Category Archives: Books

books

Printers’ Marks on Eighth Avenue


The next time you are running to Penn Station on your way back to Princeton, look up.

On August 8, 1915, The New-York Tribune announced plans “To erect printing crafts building: Plans provide for a 21 story structure costing $2,500,000 site at 34th Street and Eighth Avenue much space already has been leased from the plans by big concerns as the proposed printing crafts building will look.”

 

One of the first to rent space and move into the building was Louis H. Orr (1857-1916), director of the Bartlet Orr Press and son of the wood engraver John William Orr (1815-1887). Louis Orr grew up surrounded by members of the printing trade. As the new building was being conceived and designed, Orr suggested including printers’ marks on the façade in honor of the many presses that had come before. His own firm’s design was, of course, included.

Around the same time, the Bartlet Orr Press published a brochure giving a little history of printers’ marks, which was collected by Elmer Adler when he opened his own press Pynson Printers. Happily, Adler’s copy made its way into the Graphic Arts Collection at Princeton University Library.

 

 

Horace Townsend (1859-1922), Printers marks: being a brief consideration of some marks used by printers in the XV century with special reference to a XX century mark (New York: Bartlett Orr Press, 1913). From the library of Elmer Adler (1884-1962). Graphic Arts Collection (GA) Oversize 2009-0109Q

 


 



Nathaniel Orr and Company

Orr Family Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

“If you would like,” wrote J. A. Adams, “I can give you constant work on these drawings for 18 or 20 months. I would rather you would come to this city, as it would be more convenient. Please let me know whether you can devote your whole time to them or how many you can do.” The offer was made in the summer of 1843 to Nathaniel Orr (1822-1908). Engraver Joseph Alexander Adams (103-1880) and in turn, the artist of the original designs John Gadsby Chapman (1808-1889), were both exceedingly pleased with the young artist’s work and thanks to this offer, Orr moved to New York City to work full-time on an Harper and Brother’s Illustrated Bible.

In the 1850s, Orr established his own firm and needed a logo. Various drawings survive leading to several wood engravings used in advertising, stationery, and other N. Orr and Company information. Two of his engraved blocks are held in the Orr Family Papers, collected by his daughter and donated to the University of Florida.

Woodblock seen above, at an angle with raked light and below, straight on from the top.

A second version of Nathaniel Orr’s company logo can be seen below. If it looks familiar, it was the logo borrowed by Sinclair Hamilton, Class of 1906, and stamped on the cover of his book: Early American Book Illustrators and Wood Engravers 1670-1870 (with the inner text changed to present his own information). It would have been kinder if Hamilton had included an entry on Nathaniel Orr either in his first volume or the supplement.

 

The earliest version of this design was printed in 1843 [seen below], when Nathaniel Orr first moved from Albany to New York City.

 

A third design was created for the head of Orr’s stationery near the end of his career. After several tries, seen below, the final design was printed.

Orr Family Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

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 https://www.moma.org/research-and-learning/research-resources/library/council/valise

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 http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/cesar-airas-infinite-footnote-to-borges

Cheap and Well-Illustrated

The Wild Woman: or, The Wrecked Heart: Being the True Autobiography of the “Wild Woman,” Who Was Recently Exhibited at Cincinnati, and Was Rescued from Her Persecutors by the Citizens of That City, and Sent to the Insane Asylum at Dayton, Ohio. The History of This Strange Woman Furnishes Incidents of the Most Thrilling Narrative Ever Written, and Is Now Offered for the First Time (Philadelphia : Barclay & Co., 1864). Designs by Charles F. Noble (born ca. 1833) and Nathaniel Orr (1822-1908). Sinclair Hamilton Collection of American Illustrated Books (GAX) Oversize Hamilton 1887q

 

Four years after the wood engraver Nathaniel Orr finished the plates for Twelve Years a Slave, he was asked to supply a few cuts for another captivity narrative. This time it was the autobiography of Alice Galon, a young woman who was (according to a very complex story) seduced by Clarence Withrow, a villain who became her lover and then killed their baby. When she suffered a nervous breakdown, he put her on exhibit as a wild mountain woman, charging 15 cent per view.

The actual woman at the center of this tragedy was named Ann Walter, an emotionally challenged girl held captive by Captain J. W. C. Northecote and his cohorts. For several months in 1856, they traveled the Midwest exhibiting Walton as a “Wild Woman of the Wachita Mountains of Missouri.”

When they got to Cincinnati, the police thankfully stopped the show and brought them all in for questioning. On July 16, 1856, an account of the trial was published locally and repeated in the New-York Tribune (see below). Walton spent a period of time at an asylum in Dayton, Ohio, before being released.

 


“The wild woman on a legal platform: lunatico inquirendo–interesting inquiry in the probate court–physicians and other witnesses examined–supposed imposition,” The Cincinnati Gasetic, New-York Daily Tribune, July 16, 1856: 6.
.

