanded some of his Men to go into the Shallop, and to Tow the Ship. They having done so, would needs go up into a certain Rock to look for Birds Eggs: But as soon as they were got up into it, they at some distance perceived a Man, whence they imagined that there were others lurking thereabouts, and that this man had made his escape thither from some Pyrates, who, if not prevented, might surprize their Ship: and therefore they made all the hast they could to their Shallop, and so returned to their Ship. But the Calm continuing, and the Current of the Sea still driving them upon the Island, they were forced to get into the Long-boat, and to Tow her off again. The Man whom they had seen before-was in the meantime come to the brink of the Island, and made signs with his hands lifted up, and sometimes falling on his knees, and joyning his hands together, begging and crying to them for relief.

At first they made some difficulty to get to him, but at last, being overcome by his lamentable signs, they went nearer the Island, where they saw something that was more like a Ghost than a living Person; a Body stark naked, black and hairy, a meagre and deformed Countenance, with hollow and distorted eyes; which raised such compassion in them, that they essayed to take him into the Boat: but the Rock was so steepy thereabouts, that it was impossible for them to land: whereupon they went about the Island, and came at last to a flat shore, where they took the Man abroad. They found nothing at all in the Island, neither Grass nor Tree, nor ought else from which a man could procure any subsistence, nor any shelter, but the ruins of a Boat, wherewith he had made a kind of a Hutt, under which he might lie down and shelter himself, against the injuries of Wind and Weather. No sooner were they gotten to the Ship, but there arose a Wind, that drave them off from the Island: observing this Providence, they were the more inquisitive to know of this Man, what he was, and by what means he came unto that uninhabitable place?

Hereunto the Man Answered;
I am an English Man, that about a Year ago, was to pass in the Ordinary Passage. Boat from England to Dublin in Ireland; but by the way we were taken by a French Pirate, who being immediately forced by a Tempest, which presently arose, to let our Boat go; we were three of us in it, left to the mercy of the Wind and Waves, which carried us between Ireland and Scotland, into the main Sea: In the mean time we had neither Food nor Drink, but only some Sugar in the Boat; upon this we lived, and drank our own Urine, till our bodies were so dried up, that we could make no more: whereupon one of our Company being quite spent, died; whom we heaved overboard: and a while after a second was grown so feeble, that he had laid himself along in the Boat, ready to give up the Ghost: But in this extremity it pleased God that I kenned this Island afar off, and thereupon encouraged the dying man to rouse up himself, with hopes of life: and accordingly, upon this good news, he raised himself up, and by and by our Boat was cast upon this Island, and split against a Rock.

Now we were in a more wretched condition than if we had been swallowed up by the Sea, for then we had been delivered out of the Extremities we were now in for want of Meat and Drink; yet the Lord was pleased to make some provision for us: for on the Island we took some Sea-mews, which we did eat raw: We found also in the holes of the Rocks, upon the Sea-side, some Eggs; and thus had we through Gods good Providence wherewithal to subsist, as much as would keep as from starving: but what we thought most unsupportable, was thirst, in regard that the place afforded no fresh Water but what fell from the Clouds, and was left in certain Pits, which time had made in the Rock. Neither could we have this at all seasons, by reason that the Rock being small, and lying low, in stormy Weather the Waves dashed over it, and filled the Pits with Salt Water.
When they came first upon the Island about the midst of it, they found two long Stones pitched in the Ground, and a third laid upon them, like a Table; which they judged to have been so placed by some Fishermen to dry their Fish upon; and under this they lay in the nights, till with some Boards of their Boat, they made a kind of an Hutt to be a shelter for them. In this condition they lived together, for the space of about six Weeks, comforting one another, and finding some ease in their common calamity: till at last one of them being left alone, the burden became almost insupportable: For one day, awaking in the Morning he missed his Fellow, and getting up, he went calling and seeking all the island about for him, but when he could by no means find him, he fell into such despair, that he often resolved to have cast, himself down into the Sea, and so to put a final Period to that affliction, whereof he had endured but the one half, whilst he had a Friend that divided it with him. What became of his Comrade he could not guess, whether despair forced him to that extremity, or whether getting up in the night, not fully awake, he fell from the Rock, as he was looking for Birds Eggs: for he had discovered no distraction in him, neither could imagine that he could on a sudden fall into that despair, against which he had so fortified himself by frequent and fervent Prayer. And his loss did so affect the Surviver, that he often took his beer, with a purpose to have leaped from the Rocks into the Sea, yet still his Conscience stopped him, suggesting to him, that if he did it, he would be utterly damned for his self-Murther.

