Category Archives: Books


May Dodge, Patron of the Arts

While her brothers William and Cleveland attended Princeton University and then moved to New York City to work in the family business, Mary (May) Melissa Hoadley Dodge (1861-1934) chose to move away from the family, finally settling in England. As the daughter of William Earl Dodge, Jr. (1832-1903), the developer of the largest copper mining and copper wire manufacturing companies in America, May Dodge had significant funds at her disposal, which she used to sponsor many causes.

In the early 20th century, May became acquainted with Francis Meynell (1891-1975), a printer and poet, whose work she collected and sponsored. When Meynell got married, she gave him a small printing press as a wedding present, on which he printed a limited edition of his mother’s poems and dedicated the book to Mary Dodge. This was his first imprint, “Romney Street Press,” and the beginning of a career that led to Meynell being knighted in 1946.

Together with her companion Countess Muriel De La Warr (1872-1930), May continued to support Meynell’s projects, supplying the capital to establish a new imprint, Pelican Press, in 1916. Even when he was fined £2,000 pounds for libel, after publishing a controversial cartoon of J.H. Thomas as Judas, Mary found a way to slip him the money to pay the fine.

Although she rarely gets credit, it was in large part thanks to her encouragement and financial assistance that Meynell’s career thrived. He went on to found Nonesuch Press in 1923, designing and publishing its books for the next 12 years.

Typography: the written word and the printed word, some tests for types, concerning printers’ flowers, the pioneer work of the Pelican Press, the points of a well-made book, a glossary of printers’ terms, type specimens, a display of borders and initials (London: Pelican Press, 1923). Graphic Arts Collection 2009-1615N

Alice Meynell (1847-1922), Ten poems, 1913-1915 (Westminster: Romney Street Press, 1915). “Dedicated to M.H.D.” Edition 50 copies.

Elmer Adler, The Craft of printing: notes on the history of type-forms, etc. Graphic Arts Collection GARF Z124 .C74 1921

Strickland Gibson, English printing 1700-1925; a note by Strickland Gibson. Graphic Arts Collection 2009-0517N846

Francis Meynell, The Holy Bible: reprinted according to the Authorised version 1611. Graphic arts Collection Oversize 2005-0019Q

Audubon tries to collect from Astor

John Syme, John James Audubon (White House)

January 12, 1861, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
“The following apocryphal item is going the rounds of the papers:

Among the subscribers to Audubon’s magnificent work on ornithology, the price of which was 1,000 dollars a copy, appeared the name of John Jacob Astor. During the progress of the work, the prosecution of which was exceedingly expensive, M. Audubon, of course, called upon several of his subscribers for payment. It so happened that Mr. Astor (probably that he might not be troubled about small matters) was not applied to before the delivery of the letterpress and plates.

Then, however, Audubon applied for his thousand dollars; but he was put off with one excuse or another. “Ah, M. Audubon,” would the owner of millions observe, “you have come at a bad time; money is very scarce; I have nothing in the bank; I have invested all my funds.”

At length, for a sixth time, Audubon called on Astor for his thousand dollars. As he was ushered into his presence he found Wm. B. Astor, the son, conversing with his father. No sooner did the rich man see the man of art, then he began, “Ah, M. Audubon, so you have come again after your money. Hard times, M. Audubon—money scarce.”

But just then, catching an inquiring look from his son, he changed his tone: “However, M. Audubon, I suppose we must contrive to let you have some of your money if possible. William,” he added, calling to his son, who had walked into an adjoining parlor, “have we any money at all in the bank?”

“Yes, father,” replied the son, supposing that he was asking an earnest question pertinent to what they had been talking of when the ornithologist came in, “we have two hundred and seventy thousand dollars in the Bank of New York, seventy thousand dollars in the City Bank, ninety thousand in the Merchants, ninety-eight thousand four hundred in the Mechanics, eighty three thousand—” “That’ll do, that’ll do,” exclaimed John Jacob, interrupting him; “it seems that William can give a cheque for your money.”



John James Audubon (1785-1851), The Birds of America: from original drawings by John James Audubon … (London: Pub. by the author, 1827-38). Oversize EX 8880.134.11e. The Princeton copy “was presented … in 1927 by Alexander van Rensselaer (Princeton, class of 1871), a charter trustee of the University. It had formerly belonged to Stephen van Rensselaer (Princeton, class of 1808) of Albany, New York, one of the original subscribers to the work. The latter’s name appears as no. 32 in Audubon’s list of subscribers.”




