Category Archives: Books

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Parallèle des édifices anciens et modernes du continent Africain

 

Pierre Trémaux was a remarkable artist, naturalist, and architectural historian, best remembered for his three part publication on the architecture of Africa and Asia Minor: Voyage au Soudan oriental et dans l’Afrique septentrionale executes de 1847 a 1854; Parallèle des édifices anciens et modernes du continent Africain; and Exploration archéologique en Asia mineur. We are fortunate to be adding the second part to the Graphic Arts Collection, leaving only the third yet to be acquired.

Trémaux meant to document the people and places he saw using the early paper negative process but the quality of the prints was not good. Ultimately, the majority of the published plates are tinted lithographs. In the second volume, he bound the fading salt prints directly opposite a lithograph of the same scene, providing excellent historical comparisons for art and architectural historians. For our purposes here, only single plates are reproduced since photographing two pages in this oblong volume would make them exceptional small.

Now at Princeton: Pierre Trémaux (1818-1895), Voyages au Soudan oriental et dans l’Afrique septentrionale, exécutés de 1847 à 1854: comprenant une exploration dans l’Algérie, le régences de Tunis et de Tripoli, l’Égypte, la Nubie, les déserts, l’île de Méroé, le Sennar, le Fa-Zoglio, et dans les contrées inconnues de la Nigritie; atlas de vues pitoresques, scènes de mœurs, types de végétation remarquables, dessins d’objets éthologiques et scientifiques, panoramas et cartes géographiques (Paris: Borrani, [1852-58]). 37 x 55 cm. Graphic Arts Collection Oversize 2013-0025E. Purchased with funds from the Friends of the Princeton University Library. Fully digitized

Pierre Trémaux (1818-1895), *Parallèles des édifices anciens et modernes du continent africain: dessinés et relevés de 1847 à 1854 dans l’Algérie, les régences de Tunis et de Tripoli, l’Égypte, la Nubie, les déserts, l’Ile de Méroé, le Sennar, la Fa-Zoglo et dans les contrées inconnues de la Nigritie: atlas avec notices (Paris: Librairie L. Hachette et Cie., éditeurs, [between 1854 and 1858?]). 35 x 54 cm. Graphic Arts Collection 2020 in process

*No two extent copies are alike. This copy now at Princeton contains 84 lithographic plates (including title page) and 7 salt prints from paper negatives.

Architect, orientalist and photographer, Pierre Trémaux (1818-1895) made a first naturalist trip in 1847-1848 in Algeria, Tunisia, Upper Egypt, eastern Sudan and Ethiopia; Leaving Alexandria, he sailed up the Nile to Nubia and brought back many drawings. He left in 1853 for a second trip to North Africa and the Mediterranean (Libya, Egypt, Asia Minor, Tunisia, Syria and Greece), from where he brought back this time a precious set of superb photographs, taken on the spot using pioneering techniques for the time, as well as a fascinating travelogue and an interesting collection of natural history.

For this work devoted to the architectural history of Asia Minor and Africa and published in 3 parts over several years (1847-1862), Trémaux drew inspiration from his daguerreotypes, his own sketches and calotypes by the suite to compose the lithographic illustrations. Subsequent issues of his Voyage au Sudan Oriental et dans l’Africa Nord, from 1847 to 1854, contained prints mounted on salted paper which, poorly preserved, had to be replaced by lithographic reproductions.—rough translation from the listing by Pastaud Maison de Ventes aux Enchères

Complete images: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b10101719c.image

“These luxe publications, produced with the support of the French government, exploit an array of graphic techniques; they combine salted paper prints, engravings, tinted and colour lithographs, photolithographs, and texts in ways never previously attempted. Their examination provides insights into the ways these media interacted, and how comfortably photography in fact sat amongst its predecessors within the long-established context of the travel narrative.” –https://doi.org/10.1080/17540763.2017.1399287

Like many pictorial albums, few historians take the time to read Trémaux’s texts but are content to study and enjoy his images. Recently, some scholars have begun to evaluate his racist views on the populations he documented in Africa and later described in Origine et transformations de l’homme et des autres êtres (1865). For a discussion of Trémaux and Darwin, see: Wilkins, John S. and Nelson, Gareth J., “Trémaux on Species: A theory of allopatric speciation (and punctuated equilibrium) before Wagner”, Archives of Philosophy of the Science, University of Pittsburgh, 2008; texte repris dans la revue History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 2008, 30, pp 179-206.