Another Affliction also befel him, which was this; his only Knife wherewith he cut up the Sea-Dogs and Sea-Mews, having a bloody cloth about it, was carried away (as he thought) by some fowl of Prey; so that, not being able to kill any more, he was reduced to this extremity, with much difficulty to get out of the Boards of his Hutt, a great Nail, which he made shift so to sharpen upon the Stones, that it served him instead of a Knife. When Winter came on, he endured the greatest misery imaginable: for many times the Rock and his Hutt were so covered with Snow, that it was not possible for him to go abroad to provide his Food; which extremity put him upon this Invention: he put out a little stick at the crevice of his Hutt, and baiting it with a little Sea-Dogs fat, by that means he got some Sea-Mews, which he took with his hand from under the Snow, and so kept himself from starving. In this sad and solitary condition, he lived for about eleven Months, expecting therein to end his dayes, Gods gracious providence sent this Ship thither, which delivered him out of the greatest misery that ever man was in. The Master of the Ship commiserating his deplorable condition, treated him so well, that within a few dayes he was quite another creature; and afterwards he set him a shore at Derry in Ireland; and sometimes after he saw him at Dublin: where such as heard what had hapned unto him, gave him Money, wherewithal to return into his Native Countrey of England. —

Writing for the Guardian, William Skidelsky listed his favorite books with vivid accounts of being marooned in literature:

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (1719)
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Coleridge (1798)
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss (1812)
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (1939)
Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954)
Concrete Island by JG Ballard (1974)
Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2002)
The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (2009)
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (2010)


Note, the book is listed as available at Walmart:

Bard of the Barges, Garbageman Poet

John Herman Kepecs (May 20, 1897-December 21, 1981) arrived in the United States in 1922 from Pécs, Hungary. The trained sailor found work with the New York City Department of Sanitation first as a Captain on a garbage scow and eventually Deputy Inspector of the entire fleet. He also wrote poetry under the pen name John Cabbage, chosen because his Hungarian name sounded like ‘cabbage’ when New Yorkers tried to pronounce it.


“Garbage Scow Sailor Bursts Out Into Verse” announced the New York Sun March 13, 1932:

Meet John Cabbage, garbage scow sailor and poet, author of more than 1,000 verses and of a new volume, just published called “8 Bells.” Mr. Cabbage goes down to the sea in the scows that bury New York’s waste beneath the clean waters of the Atlantic. When that task is accomplished, Mr. Cabbage sits on the stern with ruled notepaper and a pencil, and meditates upon life. One of his effusions goes like this: Mr. Cabbage’s most persistent resolution is to save enough money to fit out a schooner and go to the south seas where he can sit on a beach instead of a scow, and listen to the wild waves. The sailor-poet’s latest book is dedicated “to ships and shipmates who rest in the deep, and woman whose love I could not keep.”

Three volumes of Cabbage’s poetry were printed and published by the Greenwich Village bohemian Lew Ney (Luther E. Widen, 1886-1963) at his Parnassus press on 15th Street (later Brooklyn Heights) including 8 Bells (1932); Down the Dock (1937); and Time and Tide (1938). Lew Ney was the first to draw national attention to Cabbage in 1927 through his weekly column “Greenwich Village As IZ” in Variety, proclaiming that Cabbage would be internationally famous in twenty years.

Cabbage was an original member of the Raven Poetry Circle when it was formed in May 1933 (see the film Joe Gould’s Secret for a typical meeting). The group is remembered for their annual spring exhibition of handwritten poems mounted to the fence around Washington Square Park and Cabbage was often highlighted because of his unusual occupation. “Mere rhymers, wise-cracking doggereleers and other nuts are positively not welcome, and our only word to them is ‘Scram!'”

On the left, we see Cabbage with his work against the Judson Church building across from the park. His poems also appeared in the Raven Anthology 1933-1947, a quarterly magazine of members. “Poets of Village Get Day in the Sun,” announced the New York Times May 22, 1933:

Beneath a benign, approving sun the poets of Greenwich village flooded into a half-block of Washington square south yesterday, tacked their work upon a board fence and invited the passing public to read and buy. A good deal of reading and some buying was in progress until the sun disappeared. It was the beginning of poetry week, and it probably will go down in the village’s history, if and when written, as the first sidewalk poetry show.

From its beggining, Chumley’s restaurant, a Greenwich Village icon, featured book jackets for publications by local authors. They describe the series: “The authors ranged from Theodore Dreiser to John Cabbage, the poet of the garbage scow.”

In 1937, possibly inspired by Francis Alexander Durivage’s novel Mike Martin or, The last of the highwaymen. A romance of reality (1845), Cabbage traveled to California to sell his novel, also titled “Mike Martin” to Hollywood. The press loved the story of a garbage poet hoping for fame in the movies and the story appeared in newspapers across the country.

“John Cabbage the ‘Bard of the Barges’ today offered to sell the movies a story that reaches its climax with the boy and girl honeymooning on a garbage scow. Cabbage, deputy inspector of the department of sanitation dumps in New York, is on 90 days leave from his job of supervising the loading of the garbage fleet.