A Treatise on Female Ruin

The Ladies Petition for Two Husbands, January 1, 1784. Engraving. Published by John Sharpe. British Museum

In 1784, John Sharpe published this satirical print making fun of Martin Madan (1726-1790) and his recent book: Thelyphthora: or, A Treatise on Female Ruin, in its Causes, Effects, Consequences, Prevention, and Remedy: Considered on the Basis of the Divine Law under the Following Heads, viz. Marriage, Whoredom, and Fornication, Adultery, Polygamy, Divorce … (London: Printed for J. Dodsley, 1780-1781). RBSC Miriam Y. Holden Collection HQ19 .M26 []

Dr. Madan, sitting on the right, accepts each woman’s petition for a second husband, “For One alone Cannot our want’s supply. Nor Half our Wishes Gratify.” Madan’s advocacy for polygamy caused such protest that he was forced to resign his chaplaincy of the Lock Hospital.

A number of other satirical prints followed, although Sharpe’s was the only instance of a woman with two husbands, rather than a man with multiple wives.

Edward Williams (1755-1797?) after Thomas Rowlandson (born 1756 or 1757, died 1827), Polygamy, July 1, 1802. Stipple engraving. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2014.00818. Gift of Dickson Q. Brown, Class of 1895.

Note, the wife is the well-dressed woman on the right and the mistress (or second wife) is on the left with the child.


George Moutard Woodward (ca. 1760-1809), Five Wives at a Time or an Irishman Taken In! June 7, 1808. Etching. Bound in Caricature Magazine, volume 1. Graphic Arts Collection Rowlandson 1807.51F. Gift of Dickson W. brown, Class of 1895.

“Why Jack you terrible Turk I could not believe it if I had not seen it – Five Wives at once – why you will get yourself into a pretty scrape! What could induce you to commit such a rash action.”

“Why you must know Uncle, out of so many I was in hopes to have met with a Good one – but by St. Patrick, I have been taken in –!!”

Note: wife number five is reading this book: Mrs. Thomson (active 1788), Excessive Sensibility or, the History of Lady St. Laurence. A novel (London: printed for G. G. J. and J. Robinson, 1787).

A Critical Dictionary of English Literature and British and American Authors (1899) lists four novels by Mrs. Thomson: The Labryrinths of Life, Novel, 12mo. 2. Excessive Sensibility; a Novel, 12mo. 3. Fatal Follies; a Novel, 12mo. 4. The Pride of Ancestry, 1804, 4 vols. 12mo.


See also: Théodore De Bèze, Tractatio de Polygamia in Qva et Ochini Apostatæ Pro Polygamia, et Montanistarvm ac Aliorum Aduersus Repetitas Nuptias Argumenta Refutantur: Addito Veterum Canonum & Quarundam Ciuilium Legum ad Normam Verbi Diuini Examine (Genevæ, 1591). 2 vols.

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Caleb Bartlett and the Bowery Circulating Library

The Graphic Arts Collection holds a number of books with tickets indicating they were sold from a shop at 76 Bowery in New York City but listing different names for the booksellers. When you check the address today, there is only an empty lot. This led to a search of who and what had been at 76 Bowery, just north of Canal Street on the West side.


According to the U.S. Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service register, “No. 76 Bowery was built sometime ca. 1780, with later alterations. The late-eighteenth-century Georgian-style building features splayed stone window lintels with double keystone blocks,” often compared to the Edward Mooney House [left] built around the same time at 18 Bowery.

The earliest book in this search actually leads to 78 Bowery, dated 1823, from the small shop of Caleb Bartlett, known as The Bowery Circulating Library. Bartlett quickly moves next door to 76 Bowery, where James Hardie’s 1827 The Description of the City of New York, lists:

“Circulating Libraries, of which the following are the most distinguished, viz. that belonging to A. T. Goodrich, No. 124 Broadway, corner of Cedar-street, which is the first of the kind established in this city; the Minerva circulating Library 283 Broadway, opposite Washington Hall, of which W. B. Gilley is proprietor; one kept at No. 4 Chamber-street, owned by Mr. Ed. M. Murden ; the Bowery Circulating Library, No. 76 Bowery, of which Mr. Caleb Bartlett is proprietor. . .”

Bartlett printed and published his own books, while also selling almanacs, fancy papers, and playing cards. He was joined by Richard Bartlett (possibly his son) in the 1820s and a young clerk named Samuel Raynor.

