Category Archives: Books

books

Murder: Victim died of acute boredom in his own library. Body discovered surrounded by the past year’s best sellers.

John Riddell (pseudonym for Corey Ford, 1902-1969), John Riddell Murder Case, a Philo Vance Parody (New York: C. Scribner’s sons, 1930). Caricatures by Miguel Covarrubias (1904-1957). Recap 3742.68.351

 **Explanation of the title page: “Meaning No Offense” is the title of Ford’s 1928 book and “Salt Water Taffy” is his next book published in 1929.
 

Under the pseudonym S. S. Van Dine, Willard Huntington Wright (1888-1939) wrote crime fiction and introduced the popular detective Philo Vance. His novels later became radio dramas and motion pictures starring William Powell, all available today on YouTube.

The character and voice of Philo Vance was so beautifully written and so often repeated in New York society that in 1930, humorist Corey Ford (1902-1969) partnered with the Mexican caricaturist Miguel Covarrubias (1904-1957) to write a parody, along with parodies in the voices of Will Rogers, Sherwood Anderson, and others. They followed this with In the Worst Possible Taste in 1832 (Recap PN6231.P3F47).

Covarrubias moved to New York in 1924 and was given an exhibition at the Whitney Studio Club shortly after he arrived. He charmed his way into New York literary circles with his satirical drawings, first published in The Prince of Wales and Other Famous Americans (1925) (Firestone ND259.C8 A3). Covarrubias went on to draw covers for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker before returning to Mexico in the mid-1930s.

 

See also: S.S. Van Dine, The Benson murder case (New York: A. L. Burt [c1926]). Recap 3998.46.316. Or watch it here:

Films:
The Clyde Mystery (September 27, 1931)
The Wall Street Mystery (November 4, 1931)
The Week End Mystery (December 6, 1931)
The Symphony Murder Mystery (January 10, 1932)
The Studio Murder Mystery (February 7, 1932)
The Skull Murder Mystery (March 1932)
The Cole Case (The Cole Murder Case) (April 3, 1932)
Murder in the Pullman (May 22, 1932)
The Side Show Mystery (June 11, 1932)
The Campus Mystery (July 2, 1932)
The Crane Poison Case (July 9, 1932)
The Trans-Atlantic Murder Mystery (August 31, 1932)


Sorting Out John William Orr and Nathaniel Orr, Part Two

Already an established engraver, Nathaniel Orr (1822-1908) moved to New York City around 1843, to begin working on The Illuminated Bible, embellished with sixteen hundred historical engravings… (Harper & Brothers, 1846. GAX Hamilton 198Q).

He is sometimes listed as Orr Jr. and worked at 75 Nassau Street, in the shop of John William Orr (1815-1887), presumed to be Nathaniel’s uncle.

https://graphicarts.princeton.edu/2016/02/11/sorting-out-john-william-orr-and-nathaniel-orr/

75 Nassau Street in 2017.

 

In 1850, Nathaniel Orr took an office of his own around the corner at 151 Fulton Street but within a year, moved to 52 John Street where he stayed until his retirement in 1888. It is a large building and Nathaniel has a reputation for offering his fellow artists rooms to work whenever they were in need.

52 John Street is part of the central building.
Alfred Tallis (active 1860), Tallis’s New York Street Views (New York: Tallis and Company, 1863)

 


Orr’s business was two doors away from the Methodist Episcopal Church at 44 John Street, first built in 1768, then rebuilt in 1817 and 1841. One of Orr’s early prints (left) is an image of the first Church building, which has recently been painted onto the wall of the memorial park east of the current Church. This Church is famous for including both black and white members equally in their congregation:

“At the birth of Methodism in this country its handful of votaries were so simple and honest, and so free from any thought of race distinctions in the divine presence, that no special notice was taken of the fact that there were colored people present to their disparagement. When Captain Webb and his associates met in a sail loft in 1765, on what was then known as the Battery, at the south end of New York city, they thought not of the complexion of the attendants, but rather of the salvation of their souls. And four years later, when John Street Church was built to accommodate the congregation of that first formed Methodist Church in America, there were no Negro pews nor back seats nor gallery especially provided for the dark-skinned members. They were welcomed in common with other members to all the privileges of God’s house and worship.” –One Hundred Years of The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. Chapter I, Early Race Distinctions.