“Mike Martin” that’s the novel he is peddling to movie producers –is his third volume. He published two books of verse. Let the other poets write of lilies of the valley. Cabbage born John Koppecs 38 years ago in Hungary, take his themes from a discarded top hat, banana peels, coffee ground, an old dance slipper. He imagines perhaps the hat and slipper danced together. ‘Go’ he says ‘go get your song where life and love are cheap. I shall wait till they reach the heap.”


“You may not believe it, but his name is John Cabbage. He works on a garbage scow—and writes poetry. John is ‘captain’ of Scow F of the Street Cleaning department of the city of New York He likes his unlovely but necessary job because it provides him with more leisure and privacy to write than he used to experience on freighters. Every afternoon at a time which varies according to the tide John makes his scow shipshape at the city dump in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge. …The trip is a long, slow one. When darkness comes a blog of light appears on the end of each scow and three highpoints glow in the shape of a cross on the tug ahead. If the water is rough when the open ocean is reached there may be hard work in keeping the tow intact. Otherwise there is little to do but watch the receding harbor “with a thousand little stars abreast” as John puts it.– “Men, Things, and Places: In the Mud and Scum of Things” The New York Sun, February 21, 1930.


The never realized Litho-Graphic Arts Industrial Center

On September 30, 1962, a letter from President John F. Kennedy appeared in the New York Times. He wrote “Your two great New York ALA building projects, Litho Central City and Litho-Graphic Arts Industrial Center, are concepts which express my own philosophy that urban redevelopment must be motivated out of respect for the essential values of human betterment—education, art and brotherhood. I congratulate you, Eddie Swayduck, as president of a great union that is recognizing its responsibilities to the social community.”

Mayor Robert F. Wagner added “I congratulate your organization on its wonderful history of public service, Eddie. You can count on my enthusiastic cooperation in the development of the exciting building project, Litho Central City, sponsored by ALA Local I, and the proposed Litho-Graphic Arts Industrial Center.”

The Wall Street Journal commented “This is a union that not only accepts labor-saving devices but actually pours funds into promoting their use. This magnificent dream is actually coming true in the lithographic industry”


The 28-page special supplement was published in the New York Times by ALA Local 1, the labor union of the Amalgamated Lithographers of America to promote the building of two enormous complexes in Manhattan: “The litho-graphic art center of the world and scene of a great renaissance in the graphic arts.” Bold letters proclaimed “Art Is Not an End In Itself, But a Means of Addressing Humanity.” ‎  Following an extended history of lithography, page 24 notes, “Today, Litho Central City, now in the advanced stages of planning–and the proposed Litho-Graphic Arts Industrial Center …–are potent evidence of the power for progress that can be generated by a far-thinking craft union in a great industry.”

Scheduled for completion in 1967, neither the Litho Central City or the Litho-Graphic Arts Industrial Center were built. Instead the property at Pier 25 was used for Borough of Manhattan Community College and the Westside lots became the Jacob Javits Center. Project designer Paul Rudolph’s webpage continues to note:

“The proposals for the Graphic Arts Center are based on the concept of the megastructure, or the idea that many functions can be served in a single large building complex. In this case there are facilities for industry (lithography, legal and financial printers); office space; 4,000 apartments of varying kinds; elementary schools, kindergartens; play spaces at grade, as well as on platforms in the sky; community center; restaurants; commercial shopping; gardens and recreational space; and parking-trucking access incorporating portions of the West Side Highway. In other words, it is a city within a city. The idea of a megastructure is different from the idea of building an apartment house, industrial and office space, schools and restaurants. Rather, it is the intent to build all of these multiple functions in one complex.

This special section is not available from the New York Times digital site or from Proquest, except for the single page 2 with a letter from Edward Swayduck, ALA local 1 president, who wrote “Today we’re at the beginning of a great renaissance in the graphic arts. Business management can now tap the entire treasury of classic art or commission the finest work of living artists, photographers and designers, with a finally developed process which can bring to millions all the world’s beautify and richness with an economy only dreamed of a short lifetime ago. It’s a New York story. And I think you’ll find it interesting … and perhaps profitable!”

