Category Archives: Acquisitions

new acquisitions

Japanese Circus Acrobats

A colorful Japanese toy print turned up unexpectedly this week. Publication information at the lower right tells us the artist of the nine vignettes was Nomura Yoshikuni and that it was published by Shichihōdō (or Shippōdō) in Kyoto, a firm that often published materials related to Kabuki theater. Nomura Yoshimitsu (Yoshikuni III) 1855-1903 was the grandson of Utagawa Yoshikuni I, who was a pupil of Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861).

The acrobats are called street performers, known for accomplishing these feats out-of-doors and so, Yoshimitsu sets these views in natural landscapes. No other copy of the print has been found in an American collection.

Nomura Yoshimitsu (Yoshikuni III, 1855-1903), Untitled [Japanese circus acrobats].  Kyōto, Japan: Shichihōdō, ca. 1890. Color woodblock print. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process.

Harper & Brothers before they left Franklin Square

“When Harper & Brothers occupied its new publishing complex at Franklin Square in the summer of 1855,” writes Carol Gayle, “it was a model plant equipped with the latest types of rapid printing presses and using modern methods in every department. But in 1878 the Third Avenue elevated railroad was built. Its tracks ran along Pearl Street about 12 feet (4m) from the big windows of the editorial and sales departments.”

“The clatter and smoke from the trains distracted editors and visitors and disrupted meetings. A decade and a half later, what with economic upheavals and banking crises, and all four founding brothers dead, Harper & Brothers went into receivership. The firm’s days in the historic iron building at Franklin Square were numbered, although not until 1922 did the company’s leadership contract for a new brick building at 49 East 33rd street.” Margot Gayle and Carol Gayle, Cast-iron Architecture in America: The Significance of James Bogardus (1998). UES TH140.B64 G38 1998

Harper & Brothers announced that they would be moving from their Franklin Square building in the spring of 1922 and the November 25, 1922, issue of Publishers Weekly confirmed that “a lease has now been closed thru Douglas Gibbon & Co. for the building on the north side of Thirty-Third Street, directly adjoining the Vanderbilt Hotel on the west.”

To document the firm’s landmark building and operations, Harper’s former staff photographer Peter A. Juley (1862-1937) was called back into duty. The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired 22 photographs from that shoot capturing many aspects of book production in the old building. When the company moved, the presses were closed and all printing was out-sourced to a plant in New Jersey.

The set of photographs includes staff performing various tasks such as collating, typesetting, inking plates, printing, typing, writing, and photographing. Also pictured are exterior views of the building including the loading docks, street view, and entrance.

Peter Juley opened a small portrait studio in Cold Spring, New York, around 1896 and within five years joined Harper’s Weekly as a staff news photographer. Demand for his talented work increased rapidly, prompting Juley to relocate to Manhattan where he continued to work with Harper & Brothers until 1909.

Juley is best known for his portraits of American artists, now archived in the Archive of American Art. With his son Paul, the studio also served as official photographers for the Salmagundi Club, National Academy of Design, the New York Public Library, and the Society of American Artists.

See: American Artists in Photographic Portraits: from the Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, compiled and written by Joan Stahl (New York: National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution in association with Dover Publications, 1995). Marquand Library (SAPH): Photography TR681.A7 N34 1995


No published source has been found for these photographs. Several of them are marked for cropping and on the back, noted “5/2/22 Round Table,” the name of a children’s magazine that was no longer being published in 1922. It has been suggested that there might have been hopes of reviving the title, which never happened.


Peter A. Juley, “Pictures of Old Plant,” April 1922. 22 gelatin silver prints. Graphic Arts Collection GAX  2017- in process.

We digitized the photographs on a flatbed scanner and some of the scans seen here are much darker than the original photograph. The contrast in both is high, given the strong light from the large windows.

Note the enlarging camera and ancient photographic equipment. Can anyone tell us why they kept an ice trunk in the studio?

Heroes of the Colored Race

Heroes of the Colored Race. Chromolithograph. Philadelphia: Published by J. Hoover, 628 Arch St., 1881. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process. Purchased with funds from the Hurlbut Barnes Cutting Memorial Fund.

Thanks to Steven Knowlton, Librarian for History and African American Studies and funds from the Hurlbut Barnes Cutting Memorial Fund, the Graphic Arts Collection is the fortunate new owner of a rare, 19th-century chromolithograph entitled Heroes of the Colored Race.