Painted mural in the memorial park, 48 John Street, next to the Methodist Episcopal Church

Nathaniel Orr was involved in many anti-slavery publications. In January 1853, he accepted a commission to engrave Frederick M. Coffin’s illustrations for Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup. The project was finished in less than six months, published August 1853.

Later that year, Coffin and Orr partnered with John McLenan (1827-1865) to illustrate the sensationalist bestseller Hot Corn: Life Scenes in New York Illustrated by Solon Robinson (1854). So great is Nathaniel’s popularity by now, that of the three artists only Orr, the wood engraver, is mentioned on the title page. https://blogs.princeton.edu/graphicarts/2009/10/hot_corn.html

 

For some of Nathaniel Orr’s earliest work, see:
John Gadsby Chapman (1808-1889), Bible illustrations ([New York? 1846?]). Manuscript note on title page of vol. 1: “These proofs, from the original cuts, were taken by hand by the Engravers thereof, in course of execution for Harpers Family Bible-New York 1843.-44. 45- and are, so far as I know, the only complete set existing. Presented by me to my Daughter. Rome October 5. 1879. John G. Chapman.” The engravers whose works are mentioned are Roberts, Childs, Minot, Howland, Gordon, Butler, Morse, Nathaniel Orr, Hall, Hart, Henry Kinnersley, Augustus F. Kinnersley, Pekham, Bookhout, Holland, Weeks and Adams. (GAX) Oversize Hamilton 199q

Walt Whitman and “Life Illustrated”


“Christmas at ‘Grace,” Life Illustrated NS Vol. 1, no. 13 (January 26, 1856). Folio. Graphic Arts Collection 2017 in process. Walt Whitman’s unsigned contribution is a critical review of the Christmas service at Grace Episcopal Church, occupying nearly two of the four columns on the front page.

 

Jason Stacy writes, “The phrenologists Orson Squire Fowler (1809–1887), Lorenzo Niles Fowler (1811–1896), and Samuel R. Wells (1820–1875) published Life Illustrated: A Journal of Entertainment, Improvement, and Progress between 1854 and 1861, after which the newspaper merged with the American Phrenological Journal.

Life Illustrated was one of the earliest periodicals to review Whitman’s first edition of Leaves of Grass (1855), and the review described the poet as “a perfect loafer; yet a thoughtful loafer, an amiable loafer, an able loafer.” The journal also printed Emerson’s famous letter to Whitman that began “I greet you at the beginning of a great career . . .” in October 1856, and Whitman published this letter in the second edition of Leaves of Grass (1856).” http://whitmanarchive.org/published/periodical/journalism/tei/per.00312.html

Between November 1855 and August 1856, Whitman published a number of items in Life Illustrated on topics ranging from the opera to working-class housing to the English language as the nation’s “mightiest inheritance.” The Graphic Arts collection recently acquired a number of issues of the newspaper with his contributions.

Here are a few:

“The Circus,” Life Illustrated NS Vol. 2, no. 18 (August 30, 1856). Folio. Graphic Arts Collection 2017 in process. Walt Whitman’s contribution, unsigned, describes his experiences at a performance of Dan Rice’s circus and occupies one and a half of the four columns on the editorial page.

 

 

“Voltaire,” Life Illustrated NS Vol. 2, no. 2 (May 10, 1856). Folio. Graphic Arts Collection 2017 in process. Walt Whitman’s attributed contribution is an appreciation of the radical Voltaire, occupying nearly two columns on the front page.

 

 

“The Opera,” Life Illustrated NS Vol. 1, no 2 (November 10, 1855). Folio. Graphic Arts Collection 2017 in process. Walt Whitman’s first contribution, unsigned, occupies three of the four columns on the front page.