The majority of the NYTimes supplement provides a history of lithography “from the Stone Age of art to the Space Age of communications…” along with a history of the ALA union.  It seems a beer and crabcake outing of the Romar Fishing Club was held on Sunday April 23, 1882. The Club’s five members were lithographers by trade and that afternoon their fishing club became “the first craft union in a hungry but hopeful new industry.” The Amalgamated Lithographers of America (ALA) posts a timeline of its labor union that begins:

April 1882: Romar Fishing Club is organized.
June 10, 1882: Romar Fishing Club becomes Hudson Assembly 1971, which was part of the Knights of Labor.
1886: First general lithographers’ strike to reduce the workweek to 54 hours. Romar Fishing Club becomes the Hudson Lithographic Association and then develops into the Lithographers’ International Protective and Benevolent Association (LIP&BA). Withdrawal from Knights of Labor.
1892: Organization of the Artists, Engravers and Designers League.
1906: General strike for the 48-hour/6-day workweek. (The strike was so successful that by
1912: The Artists, Engravers and Designers League develops into the International Union of Lithographic Workmen.
1915: Amalgamated Lithographers of America is formed.
…1958: ALA withdraws from the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
Labor Day 1964: the Amalgamated Lithographers of America merges with the International Photoengravers Union (IPEU; founded in 1900) to form the new Lithographers and Photoengravers International Union (LPIU). Membership total reaches 60,000.

Swayduck later published Lithopinion, the journal of ALA local 1 from 1965 to 1975. There is a run in Firestone Library: Oversize NE2250 .A414q and Graphic Arts Collection Oversize 2006-0364Q (1975 only),See also: and




If you have to write, write with a pencil.

**This is very bloody**


How to improve the world (you will only make matters worse)

Five hours of John Cage reading from his Diary: How to Improve the World (You will Only Make Matters Worse) are posted at UbuWeb, Sound: “Recorded June 22-24, 1991 at Powerplay Recording Studios, Maur, Switzerland. During the recording in the studio each change of typography in the printed text of the “Diary” corresponded to a change in the stereophonic position and a simultaneous change in the volume of John Cage’s voice.”

In 1990, John Cage (1912-1992) wrote an autobiographical statement that ran several pages in length. Here is a section that concerns his Diary:

“In the sixties the publication of both my music and my writings began. Whatever I do in the society is made available for use. An experience I had in Hawaii turned my attention to the work of Buckminster Fuller and the work of Marshall McLuhan. Above the tunnel that connects the southern part of Oahu with the northern there are crenellations at the top of the mountain range as on a medieval castle. When I asked about them, I was told they had been used for self protection while shooting poisoned arrows on the enemy below. Now both sides share the same utilities. Little more than a hundred years ago the island was a battlefield divided by a mountain range. Fuller’s world map shows that we live on a single island. Global Village (McLuhan), Spaceship Earth (Fuller). Make an equation between human needs and world resources (Fuller). I began my Diary: How to Improve the World: You Will Only Make Matters Worse. Mother said, “How dare you!

I don’t know when it began. But at Edwin Denby’s loft on 21st Street, not at the time but about the place, I wrote my first mesostic. It was a regular paragraph with the letters of his name capitalized. Since then I have written them as poems, the capitals going down the middle, to celebrate whatever, to support whatever, to fulfill requests, to initiate my thinking or my nonthinking (Themes and Variations is the first of a series of mesostic works: to find a way of writing that, though coming from ideas, is not about them but produces them). I have found a variety of ways of writing mesostics: Writings through a source: Rengas (a mix of a plurality of source mesostics), autokus, mesostics limited to the words of the mesostic itself, and “globally,” letting the words come from here and there through chance operations in a source text.”

The first installment of his Diary appeared in Clark Coolidge’s magazine Joglars 1, no. 3 (1966) p. 61-68 (Online and RCPXR-8000253) and reprinted in Aspen magazine the following year. The second installment was published in the Paris Review 11, issue 40 (Winter/Spring 1967): 52-68 (online and recap AP4 .P375). All were printed with black type on white paper using only one font regular, bold, and italic. When the text appear in its own publication in the Great Bear Pamphlet series Cage added additional fonts and colors. These three were republished in A Year from Monday (1967) as installment four and so on, through nine differing installments. Here are pdf files of three versions: cage5, cage2, cage

Paris Review added a preface: “This article presents a piece of writing by John Cage titled “Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)” which consists of seventeen pages filled with seemingly unrelated sentences strung together in a variety of typefaces. Topics mentioned include chess, aquariums, rock and roll radio, conscientious objectors, bodhisattvas, eugenics, clams, marijuana, Abraham Lincoln, “Love’s Body,” cacti, mushrooms, drugs, garbage cans, LSD, the gold standard, Marcel Duchamp, cows and television.”

The most recent installment from Siglio Press in 2019 is an expanded paperback edition reproducing the 2015 hardcover edition of Parts I-VIII along with previously unpublished material from Cage’s incomplete Part IX. Holland Cotter reviewed the new edition for the New York Times stating, “Over sixteen years, beginning in 1965, John Cage compiled anecdotes, observations and koanlike tales, originally typing everything on an IBM Selectric and using chance methods to determine the formatting of texts that twist down each page. The Siglio [hardcover] edition preserves the graphic effects, but, more important, it gives a sense of the company he kept during these years—Marcel Duchamp, R. Buckminster Fuiller, D.T. Suzuki—and of his passionate feeling about a world locked in a state of perpetual warfare. Cage has a reputation for being a Zen-inspired wit. He was also much more, an intensely engaged moral thinker.”

