Category Archives: fine press editions

fine press editions

Ernesto Cardenal Honored


On August 10, 2019, the priest/poet Ernesto Cardenal (born 1925) received an award from the Academy of Sciences of Nicaragua (ACN) for his contributions to national literature. This follows the February 2019 absolution granted Cardenal by Pope Francis from “all canonical censorships,” which he incurred in 1984.

In 1988, Cardenal was scheduled to speak at Princeton University but was denied a visa by the United States government. Again in 1990, a scheduled visit was cancelled fearing denial of access. The Daily Princetonian, 114, no 104 (26 October 1990) noted:

“Professors yesterday said they were outraged at reports that U.S. government visa restrictions prompted Nicaraguan poet and priest Ernesto Cardenal to cancel a nation-wide speaking tour scheduled to begin here yesterday. Though the state department granted Cardenal admission privileges, the poet’s colleagues said visa restrictions caused him to doubt that immigration authorities would allow him to enter the country. “McCarthyism is still alive in relation to Latin America,” said Latin American Studies director Arcadio Diaz-Quinones, whose program sponsored the visit. “It’s very disturbing that intellectuals and writers are not allowed to lecture and engage in dialogue with us.”

In 2018, Uruguay named Cardenal the winner of the Mario Benedetti International Prize. The Iberoamerican Poetry Awards Pablo Neruda (2009) and the Reina Sofía Ibero-American Poetry Prize (2012) are among the many other important awards he has received.

 

Princeton’s online catalogue lists 189 titles by Cardenal, beginning in 1965 with Oración por Marilyn Monroe, y otros poemas. (PQ7519.C34 O7 1965).  See also: Antonio Martorell (Puerto Rican, born 1939) and Ernesto Cardenal (Nicaraguan, born 1925). Los Salmos [The Psalms]. Puerto Rico: Martorell, 1971. Graphic Arts Collection, Copy 24 of 200.

Listen to Cardenal read at Vanderbilt University in 2011 (translations provided).

The Women of “The Colophon”

In 1922, bibliophile Elmer Adler (1884–1962) founded the private press Pynson Printers and in 1930, began publishing a quarterly journal for book collectors called The Colophon, which featured articles on publishing, printing, and collecting. The physical volumes were also meant to offer examples of contemporary fine press publishing, with articles designed and printed by various presses within the same issue. The driving forces behind The Colophon were Adler, Burton Emmett, and John T. Winterich along with an extended list of contributing editors named in each issue.

While the vast majority of writers, editors, designers, and printers were men, the publication was not exclusively male and a look at the women who contributed to The Colophon provides insight into the history of the book in America during the early twentieth century. Adler closed Pynson Printers and The Colophon in 1940 when he moved to Princeton University. Although there was an attempt to continue under new editorial leadership, it was never equal to the earlier publication and did not last.

Here are the women included in The Colophon. The attached pdf provides an index to each woman’s individual contributions.The Women of The Colophon

Myrta Lockett Avary (1857-1946), author and journalist. Her books include Dixie After the War, The Recollections of Alexander H. Stephens and Uncle Remus and the Wren’s Nest.

Esther Averill (1902–1992) editor, publisher, writer and illustrator best known for the Cat Club picture books.

Althea Leah (Bierbower) Bass (1892–1988), Western Americana historian. Publications include Young Inquirer, The Arapaho Way, Cherokee Messenger, and The Story of a Young Seneca Indian Girl and Her Family, among others.

Babette Ann Boleman (1900s), author and rare book researcher.

Pearl S. Buck (1892–1973), writer and novelist. As the daughter of missionaries, Buck spent most of her life before 1934 in Zhenjiang, China. Her novel The Good Earth was the best-selling fiction book in the United States in 1931 and 1932 and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932.

Willa Cather (1873–1947), writer and novelist. Notable books on American frontier life include O Pioneers!, The Song of the Lark, and My Ántonia. Elmer Adler and Pynson Printers published her early poetry.