The first edition of the narrative was published in 1857 by the Cincinnati firm of E. E. Barclay & Company, whose lurid accounts of sex and murder were printed in both English and German.  Seven years later, after the firm moved to Philadelphia, the story was reprinted with only a new title page. This is the copy held in the Sinclair Hamilton collection at Princeton.

“What devilish impulse suggested to Clarence Withrow the thought of speculating upon his crazed and unhappy victim, is a mystery of wickedness too deep to comprehend. Arraying her in a manner suitable to his scheme, assisted by wily accomplices, he exhibited her as a wild woman, who had been captured in the mountains.” Page 80

 

 

 

[Alice Galon], Das wilde Weib; oder: Das gebrochene Herz: Eine selbstverfasste Lebensbeschreibung des wilden Weibes, das neulich in Cincinnati ausgestellt war, aber von den Bürgern dieser Stadt den Händen ihrer Verfolger entriffen und in das Irrenhaus in Dayton gebracht wurde (Cincinnati: Verlag von Barclay & Co., No. 6 West 4te Strasse, 1857). “Diese Geschichte des wilden Weibes, die Vorfälle der rührendsten Art enthält, die je geschrieben wurden, wird nun zum ersten Mal dem Publikum angeboten.”

 

The Watermark Collection

Thomas Keith Tindale and Harriett Ramsey Tindale, The Handmade Papers of Japan; foreword by Dard Hunter (Rutland, Vt.; Tokyo, Japan: Charles E. Tuttle, 1952). Published in an edition of “not more than two hundred and fifty copies.”

Portfolio (v. [4]) contains foreword by Haruji Yoshida (director general, Government Printing Agency) and catalog (5 p.), and 20 sheets of colored papers made at the Oji Paper Mill of the Government Printing Agency in Tokyo, each with a pictorial light and shade watermark made by the tesuri-kako-ho (hand-rubbing) method from engravings by Seishiro Suzuki, Yayoji Shiomi, Kinnojo Kawashima and Sadakichi Kataoka.

Gift of Edwin N. Benson, Jr. Class of 1899 and Mrs. Benson in memory of Peter Benson, Class of 1938. Graphic Arts: Reference Collection (GARF) Oversize TS1095.J3 T5q

Overhead lighting
Back lighting
Snow and Crow. Engraving by Kinnojo Kawashima. The watermark is on grey paper and is of a crow resting on a blossoming branch which is covered iwth snow. Note the detail of the bird’s claw.







 

 

The first attempt to produce a fine piece of book-making in America


After appearing in 54 numbers (28 pages each), Harper’s Illuminated and New Pictorial Bible came out in all its morocco-bound, hand-tooled, gold-embossed, and gilt-edged glory in the early part of 1846. Frank Weitenkampf called it “the first richly illustrated book in the United States, the first attempt to produce a fine piece of book-making.” By 1859 the Bible had sold 25,000 copies at more than a half million dollars retail. –details from Eugene Exman, The Brothers Harper (Z473.H29 E9 1965).

The total edition is uncertain since a large number of copies were lost in their building fire of 1853.



The initial idea came from the engraver Joseph Alexander Adams (1803-1880), who contracted with Harper’s on the guarantee of half the final profits from the Bible.  According to Exman:

Adams was “concerned with the problem of printing wood engravings, especially to find a border that would both support and protect the blocks. In 1839, he developed a galvanic process whereby an electric current passing through a solution holding copper would coat a wax mold of his border engraving with a shell of copper. This shell, when affixed to a block, gave the necessary support to the engraving itself. This discovery, now known as electrotyping was simultaneously developed that same year by two Englishmen and a Russian.

Another mechanical aid was the development of the six-roller press by Isaac Adams (not related to the engraver) and his brother Seth of Boston. This press was first put into operation at Cliff Street in 1840. Since the Adams press could take a larger sheet than other presses, this may have been the reason for the decision to issue the Harper-Adams Bible in folio.”

John L. O’Sullivan of the Democratic Review wrote “We think it questionable taste to print the edition in the obsolete form of folio.”

John Gadsby Chapman (1808-1889) supplied 1,400 designs to be engraved, for which he was paid $2,121.80. In his volume of proofs for the bible Illustrations, Chapman lists the engravers as Roberts, Childs, Minot, Howland, Gordon, Butler, Morse, Orr Jr. (Nathaniel), Hall Hart, Kinnersley (Henry), Kinnersley (Augustus F.), Peckham, Bookhour, Holland, and Weeks. He goes on to say only a few can be definitely ascribed to Adams (such as the title page above).