The print commemorates men prominent in and representative of the advancement of African American civil rights, including Blanche Kelso Bruce, 1841-1898; Frederick Douglass, 1818-1895; Hiram Rhodes Revels, 1827?-1901; John Roy Lynch, 1847-1939; Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1865; James Abram Garfield, 1831-1881; Ulysses Simpson Grant, 1822-1885; Joseph Hayne Rainey, 1832-1887; Robert Smalls, 1839-1915; John Brown, 1800-1859; and Charles Edmund Nash, 1844-1913.


The central vignette highlights portraits of ex-United States Senator Blanche Kelso Bruce of Mississippi, abolitionist, federal administrator, and diplomat Frederick Douglass, and ex-United States Senator Hiram Revels of Mississippi.

The four corners are filled with scenes showing the contributions of African Americans to the prosperity of the United States through their labor, studies, and participation in civic life, and the preservation of the Union through service in the United States Colored Troops. Also featured are portraits of African American members of the United States House of Representatives John R. Lynch of Mississippi, Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina, Robert Smalls of South Carolina, and Charles E. Nash of Louisiana.

Bruce, Douglass, Lynch, Rainey, and Smalls were all enslaved for some portions of their lives.


The printer/publisher was Joseph Hoover, born of Swiss-German heritage in Baltimore on December 29, 1830. The Library Company of Philadelphia’s biographical database on local printers states that by 1893, Hoover was noted as “probably the largest publisher of pictures,” distributing internationally 600,000 to 700,000 prints a year with his son, Henry L. Hoover. The listing continues:

“Hoover settled in Philadelphia in 1856. He opened a wood turning and framing establishment on the 1400 block of Hamilton Street, and about 1858, married his first wife Roseanna (b. ca. 1833). …In the spring of 1868 the “chromo and print publisher” advertised his removal to 804 Market Street, from where he oversaw the work of Duval & Hunter and James Queen and issued his well-advertised and acclaimed “The Changed Cross” in 1870. . . . During the 1870s and 1880s, Hoover’s business continued to grow (estimated worth of $30,000-$40,000) and he established printing plants at 450-452 North Thirteenth Street and [numerous other locations]. With this financial success also came professional acknowledgment and Hoover was one of only three chromolithographers to be honored at the Centennial Exhibition of 1876.”



Emerging from Darkness into Light

The Conversion of Galen. March 1, 1775 (reworked, reissued state). Published by Robert Sayer (1725–1794) and John Bennett (active 1760, died 1787). Hand-colored mezzotint pasted on glass plate. Graphic arts Collection, Glass.


A mezzotint on glass, entitled The Conversion of Galen, was recently transferred from the Cotsen Collection to the Graphic Arts Collection. Lettered below the image with the title are eight lines of verse in two columns:
Forbear, vain man, to launch with reason’s eye
Through the vast depths of dark immensity,
Nor think thy narrow but presumpt’ous mind
The least idea of thy God can find.

Thought, crowding thought, distracts the lab’ring brain,
For how can finite Infinite explain?
Then God adore, and conscious rest in this,
None but Himself can paint Him as He is.

Galen tho’ an Atheist, was a strict Observer of Nature, till by Accident finding a Skeleton, / he thought it of too curious a Construction to be the Production of Chance. // London, Printed for R. Sayer & I. Bennett No. 53, Fleet Street, // as the Act directs 1st March 1775.


“A mezzotint emerges from darkness into light,” writes Elizabeth Barker. She goes on to talk about the decorative use of prints by collectors or hobbyist in room decoration. “Such ‘furniture’ prints might be close-framed (to reveal only the image); mounted on stretchers, varnished, and framed (without glazing); or pasted directly onto the walls of domestic interiors and public spaces. Hobbyists transferred mezzotint designs onto pieces of glass (attaching them with a waterproof adhesive, then dissolving the paper so that only the ink remained on the glass), which they colored in oils or watercolors to resemble paintings. Some mezzotints, such as the (often crudely) humorous scenes known as “drolls” issued by leading publishers Robert Sayers and Carrington Bowles, were hand-painted and sold in garish colors.”– Elizabeth E. Barker, Department of Drawings and Prints, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 2003

Princeton University Library conservator Ted Stanley has also looked into mezzotints on glass in this paper:

Tiger Superstitions

“Heavily influenced by the 19th century naturalist illustrations of John Audubon, Ford composes dense allegories that simultaneously reference and re-imagine the field-guide aesthetic to blend natural histories, folklore, and political commentary that often offer scathing critiques of industrialism, colonialism, and humanity’s effect on the environment.”–Prospectus

Walton Ford, Infinite Histories. Tiger Superstitions, 1995 (95-335). Eight-color lithograph. Collaborating printer: Bill Lagattuta. Edition of 15. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process