Bertha Coolidge (1880–1953) American portrait miniaturist and bibliographer. Notable compilations include Morris L. Parrish’s A List of the Writings of Lewis Carroll [Charles L. Dodgson]in the Library at Dormy House, Pine Valley, New Jersey (1928) and  A Catalogue of the Altschul Collection of George Meredith in the Yale University Library (1931).

Bertha Jean Cunningham (1900s), author, married to a book collector living in Chicago.

Anne Goldthwaite (1869–1944), painter. Trained in Paris, Goldthwaite returned to New York in time to be included in the 1913 Armory Show. She was close friends of Kathrine Dreier, Edith Halpert, and Joseph Brummer, who each exhibited and sold her work at various stages of her career. She was also an active member of the New York Society of Women Artists and enthusiastic advocate for women’s rights.

Belle da Costa Greene (1883–1950), librarian to J. P. Morgan. After his death in 1913, Greene continued as librarian under his son, Jack Morgan. In 1924 the private collection was incorporated by the State of New York as a library for public uses and the Board of Trustees appointed Greene first director of the Pierpont Morgan Library.

Ruth Shepard Granniss (1872–1954), librarian to The Grolier Club, New York. Author of The Book in America, in collaboration with Lawrence C. Wroth, John Carter Brown Library (1939).

Jeanette Griffith (active 1920s–1930s), photographer.

Anne Lyon Haight (1895-1977), writer and bibliophile. Her books include Banned books, Notes on Some Books Banned for Various Reasons at Various Times and in Various Places; Morals, Manners, Etiquette and the Three R’s; and Portrait of Latin America as Seen by her Print Makers. Most notably, she was President of the Hroswitha Club, a women’s bibliophilic organization.

Helen O’Connor Harter (1905–1990), artist and illustrator. Married Thomas Harter, chief of the Los Angeles Examiner’s art department, and moved to New York City where they both worked as commercial illustrators. Eventually, they settled in Helen’s hometown of Tempe, Arizona, where she continued to teach and paint.

Victoria Hutson Huntley (1900–1971), artist and printmaker. Hutson studied under John Sloan and Max Weber, specializing in lithography and awarded prizes from the Chicago Art Institute and the Philadelphia Print Club. She painted murals for the post office in Greenwich, Connecticut, and in Springville, New York, under the Treasury Relief Art Project, part of the New Deal arts program.

Helen M. Knubel (1901-1992), historian. According to the New York Times, she was considered the foremost archivist of the history of the Lutheran Church in North America. She helped to organize the library and archives of the National Lutheran Council, of which she was the secretary of research and statistics from 1954 to 1966. She then became associate director of the Office of Research, Statistics and Archives of the Lutheran Council in the U.S.A., the successor of the NLC.

Marie Abrams Lawson (1894–1956), author and illustrator. The only woman asked to design a cover of The Colophon, Lawson primarily wrote and illustrated children’s books. She was married to Robert Lawson, also a children’s book author and illustrator.

Vera Liebert (1900s), actress and theater historian.

Flora Virginia Milner Livingston (1862–1962), librarian and bibliographer. She was named curator of Harry Elkins Widener collection at Harvard College Library, following the death of her husband Luther S. Livingston, the first librarian of the Widener collection. She completed bibliographies for Rudyard Kipling, Henry James, John Gay and others.

(Emma) Miriam Lone (born ca. 1873), bibliographer and chief cataloguer for New York dealer Lathrop Harper. Author of A Selection of Incunabula Describing One Thousand Books Printed in the XVth Century.

Dorothy McEntee (1902-1990) artist and printmaker.

Dorothy McKay (1902–1972), artist and cartoonist. McKay drew for various magazines including The New Yorker, Esquire, and Life, among others.

Edith Whittlesley Newton (1878–1964), painter and printmaker. Newton lived in New Milford, Connecticut, where she specialized in landscape painting and lithographs.

