Category Archives: fine press editions

fine press editions

A Born Classic

Mark Argetsinger, A Grammar of Typography: Classical Book Design in the Digital Age (Boston: David R. Godine, 2020). 528 pages; 8.5 x 12 inches; illustrated with over 425 images, many in full color.

The arrival of Mark Argetsinger’s new book, A Grammar of Typography, sent me running to a thesaurus in search of a word larger than comprehensive. Should we describe it as thorough? Inclusive? Far-reaching, in-depth, sweeping, or simply grand?

The publisher’s material begins: “A Grammar of Typography is a comprehensive guide to traditional book design that is both practical and historical. Interspersed with discussions of digital typesetting and page layout are broad historical views of the tradition of the book along with specific reference to the printer’s grammar or manual, the industry’s own codification of its usage, from Joseph Moxon in the seventeenth century through Theodore Low De Vinne in the nineteenth. In addition, there are chapters on house style, proof-reading, copy-editing, paper, binding, and appendices on typographical ornaments and Greek type. The book ends with an annotated bibliography and an index.”

How can you not love a book with an introduction titled “The Hidden Soul of Harmony: The Classical Tradition. A Practice in Search of a Theory”? Although Argetsinger claims “this is primarily a practical manual, not a scholarly treatise,” one would be hard-pressed to find a more philosophical look at “marks of quotation,” “font editing,” or “horizontal space.”

There is also biography and chronology. “In addition, Aldus was the first to cast in type the humanist’s running or cursive hand, known as the Italic. The busy work of the humanist, who daily, it seemed, uncovered new works of the Ancients, lying long neglected in the monastic or royal libraries of Europe, had required an efficient script to match the urgent copying of new texts.”

In his preface, Argetsinger writes, “This book intends to provide a historical context to the enterprise of book-making. The term grammar appears in its title both in reference to the historical phenomenon of ‘grammars’ of printing, regarding which much will be said along the way, as well as in reference to a certain graphical literacy that is requisite for the intelligent use of design and production tools in the digital age. Historical context is important both from the point of view of tracking evolving trends in the composition and display of printed matter, as well as from the point of view of preserving the traditions of its best practices.”

Open it anywhere and start reading.

 

 

“After the first necessities of life, nothing is more precious to us than books. The Art of Typography, which produces them, provides essential services to society and secures incalculable benefits. …Thus one could rightly call it par excellence the art of all arts and the science of all sciences.” –Pierre-Simon Fournier, le jeune, Manuel Typographique, Book 1 (1764).

 

 

A classical book designer, Argetsinger also embraces 21st-century technology, writing:
“There is something wonderful about working out the proportion of the page on screen, precisely mapping out its structure with the (by turns visible or invisible) grid and and page line; setting up one’s font with a complement of sorts so vast, even Christopher Plantin would feel a twinge of envy; readily changing size, font, color, position; and arraying, say, a two-volume, 800-page book heavy with illustrations and then placing its entire content on a digital thumb-drive….”

[Forgive my poor photography, the book itself is perfect.]

Colophon: “A Grammar of Typography set in DTL’s Fleischmann and printed on 115 Gem Munken print cream. All printing and binding by PBtisk Printing Company in the Czech Republic. This first edition consists of 1,875 hardcover trade copies as well as a deluxe slipcased edition of 125 copies signed and numbered by the author and only available directly from the publisher. Designed and composed by Mark Argetsinger, Holyoke, Massachusetts.”

 

A PostScript: My favorite Argetsinger design, proof he can do it all.

Need a Project no. 10? Music of the Spheres

Linda Connor and Charles Simic, On the Music of the Spheres. Artists and writers series 16. Limited ed. of 250 copies ([New York]: Library Fellows of the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1996). ReCAP Marquand Oversize TR654 .C65472 1996q

On the Music of the Spheres presents 15 tipped in tritone reproductions of Linda Connor’s gold toned printing out prints along with the poetry of Charles Simic. The results are astoundingly beautiful. One hundred copies were specially bound and signed by the poet and photographer with an additional platinum palladium print, signed by Connor, loosely inserted. The publication was named the 1998 Best Book of the Year from 21st- A Contemporary Photography Journal.

 

 


Writing for the New York Times, Phyllis Braff keenly observed

“Linda Connor stakes out ambitious visual and conceptual themes for her photographic projects, and her art has been earning wide respect for several decades. Her base is California, but she travels the world to gather content.” In reviewing On the Music of the Spheres, Braff continues “The territory Ms. Connor chooses to explore is nothing less than the heavens. Turning the idea into a multifaceted essay that stimulates the mind as well as the eye, she interweaves her prints made from the glass plates of 19th-century astrological photographers with her images of indoor and outdoor settings that portray heavenly light. Photographs of illumination entering ancient holy places in India, Turkey, Egypt and Tibet seem to subtly depict the sun’s rays as carriers of spiritual messages and these images are rather magical. Quite stunning, too, is the attention to architecture and to its use in building dramatic pictorial structure.”– Phyllis Braff, “Capturing the Elusive: Music of the Spheres,” New York Times December 15, 1996.


As noted by the Poetry Foundation, “Charles Simic is widely recognized as one of the most visceral and unique poets writing today. His work has won numerous awards, among them the 1990 Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” the Griffin International Poetry Prize, the Wallace Stevens Award, and the appointment as US poet laureate. He taught English and creative writing for over 30 years at the University of New Hampshire. Although he emigrated to the US from Yugoslavia as a teenager, Simic writes in English, drawing upon his own experiences of war-torn Belgrade to compose poems about the physical and spiritual poverty of modern life. Liam Rector, writing for the Hudson Review, has noted that the author’s work “has about it a purity, an originality unmatched by many of his contemporaries.”