 

 

 

Callot’s Vie de la mere de Dieu


Jacques Callot (1592-1635) and François Rennel, Vie de la Mère de Diev representée par emblesmes = Vita Beatae Mariae Vir. Matris Dei emblematib[us] = [The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary the Mother of God, represented in emblems]… ([Nancy: Antoine Charlot, 1628]). [4], 26 leaves of etched emblems.  Bound in a late nineteenth-century red morocco gilt, gilt edges, by Riviere. Provenance: Sir Henry Hope Edwardes, 10th Baronet (1829–1900), with his bookplate. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process

 

On each plate, below the Latin are four lines of French verse, as in the quatrain accompanying the figure of the salamander (symbol of the French king Francis I, representing the man who had been through fire and lived) in the opening emblem:

“Chaldaeo praevalet una Deo” (Chaldeans prevail with God):

Je vis sans me bruler au milieu de la flame:
Et la Vierge au milieu du crime original,
Par l’absolu pouvoir de l’Arbitre eternal,
Dans le brasier commun n’a point bruslé son Ame.
[note the last two lines are reversed in the second edition]

The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to have acquired a rare first edition of this beautiful emblem book, one of two illustrated by Callot (the other being Lux claustri). The etchings are here in the unnumbered state. Paulette Choné convincingly established the place of printing, printer and date of the work, and also identified François Rennel as the author of the text (the initials ‘F. R.’ appear at the end of the preface; see P. Choné, Emblèmes et pensée symbolique en Lorraine (1525–1633), Paris, 1991, p. 725 ff.).

 


It was Callot’s close friend François Rennel (1583-1649), councillor at the Chambre des Comptes de Lorraine, who conceived the artist’s two emblem books. Both men were influential members of a Jesuit congregation in Nancy.

“The first works by [Maximilian van der Sandt] Sandaeus must have made a vivid impact; his inspiration, his sophisticated poetry and metaphorical vocabulary show a close affinity to the extreme delicacy of the Vie de la mere de Dieu and Lux claustri.” — P.Choné

“The publishing history of the Vita Beatae Mariae virginis. Vie de la bien-heureuse vierge Marie is complex. Whereas only one edition of the Lux claustra was published—Paris by François Langlois in 1646—three undated editions of the Vita beatae Mariae virginis… Vie de la bien-heureuse vierge marie were published in addition to that produced by Langlois in 1646 as a partner edition to the Lux claustra, and in all of these the text is different.”

“A further variant version of the work, (including the engravings but no text) exists in the Getty Museum. In the 1646 edition … each emblematic engraving is accompanied by a Latin motto, together with a Latin distich and a French quatrain. In one of the undated editions the mottoes are in French rather than in Latin, and there is a Latin distich, but no French quatrain, while the other two follow the pattern of the Lux claustra, and include both Latin and French mottoes, together with a Latin distich and a French quatrain. While the Latin mottoes remain the same in all editions that include them, the French mottoes in the undated Benoît Audran edition, in which they appear alone, are different from those which appear together with Latin mottoes in the other two undated editions.”—Alison Saunders, The Seventeenth-century French Emblem: A Study in Diversity (2000)

Zozimus

Zozimus (Dublin: A.M Sullivan, 1870-1872). Complete run bound in one volume. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017-in process

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a complete run of the Irish satirical weekly Zozimus (1870-1872).

Zozimus was the pseudonym for Michael Moran (ca. 1794-1846), a beloved blind Dublin street personality who recited poetry, sang ballads, and gave advice. His memory was revived in 1871 with a biography by Dubliniensis Humoriensis Gulielmus, Memoir of the Great Original, Zozimus (Michael Moran), the Celebrated Dublin Street Rhymer and Reciter.

 

When Alexander M. Sullivan (1830-1884) started a weekly satirical magazine, he called it Zozimus after Moran and John Fergus O’Hea (1838-1922), his chief artist, designed a portrait of Moran for the cover. Each issue included one full-page satirical plate by O’Hea, several smaller cartoons, and humorous doggerel, not unlike the British Punch or Vanity Fair.

Zozimus only lasted a little over two years but in 1876 O’Hea returned with Zoz: The Irish Charivari, a weekly with milder social satire. This also folded after two years.

Here are a few samples of O’Hea’s caricatures from the pages of Zozimus.