John Cage (1912-1992), Diary: how to improve the world (you will only make matters worse) Continued, part three, 1967 (W. Glover, Vt.: Something Else Press, 1967). Graphic Arts Collection 2006-1991N and recap-92727500. Gift of James Welling, 2019.

Karl Ove Knausgård’s new book scheduled for 2114

Future Library: A Century Unfolds from Katie Paterson on Vimeo. Suggestion, play this as large as possible, it is gorgeous.

Karl Ove Knausgård’s new book is scheduled to come to Princeton University Library in 2114. This isn’t a new type of quarantine or social distancing. The novelist is the 2020 author for the Future Library, of which Princeton is a member. As announced last fall 2019, he is to become the sixth contributor to the Future Library, which collects works by contemporary authors that will remain unread until 2114.

“A forest in Norway is growing. In 100 years it will become an anthology of books. Every year a writer is contributing a text that will be held in trust, unpublished, until the year 2114. The texts will be printed on paper made from the trees, only to be read a century from now.

A new film [above] documenting Future Library’s journey so far was commissioned for Katie Paterson’s solo exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. Due to the early closure of this exhibition, we are very pleased to share this with you.”

Knausgård will hand over his new manuscript for Future Library on Saturday September 5th 2020. The event was due to take place on May 23rd 2020 but has been shifted to accommodate for current important health concerns relating to the Covid-19 virus. We are all invited to attend, direction are on their website.

“It’s such a brilliant idea,” Knausgård writes, “I very much like the thought that you will have readers who are still not born – it’s like sending a little ship from our time to them. I like that it will be opened in 100 years and I like the slowness of the forest growing, that everything is connected. It’s such a wonderful green artwork.”–Karl Ove Knausgård

Conceived by Katie Paterson, Future Library is commissioned and produced by Bjørvika Utvikling, and managed by the Future Library Trust. Supported by the City of Oslo, Agency for Cultural Affairs and Agency for Urban Environment. Currently the project consists of 1,000 spruce trees that were planted in Oslo’s Nordmarka forest in 2014. After a century, they will be cut down and turned into paper. Until then, each of the 100 manuscripts will be held in a specially designed, wood-lined room [below] in Oslo’s Deichman central library.

Future Library Handover Day with David Mitchell, 2016 from Katie Paterson on Vimeo.

Last Portraits

Charles Mottram (1817-1876) after Joseph Ames (1816-1872), The Last Days of Webster at Marshfield: to the Family and Friends of the Late Daniel Webster, This Plate Representing a Scene During His Last Days at Marshfield, Is Most Respectfully Dedicated by the Publishers, 1858. Etching and engraving. Published by Smith & Parmalee, 59 Beekman Street, New York, NY.


In 2002, the Musée d’Orsay held an exhibition of Last Portraits. “The purpose of the exhibition is to evoke a practice of the past: portraying a deceased person, on their deathbed or in their coffin. This ‘last portrait’ – death mask, painting, drawing or photograph – remained in the narrow circle of relatives and friends, but, in the case of famous personalities, it could be widely circulated in public. This practice, extremely common in Western countries in the nineteenth century and until the first half of the twentieth century, is today fast disappearing, or at least it remains strictly within the boundaries of the private sphere.”

The last portrait of Daniel Webster (1782-1852), a Whig senator from Massachusetts, was not included in their show but was the subject of a recent reference question. Webster, who Sydney Smith once called “a steam-engine in trousers,” died at his home in Marshfield in 1852 after falling off his horse.

Who are the others in this scene? Joseph Alexander Ames (1816-1872); Daniel Webster (1782-1852); Charles Henry Thomas; Jacob Le Roy; Edward Curtis; Caroline Bayard Le Roy Webster (1797-1882); Mrs. James Paige; James W. Paige; George Ashmun (1804-1870); Rufus Choate (1799-1859); Peter Harvey (1810-1879); Col. Fletcher Webster, 1819-1862; Caroline L. Appleton; Daniel Webster, Jr.; Mrs. Fletcher Webster; Caroline Webster (1845-1884); J. Mason Warren; Unidentified Woman; John Taylor; Porter Wright.