The project for the week is: Look up.

See also Simic’s The White Room: https://poets.org/poem/white-room
 
It begins:
The obvious is difficult
To prove. Many prefer
The hidden. I did, too.
I listened to the trees. . .

 

 

Bard of the Barges, Garbageman Poet

John Herman Kepecs (May 20, 1897-December 21, 1981) arrived in the United States in 1922 from Pécs, Hungary. The trained sailor found work with the New York City Department of Sanitation first as a Captain on a garbage scow and eventually Deputy Inspector of the entire fleet. He also wrote poetry under the pen name John Cabbage, chosen because his Hungarian name sounded like ‘cabbage’ when New Yorkers tried to pronounce it.

 

“Garbage Scow Sailor Bursts Out Into Verse” announced the New York Sun March 13, 1932:

Meet John Cabbage, garbage scow sailor and poet, author of more than 1,000 verses and of a new volume, just published called “8 Bells.” Mr. Cabbage goes down to the sea in the scows that bury New York’s waste beneath the clean waters of the Atlantic. When that task is accomplished, Mr. Cabbage sits on the stern with ruled notepaper and a pencil, and meditates upon life. One of his effusions goes like this: Mr. Cabbage’s most persistent resolution is to save enough money to fit out a schooner and go to the south seas where he can sit on a beach instead of a scow, and listen to the wild waves. The sailor-poet’s latest book is dedicated “to ships and shipmates who rest in the deep, and woman whose love I could not keep.”

Three volumes of Cabbage’s poetry were printed and published by the Greenwich Village bohemian Lew Ney (Luther E. Widen, 1886-1963) at his Parnassus press on 15th Street (later Brooklyn Heights) including 8 Bells (1932); Down the Dock (1937); and Time and Tide (1938). Lew Ney was the first to draw national attention to Cabbage in 1927 through his weekly column “Greenwich Village As IZ” in Variety, proclaiming that Cabbage would be internationally famous in twenty years.

Cabbage was an original member of the Raven Poetry Circle when it was formed in May 1933 (see the film Joe Gould’s Secret for a typical meeting). The group is remembered for their annual spring exhibition of handwritten poems mounted to the fence around Washington Square Park and Cabbage was often highlighted because of his unusual occupation. “Mere rhymers, wise-cracking doggereleers and other nuts are positively not welcome, and our only word to them is ‘Scram!'”

On the left, we see Cabbage with his work against the Judson Church building across from the park. His poems also appeared in the Raven Anthology 1933-1947, a quarterly magazine of members. “Poets of Village Get Day in the Sun,” announced the New York Times May 22, 1933:

Beneath a benign, approving sun the poets of Greenwich village flooded into a half-block of Washington square south yesterday, tacked their work upon a board fence and invited the passing public to read and buy. A good deal of reading and some buying was in progress until the sun disappeared. It was the beginning of poetry week, and it probably will go down in the village’s history, if and when written, as the first sidewalk poetry show.

From its beggining, Chumley’s restaurant, a Greenwich Village icon, featured book jackets for publications by local authors. They describe the series: “The authors ranged from Theodore Dreiser to John Cabbage, the poet of the garbage scow.”

In 1937, possibly inspired by Francis Alexander Durivage’s novel Mike Martin or, The last of the highwaymen. A romance of reality (1845), Cabbage traveled to California to sell his novel, also titled “Mike Martin” to Hollywood. The press loved the story of a garbage poet hoping for fame in the movies and the story appeared in newspapers across the country.

“John Cabbage the ‘Bard of the Barges’ today offered to sell the movies a story that reaches its climax with the boy and girl honeymooning on a garbage scow. Cabbage, deputy inspector of the department of sanitation dumps in New York, is on 90 days leave from his job of supervising the loading of the garbage fleet.

“Mike Martin” that’s the novel he is peddling to movie producers –is his third volume. He published two books of verse. Let the other poets write of lilies of the valley. Cabbage born John Koppecs 38 years ago in Hungary, take his themes from a discarded top hat, banana peels, coffee ground, an old dance slipper. He imagines perhaps the hat and slipper danced together. ‘Go’ he says ‘go get your song where life and love are cheap. I shall wait till they reach the heap.”

 


“You may not believe it, but his name is John Cabbage. He works on a garbage scow—and writes poetry. John is ‘captain’ of Scow F of the Street Cleaning department of the city of New York He likes his unlovely but necessary job because it provides him with more leisure and privacy to write than he used to experience on freighters. Every afternoon at a time which varies according to the tide John makes his scow shipshape at the city dump in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge. …The trip is a long, slow one. When darkness comes a blog of light appears on the end of each scow and three highpoints glow in the shape of a cross on the tug ahead. If the water is rough when the open ocean is reached there may be hard work in keeping the tow intact. Otherwise there is little to do but watch the receding harbor “with a thousand little stars abreast” as John puts it.– “Men, Things, and Places: In the Mud and Scum of Things” The New York Sun, February 21, 1930.