Lucy Eugenia Osborne (1879–1955), librarian, bibliographer, and historian of rare books at the Chapin Library, Williams College from 1922 to 1947.

Elizabeth Robins Pennell (1855–1936), American writer. She wrote art criticism, travelogues, memoirs, and biographies of Mary Wollstonecraft, Charles Godfrey Leland, and James Abbott McNeill Whistler. She was also a collector of cookbooks, which was given to the Library of Congress along with her husband, Joseph Pennell’s library.

Carlotta Petrina (1901–1997), artist and printer. Best known for her 1933 illustrations to John Milton’s Paradise Lost and the John Dryden translation of Virgil’s Aeneid (1944). The Carlotta Petrina Museum and Cultural Center in Brownsville, Texas, exhibits her art and memorabilia.

Fanny (Fannie Elizabeth) Ratchford (1887–1974), librarian and historian. Ratchford served as librarian of rare books at the University of Texas, Austin. She wrote numerous books and articles, beginning with Some Reminiscences of Persons and Incidents of the Civil War (1909). She received Guggenheim fellowships for 1929–1930, 1939–1940, and 1957–1958 and, late in life, assisted in editing the Oxford edition of the complete works of the Brontës.

Elizabeth Ridgway (1900s), book collector.

Ethel Dane Roberts (1900s), librarian and curator of the Frances Pearsons Plimpton Library of Italian Literature, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893–1957), English crime writer, poet, playwright, and humanist. Best known for her mysteries, especially the character of amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey.

Lillian Gary Taylor (1865–1961), collector. Taylor’s library of best-selling American fiction included over 1900 volumes published between 1787 and 1945 and was donated to the University of Virginia in 1945.

Eleanor M. Tilton (1913-1991?), professor and authority on Ralph W. Emerson.

Olivia H. D. Torrence (1900s), author and wife of the poet Ridgely Torrence.

Janet Camp Buck Troxell (1897–1987), collector. Between 1930 and 1965 she amassed over 800 printed items and more than 3,000 manuscripts relating to the Rossettis and their friends (now at Princeton University Library). Names relate to three marriages: Wilder Hobson, New York publisher; Dr. Albert W. Buck, superintendent of New Haven Hospital; and Gilbert McCoy Troxell, curator of American literature, Yale University Library.

Eunice Wead (1881–1969), librarian and curator. A graduate of Smith College, Wead became Smith’s reference librarian in 1906. She moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, serving as a curator of rare books in the general library, in the William L. Clements Library, and as one of the first teachers in the Department of Library Science. On her retirement from Michigan, she returned to Smith to give a course in book history and book arts.

Carolyn Wells (1862–1942), writer and collector. Wells was a prolific author, including mystery novels, poetry, humor, and children’s books. Her collection of Walt Whitman poetry was donated to the Library of Congress.

Blanche Colton Williams (1879–1944) author and professor of English literature. Williams earned a master’s degree from Columbia University in 1908 and a doctorate in 1913. She went on to teach in the English Department at Hunter College and eventually head of the department. The first editor of the O. Henry Prize Stories, she also collected George Eliot first editions, donated to the Mississippi University for Women library.

Edith Wharton (1862–1937), novelist and playwright. Wharton was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1921. She is best remembered for her books The Age of Innocence, The House of Mirth, Ethan Frome, and her manual The Writing of Fiction.