Fine Press Book Fair

Despite the cold weather, a large crowd showed up for the 4th annual Manhattan Fine Press Book Fair on Saturday, March 11, in the basement of the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer.

Exhibitors included Abecedarian Gallery, Denver, CO; Alice Austin, Philadelphia, PA; Booklyn, Brooklyn, NY; Ken Botnick, St. Louis, MO; Bridge Press, Westmoreland, NH; Caliban Press, Canton, NY; Center for Book Arts, New York, NY; Gerald W. Cloud Rare Books, SF, CA; Edition Schwarze Seite, Scheer/Donau, Germany; Furious Day Press, New York, NY; Leslie Gerry Editions, Gloucestershire, UK; Harsimus Press, Jersey City, NJ; Intima Press, New York, NY; Lead Graffiti, Newark, DE; Leopard Studio Editions, Rochester, NY; Nancy Loeber, Brooklyn, NY; Luminice Press, Philadelphia, PA; Russell Maret, New York, NY; Midnight Paper Sales, Stockholm, WI; Mixolydian Editions, Petaluma, CA; Sarah Nicholls, Brooklyn, NY; Olchef Press, Newark, NJ; Otter Bookbinding, Woking, Surrey, UK; Pied Oxen Printers, Hopewell, NJ; Sarah Plimpton, New York, NY; Purgatory Pie Press, New York, NY; Robin Price Publisher, Middletown, CT; Maria Veronica San Martin, Brooklyn, NY and Santiago, Chile; Shanty Bay Press, Shanty Bay, Ontario, Canada; Sherwin Beach Press, Chicago, IL; Swamp Press, Northfield, MA; Tideline Press, West Sayville, NY; Traffic Street Press, New York, NY; Two Ponds Press, Rockport, ME; University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA; and Whittington Press, Gloucestershire, UK.

Ephemera collectors came early and stayed late, browsing through the bins.

Material varied enormously from old to new, small to large, unique and mass produced.



Enjoy the last day of the ABAA New York Antiquarian Book Fair at the Park Avenue Armory.

Alpha Beta


Ines von Ketelhodt, Alpha Beta. Text by Michel Butor (Flörsheim am Main: I. v. Ketelhodt, 2017). Two volumes, in French and German. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2017- in process

Investigating the visual and conceptual structure of the printed page, Alpha Beta is designed, printed, and bound by the German artist Ines von Ketelhodt. Her matrix is the writing of Michel Butor (1926-2016), a French novelist whose experiments with narrative and structure put him at the forefront of the literary trend known as le nouveau roman (the new novel).

Von Ketelhodt has letterpress printed a passage in which Butor offered a portrait of a universal library: Itinéraire: les bibliothèques. In the first volume, it is in Butor’s original French and in the second volume, it has been translated into German. Each letter of the alphabet is confined to one transparent page so that, as the pages are turned, a single letter disappears throughout. By the end, only the punctuation remains on the right, with Butor’s text in reverse on the left.

Transparency is at the core of this volume, printed from polymer plates on to cellophane sheets and housed in a plexiglass slipcase. The text is fluid, both in its narrative and here, even in its physical format. Here is the French text:

Rangés dans leurs casiers comme des bouteilles les volumes fermentent à l’intérieur de la grande cave aux lampadaires doux sur les fronts ridés ou bouclés qui se penchent dans le déchiffrement de leurs annotations. Par ici les dictionnaires, l’espalier des langues; dans cette galerie les cristallisations des sonnets et des haïku, la joaillerie des ballades. On ouvre une grille et c’est la haute salle de lecture avec ses verrières qui répercutent les somnolences, les feuillettements, les émerveillements. Comme une vrille de volubilis la longue phrase s’entortille autour de la rambarde qui longe les balcons des romans-fleuves avec leurs péniches de familles, d’héritages, d’affrontements, d’effondrements, d’écoeurements et de baisers. Plus loin les rayons de l’Histoire Naturelle avec les herbiers et les flores; les oiseaux, s’envolant quand on tourne les pages, virent autour des colonnes de fer, effleurent les crânes et reviennent dormir dans leur volière de cuir ou de toile; les rugissements des fauves et le passage des poissons devant ces fenêtres d’aquarium.