 

Ricky Jay’s Magic Magic Book

Ricky Jay (1946-2018), The Magic Magic Book: an inquiry into the venerable history & operation of the oldest trick conjuring volumes, designated ‘blow books’… / adorned with original renderings from the ateliers of these esteemed delineators of artistic impression, Vija Celmins, Jane Hammond, Glenn Ligon, Justen Ladda, Philip Taaffe, William Wegman ; embellished with ancient iconography from the collection of the author of this curious compendium, Ricky Jay (New York: Library Fellows of the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1994). Copy 247 of 300. 2 volumes. Special Collections GAX GV1559 .J39


“The edition is three hundred copies, numbered one to three hundred. Ninety copies are reserved for the collaborators and sixty are reserved for the members of the Library Fellows. The first eighty copies are accompanied by an additional suite of prints.”–colophon

“The text volume was designed by Patrick Reagh and Ricky Jay and edited by Susan Green; the blow book was designed by Patrick Reagh, Ricky Jay, and Leslie Miller, with May Castleberry.”–colophon

 

 

Beginning in 1990, Jay spent four years working with May Castleberry, then at the Whitney Museum of American Art, on a two-volume set called The Magic Magic Book. One volume presents Jay’s historical essay on the magician’s conjuring book known as a “blow book,” and the second volume is a blow book using images from contemporary American artists including Vija Celmins, Jane Hammond, Glenn Ligon, Philip Taaffe, and William Wegman.


Blow books have special manipulatable tabs that make the content of the book appear to change. Each time the magician flips through the book the contents appear different. “With a flick of the finger, the performer can make a range of images appear and then disappear.” Here is a twitter video of Brandon Sheffield flipping through the Magic Magic Book: https://twitter.com/i/status/1080186210625249281

 

Some sources list the earliest known mention of the blow book as by Gerolamo Cardano in 1550, who described the trick by mentioning “conjurors show different and always unlike pictures in one and the same book.” Another early mention is by Reginald Scot in his book The Discoverie of Witchcraft, published in 1584.


In 2014, Ricky Jay appear at the New York Public Library’s “Live at the NYPL” series to talk about The Magic Magic Book. Although a video of the 1 ½ hour conversation is not available, there is an audio recording and a complete transcription: https://www.nypl.org/audiovideo/ricky-jay. Jay comments,

“I had been researching for some years the history of something called the blow book, which was the oldest trick book in the world. It’s more of a prop than an actual book and there had never been a history of it. And if you can see this this is just the title page announcing that this is a history of The Magic Magic Book and it was called the blow book, because whoever blew on the pages was able to make the images on the pages change I think the quote was “many several ways.” And this particular book was a collaboration with a number of well-known modern artists, Vija Celmins, Jane Hammond, Glenn Ligon, Justen Ladda, who made this beautiful case, Philip Taaffe, and William Wegman.

And so I visited the studios of these artists with May Castleberry to talk about images they had that might have to do with magic, but basically this first volume was a history of how these blow books had been made and used going back to the sixteenth century and the two major sixteenth-century books on magic, Scot’s Discoverie of Witchcraft in England and Jean Prévost’s wonderful working book of magic in French, both published in 1584, both have explanations of the making and presentation of this thing called a blow book, and they’re completely different, which is interesting, and then the blow book that we have from the New York Public Library that I’ll show you in a minute is also slightly different, and so we decided to re-create a blow book, and we literally made this. I daresay this was the greatest miscalculation of time in my life because this took an enormous amount of time to do as a pro bono job, but I’m incredibly proud of it.

…And it was performed—in this history of the blow book, I talk about it being performed by magicians for years. At times it was an incredibly cherished, very expensive item in their repertoire. Certainly that was true in the sixteenth and seventeenth century. By the early nineteenth century, magicians often sold them after their shows, as a prop and also as a trick to garner money for the magicians and a little bit of publicity. But when I wrote the book, the earliest blow book extant was a seventeenth-century book probably printed in Belgium, completely manuscript. And, if you recall, the last thing I flipped through were a series of devils. They came from that book….”

See also: Reginald Scot (1538?-1599), The Discouerie of Witchcraft, Wherein the Lewde Dealing of Witches and Witchmongers is Notablie Detected…Heerevnto is Added a Treatise Vpon the Nature and Substance of Spirits and Diuels, etc.: all latelie written by Reginald Scot ([London, William Brome] 1584). Rare Books GR535.S41

See also: https://graphicarts.princeton.edu/2017/10/31/bilder-zauberei/

See also: https://rickyjay.com/

 

 

Need a Project, no. 5? Others

Others: a magazine of the new verse (Grantwood, N.J., New York, 1915-1919). Special Collections Rare Books 3598.68905. Art editor William Zorach. Full searchable text at Modernist Journals: https://modjourn.org/journal/others/ Its motto: “The old expressions are with us always, and there are always others.”

“Others: A Magazine of the New Verse was an American literary magazine founded by Alfred Kreymborg in July 1915 with financing from Walter Conrad Arensberg. The magazine ran until July, 1919. It was based in New York City and published poetry and other writing, as well as visual art. While the magazine never had more than 300 subscribers, it helped launch the careers of several important American modernist poets. Contributors included: William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, Mina Loy, Ezra Pound, Conrad Aiken, Carl Sandburg, T. S. Eliot, Amy Lowell, H.D., Djuna Barnes, Man Ray, Skipwith Cannell, Lola Ridge, Marcel Duchamp, and Fenton Johnson (poet) (the only African American published in the magazine).” –Suzanne W. Churchill, Modernist Journals https://modjourn.org

On a Sunday in April 1916, Floss Williams threw a party for her husband, William Carlos Williams, and his friends at their home in Rutherford, New Jersey. By all accounts guests began arriving in the morning, continuing throughout the day and into the night. Mrs. Williams fed them all day and night, with the help of several women who accompanied the men.