“The whole household were now again in the room, calmly awaiting the moment when he would be released from pain. …It was past midnight, when, awaking from one of the slumbers that he had at intervals, he seemed not to know whether he had not already passed from his earthly existence. He made a strong effort to ascertain what the consciousness that he could still perceive actually was, and then uttered those well-known words, “I still live!” as if he had satisfied himself of the fact that he was striving to know. They were his last coherent utterance. …At twenty-three minutes before three o’clock, his breathing ceased; the features settled into a superb repose; and Dr. Jeffries, who still held the pulse, after waiting for a few seconds, gently laid down the arm, and, amid a breathless silence, pronounced the single word ‘Dead.’ –“The Death-bed of Daniel Webster,” Appletons’ Journal [Volume 3, Issue 49, Mar 5, 1870; pp. 273-275].

Princeton is fortunate to also hold a life mask [left] of Webster’s face taken in Washington D.C. by Clark Mills (1810-1883) in 1849.

“Clark Mills … developed a new technique for creating life masks that was quicker and cheaper than the existing method and as a result received many commissions for sculptures. In 1847, Mills traveled to Washington to study the statuary in the Capitol. He was selected by Congress to create an equestrian statue of President Andrew Jackson, winning the commission over the artist Hiram Powers. This piece was the first monumental equestrian statue in the country to be cast in bronze….”—Smithsonian American Art Museum

Laurence Hutton wrote “I cannot to this day understand how Clark Mills managed to make moulds from life of the entire head of Webster and of that of Calhoun, each so distinct and so near to nature, without leaving in the casts some traces of the hair they wore. Their faces were smooth shaven, but they were both far from being bald. The occiput must have been carefully and closely covered with something which left no mark; but what that something was I cannot determine. Each cast is signed by the artist and dated — Calhoun’s in 1844, Webster’s in 1849,—and that clearly enough establishes their identity. … both he and Webster—the phrenologists tell us—had unusually large heads; and we need no phrenologists to tell us that there was a good deal in them.” Laurence Hutton, Talks in a library with Laurence Hutton (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1905)

Some of the many other deathbed scenes include:

Junius Brutus Stearns (1810-1885), Washington on his Deathbed, 1851. Oil on canvas. Dayton Art Institute, Ohio.


Jacques Louis David (1748–1825), Death of Socrates, 1787. Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1931


Pierre-Nolasque Bergeret (1782-1863), Honors Rendered to Raphael on His Deathbed, 1806. Oil on canvas. Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, Ohio.


William L. Walton (1796-1872) after Oakley, John Calvin on his deathbed, with members of the Church in attendance, ca. 1865. Lithograph. Wellcome Trust, London.


Artist Unidentified, A Deathbed: a man breathes his last, the devil flies down and grabs his soul (in the form of a baby) from his mouth, 17th century. Engraving, inscription: “L’un de ses lieux sera ta demeure eternelle, Il faut l’un de ces deux te sauver, ou perir, Mourir comme un chrestien, ou comme un infidelle” [loosely translated One of its places will be your eternal home, One of these two must save you, or perish, Die like a Christian, or like an infidel]. Wellcome Trust, London.


Alexander Hay Ritchie (1822-1895), Death of Lincoln, ca. 1874. Mezzotint. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2008.01243


Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827) after Richard Newton (1777-1798), Giving up the ghost or one too many, ca.1813. Hand colored etching. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2014.00260.
A dying man lies on a miserable bed. A fat doctor sits asleep at the bedside. Beside him are the words:
“I purge I bleed I sweat em
Then if they Die I Lets em”

Interpretive fine binding in cast paper by Daniel E. Kelm

Thistles and Thorns: Abraham and Sarah at Bethel: [poem] by Paul Smyth; with wood engravings by Barry Moser (Omaha: Abattoir Editions, University of Nebraska at Omaha; printed by Harry Duncan, 1977). One of 5 copies bound by Dan Kelm in chestnut morocco, upper cover onlaid with a molded, relief portrait of Abraham; housed in a tray case which acts as a frame for the binding cover; tipped in note signed by binder. Recap GAX 33945740

It is hard to know where to begin when describing Thistles and Thorns, with text by the Massachusetts poet Paul Smyth (1944-2006) and wood engravings by Tennessee-born Barry Moser, printed by Harry Duncan (1916-1997) at his Omaha fine press, Abattoir Editions. Each are distinguished artisans in their own fields.

The Graphic Arts Collection holds one of only five copies of the book bound in a remarkable structure designed and constructed by Daniel E. Kelm, beginning with the cover image after a Moser wood engraving of Abraham, cast in paper from a clay relief by Elizabeth Solomon. The volume is housed in custom folding cloth box with paper spine label, simple on the outside and extraordinary when it is opened. This video shows Kelm demonstrating a few bindings on May 29, 2015 at Wide Awake Garage in Northampton, MA. This clip should begin with Thistles and Thorns, but it is worth watching the whole interview.