Here are two possible English translations I have found for this complex text:

Placed in their lockers like bottles, the volumes ferment inside the large cellar with soft lamps on the wrinkled or curled fronts that lean in the decipherment of their annotations. Here the dictionaries, the espalier of languages; In this gallery the crystallizations of sonnets and haiku, the jewelry of ballads. It opens a grid and it is the high reading room with its stained glass that reverberates drowsiness, leaflets, wonders. Like a twist of volubilis the long sentence is wrapped around the railing that runs alongside the balconies of the novels-rivers with their barges of families, inheritances, confrontations, collapses, disgustings and kisses. Further on are the rays of Natural History, with herbals and floras; The birds fly away when they turn the pages, look round the iron columns, brush their skulls and come back to sleep in their leather or canvas aviaries; The roar of the wild beasts and the passage of fish in front of these aquarium windows.

Arranged like bottles on their shelves, the volumes age in the large cellar, soft lamps hovering over creased or ringleted foreheads lowered in their attempts to decipher the comments. Here are the dictionaries, the espaliers of languages; in that aisle over there, the crystalline sonnets and haikus, the gemlike ballads. Opening a grating, you find yourself in a lofty reading room with a glass ceiling that reflects back the drowsiness, the leafing, the ecstasies. Like a climbing plant, the long sentence twines around the railing that runs along the galleries of the Romans-fleuves with their barges full of families, inheritances, conflicts, collapses, wearinesses and kisses. A bit farther on: the natural history shelves with their plant posters and flora; the birds that fly upward when you turn the pages and circle around the iron columns, touch their skulls and then return to their leather and linen aviaries to sleep; the beasts of prey roaring and the fish gliding by the aquarium windows.

 

See also Vieira da Silva (1908-1992), Vieira da Silva: peintures. Includes Butor’s Itineraire (p. 7-19) (Paris: L’Autre musée, 1983).

Terms and Conditions


 

One of the best things about Robert Sikoryak’s new edition of Terms and Conditions (self-published in April 2015 and posted on Tumblr between September and December 2015) is the index.

How many of the 101 illustrators and cartoonist parodied in this volume can you identify without cheating, i.e. using the index? By my count, the earliest is Winsor McCay from 1905 and the most recent are several from 2014.

More information on the project can be found here and in the dozens of other reviews that have appeared before and after the book’s release this week.

 

 

[left] Winsor McCay, Little Nemo in Slumberland (1905). [right] Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, The Incredible Hulk (1962)

 

[left] Ian Boothby and John Costanza, Simpsons Comic (2002). [right] Stan Lee and John Buscema, Silver Surfer (1968)

 

Tom Wilson, Ziggy (1976)

Robert Sikoryak, Terms and Conditions (Montreal, Québec: Drawn & Quarterly, 2017). Graphic Arts Collection GArecap 2017- in process

James Allan: Gypsy, Musician and Thief

The first criminal given a royal pardon signed by the prince regent, afterwards George IV, was James (Jimmy or Jemmy) Allan, musician and thief. Unfortunately, it arrived several months after his death at the age of 76.

James Allan (1734–1810) was the son of the performer Will Allan and a woman called Betty, frequently described as a Gypsy. Thanks to his mother, James Allan believed he was a member of the Faas, a clan of Gypsies noted for roving the Anglo-Scottish border. Although official piper to Elizabeth Percy, countess of Northumberland, for two years, the majority of Allan’s life was spent on the road playing music and stealing.

According to Keith Gregson’s entry in the DNB, “Most of Allan’s adult life was taken up with rambling and it is here that ‘the line between fact and fiction becomes thin’. He made his livelihood out of piping and stealing and, beyond that, by ‘enlisting as a soldier and deserting—often having received his bounty money’. He was eventually arrested in 1803 . . . tried and sentenced to death [but] the death sentence was commuted . . . .”

“Allan was remembered as a virtuoso on the bagpipes, an expert at the double hornpipe played at 3/2 or 9/4 pace, and closely associated with the music of his native Cheviot Hills. Woodcuts of his playing both the Northumbrian small pipes and the highland pipes have survived but the veracity of any surviving sketches of him was brought into question by the researches of the bagpipe historian Gilbert Askew in the 1930s.”