Complete Index to Pynson Printers Jobs

The Graphic Arts reference collection holds four enormous volumes documenting jobs produced by Elmer Adler’s Pynson Printers from 1922 to 1940 when the press was closed. An index to these volumes has been created by Sherry X. Zhang and Jena Mayer with help from Brianna R. Cregle and AnnaLee Pauls, which is key word searchable allowing researchers, for the first time, to study Adler’s commercial work. PDFs are attached here and to the voyager record for these scrapbooks. https://catalog.princeton.edu/catalog/7343684 Pynson Printers jobs. Graphic Arts: Reference Collection Oversize Z232.P99 A9f
Volume one:Copy of PynsonPrinters_Volume 1
Volume two:Copy of PynsonPrinters_vol.2
Volume three:Copy of PynsonPrinters_vol.3
Volume four:Copy of PynsonPrinters_vol.4 (1) (1)
Extras: Copy of PynsonPrinters_Presses
“From the twentieth of March, 1922, the Pynson Printers are at your service for the planning and production of all printing in which quality is the first consideration. We have founded our organization on the belief that the printer should be primarily an artist—a designer and a creator rather than a mere manufacturer. Toward this end, we have assembled a group whose several abilities and varied experience cover every phase of the art and business of printing. . . . We will do no work in which quality must be sacrificed to exigencies of time or cost” (Reprinted in Lawrance Thompson “Forty Mercer Street,” Princeton University Library Chronicle 2, no. 1 (November 1940): 32).

Together with designers Walter Dorwin Teague (1883-1960), Hubert L. Canfield, and David Silvé, Adler opened a small, fine press printing shop at 122 East 32nd Street named Pynson Printers, after the sixteenth-century printer Richard Pynson.

Within six months, the others had moved on, leaving Adler the sole owner of the firm (see: John F. Peckham “Forty Mercer,” Princeton Alumni Weekly 41, no. 12 (December 16, 1940): 8). As stated in the opening announcement, concerns with quality rather than commercial practicality led production. To that end, he sought out artisans, publishers, and clients who shared his love of typography and fine printing.

The Pynson Printers office moved to the New York Times building at 239 West 43rd Street, elegantly decorated by Lucien Bernhard. In a 1925 letter to Rockwell Kent (1882-1971), with whom he was already in business, Adler wrote, “Since you were last here Mr. [Lucien] Bernhard has arranged to build a studio adjoining our shop which will help create more of the kind of thing we want to have….” (Adler to Kent, February 13, 1925. CO262, box 32, Adler papers). These three men, Adler, Kent, and the recently emigrated German designer Lucien Bernhard (1883-1972), began working together on a variety of printing and design projects.

Their first fine press book, Candide, began in 1925 when 27-year-old Bennett Cerf and his 23-year-old friend Donald Klopfer decided they wanted a business of their own. Cerf was vice-president at the publishing house of Boni & Liveright and interested in the firm’s catalog of 109 titles published under the Modern Library imprint. Klopfer and Cerf raised $215,000 to purchase the imprint and then, set about to redefine the Modern Library to make it distinctly their own.

“We went to a man I had heard was a great typographer named Elmer Adler, who headed the Pynson Printers,” said Cerf. “He was so good that he was allowed to have his office in the New York Times building . . . Elmer Adler was an elegant gentleman whose family headed the Adler Rochester clothing company. It was beautiful, beautiful work that he turned out at only about eight times what it should have cost . . . Elmer helped us redesign modern library [and] helped us find the man to design the flying girl with the torch. . . So the modern library had a new dress that was very stylish,” (Bennett Cerf oral history, p. 144. Columbia University Libraries).

“We were talking about doing a few books on the side,” recalled Cerf, “when suddenly I got an inspiration and said, ‘We just said we were going to publish a few books on the side at random. Let’s call it Random House.’” Kent was so taken with the idea he offered to draw them a trademark on the spot and five minutes later handed Cerf the Random House symbol, which has been on their colophon ever since.

Candide was a success but Adler’s partnership with Random House was short-lived. “Elmer didn’t cotton to trade publishing . . . He was a very difficult partner anyway—very querulous and dictatorial, and he wanted to do everything his way, and when we wanted to have other printers do books, Elmer was very jealous.”

Cerf and Klopfer bought out his share, even though he never put up any money to join them. Adler continued to do business with Random House and Cerf remained a stockholder in the Pynson Printers. Kent did business with them both and joined Bernhard in founding a design firm they named Contempora.