“Samuel Raynor (1810-1888) was 12 years old, he left his home in Hempstead, Long Island, and took a job in a stationery company owned by Richard [Bartlett] at No. 76 Bowery. The small business printed playing cards, legal blanks and blank books. In 1835, when Raynor was now 25 years old, Bartlett took him as a partner. When Bartlett died two years later, Raynor brought his brother, Hiram, into the business, renaming it H. & S. Raynor.”

“Hiram retired in 1847 and Samuel forged on. His fortunes soared when, in 1858, he began manufacturing envelopes at a time when most people made their own by folding a sheet of paper and sealing it. His pioneering spirit did not stop there. He introduced fast-running machines, ordering twelve of the $500 devices in a brave but risky investment. By 1888 Samuel Raynor & Co. was one of the largest envelope manufacturers in the nation.” —

As early as 1832, Richard Bartlett & Samuel Raynor are listed as the owners at No. 76 Bowery: “published and sold, wholesale and retail, by R. Bartlett and S. Raynor, (successors to Caleb Bartlett.).” In 1838 an advertisement lists the shop as H. & S. Raynor, (formerly Bartlett & Raynor,) now run by brothers Hiram and Samuel. By 1847, Hiram is gone and Samuel Raynor, (late H. & S. Raynor) continues alone.

In the 1850s, the top floor is leased to a daguerreotypist and printer named Richard Garrison Barcalow (1826-1891), who offers stereotyping on the side. Downstairs two others join the bookshop as: “Raynor, Howe & Ferry (late Samuel Raynor)”, then Howe & Ferry, and by 1874, only J. Milton Ferry is left at 76 Bowery. The final book from the shop is dated 1889 and soon after, the building was either renovated or completely rebuilt.

Mrs. Lovechild, The Christmas tree, and other stories for the young (Phila., J. Ball, 1850). Hamilton 1461. “Sold at [Raynor] Bookstore, 76 Bowery N.Y.”–booksellers’ ticket, p. 1 of cover.

Mrs. W.E. Boardman, Haps and mishaps of the Brown family (Phila., Perkenpine & Higgins [1865]). Hamilton 1285. “Howe & Ferry, booksellers, 76 Bowery, N.Y.”–bookseller’s label, p. 2 of cover.

The Printing House of Leo Hart

Rockwell Kent, Leo Hart bookplate. See also Later bookplates & marks of Rockwell Kent : with a preface by the artist (New York: Pynson Printers, 1937): 25.


Thanks to Donald Farren, Class of 1958, for introducing several of us to the Rochester Printing House of Leo Hart (1883-1935), a friend and colleague of the former Graphic Arts Curator Elmer Adler (1884-1962).

It is thanks to Adler that the Graphic Arts Collection not only includes many of Hart’s books but correspondence, advertisements, and other material, in particular, concerning Venus and Adonis, which was selected by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) as one of the fifty best books of 1931.


William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Venus and Adonis; illustrated by Rockwell Kent (Rochester: The Printing house of Leo Hart, 1931). Graphic Arts Collection Oversize PR2845.A2 K4q. Copy 77 of 1250. Former owner Elmer Adler.


“It was in 1897 that he set up his first makeshift printing outfit, a hand press propped up on a grocery box in a dingy attic room lighted only by an old gas fixture. Working with one or two ordinary fonts of type for a few years in spare time during the evenings and after school, he did many odd jobs, mostly without pay. Then, about 1903, he opened a little shop in the rear room or the Hart family grocery store on North Street, equipped it with a used foot power press and some second-hand type and cases bought from a local printer.”

In 1905, he . . . “established the Hart Brothers Printing Company at No. 452 North Street, next door to the grocery. His brother, Alfred Hart, had become interested … and together they went to the American Type Founders Company, in Buffalo, New York, there buying two Chandler and Price presses, with type, cabinets, a stapling machine and other necessities.”

Over the years their business grew to include over 25 presses, providing all aspects of printing and binding including “a complete color engraving plant on the top floor of the building, under the name of the Franklin Colortype Company…”.

–Winfield Scott Downs “Leo Hart,” Encyclopedia of American Biography: New Series, Vol. 9 (American Historical Society, 1934).

Marco Polo (1254-1323?), The Travels of Marco Polo, the Marsden translation revised & edited with an introduction by Manuel Komroff; decorated by W.A. Dwiggins (Rochester, N.Y.: The Printing House of Leo Hart, 1933). Graphic Arts Collection G370.P9 P6713 1933


The Leo Hart archive:

If x³−6x²+11x−6=2x−2, then x=1 or x=4.