We were recently asked for a history of the language of the Gypsies, which can be found in this biography of Allan, illustrated with designs by Robert Cruikshank (1789-1856), engraved by J. Knox. We are fortunate to have the rare volume thanks to our donor, Richard Waln Meirs, Class of 1888.

“The life of this singular character has all the air of a romance, the incidents being so various and extraordinary; but the relation possesses such genuine marks of authenticity as must satisfy the most scrupulous. Allan was extremely illiterate, and utterly incapable of perusing the narratives of the adventurous voyager and the curious traveller, much less of collecting and arranging their scattered remarks on the manners and customs which prevail in distant and unfrequented countries, with a view to impose upon the public. Yet his observations in China, in India, in Tartary, and in other countries, exactly correspond with those published by the most learned, accurate, and esteemed travellers, and afford such presumptive and internal evidences of the substantial veracity of this history, as must dissipate the most marvellous and obstinate credulity.”


James Thompson (active 1828), A New, Improved, and Authentic Life of James Allan: the Celebrated Northumberland Piper, Detailing His Surprising Adventures in Various Parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, including a Complete Description of the Manners and Customs of the Gipsy Tribes, Collected from Sources of Genuine Authority, by James Thompson; with Explanatory Notes by E. Mackenzie … ; and Illustrated by Fine Engravings from Designs by [Robert] Cruikshank (Newcastle upon Tyne: Mackenzie and Dent … 1828). In the original parts (20 in 14 numbers) with original light brown printed wrappers. Gift of Richard Waln Meirs, Class of 1888. Graphic Arts Collection (GA) Cruik 1828.3 Robert

See also [below]: History of James Allan, the celebrated Northumberland piper (Newcastle: W. Fordyce [1840]). (Ex) 3580.999 v.32

Soon after Allan’s passing, the following lines were written to his memory:

All ye whom Music’s charms inspire
Who skilful minstrels do admire,
All ye whom bagpipe lilts can fire
’Tween Wear and Tweed,
Come, strike with me the mournful lyre
For ALLAN’s dead.

No more where Coquet’s stream doth glide
Shall we view JEMMY in his pride,
With bagpipe buckled to his side,
And nymphs and swains
In groups collect at even-tide
To hear his strains.

When elbow moved and bellows blew,
On green or floor the dancers flew,
In many turns ran through and through
With cap’ring canter,
And aye their nimble feet beat true
To his sweet chanter.

http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/history/8857492.The_duke___s_piper/

Live Dog / Evil God

Born in Minnesota, Fritz Scholder (1937-2005) moved with his family to Sacramento, California, where he began studying painting with Wayne Thiebaud. Although Scholder was one-quarter Luseino, a California Mission tribe, he grew up outside the native American community and only later began to explore this cultural heritage, bringing to it a unique perspective.

In 1970, Tamarind Institute invited Scholder to Albuquerque to create a suite of lithographs he called, Indians Forever. From that time on, Scholder would be a major influence for his generation of native American artists.

Afternoon Nap was published in 1991, the first in a series of book projects by Nazraeli Press, Munich, followed in 1992 with Live Dog / Evil God in a limited edition of 50 copies. Nazraeli was founded in 1989 by Chris Pichler, specializing in books of photography. Scholder created ten cliche-verres or glass plate negatives for the book that were printed as kallitypes by James Hajicek. These were reproduced in duotone lithograph by Fabe Litho in Tucson, Arizona.

Pichler also published Scholder’s 1993 exhibition catalogue with an essay by Edward Lucie-Smith for the Riva Yares Gallery (SA ND237.S31 L824 1993). http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/fritz-scholder-native-american-artist-art-world-180957655/ This review of Scholder’s 2015 exhibition at the Denver Art Museum brings the artist’s work up to date.

Fritz Scholder (1937-2005), Live Dog / Evil God (Munich and Tucson: Nazraeli Press, 1992). Copy 44 of 50. Includes a suite of ten original prints. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process