John Gadsby Chapman (1808-1889), Bible illustrations ([New York? 1846?]). 5 v. Note: “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.” Sinclair Hamilton Collection of American Illustrated Books. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize Hamilton 199q

A parody of Victor Hugo’s “Légende des Siècles”

Le Sire de Chambley (Edmond Haraucourt 1856-1941), La Légende des sexes. Poëmes hystériques. 1st edition (Bruxelles: pour l’auteur, 1882 [Nevers, 1883]). Binding by Carayon. Copy 22 of 212. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process

Fabulous endpapers.

 

The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to have acquired a first edition of Edmond Haraucourt’s first book, published when he was twenty-six years old at his own expense, to parody Victor Hugo’s Légende des Siècles (Legend of the Centuries). He called his book, La Légende des sexes.

 

Our copy has a particularly fine Japonism style binding by the French artisan known only as Carayon. The endpapers are beautiful color woodcuts depicting the Japanese folktale, Shita-kiri Suzume (Tongue-Cut Sparrow).

 

A member of the whimsical literary circles of Hydropathes and the Chat Noir, Haraucourt published the volume under the pseudonym Le Sire de Chambley and under his own fictitious imprint. Even so, he was not accepted into the Académie Française because of the book, which was promoted as “l’épopée du bas-ventre” (genteelly translated as an epic of the lower abdomen).

Haraucourt knew Victor Hugo (1802-1885) a few months before Hugo’s death and was one of the ten poets to accompany his coffin at his funeral. In accord with Hugo’s will he was carried in the hearse of the poor but followed by chariots loaded with flowers. Haraucourt went on to serve as President of the Victor Hugo Foundation from 1928 to his death in 1941.

See also Victor Hugo (1802-1885), La légende des siècles (Paris: Hetzel, [188-?]) Recap PQ2285 .L15 1880

Walks in Paris, 1894

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired this lovely fin de siècle volume with color ornamentation by Alexandre Lunois (1863-1916), a lithographic framing of floral motifs on each page, a cover by Eugène Delâtre (1864-1938), and four etchings in colors by Albert Bertrand (born ca. 1855). It is one of only 180 copies, all on tinted vellum, and printed for the Société des bibliophiles contemporains, led by Octave Uzanne.

-in Luxembourg Gardens
-in Hôtel Drouot

Note this rare look at a 19th-century book auction at the Hôtel Drouot. This might be the 1894 sale of rare and precious books, manuscripts, and printed matter from the library of the late Raoul Leonor Lignerolles (1817-1893).

Established on June 1, 1852, Hôtel Drouot, 9, rue Drouot, is one of the oldest organizations for public auction house sales. Known for fine art, antiques, and antiquities, the Hôtel Drouot consists of 16 halls hosting 70 independent firms, which operate under the umbrella grouping of Drouot. The firm’s main location, called Drouot-Richelieu, is on a site once occupied by the Paris Opera’s Salle Le Peletier.



-At the nightclub, Moulin de la Galette

 


Balades dans Paris (Walks in Paris)
: Au Moulin de la Galette–À l’hotel Drouot–Sur les quais–Au Luxembourg. Texts by Paul Eudel (1837-1911), Bernard Henri Gausseron (1845-1913), and Adolphe Retté (1863-1930). (Paris: Academie des beaux-livres, Imprimé pour les “Bibliophiles contemporains”, 1894) Decorative borders. The plates consist of colored and black-and-white states of 4 illustrations. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process

 

Typographic satire

Charles-Georges Doucet Coqueley de Chaussepierre (1711-1791), Le roué vertueux, poëme en prose en quatre chants, propre à faire, en cas de besoin, un drame à jouer deux fois par semaine. A Lauzanne (The Virtuous Rake, a Prose Poem in Four Odes, Suitable for a Drama Performed Twice a Week, if Necessary) ([Paris: Claude-Antoine Jombert], 1770). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017-in process

Both a lawyer and royal critic, Coqueley de Chaussepierre had a reputation as a comic. In 1770, he wrote Le Roué virtuous as a parody of the play L’Honnête criminel, ou l’amour filial (The Honest Criminal: Or, Filial Piety) by Charles-Georges Fenouillot de Falbaire (1727-1800). The bourgeois drama told the true story of Jean Fabre, who served a prison term for his religiously persecuted father. The public loved it but Coqueley was appalled and responded with this typographic joke.

Le Roue vertueux is composed exclusively of pieces of sentences, single words in no logical sequence, and the remaining punctuation. On the other hand, the first chapter or ode can be read: “Oh crime! Oh consoling horror! Oh peaceful agitation of the soul!”

The author wrote, “by putting nothing into it, we cannot criticize the style.” Later generations forgot about Fenouillot de Falbaire’s play and celebrated Coqueley de Chaussepierre’s typographic originality and the surrealist vision of the book.

The book is also innovative in the five plates that divide the chapters, engraved and aquatinted by or in the style of Jean-Baptiste Le Prince (1734-1781). It is thought to be one of the first books to include aquatints.



 

 

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)