At a recent book launch and signing for Philip Ording’s 99 Variations on a Proof (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2019. QA8.4 .O73 2019), mathematician Ording kindly left a note in our copy for Princeton students. The event was hosted in the Ludlow Street basement studio of David Reinfurt, Princeton Lecturer in Visual Arts, graciously overseen by several former students.


“This book offers a multifaceted perspective on mathematics by demonstrating 99 different proofs of the same theorem. Each chapter solves an otherwise unremarkable equation in distinct historical, formal, and imaginative styles that range from Medieval, Topological, and Doggerel to Chromatic, Electrostatic, and Psychedelic [note the reference to Princeton in this chapter].

“…Inspired by the experiments of the Paris-based writing group known as the Oulipo – whose members included Raymond Queneau, Italo Calvino, and Marcel Duchamp – Ording explores new ways to examine the aesthetic possibilities of mathematical activity. 99 Variations on a Proof is a mathematical take on Queneau’s Exercises in Style, a collection of 99 retellings of the same story, and it draws unexpected connections to everything from mysticism and technology to architecture and sign language.”–Back cover.

The cubic equation in question and claim is: If x³−6x²+11x−6=2x−2, then x=1 or x=4.

“Fun, funny, and unexpectedly deep, Philip Ording’s Oulipian expedition through the far reaches of mathematical style shows there’s more than one way to skin a cubic equation.”—Jordan Ellenberg, author of How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking

Philip Ording is a professor of mathematics at Sarah Lawrence College. He is the coeditor of Simplicity: Ideals of Practice in Mathematics and the Arts.

Mocha Dick

Randall Enos, The Life & Death of Mocha Dick (Brooklyn, NY: Strike Three Press, 2009). Copy 15 of 32. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

Abstract: “In 1841, Herman Melville sailed out to the whaling grounds of the South Pacific where he heard the legend of Mocha Dick. This huge bull sperm whale was known to attack whaling ships and battle his pursuers as they tried to harpoon him. Melville turned the whaler’s quest of Mocha Dick into the story of Captain Ahab and Moby Dick. Randall Enos tells the story of Mocha Dick, the hero of whales, and depicts the whale’s great battles and legendary encounters in a suite of eleven linoleum cuts.”–Strike Three Press.


J. N. Reynolds. “Mocha Dick: or the White Whale of the Pacific,” in The Knickerbocker, or New-York Monthly Magazine 13, no. 5 (May 1839): 377–92.

J.N. Reynolds, Mocha Dick, or The White Whale of the Pacific (London; Glasgow: Cameron & Ferguson, [1870?]). Rare Books 3906.39.364.1900

Manganelli’s ouroboric mini novel

Paul Malutzki, Irrläufe: Hundert = Centuria: One Hundred by Giorgio Manganelli (Flörscheim, Germany: Malutzki, 2019). Copy 4 of 25. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

“A writer is writing a book about a writer who is writing 2 books about 2 writers, one of whom writes because he loves the truth, and the other because it makes no difference to him. These 2 writers write a total of 22 books that talk about 22 writers, some of whom lie without knowing they are lying, others lie and know so, others seek the truth while knowing they won’t be able to find it, others believe themselves to have found it, still others believed themselves to have found it but have started to have doubts…” –Paul Malutzki

Manganelli’s ouroboric mini novel (No. 100 of a collection of 100) is used bilingual in German and English translations. The two texts run through the accordion book as unbroken lines. The binding structure of the book (printed on both sides) allows to reconnect the text ends to the text beginnings, thus associating an endless (ouroboric) reading.

After setting the texts on computer with 30 point “Polymorph South” they were printed letter press, using polymer plates. On their meandering path through the book they circumscribe glued-in text fragments from novels by Paul Auster, Simone de Beauvoir, Michail Bulgakov, Italo Calvino… and Virginia Woolf.

Since the novel fragments are taken from real books, each copy of the edition contains its own little extracts from the respective novels. Each copy is, in terms of the novel fragments, one-of-a-king. – Paul Malutzki

Giorgio Manganelli (1922-1990) was an Italian journalist, avant-garde writer, translator and literary critic. Centuria, which won the Viareggio Prize, is probably his most approachable [book]; translated into English in 2005 by Henry Martin. Italo Calvino called him “a writer unlike any other, an inexhaustible and irresistible inventor in the game of language and ideas.”

Calvino also once remarked that in Manganelli:

“Italian literature has a writer who resembles no one else, unmistakable in each of his phrases, an inventor who is irresistible and inexhaustible in his games with language and ideas.” Nowhere is this more true than in this Decameron of fictions, each composed on a single folio sheet of typing paper.