 

 

This acquisition lives in the Graphic Arts Collection but was made with sincere thanks to Deborah Schlein, Near Eastern Studies Librarian; Alain St. Pierre, Librarian for History, History of Science and African Studies; Holly Hatheway, Head Librarian, and Nicola Shilliam, Western Bibliographer for Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology; and Patty Gaspari-Bridges, Assistant University Librarian for Collection Development.

Anaïs Nin’s first American Publisher

When Anaïs Nin bought a printing press and set up shop in Greenwich Village, Jimmy Cooney made a number of trips into town to give her printing lessons and publishing advice. Who was he?


In the 1930s, Blanche and James Cooney moved “on the Maverick,” an artists’ colony outside Woodstock, NY, founded by Hervey White in 1905. They had no telephone or indoor plumbing but acquired a full stockpile of metal type and a small hand press. Notices were placed in The New York Times Sunday book review section and the Herald Tribune asking for manuscripts to be published in a new magazine. “We would print it ourselves; it would be the rallying point, through it we would spread the word of a community of separate dwellings and shared land and stock and tools; …We would publish writers whose unpopular or seditious views would have no chance in the commercial press.” It would be called The Phoenix, in honor of D.H. Lawrence.

Henry Miller wrote from Paris that both he and his friend Anaïs Nin would send material, happy that someone welcomed their provocative stories. Each was published in The Phoenix several times before they were forced to leave Paris for New York City.

As soon as Anaïs was settled, she and her husband Hugh Guiler (Hugo) made a pilgrimage to meet the Cooneys and the press that was not afraid to publish her work. Anaïs’s famous diaries do not mention of this trip, probably because Hugo asked her not to write about him and she agreed. However, the visit is chronicled in Blanche Cooney’s autobiography:

“In 1940, on her return from Europe, Anaïs came to Woodstock with her husband Hugh Guiler to stay with us for a few days. She wanted to meet her first American publisher, we wanted to meet the fabled Etre Étoilique [Miller’s 1937 short story about Anaïs]. A great pleasure to look at, she moved like the dancer she was, a fluid supple line in a dress of purple wool. . . Hugo—Anaïs called him Hugo and he said we were also to call him Hugo—was the banker, an international banker. A tall lean Scotsman, gentle, handsome, he deferred to Anaïs, his adored one, his indulged one. No whim, no quirk, no passion, or bizarre appetite would he deny her, Yes to a houseboat on the Seine, Yes to the Miller connection, to a fling with a woman, an English poet, a Peruvian Indian, Yes….

Hugo, Anaïs said, will be studying engraving with Stanley Hayter at the New School. Hugo had a definite talent; he will do the covers and illustrations for her books, she said; they will find a printer and publish privately. “my text and Hugo’s decorations.” Anaïs smiled into Hugo’s eyes with intimate secret reference. The visit went well, no explosions, no denunciations . . . .”–Blanche Cooney, In My Own Sweet Time (Ohio: Swallow Press, 1993). Z473 .C755 1993

The Phoenix ([Haydenville, Mass.: Morning Star Press, 1938-1984.]). Vol. 1, no. 1 (Mar./May 1938)-v. 9, no. 3 & 4 (1984). AP2 .P464