We went to India not only to observe the changes that had occurred since my former visit, 23 years ago, at the conclusion of our Philippine War, but also to visit places of interest, see something of the military air and ground forms, visit some old friends and acquaintances, and then have a good tiger and big game hunt. –“Tiger-Hunting in India” By Brigadier General William Mitchell, Assistant Chief, U.S. Army Air Service in The National Geographic Magazine (F G1 .N385)

See the reference to:

Mezzotint copper plate for Orpheus and Eurydice

Copper plateEngraved by Frank Short (1857-1945) after a painting by George Frederick Watts (1817-1904), [Mezzotint copper plate for] Orpheus and Eurydice, 1889. Engraved top right: London. Published Oct. 1st 1889 by Rob. Dunthorne at the Rembrandt Head in Vigo Street. W. Graphic Arts Collection GC148 Printing blocks and plates collection.

Paper printEngraved by Frank Short (1857-1945) after a painting by George Frederick Watts (1817-1904), Orpheus and Eurydice, 1889. Mezzotint. Edition: 300, printed by Frederick Goulding (1842-1909) for Robert Dunthorne. Inscribed top right: London. Published Oct. 1st 1889 by Rob. Dunthorne at the Rembrandt Head in Vigo Street. W. Mezzotint. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2005.01549.


When we were asked if we had an example of mezzotint engraving in our copper plate collection, this was the first to emerge.

From 1880 forward, the London print dealer and publisher Robert Dunthorne (born ca. 1851) was the official publisher to the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers and manager of the Dunthorne Gallery on Vigo Street. By 1881, he changed the shop’s name to The Rembrandt Gallery, making sure to include this on each of the prints he published.

In 1889, Dunthorne commissioned a mezzotint of the painting Orpheus and Eurydice by George Frederick Watts (1817-1904), one of several Watts did on the story of these lovers. The difficult job of mezzotint engraving was given to Frank Short (1857-1945) and the plate of printed by Frederick Goulding (1842-1909). 300 sheets were printed and barely two years later, Short retired the plate, carving this phrase into the bottom right: I wrought thee. / Thou served me well. / Now rest thee. / Frank Short Sept. 1891.

Probably not long after this, Dunthorne presented the plate to “Princetown College” (the name was officially changed to Princeton University in 1896). No record of the gift is recorded in any of the college newspapers or yet found in library records.

A copy of the print has been added to the collection so plate and paper can be viewed side-by-side, not only as a beautiful work of art but also a wonderful teaching tool.

I wrought thee./ Thou served me well./ Now rest thee./ Frank Short Sept. 1891

London. Published Oct. 1st 1889 by Rob. Dunthorne at the Rembrandt Head in Vigo Street. W

Printed by Frederick Goulding


Orpheus and Eurydice from the painting by G.F. Watts, R.A.
Copper plate lit from above with less contrast.

Free Non-Linear Literature

Over the last year, Google Creative Labs and the London publisher Visual Editions have been releasing visual books for your phone under the imprint Editions At Play. Two new titles are being offered today, for free and for your participation.

“Today we’re excited to release two new books which, we hope, will continue to inspire fresh conventions around how we think of books and ‘bookness’, and how authors can work with developers and designers to create new formats of non-linear, dynamic literature”:

A Universe Explodes, by Google’s own Tea Uglow, is “on one level the story of a parent losing their grip on reality. The book is accessible to all, but owned by only a few, and when one owner is ‘finished’ with their version, they dedicate it to a new owner, triggering a change of ownership which is recorded to the Blockchain–a permanent, public database accessible to everyone. There are 100 ‘versions’ of A Universe Explodes, which each start the same. The first 100 owners receive a personal dedication from Tea, and are then invited to edit the book themselves by removing two words and adding one. They in turn dedicate their version to someone else, creating a ‘daisy book chain’ which gradually gets shorter until there is only one word per page in the book.”

The second title is Seed, by British author Joanna Walsh, is the story of a young woman coming of age in the 1980s, digitally growing and decaying around an unmentionable event that every reading will see differently.

The Valise

Latin American Studies and the Graphic Arts Collection are collaborating on the purchase of the limited edition publication La valija (The Valise), which was unveiled Tuesday night at the Museum of Modern Art. The collective artists’ project unites seven South American artists—Johanna Calle (Bogotá, Colombia), Matías Duville (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Maria Laet (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Mateo López (Bogotá, Colombia), Nicolás Paris (Bogota, Colombia), Rosângela Rennó (Belo Horizonte, Brazil), and Christian Vinck Henriquez (Maracaibo, Venezuela)—with the Argentine writer César Aria.