“Daniel E. Kelm is a book artist who enjoys expanding the concept of the book. He is known for his innovative structures as well as his traditional work. His expression as an artist emerges from the integration of work in science and the arts. Alchemy is a common theme in his book work. Before Daniel began his career in the book arts he received formal training in chemistry and taught at the University of Minnesota. He is known for his extensive knowledge of materials.
switched to an electric model.” =

Princeton University Library is fortunate to have nine fine press books bound by Daniel Kelm:

Claire Owen, Gabriel’s family (Philadelphia: Turtle Island Press, 1992). Graphic Arts Collection Z232.T87 O93
“Claire Owen wrote the story and etched the plates … The design … was a collaboration between Owen and Daniel Tucker. The book was set in Baskerville type, with Centaur used for the titles … The type and the plates were printed letterpress by Arthur Larson at Horton Tank Graphics. The binding in Chieftan leather was designed by Daniel Tucker and completed by Daniel Kelm … at the Wide Awake Garage … fifty-two copies numbered 1/52-52/52 and four Artist’s Proofs signed I/IV-IV/IV.”

An only kid, monoprints by Mikhail Magaril ([New York City]: Kuboaa, 1998). Cotsen Children’s Library, Folios 87784
“Printed in an edition of 18 signed & numbered copies by Russell Maret at Kuboaa, New York City. The text type is Centaur, designed by Bruce Rogers, printed on Rives de Lin paper. Each copy has eleven monoprints & one matrix transfer drawing by Mikhail Magaril. The sewn-board binding was designed & executed by Daniel Kelm, with a leather spine & cover paper hand-made by Timothy Barrett, housed in a drop-spine box made by the printer.”–Colophon.

Ligoranno/Reese, The Corona palimpsest (New York: Granary, 1996). Graphic Arts Collection Oversize Z232.G75 L53q
“‘The Corona palimpsest’ takes its name from the video/book installation made by Ligorano/Reese and which debuted at the Cristinerose Gallery in New York City in October, 1995. The collages come from a variety of sources: newspapers, art history books and magazines. They were printed by Joe Elliot and Anne Noonan at Soho Letterpress. The artists hand painted the book using stencils and paste paper methods. The text paper is 120 gram Arches text laid. The stills are from the video component of the installation, printed offset on Yu-jade … Daniel Kelm bound the edition at the Wide Awake Garage”–Colophon.

Altar book for Górecki: the Symphony of sorrowful songs by Henryk Górecki; lyrics in Polish and English translation (Middletown, CT: Robin Price, Publisher, 1996). Graphic Arts Collection Oversize Z232.P95 A47q
“Inspired by the 1992 recording of Henryk Górecki’s Symphony no. 3 … The bird illustrations are from seventeenth-century copperplate engravings by Francis Willughby. Photographed by John Wareham, the illustrations were digitally adapted and made into polymer plates by Gerald Lange. The woodcut was designed and carved by Keiji Shinohara. Paul Shaw provided calligraphy of the Polish lyrics. The typefaces are Guild Samson uncial & Perpetua, printed onto hand-stained Wahon paper. Daniel Kelm provided consultation on the triptych structure; box design & construction is by Franklin Nichols Woodworking”–Colophon.

Bunny Burson, Hidden in plain sight (St. Louis: Bunny Burson, 2015). Graphic Arts Collection, Q-000120
“Designed and printed at Emdash Studio in St. Louis, by Ken Botnick, and bound by Daniel Kelm at Wide Awake Garage in Easthampton, Massachusetts, in an edition of 27 copies. Issued in a black cloth-covered clamshell case with etchings of the front and back of an envelope attached to the front and back of the case.

Ken Botnick, Diderot project ([St. Louis, Mo.]: Emdash, 2015). Graphic Arts Collection 2015-0147Q
“This edition was completed during the January thaw of 2015 in our print shop in the Pierce Arrow Building, St. Louis, and is the work of Ken Botnick, editor, author, designer, printer and publisher. … The edition is bound by Daniel Kelm at the Wide Awake Garage, Easthampton, Massachusetts … All texts from the Encyclopedia are set in Walbaum Book ..”–Colophon.

Robert Bringhurst, The fragments of Parmenides & an English translation; wood engravings by Richard Wagener (Berkeley [Calif.]: Editions Koch, 2003). Graphic Arts Collection Oversize 2007-0073F
“This edition … was designed by Peter Koch and printed by hand … at Peter Koch Printers …There are 146 copies in all. The wood engravings were printed by the artist … Christopher Stinehour designed the Diogenes Greek in digital format at his stonecutting studio in Berkeley. Dan Carr designed and cut the Parmenides Greek by hand in steel, struck and justified the matrices and cast the type at the Golgonooza Letter Foundry. 120 numbered copies were bound by Peggy Gotthold in quarter leather … Twenty-six copies, lettered A to Z, were bound in full leather by Daniel Kelm.”–Colophon.