Natashia Troubetskoia, Anaïs Nin, ca. 1932. Oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Want to know more? Please join us at 2:00 p.m. on September 25, 2020 for the fifth in our series of webinars highlighting the Graphic Arts Collection at Princeton University. Register for free here: https://libcal.princeton.edu/event/6949414

 

The history of the Maverick: https://player.vimeo.com/video/11435652

Kaloolah or Journeyings to the Djébel Kumri: by someone related to the Folgers, the Macys and the Starbucks

We recently digitized another sensational female-slave narrative with a frontispiece by Felix Octavius Carr Darley (1822-1888), engraved by Benjamin F. Childs (1814-1863):
William Starbuck Mayo (1812-1895), Kaloolah, or, Journeyings to the Djébel Kumri : an autobiography of Jonathan Romer edited by W.S. Mayo, M.D. (New York : George P. Putnam; London : David Bogue, 1849). Graphic Arts Collection Hamilton 603(a) https://catalog.princeton.edu/catalog/2526136

The following letter will best explain the way in which these pages came into the editor’s hands, and the degree of credit that may be fairly given to them as an authentic record of the travels and adventures of a young American:

Dear Doctor : You must know that I have recently come into the possession of a manuscript, purporting to be the travels and adventures of a young American, in various parts of the world, but mainly in the deserts of Africa, and in the unknown, and hitherto unvisited countries south of the Soudan. The manuscript strikes me as being curious, interesting, and apparently authentic; but I have so little confidence in my own judgment, in such matters, that after a deal of patient and painful cogitation upon the subject, I find myself utterly unable to decide two questions that present themselves, to wit, is it worth publishing? and if so, what will be the best manner of giving it to the world?

 

“Life of adventure may be justly considered my birthright. Descended, on both sides of the house, from some of the earliest settlers of Nantucket, and more or less intimately related to the Coffins, the Folgers, the Macys and the Starbucks of that adventurous population, it would seem that I have a natural right to a roving disposition, and to a life of peril, privation, and vicissitude. Nearly all the male members of my family, for several generations, have been “followers of the sea.” Some of them in the calm and peaceful employment of the merchant service; others, and by far the greater number, in the more dangerous pursuit of the ocean monster. Whaling, it is well known, has been, almost from the first settlement of this country, the chief employment of the inhabitants of “the Island.” All were directly or indirectly interested in it. By it were bounded the hopes of the young and the memories of the old.”

 

 

Expedition to the Dead Sea, Petra, and the Left Bank of the Jordan

Honore Theodore Paul Joseph D’Albert Duc de Luynes (1802-1867), Voyage d’exploration à la Mer Morte, à Petra, et sur la Rive Gauche du Jourdain [= Expedition to the Dead Sea, Petra, and the Left Bank of the Jordan] (Paris: Arthus Bertrand, n.d. [ca.1868-74]). Graphic Arts Off-Site Storage RECAP-33945831

 

Alphonse Poitevin (1819-1882) won both of the 1856 photographic competitions sponsored by the Société françoise de photographie to discover a way (in short) to stop photographic prints from fading. Poitevin’s prize money was donated by Honoré d’Albert duc de Luynes (1802-1867) but when the Duke needed someone to print the photographs from his 1864 expedition to the Dead Sea basin and interior of Jordan, he passed on Poitevin and chose Charles Nègre (1820-1880).

An amateur archaeologist, Luynes organized the expedition to examine the region’s ancient ruins and perform geological and scientific observations. He took with him scientists, historians, and Lieutenant Louis Vignes (1831-1896), who served as the expedition’s photographer after receiving extensive training from Nègre. Vignes made both paper and glass plate negatives, which were carefully transported back to Paris and printed in ink as photogravures for the atlas documenting the expedition. Voyage d’Exploration a la Mer Morte à Petra et sur la Rive Gauche du Jourdain.