“In New York Williams was just another figure, another artist among artists, whose particular comings and goings were hardly noticed. But when the village descended on Rutherford, that was another story. As happened, for example, in April 1916, when Williams decided to throw a big bash for the Others crowd. It was still early spring, as the two photographs of the crowd taken that Sunday—one of the men and the other of the women—show. Alanson Hartpence was there, and Alfred Kreymborg in hat and wild bow tie, and of course Williams with Mother Kitty… There were others not in the photographs who showed up during that morning and afternoon and evening as the party got under way and the Williamses wined and dined the crowd into the next morning. Williams remembered Skip Cannell jumping half drunkenly onto the running board of his car as he drove over to Ed’s house to get some more ice.”–Paul Mariani, William Carlos Williams: A New World Naked (2016).

The well-known photograph [above] of the men who wrote for Others magazine are:
Front row left to right: Alanson Hartpence, Alfred Kreymborg, William Carlos Williams, Skip Cannell. Back row: Jean Crotti, Marcel Duchamp, Walter Arensberg, Man Ray, Robert Alden Sanborn, Maxwell Bodenheim.

But who are the women in the other photograph? Did any of them write or publish in Others, even in Helen Hoyt’s “Woman’s Number”? See the anthology Others: A Magazine of the New Verse in 1916 or take a look in the individual issues, you can read full-text here: https://modjourn.org/journal/others/

This week’s project:
Who were the women of the Others group and which woman appears as a character in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms?

Mail your answer to jmellby@princeton.edu

In case it is helpful, a second photograph of some of the ladies turns up in “Further Conversations With Flossie,” William Carlos Williams Newsletter 3, no. 1 (1977): 1-7. www.jstor.org/stable/24564477

Interpretive fine binding in cast paper by Daniel E. Kelm

Thistles and Thorns: Abraham and Sarah at Bethel: [poem] by Paul Smyth; with wood engravings by Barry Moser (Omaha: Abattoir Editions, University of Nebraska at Omaha; printed by Harry Duncan, 1977). One of 5 copies bound by Dan Kelm in chestnut morocco, upper cover onlaid with a molded, relief portrait of Abraham; housed in a tray case which acts as a frame for the binding cover; tipped in note signed by binder. Recap GAX 33945740

It is hard to know where to begin when describing Thistles and Thorns, with text by the Massachusetts poet Paul Smyth (1944-2006) and wood engravings by Tennessee-born Barry Moser, printed by Harry Duncan (1916-1997) at his Omaha fine press, Abattoir Editions. Each are distinguished artisans in their own fields.

The Graphic Arts Collection holds one of only five copies of the book bound in a remarkable structure designed and constructed by Daniel E. Kelm, beginning with the cover image after a Moser wood engraving of Abraham, cast in paper from a clay relief by Elizabeth Solomon. The volume is housed in custom folding cloth box with paper spine label, simple on the outside and extraordinary when it is opened. This video shows Kelm demonstrating a few bindings on May 29, 2015 at Wide Awake Garage in Northampton, MA. This clip should begin with Thistles and Thorns, but it is worth watching the whole interview.

“Daniel E. Kelm is a book artist who enjoys expanding the concept of the book. He is known for his innovative structures as well as his traditional work. His expression as an artist emerges from the integration of work in science and the arts. Alchemy is a common theme in his book work. Before Daniel began his career in the book arts he received formal training in chemistry and taught at the University of Minnesota. He is known for his extensive knowledge of materials.
switched to an electric model.” = http://www.danielkelm.com/core/wideawake/3/1

Princeton University Library is fortunate to have nine fine press books bound by Daniel Kelm:

Claire Owen, Gabriel’s family (Philadelphia: Turtle Island Press, 1992). Graphic Arts Collection Z232.T87 O93
“Claire Owen wrote the story and etched the plates … The design … was a collaboration between Owen and Daniel Tucker. The book was set in Baskerville type, with Centaur used for the titles … The type and the plates were printed letterpress by Arthur Larson at Horton Tank Graphics. The binding in Chieftan leather was designed by Daniel Tucker and completed by Daniel Kelm … at the Wide Awake Garage … fifty-two copies numbered 1/52-52/52 and four Artist’s Proofs signed I/IV-IV/IV.”

An only kid, monoprints by Mikhail Magaril ([New York City]: Kuboaa, 1998). Cotsen Children’s Library, Folios 87784
“Printed in an edition of 18 signed & numbered copies by Russell Maret at Kuboaa, New York City. The text type is Centaur, designed by Bruce Rogers, printed on Rives de Lin paper. Each copy has eleven monoprints & one matrix transfer drawing by Mikhail Magaril. The sewn-board binding was designed & executed by Daniel Kelm, with a leather spine & cover paper hand-made by Timothy Barrett, housed in a drop-spine box made by the printer.”–Colophon.

Ligoranno/Reese, The Corona palimpsest (New York: Granary Books.com, 1996). Graphic Arts Collection Oversize Z232.G75 L53q
“‘The Corona palimpsest’ takes its name from the video/book installation made by Ligorano/Reese and which debuted at the Cristinerose Gallery in New York City in October, 1995. The collages come from a variety of sources: newspapers, art history books and magazines. They were printed by Joe Elliot and Anne Noonan at Soho Letterpress. The artists hand painted the book using stencils and paste paper methods. The text paper is 120 gram Arches text laid. The stills are from the video component of the installation, printed offset on Yu-jade … Daniel Kelm bound the edition at the Wide Awake Garage”–Colophon.