Adler closed the Pynson Printers in 1940, when he was invited to move to Princeton, New Jersey, and established a department of Graphic Arts for Princeton University. He brought with him a personal collection—fourteen tons of books, prints, paintings, records, and equipment—which became the basis for the graphic arts collection we enjoy today. Although he donated some records of the Pynson Press to the NYPL in 1936, he retained a large amount of material with which to teach, including papers, proofs, and plates, which he sold to the Princeton University Library in 1948 for one dollar.

See also: https://graphicarts.princeton.edu/2014/03/21/exhibition-chronology-of-the-little-gallery-of-the-pynson-printers/

Vogel Totentanz


Sarah Horowitz, Vogel Totentanz. Etchings and design by Sarah Horowitz (Washington: Wiesedruck, 2018). Copy 15 of 40. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

 

The artist writes, “Vogel Totentanz is a bird dance of death alphabet book inspired by Hans Holbein’s Dance of Death woodcut alphabet. After the Black Plague ravaged Europe in the late 14th century, death as inevitable regardless of status or age became a pervasive motif in art and literature.”

“My present-day Totentanz is a reflection of that idea in context of our environmental crisis. Birds are indicator species for overall environmental health and human well-being. The etchings were drawn from specimens at the Cashmere Museum, the Wenatchee Valley College collection, and the Burke Museum in Washington State along with other found remains. Diotima types were used throughout.”

 

“The text was letterpress printed on Zerkall Book paper by Arthur Larson of Horton Tank Graphics. Claudia Cohen boxed and bound the book. The edition numbers forty, including five deluxe copies. The regular edition is bound in a bird-footprint-etching printed blue paper and housed in a slipcase. The deluxe is bound in full leather, enclosed in a box and includes an additional suite of the etchings.”

Der Totentanz by Hans Ganz and Hans Holbein: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/23775

William M. Ivins, “Hans Holbein’s Dance of Death”: https://www.metmuseum.org/pubs/bulletins/1/pdf/3254072.pdf.bannered.pdf

Boundaries


The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired Boundaries, a collaborative project between presidential inaugural poet Richard Blanco and contemporary landscape photographer Jacob Bond Hessler. The project was first presented at the Coral Gables Museum, Florida, in Fall 2017 where the exhibition was accompanied by a limited edition book published by Two Ponds Press in an edition of 300.

The prospectus states:

“Blanco’s poems and Hessler’s photographs together investigate the visible and invisible boundaries of race, gender, class, and ethnicity, among many others. Boundaries challenges the physical, imagined, and psychological dividing lines—both historic and current—that shadow America and perpetuate an us vs. them mindset by inciting irrational fears, hate, and prejudice.

In contrast to the current narrowing definition of an America with very clear-cut boundaries, Blanco and Hessler cross and erase borders. As artists, they tear down barriers to understanding by pushing boundaries and exposing them for what they truly are—fabrications for the sake of manifesting power and oppression pitted against our hopes of indeed becoming a boundary-less nation in a boundary-less world.”

Jacob Hessler is a fine art photographer specializing in the contemporary landscape. He is a graduate of the Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara, CA, and attended Parsons, The New School for Design, NYC. He lives in Camden, ME, and is represented by Dowling Walsh Gallery, Rockland, ME.

Richard Blanco is the fifth presidential inaugural poet in U.S. history—the youngest, first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role. Born in Madrid to Cuban exiled parents and raised in Miami, the negotiation of cultural identity and place characterize his body of work. In 2015, the Academy of American Poets named him its first Education Ambassador. Blanco lives in Bethel, ME.