“Nègre was to complete the work by January 1868 for the sum of 23,250 francs. The photographs, made by the Duke’s second in command, Lieutenant L. Vignes, are for the most part rather contrasty and lacking in detail in the shadow areas. It is remarkable how Nègre was able to open up the shadows and fill them with light, detail and space. But undoubtedly the main reason the Duke chose Nègre to perform this task lay in the quality of the prints Nègre was capable of producing. Quite possibly de Luynes had expected the artist to win the prize of the Société Francaise competition, for he had achieved a control over his process which resulted in prints of rich tones, fine detail, transparency and effect.” – Borcoman, Charles Negre, pp. 45-46 and plates 199 and 200.

Together with three volumes of text, the atlas volume presents 64 of the Nègre photogravures; plus 18 lithographs, 2 maps, and 1 chart. Rachel Stuhlman, George Eastman House, writes that Nègre produced “printing plates capable of reproducing the entire gradation of tones, from the white of the paper to the strongest black…” and that he “…transformed the dull photographs into evocative images of great poetry.”

 

Contents: t. 1. Relation du voyage.–t. 2. De Petra à Palmyre, par m. Vignes.–Voyage de Jérusalem à Karak et à Chaubak, par mm. Mauss et Sauvaire.–t. 3 Géologie, par m. L. Lartet.–Atlas.

Dictionnaire botanique or livre d’artiste, take your pick

J.J. Audubon spent his life tracking and painting all the birds in America. Edward Curtis spent the majority of his adult life photographing the Indians of North America. In this extraordinary set of four volumes, a Belgian natural history enthusiast or scientist or doctor spent “most of my life” writing and illustrating a study of transformism, or what we would call evolutionary theory. And if that weren’t enough, the elephant folio Étude sur la transformisme comes with a three volume Dictionnaire botanique, every page hand written and hand colored.

This massive and extraordinary gathering of knowledge addresses everything from air currents to the working of the inner ear; from geography to biology; from Charles Darwin to Victor Hugo. The books are illustrated throughout with thousands of the watercolor paintings. It has been dated from the early 20th century, although the truth is there is no date yet found in any of the volumes. We can only hope it will catch the interest of a future researcher, patient enough to read the small print and find out the truth about the books and their anonymous author.

Étude sur la transformisme holds approximately 150 leaves, many folded, all heavily illustrated in full color. The three volume Dictionnaire botanique offers more than 1200 with several thousand color diagrams, charts, and paintings.

Although the sheer weight of the volume is pulling the paging from the binding, its impressive cover still holds the book together, offering four quotes to the reader:

La vie sans science est presque l’image de la morte, C. Volpi = Life without science is almost the image of the dead

Chercher. Comprendre. Vouloir. Pouvoir. Oser. Sentir. Méditer = Search. Understand. Want to. Power. Dare. Feel. Meditate

Naître, mourir et renaître sans cesse, telle est la loi, telle est lavie. V. Hugo = To be born, to die and to be reborn without ceasing, such is the law, such is the life.

Travailler pour être estimé. Etre estimé pour être aimé. Etre aimé pour être heureux = Work to be esteemed. To be esteemed in order to be loved. To be loved to be happy

 

 


There is the name Dumoulin, but we known absolutely nothing about him or her or them. It is unlikely this refers to the French artist Louis-Jules Dumoulin (1860–1924), who founded the Société Coloniale des Artistes Français in 1908. “Dumoulin is an Orientalist painter linked to the official artistic circles and a great traveler from the various missions that will be entrusted to him. He made his first major trip outside Europe in 1888 on the occasion of an official mission to Japan ordered by the Ministry of Education.”

 

 

 

Here is the description that comes with the set:

The large folio volume is really a huge collection of charts devoted to human anatomy, animal and plant biology, the fossil record and evolution (or transformisme). Botany makes up the largest proportion, but there are sections on insects, reptiles, birds, flying lizards, marsupials and mammals. Dumoulin also had an interest in Africa and there are sections on the Sahara and on the Belgian Congo. The focus is worldwide and is drawn from reference works rather than original research, but the arrangements are highly idiosyncratic. Several evolutionary charts are attempted, mentioning Linnaeus, Darwin, Lamarck and Jussieu.