Altar book for Górecki: the Symphony of sorrowful songs by Henryk Górecki; lyrics in Polish and English translation (Middletown, CT: Robin Price, Publisher, 1996). Graphic Arts Collection Oversize Z232.P95 A47q
“Inspired by the 1992 recording of Henryk Górecki’s Symphony no. 3 … The bird illustrations are from seventeenth-century copperplate engravings by Francis Willughby. Photographed by John Wareham, the illustrations were digitally adapted and made into polymer plates by Gerald Lange. The woodcut was designed and carved by Keiji Shinohara. Paul Shaw provided calligraphy of the Polish lyrics. The typefaces are Guild Samson uncial & Perpetua, printed onto hand-stained Wahon paper. Daniel Kelm provided consultation on the triptych structure; box design & construction is by Franklin Nichols Woodworking”–Colophon.

Bunny Burson, Hidden in plain sight (St. Louis: Bunny Burson, 2015). Graphic Arts Collection, Q-000120
“Designed and printed at Emdash Studio in St. Louis, by Ken Botnick, and bound by Daniel Kelm at Wide Awake Garage in Easthampton, Massachusetts, in an edition of 27 copies. Issued in a black cloth-covered clamshell case with etchings of the front and back of an envelope attached to the front and back of the case.

Ken Botnick, Diderot project ([St. Louis, Mo.]: Emdash, 2015). Graphic Arts Collection 2015-0147Q
“This edition was completed during the January thaw of 2015 in our print shop in the Pierce Arrow Building, St. Louis, and is the work of Ken Botnick, editor, author, designer, printer and publisher. … The edition is bound by Daniel Kelm at the Wide Awake Garage, Easthampton, Massachusetts … All texts from the Encyclopedia are set in Walbaum Book ..”–Colophon.

Robert Bringhurst, The fragments of Parmenides & an English translation; wood engravings by Richard Wagener (Berkeley [Calif.]: Editions Koch, 2003). Graphic Arts Collection Oversize 2007-0073F
“This edition … was designed by Peter Koch and printed by hand … at Peter Koch Printers …There are 146 copies in all. The wood engravings were printed by the artist … Christopher Stinehour designed the Diogenes Greek in digital format at his stonecutting studio in Berkeley. Dan Carr designed and cut the Parmenides Greek by hand in steel, struck and justified the matrices and cast the type at the Golgonooza Letter Foundry. 120 numbered copies were bound by Peggy Gotthold in quarter leather … Twenty-six copies, lettered A to Z, were bound in full leather by Daniel Kelm.”–Colophon.

Mark Twain, The jumping frog. The private printing [i.e. history] of the “Jumping frog” story : an afterword by Samuel Clemens (Easthampton [Mass.]: Cheloniidae Press, 1985. Graphic Arts Collection L-000028
” … from “Mark Twain’s sketches, new and old, as it was first published in complete form, 1875, the American Publishing Co. … 325 copies of the book were printed by Wild Carrot Letterpress. The fifteen wood engravings were printed … by Harold McGrath.”–Colophon. Bound by Daniel Kelm in full undyed Oasis with onlays of the frog in repose before the jump on the front panel and after the jump on the back panel, with doublures showing the frog in midjump.

Thistles and thorns: Abraham and Sarah at Bethel: [poem] by Paul Smyth; with wood engravings by Barry Moser (Omaha: Abattoir Editions, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 1977. Graphic Arts RECAP-33945740
One of 5 copies bound by Dan Kelm in chestnut morocco, upper cover onlaid with a molded, relief portrait of Abraham; housed in a tray case which acts as a frame for the binding cover; tipped in note signed by binder.

 

 

Mayakovsky carrying his “soul on a plate for the dinner of the future.”


Long before the movie Being John Malkovich, Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930) wrote the play Vladimir Mayakovsky (Tragedy), performing the leading role himself. Originally titled Владимир Маяковский, the 20-year-old poet finished his script in October 1913 and the play premiered in December at the Luna Park theater in St. Petersburg, alongside the futurist opera Victory over the Sun. The following year 500 copies of his visually striking poetry were published.

This rare and amazing book is now in the Graphic Arts Collection. Here a little background in rough translation:

The play, which had two working titles, “The Railway” (Железная дорога) and “The Riot of Things” (Восстание вещей), was written in the summer of 1913, in Kuntsevo near Moscow . . . . Sister Lyudmila Mayakovskaya remembered: “Volodyi felt very lonely. For days he was wandering through Kuntsevo, Krylatsky and Rublyovo parks, composing his tragedy … [At the house] he scribbled words, lines and rhymes on pieces of paper and cigarette boxes, [pleading with] mom to not throw anything away. ” [By] 9 November 1913, the Mayakovsky presented the copy of the [play] to the Petersburg theater censorship commission, having cut off some of the [controversial] bits. —https://pt.qwe.wiki/wiki/Vladimir_Mayakovsky_(tragedy)

Two days before the premiere the entire cast resigned because of rumors that they were going to be beaten up by the audience. Mayakovsky found a group of art students who agreed to take their places. There were only two performances, on Tuesday and Thursday. Eggs were thrown.


In the prologue Mayakovsky’s says he feels that “the wheel of a locomotive will hug my neck,” that is, he feels a lethal embrace of the dynamism and postrationality of daily life. …Feels like today. This is echoed in his explanation of why the play uses his name, to which he answered: “It is the name of the poet in the play who is doomed to suffer for all.” (Jangfeldt, Mayakovsky. A Biography, 2014, p. 65).

Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930). Vladimir Mayakovsky, a tragedy (“Vladimīr Mai︠a︡kovskīĭ” : tragedīi︠a︡ ). Москва : Изд. 1-го журнала русских футуристов (Moscow: zhurnala russkikh futuristov), 1914. Seven prints by David and Vladimir Burliuk. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

 

 

Please forgive the fuzzy images taken with my cell phone as we were leaving last week, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to post this amazing new addition to the Graphic Arts Collection.