 

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. http://catalog.hathitrust.org/api/volumes/oclc/5123467.html

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

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

Extinction Aria

Anne Waldman, Extinction Aria: Its Exegesis, the Realms, How Ink is Blood (Hopewell, New Jersey: Pied Oxen Printers, [2017]). 60 x 25 cm. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

 

Poet’s note for Extinction Aria:

“Extinction Aria” was composed responding to what is known as the cycle–within the Wheel of Life–of the six realms in Buddhist philosophy: hell realm, hungry ghost or preta realm, animal, human, warring god, and pleasure-seeking god realm. The text seemed to emanate from a vibrating larynx and dance in the air. The words here are meant to project the tangibility of the psychological state of each realm. Thus the poem is proclamation of a specific insight into “samsara,” Sanskrit for a wandering through the endless cycle of existence, transmigrating lifetime after lifetime. “Extinction” may be interpreted here in both a negative and positive sense. Extinction as in the “sixth extinction” comes to mind; the planet is threatened from many directions by global warming, nuclear war and other ominous threats of the Anthropocene, where humankind is constantly running interference. From the spiritual perspective one aspires to the exhaustion of “ego” and its grasping. “We are here to disappear” is a tenet of Buddhism. I felt a vatic assertive voice on both sides of this inhabiting the poem … the voice of a harpy, a hag, a seer, conjuring images of gloom and doom to wake the world up to itself, and also a consciousness or impulse seeking to disappear. The title may also be read as “extinction air” as in our atmosphere so threatened by unmitigated pollution. The image and insistent repetition of “ink” during the piece was important to the sense of the poem needing to be scribed, physically embodied as spell or charm or transmission. This originally came from a dream that inflected the power of ink as a kind of lifeblood for poetry. These spiritual aspirations can’t merely exist in air. They needed to be written in “blood” and in the minerals of an earthy ink and project a strong visual presence, as they do in David Sellers’ inspired design and rendering. The mantra “E Ma Ho!” weaves in, which is an exclamation of amazement and wonder, and when repeated, carry the blessing of purifying body, speech and mind. The writing of this piece was extremely visceral, performative, in that a pulse of kinetic energy kept pushing the momentum of the language and its images forward. The poem comes off the center of the page; its lines settle down the middle axis as if it is a core of wind, or air, a channel of breath. This centering gives spine and location for the textures and language of the aria.

Additional notes: https://www.piedoxen.com/aria-notes-and-commentary

 

 

Additional images: https://www.piedoxen.com/books#/extinctionaria/

Première Imprimerie Royale

L’abbé François-Philippe de Laurens de Reyrac (1734-1781), Hymne au soleil (Paris: de l’Imprimerie royale, 1783). Previously owned by Bernard H. Breslauer. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

Étienne-Alexandre-Jacques Anisson-Duperron (1749-1794) joined his father at the Imprimiere Royal (Royal printing office) in 1783 and succeeded him in 1788. He was especially interested in papermaking and printing methods, and claimed to be the inventor of the ‘one-shot press’. This work ended in 1792, when the Office became the Imprimerie nationale (National Printing Office) and not long after this Anisson-Duperron was arrested on charges of provoking disturbances, finally sentenced to death and executed on April 25, 1794. He is the author of a thesis presented to the Royal Academy of Sciences from March 1783 and published in 1785 under the title “First Memoir on the printing in letters, followed by the description of the new press executed for the service of the King …”. — https://data.bnf.fr/fr/12449428/etienne-alexandre-jacques_anisson-duperon/

In 1783, one of Anisson-Duperron’s first projects at the Imprimiere was to produce this little book as a demonstration of his new press (the invention of which was claimed by Didot l’Aîné). For a text, he chose L’abbé de Reyrac’s Hymne au soleil, written in 1776 and reprinted several time in various formats due to its popularity.

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a copy this first book printed with the new press “à un coup.” It is a superb presentation copy bound in morocco with the royal coat of arms. According to the catalog of the Breslauer collection, “this version of the Royal arms (45 mm high) is not recorded. […] No other book printed by the Imprimerie Royale in a binding with its arms appears to be known”. –From the library of Bernard Breslauer (Bibliotheca bibliographica breslaueriana I, New York, 2005, no. 66: “The recipient of this handsomely bound work of publicity, presumably presented by the director of the Royal Press, is not identified”).