The Dictionnaire botanique is a large 3 volume compilation mainly devoted to botanical classification, from the smallest mosses and seaweeds, to exotic flowering plants and forest trees. Like the larger folio volume, these volumes are illustrated throughout, with accompanying text in coloured inks and often containing emblematic figures of human figures appropriate to the origins of the plant: including Africans and Americans. They have apparently been bound from a large number of separate files (whose stiff paper cover with labels are preserved) each devoted to a different botanical family. The third volume contains additional materials at the end, including a study on Pasteur and germs, another on insects and another on bird classification. Like the preceding parts, these are also copiously illustrated in colour.

There is a note inserted that the author hoped his/her/their work would find its way into a university. Happily, the unusual set found a home in the Graphic Arts Collection at Princeton University. Please share the few facts presented here with colleagues and let us know if you have a theory about this massive undertaking.

Guillermo Deisler and the Peacedream Project


 

The Chilean-born visual poet Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995) was imprisoned in 1973 under the Pinochet government before being exiled to France, Bulgaria, and finally Germany. It was in Halle (Saale) that he began publishing the international mailart portfolio known as the Peacedream project UNI/vers(;) together with Hans Braumüller, Theo Breuer, David Chikladze (Georgia), Pedro-Juan Gutierrez (Cuba), Joseph Huber (Germany), César Figueiredo (Portugal), K. Takeishi-Tateno (Japan), Spencer Selby (USA) and many others.

“For the Latin Americans,” wrote Deisler, “including some of us right now, that voluntarily or driven by political circumstances are obligated to exile, those that work in ‘art by mail’ transform into a palliative that neutralizes this situation of ‘deceased citizens,’ the name coined by Paraguayan writer Augusto Roa Bastos for this massive emigration of cultural workers from the South American continent”

Published between 1987 and 1995 in 35 numbers, Deisler edited each issue focused on visual and experimental poetry. “The project encouraged visual and experimental artists to submit 100 works. 40 artists were put together in one issue, each artist receiving a copy of the magazine. Uni/vers (;) transmitted messages and poetry with simple matters. It was poetic communication bearing in mind the mass being available. In its best case an issue was simultaneous poetry in a collective form without censorship or borders.”–From http://centrodedocumentaciondelasartes.cl.;

The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to acquire a partial run of UNI/vers(;) as well as a small group of his artists’ books and concrete poetry.

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Exclusivo hecho para usted (Juego) (Antofagasta, 1971). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

Gregorio Berchenko, Knock-out: poemas visuales / Gregorio Berchenko; cubierto, Guillermo Deisler (Antofagasta, Chile: ediciones Mimbre, [1971?]). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Poemas visivos y proposiciones a realizer (Antofagasta: Ediciones Mimbre, 1972). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Poesia visiva en el mundo / selección y notas de Guillermo Deisler (Antofagasta, Chile: Ediciones Mimbre, [1972?]). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Le cerveau (Marseille: Nouv. Eds. Polaires, 1975). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Stamp, 1990. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), UNI/vers(;): visuelle und experimentelle Poesie international: Magazin 1 / 5 jahre 5 years peacedream project uni/vers(;) 1984 – 1992 / peacedream project uni/vers(;) visuelle und experimentelle … (Berlin, 1992-1994). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process
See all issues online: https://www.fondazionebonotto.org/en/collection/fluxus/deislerguillermo/8403.html

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Everything I do is poetry (Cleveland, OH: Generator Press, 1996). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Adler’s paper sample resources

Recently two paper sample cabinets owned by Elmer Adler (1884-1962) came back from off-site storage to our vaults, including this one housing sample books from the Alling & Cory Company.