Editions de l’Akademia Raymond Duncan


Thirty books dating from 1914 to 1951 printed and published by Raymond Duncan (1874-1966) are now held in the Graphic Arts Collection at Princeton. It appears to be the most complete collection outside the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

The older brother of the celebrated dancer Isadora Duncan, Raymond was also a dancer, as well as a philosopher, spinner, weaver, and printer of both letterpress books and decorated fabrics. Born in San Francisco, where he came to know Leo and Gertrude Stein, Raymond lived in Paris, Berlin, Athens, and New York City at various times throughout his bohemian life. He pioneered a holistic life-style inspired by ancient Greece and founded in Paris in 1911 the Akademia, a school where weekly concerts were held, international conferences organized, and useful arts taught free.

From 1911 on, Duncan established a private letter press in Paris and created a typeface “nearest to his ideal” following the principles of upper-case Greek letters: “I chose the nearest makeshift toward my letters at the foundry of Allain Guillaume Paris, type that was made for imitation engraving” (L’Alphabet, 1948). The collection includes Gestes (1921), the book by Duncan, but entirely engraved and illustrated, and self-published by his friend Marcel Roux. More about individual titles to come. Here is the list:

1 – Pamphlets and books by Raymond Duncan:

Raymond Duncan (1874-1966). Les Moyens de grève. Conférence par Raymond Duncan à la Bourse du Travail, Paris, le 5 mai 1912, sous la présidence du camarade Georges Yvetot. Paris: Akademia Raymond Duncan, 1914. 8vo, stitched. Conference held during the strike of 1912 about a new way of social struggle.

Raymond Duncan (1874-1966). Echos de mon atelier. Paris: Imprimé à la main par Raymond Duncan 21 rue Bonaparte, 1919. 8vo, stitched. Duncan’s philosophical manifesto, beautifully printed, on one side of each leaf. Illustrated with 3 woodcut vignettes.

Raymond Duncan (1874-1966). La Danse et la Gymnastique. Conférence faite le 4 mai 1914 à l’Université hellénique. Paris: Akademia Raymond Duncan, 1914. 8vo, purple wrappers. From June 1913 to the end of the Great War Raymond Duncan established a community in Greece and in Albania during the Balkan Wars. Very few titles have been issued on his press during this period. Duncan developed his theory of movement at the age of 17 based on the economy of work and awareness of the body during labor. Gymnastics were intended to prepare bodies for dance and considered as a salvation tool for humanity.

Raymond Duncan (1874-1966). La Musique et l’Harmonie. Conférence faite le 6 mai 1914, à l’université hellénique par Raymond Duncan ; conférence faite le 6 mai 1914, à l’Université hellénique, Salle de géographie. Sténographie d’Aristide Pratelle. Paris: Akademia Raymond Duncan, 1914. 8vo, blue wrappers.

Raymond Duncan (1874-1966). Les Travaux d’Héraklès, Conférence par Raymond Duncan, à l’Université philosophique, Paris, 9 mars 1919. [Bois de Menalkas Duncan.]. Paris: Editions Raymond Duncan, 1919. Pamphlet 8vo, stitched. Illustrated with 5 woodcuts, engraved by the author’s son Menalkas, at the age of 15: 2 full-page, 1 repeated on wrappers, hand-colored. After the war Duncan’s press was installed 21 rue Bonaparte.

Raymond Duncan (1874-1966). Prometheus (les grands crucifiés). Conférence par Raymond Duncan à l’université philosophique Paris le 16 mars 1919. Paris: Raymond Duncan, 1919. 8vo, stitched. Illustrated with six woodcuts: 4 full-page, 2 vignettes.

Raymond Duncan (1874-1966). Les Muses. Les neuf filles de Mnimosyni. Leur éloge par Raymond Duncan à l’université philosophique Paris le 30 mars 1919. Paris: Raymond Duncan, 1919. 3 full-page woodcuts, one repeated, one woodcut vignette to wrappers. Duncan states his future goals: “he visited the large cities of the world in search of the Nine muses. Arriving in Paris and not finding them, he realized that he must create them himself or at least provide an atmosphere in which nine muses might survive” (Roatcap, Raymond Duncan, p. 22).

Raymond Duncan (1874-1966). Theokritos. Conférence pastorale par Raymond Duncan à l’université philosophique. Paris: imprimé à l’oeuvre Raymond Duncan, 1919. 8vo, stitched. Illustrated with five woodcuts: one half-page to title page and wrappers, 2 full page, 2 vignettes.

Raymond Duncan (1874-1966). Theokritos. Same publication re-issued after 1929 at the address 31 rue de Seine, with new wrappers.

Raymond Duncan (1874-1966). Orpheus. Les Mystères d’Eleusis. Une conférence et quelques hymnes par Raymond Duncan, 16 février 1919. Paris: Imprimé d’après la stéonographie à l’Akademia Raymond Duncan, 1919. Illustrated with one full-page woodcut repeated on wrappers and two vignettes. Wrappers printed in red and black. 8vo, stitched.

Raymond Duncan (1874-1966). La Parole dans le désert. Genesis chantée par Raymond Duncan à la Salle des Agriculteurs le 22 avril 1920. [Paris: [ca. 1920]. 8vo, stitched.