There are two known issues. In the first issue, printed on laid paper, p. [1] (1st count) is blank and the text “Première épreuve …” is printed on the front cover. In the second issue, printed on wove paper, the text “Première épreuve …” is printed on p. [1] (1st count), and substantial portions of the text have been reset. The copy in the Graphic Arts Collection is the second issue, with text “Première épreuve” printed on p. [1].

“Première épreuve d’une nouvelle presse inventée pour le service de l’Imprimerie royale: et approuvée par l’Académie des sciences le 17 mai 1783. Cette presse qui diffère des autres dans presque toutes ses parties, est plus expéditive d’un quart que les presses ordinaires, & rend la main d’œuvre moins pénible: Elle procure aussi aux ouvrages une perfection indépendante du talent des ouvriers.” = First test of a new press invented for the service of the Royal Printing Office: and approved by the Academy of Sciences on May 17, 1783. This press, which differs from the others in almost all its parts, is more expeditious than a quarter ordinary presses, and makes work less painful. It also gives the book a perfection independent of the talent of the workmen.

 

Thanks in particular to John Logan, Literature Bibliographer, Collection Development, Scholarly Collections and Research Services, for his help in this acquisition.

The book that “induces a splendid rage.”


Learning from Las Vegas, designed by MIT’s Muriel Cooper, is almost always found on lists of the greatest publications of the 20th century, especially in terms of book design and production. It is priced accordingly.

Imagine the unhappiness and confusion today when someone noticed red flags on the copies held in Princeton University Library: two were missing and/or lost from the rarest large format, first edition and one of the semi-rare smaller second edition, more than most collections have in total.

A deep breath and some minutes later it was confirmed that our library holds 13 copies, only two of which are missing. An embarrassment of riches rather than the opposite.

Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour, Learning from Las Vegas (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press [1972]). Dust jacket, postcard, and prospectus included. Graphic Arts Collection NA735.L3 V4q

 

This winter, Design Observer listed Learning from Las Vegas at the top of their 2018 gift list, noting: “The reissue of Muriel Cooper’s out-of-print masterpiece, Learning from Las Vegas, authored by VSBA, tops my holiday gift list. This facsimile book exists like the original as a fearless object, is a testament to Cooper’s brilliance, and will now save design book connoisseurs thousands of dollars.



Writing for Archinect, Nicholas Korody commented:

“Nearly fifty years ago, Denise Scott Brown, her husband Robert Venturi, and Steven Izenour brought nine architecture students, two planning students, and two graphic design students to Las Vegas. There they studied the famous, if often derided, Las Vegas Strip, discovering a wealth of meaning in its bright signage. Their findings, published four years later in 1972, became one of the seminal texts of architectural theory and influenced an entire generation of practitioners and thinkers.

“Learning from the existing landscape,” Venturi, Scott Brown, and Izenour begin, “is a way of being revolutionary for an architect.” Perhaps more than anything else, the research methods pioneered in Learning from Las Vegas have changed the way architects practice and study, recasting quotidian landscapes as objects to be analyzed rather than ignored or denigrated. “Withholding judgement may be used as a tool to make later judgements more sensitive,” they write. “This is a way of learning from everything.”

In Learning from Las Vegas, architecture appears as “decorated shed” or “duck”. The former relies on imagery and signage to convey its program. The latter expresses its program and meaning in its form. If much of the then-dominant “late Modernism” eschewed ornament, prior architectures acted more as “ducks”. With the publication of the book, Venturi, Scott Brown and Izenour helped usher in a return to ornament and symbolism in architecture, as well as a new focus on the architecture of the everyday.

–continue reading at: https://archinect.com/features/article/149970924/learning-from-learning-from-las-vegas-with-denise-scott-brown-part-i-the-foundation