“Alling and Cory was a privately owned printing paper and packaging distributor headquartered in Rochester, New York, [Adler’s hometown]. Founded by Elihu F. Marshall in 1819, the company was the first paper merchant in the U.S. The company remained independent until 1996 when it was bought by Union Camp. Assumed to be among its employees were two United States Presidents and other United States statesmen.

At its height, Alling and Cory owned more than 20 branch offices from Toledo, Ohio to New York City. At one point, it was the United States’ oldest privately owned company in continuous operation. In 1910-1911, they built the Alling & Cory Buffalo Warehouse and in 2010, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.”

See The New York Times article: “Alling & Cory Sold for $88 Million to Union Camp” from Dow Jones, April 16, 1996.

A second cabinet holds this wonderful color sample brochure. Here is a small part of the business history posted by the Beckett Paper Company:

With sales of less than $100 million, Beckett Papers is a rather small, yet distinctive, segment of the Fine Papers Division of Hammermill Paper Co., itself a subsidiary of $20 billion International Paper Co. Nevertheless, Beckett enjoys a long and distinguished heritage in the paper industry, stretching back 50 years earlier, in fact, than that of International Paper. Established in 1848, Beckett was controlled and managed by descendants of founder William Beckett until 1959, when it became a subsidiary of Hammermill Paper Co. Hammermill was in turn acquired by International Paper in 1984.

A well-established brand presence in the fine papers, stationery, and uncoated recycled stock segments enabled Beckett to retain its own identity and logo through the mid-1990s. But while its goods continued to be milled at the company’s birthplace in Hamilton County, Ohio, its headquarters was moved to East Granby, New Jersey, along with the rest of International Papers’ Fine Papers Group.

Beckett Papers was founded and eventually named for William Beckett. Born in 1821 and educated at southern Ohio’s Miami University, Beckett, along with a couple of partners, bought into an abandoned paper mill in the town of Hamilton in 1848. At first, the mill churned out newsprint made of rags for sale to newspaper publishers in nearby Cincinnati. Though the mill struggled to stay in the black during its first two years, efficiencies achieved through the addition of a second paper making machine led to a decade-long period of profitability. The Civil War helped to lengthen this prosperous period, as newspaper sales skyrocketed, fueled by public hunger for news from the battlefields. These high times subsided during the late 19th century, when panics and recessions hurt the company’s results.

Partners came and went over the course of the company’s first four decades in operation, and the business endured several name changes before its incorporation as The Beckett Paper Company in 1887. By this time Thomas Beckett, son of the founder, had joined the company. The second-generation leader brought new production methods to the company, including modern paper making machines that used wood pulp. Though his changes were vehemently resisted by some managers, modernizations kept the company’s costs competitive and eventually brought it out of the red. Thomas launched the Buckeye Cover brand of colored paper in 1894, a stock that soon gained a reputation for high quality. The buckeye, Ohio’s state tree, would serve as Beckett’s corporate logo for some 100 years, until the launch of a new logo in mid-1998.

Read more: https://www.referenceforbusiness.com/history2/46/Beckett-Papers.html#ixzz6WcGKr3dY

 

 

These resources were originally moved from Elmer Adler’s office in The New York Times annex to Princeton in 1940, when he established a graphic arts program at the university. Special thanks go to my colleagues Jen Meyer and Mike Siravo, who arranged the moving and new storage for these important resources back into the department.

The Books and Prints of Anaïs Nin and her Gemor Press

Please join us at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, September 25, 2020, for the fifth in our series of live webinars highlighting material in the Graphic Arts Collection at Princeton University Library. Recently we acquired most of the rare letterpress editions printed by Anaïs Nin (French-Cuban, 1903-1977). Best known for her diaries, Nin also wrote fiction with themes of history, feminism and multiculturalism. Together with Gonzalo More, one of her many lovers, Nin ran a private printing press in Greenwich Village where she taught herself to set type, stood for hours pumping a treadle press, and distributed her books with the help of Frances Steloff at Gotham Book Mart. Many were illustrated with original etchings by her husband, Hugh Parker Guiler, a banker who used the pseudonym Ian Hugo so his colleagues would not discover he was also an artist.