Raymond Duncan (1874-1966). Gestes. Bois dessinés, graves, enluminés et tirés par Marc Roux. No place [Paris, Marcel Roux], 10 April 1921. 4to, unbound, illustrated wrappers. A remarkable and rare book, woodcut throughout, illustrated with 15 full-page hand-colored plates, plus 2 woodcuts on the wrappers. Gouache highlight throughout the engraved text printed in light brown ink. First edition self-published in 125 copies: one of 100 copies (not numbered). The book was entirely woodcut, text and illustration, by the author’s friend Marcel Roux (1878-1922), named here Marc.

Raymond Duncan (1874-1966). Oidipous. Tragédie en cinq actes. Présenté la première fois à au théâtre Femina à Paris le 6 avril 1927. Paris: Editions de l’Akademia, 1927. 8vo. With an abstract of the theatrical works by Raymond Duncan at the end. Autograph inscription to title page, reproduction of a photograph of the author mounted to preliminary leaf.

Raymond Duncan (1874-1966). Poèmes de parole torrentielle. [Paris]: Raymond Duncan, 1927. 8vo. One of 200 large paper copies, signed and inscribed by the author.

Raymond Duncan (1874-1966). De la caverne au temple ou de l’architecture. Paris: Editions Raymond Duncan, no date [ca. 1928]. 8vo, illustrated with two woodcut vignettes to wrappers. A conference on architecture followed by a debate with the audience.

Raymond Duncan (1874-1966). Initiation aux arts. De la parole à l’idéal ou de la poésie. Conférence faite rue de la Sorbonne à Paris le 11 février 1928. Paris: Editions Raymond Duncan, 1928. Large 8vo, stitched. Printed in 500 copies.

Raymond Duncan (1874-1966). L’Amour à Paris. L’Angoisse de la solitude et la passion de la foule en douleurs d’enfantement de l’amour du nouveau siècle. Conférence donnée le 22 janvier 1932. Paris: Editions Raymond Duncan, 1932. 12mo. This conference was published rue de Seine, where the Akademia moved in 1929. One year later Duncan purchased a “Le Roy founding machine rebuilt especially for me to found type from the smallest up to 36 points and since I have been printing nearly exclusively from my own type” (l’Alphabet).

Raymond Duncan (1874-1966). Etincelles de mon enclume. Paris: Akademia Raymond Duncan, no date [1937]. Narrow 8vo, stitched. Wrappers printed in sepia. Collection of quotes from conferences and articles by Raymond Duncan, dated between 1912 and 1937. Bibliography of books printed by Raymond Duncan. Autograph inscription to Jessie Hara, August 18, 1946, to title.

Raymond Duncan (1874-1966). Etincelles de mon enclume. Second edition, enlarged. Paris: Akademia Raymond Duncan, 1939 [1955]. Wrappers printed in black. Portraits of Raymond Duncan mounted in. Edited by Raymond Duncan’s second wife Aia Bertrand, a Latvian expatriate. Autograph inscription to half title.

Raymond Duncan (1874-1966). Poèmes parlés. Essais extemporanés. Paris: Akademia Raymond Duncan, no date [ca. 1949]. 8vo. Edition limited to 500 copies. Collection of texts presented by Raymond Duncan at the Akademia principally during WW2.

Raymond Duncan (1874-1966). Winter Exhibition of Parisian Art. Raymond Duncan presented by the Norfolk Society of Arts. Paris: Editions Raymond Duncan, no date [ca. 1950]. 8vo, stitched. Exhibition catalogue illustrated with reproductions of woodcuts, paintings and portraits. Wrappers illustrated with to woodcut vignettes printed in two colors. Copy printed on simili-japon.

2 – Books published and printed by Raymond Duncan:

René Patris d’Uckermann. La Rose assassinée. Dialogue de fous. Paris: Imprimé par Raymond Duncan, avril 1922. Large 8vo. The booklet bears the achevé d’imprimer: “Ce livre a été imprimé par Raymond Duncan typographe fidèle aux muses”. Patris’ Dialogue de fous was presented by Raymond Duncan on April 26 1921 at the Comédie Montaigne and issued one year later at his quarters 34 rue de Colisée, on the right bank where he was temporarily established.

Marc-Auran. Le Jardin d’amour. Paris: Editions Raymond Duncan, 1937. 8vo, stitched. Limited in 500 copies.

Marc La Roche. Le Pré blanc. Paris: Editions de l’Akademia, 1940. 12mo, stapled. Limited to 25 copies. Illustrated with a portrait by the author.

René Le Scieller. Mon frère ressuscité. Scènes et récits. Paris: Akademia Raymond Duncan, 1947. 12mo. The number of copies issued is higher than usual (1,000). This may explain the use of conventional typefaces for the text. The author met Raymond Duncan in New York, where he worked at the United Nations. Long autograph inscription: “Au Président Edouard Herriot, que j’ai – témoin muet et jamais déçu – approché pendant des années…”.

Jacques de Marquette. Introduction à la mystique comparée. Hindouisme, bouddhismes, Grèce-Israël, Christianisme, Islam. Paris: Akademia Raymond Duncan, 1948. 8vo. Printed in 1,000 copies. Conference held at Lowell Institute in Boston. Complete with the erratum.

Louise Peabody Sargent (1856-1949). Collected Poems. Paris: Akademia Raymond Duncan, 1949. Large 8vo. Limited to 150 numbered copies. Peabody Sargent of Boston origin befriended Raymond Duncan. The collection of her poems is accompanied by 2 obituaries, the author having passed away when the book was under press.

Lillian Everts. While the Past Burns And Lost Edition. With translations in French. Paris: Editions Akademia Raymond Duncan, 1950. Large 8vo. A new printing type appears in this bilingual “de luxe” edition published as the Akademia Raymond Duncan prize for poetry. The poems received the Lantern Publication Award in 1945 and 1949. The translation is by Abel Doysié.