Yet, what are they? Miniature psychodramas, prose poems, tall tales, sudden illuminations, malevolent sophistries, fabliaux, paranoiac excursions, existential oxymorons, or wondrous, baleful absurdities?

Always provocative, insolent, sinister, and quite often funny, these 100 comic novels are populated by decidedly ordinary lovers, martyrs, killers, thieves, maniacs, emperors, bandits, sleepers, architects, hunters, prisoners, writers, hallucinations, ghosts, spheres, dragons, Doppelgängers, knights, fairies, angels, animal incarnations, and Dreamstuff. Each ‘novel’ construes itself into a kind of Möbius strip, in which, as one critic has noted, ”time turns in a circle and bites its tail” like the Ouroborous.

In any event, Centuria provides 100 uncategorizable reasons to experience and celebrate an immeasurably wonderful writer. Brilliantly translated from the Italian by Henry Martin.”

Leonard Trask, the Wonderful Invalid

As a healthy young man, the Maine farmer Leonard Trask (1805-1861) stood 6 feet, 1 inch tall. He was married in 1830 to Eunice V. Knight and together they had 7 children between 1831 and 1846.

While out riding in 1833, Trask’s horse bolted and he was thrown to the ground, injuring his neck and shoulders. Over the next few months he gradually recovered but his symptoms returned with a stiffening of his back and neck, and his head curving forward. In 1840, he fell again and in 1853, he was thrown from his wagon, breaking his collar bone. Each accident aggravated his symptoms and the curve of his spine grew worse. Eventually, his height was measured at 4 feet, 10 1/2 inches.

Trask was now severely disabled. He published this account of his condition to raise money for the family; worked briefly for a local circus as a curiosity; and according to The Maine Register for the year 1855, was given a pension of $12 per month because of his condition (known today as ankylosing spondylitis).


Leonard Trask (1805-1861), A Brief Historical Sketch of the Life and Sufferings of Leonard Trask, the Wonderful Invalid (Portland [Maine]: Printed by David Tucker, 1857). Graphic Arts Collection 2019- in process


Drawings for the Iliad [no drawings included]

Lithographs after drawings


Richard Lattimore’s now-classic translation of Homer’s The Iliad was first published by the University of Chicago Press in 1951. A decade later, the Press invited the artist Leonard Baskin (1922-2000) to produce drawings for a lavish illustrated edition, which came out in 1962.

That same year a deluxe portfolio of 150 lithographs [seen at the top] after Baskin’s pen and ink wash drawings was published by Delphic Arts in New York, with the title Drawings for the Iliad. The first 90 copies included an additional three etchings, which were also distributed separately (two copies of each etchings) under the same title. If that isn’t complicated enough, an exhibition of Baskin’s drawings traveled to multiple venues in 1962 and an exhibition catalogue published under the same title.

Princeton University is fortunate to have all the variations of publications reproducing Baskin’s drawings, albeit without any original pen and ink wash drawings.

Homer, The Iliad. Translated with an introduction by Richmond Lattimore. Drawings by Leonard Baskin ([Chicago] University of Chicago Press [1962]). Graphic Arts Collection Oversize PA4025.A2 L35 1962q
“In addition to the generous size, the forty-eight full-page illustrations are printed on a rich ivory paper, especially manufactured to reproduce as flawlessly as possible the color and texture of the paper used by Leonard Baskin in creating the original drawings.” The book was offered at an introductory price of $11.50 after which it would be sold for $13.50.

Leonard Baskin (1922-2000), Drawings for the Iliad [by] Leonard Baskin [an exhibition at the] Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, Philadelphia Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [and the] Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Oregon ([Chicago, Art Institute, 1962]). Graphic Arts Collection 2012-0145Q
“Delphic Arts has acquired the sixty drawings for the Iliad in conjunction with their publication of a deluxe portfolio. This exhibition has been prepared and organized by Delphic Arts, New York City”–T.p. verso.

Leonard Baskin (1922-2000), Drawings for the Iliad (New York: Delphic Arts, 1962). [68] leaves of plates. Copy 27 of 150. Marquand Library Oversize NE539.B2 A4e
“150 copies … have been published … The paper throughout is Fabriano … text … printed at the Gehenna Press … quotations are Lattimore’s translation … The edition has been arranged as follows. Copies number one through ninety are accompanied by three original etchings by Leonard Baskin …

Leonard Baskin (1922-2000), Drawings for the Iliad (with six original signed etchings by Leonard Baskin: two impressions each of “Hephaistos”, “Ares”, and “Homer”) (New York: Delphic Arts, 1962). Edition: 60