Mark Twain, The jumping frog. The private printing [i.e. history] of the “Jumping frog” story : an afterword by Samuel Clemens (Easthampton [Mass.]: Cheloniidae Press, 1985. Graphic Arts Collection L-000028
” … from “Mark Twain’s sketches, new and old, as it was first published in complete form, 1875, the American Publishing Co. … 325 copies of the book were printed by Wild Carrot Letterpress. The fifteen wood engravings were printed … by Harold McGrath.”–Colophon. Bound by Daniel Kelm in full undyed Oasis with onlays of the frog in repose before the jump on the front panel and after the jump on the back panel, with doublures showing the frog in midjump.

Thistles and thorns: Abraham and Sarah at Bethel: [poem] by Paul Smyth; with wood engravings by Barry Moser (Omaha: Abattoir Editions, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 1977. Graphic Arts RECAP-33945740
One of 5 copies bound by Dan Kelm in chestnut morocco, upper cover onlaid with a molded, relief portrait of Abraham; housed in a tray case which acts as a frame for the binding cover; tipped in note signed by binder.



The first and only criminal trial tried by the U.S. Supreme Court

Unidentified photographer, Portrait of the United States Supreme Court, also known as the Fuller Court, ca. 1907. Graphic Arts Collection


A photo of lynching victim Ed Johnson was found recently in the April 7, 1906, edition of The Topeka Daily Herald. (Photo courtesy of Sam Hall, David Moon and Mariann Martin)



In January 1906, a 19 year old carpenter from Chattanooga, Tennessee named Ed Johnson was wrongly convicted of raping a young girl and quickly sentenced to death. He was black, she was white, and the jury was white. There was clear injustice and after hearing the details, United States Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan issued a stay of execution.

Before the Court could hear the appeal, a mob was allowed to break into the jail and drag Johnson to a nearby bridge to be lynched. When the rope broke, guns were pulled and he was shot to death.

At President Theodore Roosevelt’s orders, U.S. Attorney General William Moody sent investigators to Tennessee and on May 28, Moody did something unprecedented, then and now. He filed a petition charging Sheriff Shipp, six deputies and 19 leaders of the lynch mob with contempt of the Supreme Court. The justices unani­mously approved the petition and agreed to retain original ju­risdiction in the matter.



What followed was United States v. Shipp, 203 U.S. 563 (1906), argued February 12 until June 29, 1907. This was the first and only time the Supreme Court tried a criminal trial. Chief Justice Fuller personally read his majority opinion on May 24, 1909, finding Shipp, one of his deputies and four leaders of the mob guilty of contempt. Shipp and two others were ordered to serve 90 days in jail, while the others were sentenced to 60 days, all at the U.S. jail in the District of Columbia. Like his co-defendants, Shipp was released early. Returning to Chattanooga by train on Jan. 30,



An article in the New York Times stated, “The open defiance of the Supreme Court of the Uni­ted States has no parallel in the history of the court. No justice can say what will be done. All, however, agree in saying that the sanctity of the Su­preme Court shall be upheld if the power resides in the court and the government to accomplish such a vindication of the majesty of the law.”

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a studio portrait of the Fuller Court, which oversaw the criminal trial. The photograph was probably early in 1907, since Moody was elected to the court in December 1906. Top row: William Rufus Day (1849-1923), Joseph McKenna (1843-1926), Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841-1935), William Henry Moody (1853-1917). Bottom row: Edward Douglass White Jr. (1845-1921), John Marshall Harlan (1833-1911), Chief Justice Melville Weston Fuller (1833-1910), David Josiah Brewer (1837-1909), and Rufus W. Peckham (1838-1909)




“Ninety-four years after the lynching, in February 2000, Hamilton County Criminal Judge Doug Meyer overturned Johnson’s conviction after hearing arguments that Johnson did not receive a fair trial because of the all-white jury and the judge’s refusal to move the trial from Chattanooga, where there was much publicity about the case.”



Mark Curriden and Leroy Phillps Jr., Contempt of court : the turn-of-the-century lynching that launched 100 years of federalism (New York: Anchor Books, 2001). Recap KF224.J63 C87 2001




Legal experts say that United States v. Shipp and its predecessor case, Tennessee v. Johnson, forever changed the practice of criminal law in the United States. Between them, the cases featured:

    • The first grant of a federal habeas corpus petition by the U.S. Supreme Court in a pending state criminal case.
    • The first stay of execution issued by the full Supreme Court in a state death penalty case that declared the state defendant to be a federal prisoner.
    • The first time in which a black lawyer was lead counsel in a case before the Supreme Court.
    • The first and only time in history that the Supreme Court retained original jurisdiction in a criminal case.
    • The first criticism of state elected officials and courts by the Supreme Court for conducting criminal trials under the influence of the threat of mob rule, thus denying a defendant the right to a fair trial and undermining the rule of law.