The artists created over 50 original artworks responding to Aria’s novel Un episodio en la vida del pintor viajero (An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter), which follows the German painter Johann Moritz Rugendas’s 1837 journey through South America.

Designed to fit in a special valise, the works include original prints, maps, artist’s books, airmail envelopes, origami toys, posters, a sound recording, and a hand blown glass sculpture, all reflecting the artists’ shared affinity for geography, travel literature, and book-making.








To celebrate the publication of The Valise, Aria gave a private reading for members of the Library Council of The Museum of Modern Art. He told the audience that he had wanted to be a painter but now paints with his words. Rejecting computers, Aria said he prefers to write using a fountain pen (he has an extensive collection) on good heavy paper.







For more information on this project, see

The novelist was recently profiled in The New Yorker to mark the publication of Ema the Captive, his 13th novel in English. See: Alena Graedon, “César Aira’s Infinite Footnote to Borges,” The New Yorker, January 27, 2017

A Letter to Bailey and His Elephant, part 2

In 1880, as James Anthony Bailey (1847-1906) was negotiating with P.T. Barnum (18101-1891) for the purchase of the baby elephant named Columbia, owned and exhibited in the “Cooper, Bailey & Company Great London Circus,” the artist Henry Herman Cross (1837-1918) wrote to Bailey. The envelope is beautifully illustrated with a drawing of Cooper and Bailey on the right and Barnum on the left.

The portrait of Bailey’s baby that Cross discusses in his letter is not a family portrait but the painting of his elephant. Bailey writes that it is “a magnificent production and when finished you will do me the honor and credit to acknowledge the fact, that it is no conceit, or egotistical boast of mine—but an actual fact, for it delights every one who has witnessed it in its yet incomplete state.” Cross confirms he will bring it to Boston so he can finish it by placing a portrait of Bailey alongside the elephant.

(This letter cost 12 cents to mail in 1880)

Cross worked on a drawing for Harper’s Weekly but only this article was published, announcing “A Baby Elephant.”

A very interesting event—the birth of a baby elephant—took place at the circus stables of Cooper & Bailey, Philadelphia, early in the morning of March 10. The importance of the affair to the world of science will be realized when it is stated that it is the first authenticated instance of the kind that has ever taken place among these animals in a state of captivity. It is said that a similar event occurred in London some time during the last century, but there is no positive proof in regard to it.

At the sides of the stable-room where this little creature was born were a number of large elephants chained to posts, while Hebe, the mother, was chained in the centre of the room, where she was safe from molestation. The moment the baby was born, the other elephants set up a tremendous bellowing, threw their trunks about, wheeled around, stood on their hind – legs, and cavorted and danced in the highest glee, as though they had gone mad. The excitement communicated itself to Hebe, and she became almost frantic. With a terrific plunge she broke the chains and ropes which held her, and grasping up the little baby elephant with her trunk, threw it about twenty yards across the room, letting it fall near a large hot stove—where a fire is always kept burning—then followed with a mad rush, bellowing and lashing her trunk as though she would carry everything before her. . .

Gee’s Bend Prints Acquired

Loretta Pettway (American, born 1942), Remember Me, 2006. Color soft ground and spit bite aquatint etching. Edition of 50; printed and published by Paulson Fontaine Press. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017 AAS1

Mary Lee Bendolph (American, born 1935), Get Ready, 2006. Color soft ground and spit bite aquatint etching. Edition of 50; printed and published by Paulson Fontaine Press. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017 AAS2

Loretta Pettway (American, born 1942), Lazy Gal, 2006. Color soft ground and spit bite aquatint etching. Edition of 50; printed and published by Paulson Fontaine Press. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017 AAS3


Three spectacular new etchings have been acquired for Firestone Library’s African American Studies Room (B floor) thanks to a joint initiative between the Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton University Library, and the Department of African American Studies.

Many thanks to all those who participated, especially our art handlers John Walako and Rory Mahon, see here, who did a beautiful job hanging the works this morning.

Mary Lee Bendolph and Loretta Pettway are members of the Gee’s Bend Quilters Collective and live in the area of Rehoboth and Boykin, Alabama. For a history of the group, see their website:

The etchings were produced in 2006 in collaboration with the printmakers at Paulson Bott (now Fontaine) Press in Berkeley, California. See more at:



John Beardsley’s 2002 study, Gee’s Bend: the Women and their Quilts, has been placed in the AAS room so students and visitors can learn more about the collective. For additional source material, see this video from Glass World Films:

The Quiltmakers of Gee’s Bend (Award-winning PBS Feature) from Glass World Films on Vimeo.