Blanche Blanc. Mes poèmes. Paris: Akademia Raymond Duncan, 1951. 8vo. Poems printed in a different type than Duncan’s usual upper-case type.

Jehanne Louise Berenger. L’Alphabet de l’amour. Paris: Akademia Raymond Duncan, 1951. 8vo. Poems printed in a different type than Duncan’s usual upper-case type.

Ephemera
Invitation card to 3 piano concerts by André Asselin at the Akademia 31 rue de Seine, printed by Raymond Duncan.

 

Orson Welles / Around The World 1955 / Paris

 

angles & naked vision



Ed Colker (born 1927), angles & naked vision: Twenty-two Poets & Translators, Twenty-three Poems. Bradley Hutchinson, printer. (Millwood, New York: Haybarn Press Editions, 2016). 23 unnumbered leaves. Copy 91/110. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process. Gift of Ed Colker in memory of Professor Marvin Bressler and Professor C.K. Williams

The Graphic Arts Collection is honored to have received a gift of two portfolios by the wonderful artist/printer Ed Colker of Editions du Grenier and Haybarn Editions. The first includes 23 leaves housed in a printed wrapper with title and colophon; all enclosed in a tan cloth portfolio with printed paper label.  Poets and translators include Michael Anania, Lee Briccetti, Paul Celan/John Felstiner, René Char/Mary Ann Caws, Lea Graham, Robert Hawks, Edmund Jabès/Rosmarie Waldrop, Catherine Kasper, Pablo Neruda/Audrey Kouvel, Kathleen Norris, Deborah Pease, Ronnie Scharfman, Abraham Sutzkever/Melvin Konner/Barnett Zumoff, Brian Swann, David Ray Vance, Rosmarie Waldrop, Jeanne Murray Walker.

“This portfolio is dedicated to the memory of Deborah Pease and Elizabeth Kray ever devoted to poets and poetry. The texts in this portfolio were printed as letterpress by Bradley Hutchinson on Stonehenge acid free paper; the frontispiece print on Rives Heavyweight was hand-colored by the artist. Binding in Italian Canapetta cloth is by Portfoliobox. In an edition of one hundred and ten this is copy number 91.”–Colophon.

Ed Colker (born 1927), Daughters of Emily: Eleven Women Poets, Fifteen Poems. Bradley Hutchinson, printer (Millwood, NY: Haybarn Press/Editions, 2018). 12 unnumbered leaves. Copy 100/125. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process. Gift of Ed Colker in memory of Professor Marvin Bressler and Professor C.K. Williams.

The second portfolio contains the work of 15 female poets, including Something useful / Lee Briccetti — Bridge jumping/W4M/Poughkepsie (The walkway) / Lea Graham — Among the hundred gatesMay / Kathryn Hellerstein — Number 5: thwarted expressionisms / Catherine Kasper — The wind has grown old / Kadya Molodowsky ; translation: Kathryn Hellerstein — New Year’s Eve in Bismarck, North Dakota — I. She said Yeah / Kathleen Norris — The living tree — Prima materia / Nina Pick — Lot’s wife — The cranes are flying / Ronnie Scharfman — Enhanced density / Rosmarie Waldrop — Van Gogh / Jeanne Murray Walker — The diarist / Suzanne Wise.

https://www.yiddishbookcenter.org/collections/oral-histories/excerpts/woh-ex-0006051/side-life-not-death-importance-poetry-world

Ediciones Papeles Privados



Octavio Paz (1914-1998), Instantáneas. Serigrafías de Juan Soriano. (México, D. F.: Papeles Privados; Varia Gráfica y Comunicación; Amigos del Museo de Arte Moderno, 1993). Raúl Herrera Munguía designed the binding and Juan Soriano’s serigraphs were printed in the studio of Jan Hendrix. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process
“Esta edición, numerada y firmada por los autores, está contenida en un carpeta elaborada en cuero … diseño Raúl Herrera Munguía …” Editores: Fernando Zertuche, Mario del Valle.


Mario del Valle founded Ediciones Papeles Privados (Private Paper Editions) in 1981 and this volume represents the third time they worked with the poet Octavio Paz. Their website notes, in a rough translation:

“In 1981, Ediciones Papeles Privados emerged in Mexico City, an editorial specialized in poetry and art books. One of its fundamental objectives is to continue the tradition of the artisan book producing books to enjoy its content and its invoice. The art of making a book, today, involves using old techniques and combining them with the advantages and qualities of contemporary technology. Hence, Private Papers are interested, on a way, the excellence of the amalgamated content to the visual concept of each edition. …Octavio Paz referred to its creator with the following words: “Mario del Valle is an editor poet who continues the tradition of the publishing poets. This tradition is very old. In Mexico and Latin America in general he gave, among others, Salvador Novo , Xavier Villaurrutia, Miguel N. Lira, Pablo Neruda, Manuel Altolaguirre, Rafael Alberti, Juan José Arreola … The list is big … Their editions are bold, beautiful.” —https://papelesprivados.weebly.com/ediciones-papeles-privados.html

 

Only now have I understood that there was a secret relationship between what I have called my expulsion from the present and the writing of poetry. Poetry is in love with the instant and seeks to relive it in the poem, thus separating it from sequential time and turning it into a fixed present. But at that time I wrote without wondering why I was doing it. I was searching for the gateway to the present: I wanted to belong to my time and to my century. A little later this obsession became a fixed idea: I wanted to be a modern poet. My search for modernity had begun.–Paz Nobel Prize lecture.