They called the imprint Gemor Press (pronounced G. More) after Gonzalo, although it was Anaïs who raised the money and did most of the physical work. Located first on MacDougal Street and later at 17 East 13th Street where the small building she rented still stands. After a close look at the books and prints, we are fortunate to be joined by Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, who will update us on their efforts to landmark this building, as well as other Village homes and studios of writers we all know and love.

This session is free and open to all. To register: click here

Here is the complete series of past and future webinars highlighting material in Princeton’s Graphic Arts Collection

New Theories on the Oldest American Woodcut. May 22, 2020
To celebrate the 350th anniversary of the oldest surviving print from Colonial America, we assembled all five extent copies of the portrait of the Reverend Richard Mather (1596-1669) by or after John Foster. Julie Mellby was joined by Caroline Duroselle-Melish, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Early Modern Books and Prints and Associate Librarian for Collection Care and Development, Folger Shakespeare Library.

Thomas Eakins and the Making of Walt Whitman’s Death Mask. June 26, 2020
This program was chosen specifically for June, LGBTQ pride month and this year, the 50th anniversary of the first Gay Pride march. Both Walt Whitman and Thomas Eakins, in their own way, broke down barriers around sex, sexuality, and the celebration of the human body. Presented by Julie Mellby, Graphic Arts Curator, and Karl Kusserow, John Wilmerding Curator of American Art, Princeton University Art Museum.

Afrofuturism: The Graphics of Octavia E. Butler. July 31, 2020
This month focused on the speculative fiction, also called Afrofuturism, of author Octavia E. Butler. Julie Mellby was joined by Damian Duffy and John Jennings, the award winning team who produced the graphic novel adaptations of Parable of the Sower and Kindred.

Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage. August 26, 2020
The fourth in our series celebrated the centenary of the 19th amendment on Women’s Equality Day. Julie Mellby was joined by Lauren Santangelo, author of Suffrage and the City and lecturer in Princeton University’s Writing Program, along with Sara Howard, Librarian for Gender & Sexuality Studies and Student Engagement within Scholarly Collections and Research Services at Princeton University Library.

The Books and Prints of Anaïs Nin and her Gemor Press. September 25, 2020
For the fifth in our series we highlight the recently acquired letterpress editions printed by Anaïs Nin (French-Cuban, 1903-1977). Together with Gonzalo More, Nin ran a private printing press in Greenwich Village where she printed and published fine press books, distributed with the help of Frances Steloff at Gotham Book Mart. Julie Mellby will be joined by Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, who will talk about efforts to landmark the Gemor Press building and other Village homes and studios of writers we all know and love.

 

An affecting history of the captivity & sufferings of Mrs. Mary Velnet–Fiction or Non-Fiction?


The Sinclair Hamilton copy of Mary Velnet’s 19th-century slave narrative has been digitized and is available for download.

Mary Velnet (born 1774), An affecting history of the captivity & sufferings of Mrs. Mary Velnet, an Italian lady Who was seven years a slave in Tripoli, three of which she was confined in a dungeon, loaded with irons, and four times put to the most cruel tortures ever invented by man written by herself (Boston: Published for W. Crary [1800?]). Graphic Arts Collection Hamilton 185. https://catalog.princeton.edu/catalog/2990368

Woodcut frontispiece showing Mary in her dungeon loaded with irons. Inscribed in ink on first fly leaf: “John Bright Jun. property–Waltham,” and “John Bright Jun. Waltham 1810 July 15th” on last leaf.

 

The book tells the story of Mary Velnet, wife of Morn Henri Velnet, an East Indian trader. Mary left Italy on June 20, 1797, to join her husband in Canton and two months later, her ship was attacked by the Tripolitans in North Africa. She was captured, sold, and held in slavery for seven years.

Although Velnet is called an Italian lady, it has been suggested that this was an American story, commissioned by an American publisher for the extensive audience hungry for for slave narratives involving white women. Princeton owns the first American edition, one of at least six printings of this book.

Paul Baepler’s White Slaves, African Masters: An Anthology of American Barbary Captivity Narratives, suggests that the popularity in the United States of these sensational narratives of white women captured and tortured in African and Indian countries led to many fictitious publications.

“We have no bibliographies of Barbary captivity narratives, and while this list doesn’t claim to be comprehensive, I hope it moves us toward a fuller understanding of the genre’s publication history. No doubt there are many more narratives among newspaper accounts, unpublished diaries, sermons, letters, travel narratives, captain’s logs, and miscellany. I have included the seemingly fictitious accounts that were printed in the United States—Vandike, Velnet, Martin, Nicolson, Bradley, and Laranda—and with the exception of the Nicholson narrative, all of these were reputedly written by non-American but published exclusively in the United States.”

What do you think?

 
See also James Gillray’s Sale of English Beauties: https://graphicarts.princeton.edu/2015/01/24/gillrays-sale-of-english-beauties-and-books/

This Hunger….

Anaïs Nin (born Neuilly, France, 1903-1977), This Hunger (New York: Gemor Press, 1945). No. 28 of 50 with 5 color woodcuts by Ian Hugo (Hugh Parker Guiler, born Puerto Rico, 1898-1985). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process.

When Nin’s 1944 book, Under a Glass Bell sold out in three weeks, she and her lover Gonzalo More moved their printing press to a new home on East 13th Street, calling it Gemor Press after More’s initials. She wrote in her diary,

“As Gonzalo wanted the press to seem more businesslike, more impersonal, less like a private press run by writers, we had to find an appropriate place. The Villager had just moved out of 17 East Thirteenth Street. It was a small, two-story house. The ground level with a cement floor was suitable for the printing press. A narrow, curved iron staircase led to the second floor, which would be perfect for the engraving press. The house rented for sixty-five dollars a month, almost twice as much as the old studio on Macdougal Street.”

 

Their first book at the new location was This Hunger…., later expanded and incorporated into Ladders to Fire, She completed it in September 1945, noting in her diary that she “printed the one hundred and eighty-fourth page, the last of the de luxe edition of This Hunger” and went home exhausted. Although More wanted the business, Nin did the majority of the work, printing at least eight hours a day. The move was expensive and she owed money to everyone, saved in part by Henry Miller, another lover, who gave her $1,000, ”the first large amount he ever earned, which helped me pay off debts; with the rest he bought a cottage in Big Sur.”

 


According to volume 4 of The Diary of Anaïs Nin 1944-1947, in the mid-1940s Nin also had a relationship with Edmund Wilson (1895-1972). In reviewing This Hunger in The New Yorker November 10, 1945, he wrote:

“There is not much expert craftsmanship in This Hunger by Anaïs Nin but it is a more important book than either Marquand or Isherwood because it explores a new realm of material. Even Isherwood can do little more than add to an already long series another lucid and well-turned irony of the bourgeois world on the eve of war. But Anaïs Nin is one of those women writers who have lately been trying to put into words a new feminine point of view, who deal with the conflicts created for women by living half in a man-controlled world against which they cannot help rebelling, half in a world which they have made from themselves but which they cannot find completely satisfactory.”

He ends “I feel sure that Anaïs Nin has still hardly begun to get out of her intelligence and talent the writing that they ought to produce. This new book, like the one before it, has been published by Anaïs Nin herself. Anaïs Nin is at present a special cult, when she ought to have a general public.”

He sent her flowers and a set of Jane Austen. “He was hoping,” Nin wrote, “I would learn how to write a novel from reading her!”