Category Archives: fine press editions

fine press editions

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:


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: 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:

See also:



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: 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

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:

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

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.

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.” =

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, 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. —

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.

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.

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.” —


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.

When Worlds Collide: Poetry and Computation


Members of the class “When Worlds Collide: Poetry and Computation” visited the Graphic Arts Collection looking at ways the classic poetry book has been deconstructed beginning with Walt Whitman’s 1855 Leaves of Grass to a 2017 scroll edition of Hart Crane’s The Bridge with woodblock prints by Joel Shapiro. A wide variety of materials were pulled including four distinct versions of Stéphane Mallarmé’s Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hazard. Pages designed in positive and negative space are featured in Paul Éluard’s Proverbe, Guillaume Apollinaire’s Calligrammes, and Werner Pfeiffer’s Liber Mobile.

The interdisciplinary seminar, taught by Brian W. Kernighan and Efthymia Rentzou, brings together humanities and applied sciences, addressing questions of literacy, media, and modes of knowledge. The course is organized around poetry and digital technology and explores the history of each as systems of relating, organizing, and understanding the real. Media technologies and means of communication for both poetry and computing — from orality to writing, from the alphabet to the printing press, from the scroll to the book, from computers to the internet — structure our discussion.

Here’s a pdf of the checklist: poetry










Willa Cather’s April Twilights

In June 1931, Willa Cather received the first honorary degree awarded to a woman by Princeton University. It was only one of many awards she received, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1923 for her novel One of Ours. Also that year, Cather published a second edition of her first book of poems April Twilight, originally appearing in 1903 (Ex 3670.29.312.1903). This had a special importance to Princeton, as it was printed by Elmer Adler, later to be Princeton’s first curator of graphic arts.

Alfred Knopf wrote to Cather in July of 1922 that he had attracted the interest of “one of the finest printers I know” with the idea of producing “a quite handsome de luxe edition” of Cather’s April Twilights … . He continued, “I can’t point to much work they have done for us except the one full-page advertisement that we had in the New York Times a couple of months ago which attracted a good deal of favorable attention.” The printers in question were Adler’s Pynson Printers, and the deluxe edition they produced was April Twilights and Other Poems (1923). –read more Matthew Lavin “Material Memory,” Studies in the Novel 445, no. 3 (Fall 2013).

Willa Cather (1873-1947), April Twilights and Other Poems (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1923). Graphic Arts RCPXG-5905085 “Of this book, there were printed … by the Pynson Printers … four hundred and fifty numbered copies, each signed by the author”–P. [68].  This edition includes 13 new poems, eliminating 13 from the original volume.

Knopf warned Cather, who insisted on typographic perfection, “Now the point is just this, and I am going to be quite frank with you and expect you to be equally frank with me. The whole job in all its details would have to be left to these printers. In a work, I get the manuscript and we both get finished books. For myself, I am satisfied that I would like the job they turn out. …”

Adler had only recently opened his press but already had a reputation as a perfectionist, as outlined in ‘A Talk of the Town’ piece for the New Yorker in November 12, 1932:

“Mr. Elmer Adler worked in the family clothing-manufacturing business—Rochester-Adler Clothiers of Rochester, N.Y.—for twenty years before, at the age of thirty-eight, he came to the definite conclusion that it was boring him stiff. Then, without any intermediate steps to speak of, he came to New York and started Pynson Printers, Inc., naming it after Richard Pynson, the famous printer of the sixteenth century. It has been one of the few shops in the city doing fine handwork exclusively, and from its presses come the most de-luxe of special editions; the Random House “Candide,” for example.

Mr. Adler had long been interested in fine printing, apparently acquiring the taste when preparing ads for his family’s business; now he is one of the most important experts in the country, advising the Times, Alfred Knopf, and many others about formats and type faces. He had three partners when he started, but two dropped out shortly afterward. He was about to close up the business then, and would have if he hadn’t hired a Miss Greenberg to give him a hand through the last few days. Miss Greenberg was pretty peeved when she discovered the business was folding up just when she arrived and, after looking around a day or two, said: “why fold it up? It’s a nice little business.” So Mr. Adler decided to continue, with Miss Greenberg as business manager that was in 1922.

Two years later, Adolph Ochs picked Pynson as the best printing house and invited it to move into his Times Annex, where he had planned to collect the best practitioners of all the graphic arts. He abandoned this plan later, finding the Times needed all the room itself, but Pynson stayed. It’s still there, occupying a gallery full of bells, a library full of old books, an office, and a large light room full of nine printers, hand-setting. In the printshop is a hundred-year-old press upon which proofs are pulled. In the book room are many rare and typographically interesting books.; firsts of the fifteenth century, and things like that.

Mr. Adler is short, single, clean-shaven, and wears Adler ready-mades. He doesn’t set type himself. It doesn’t interest him, and if it did he’d be out of luck, as the owner of a shop can’t join the union. He designs the books, corrects proof, and the like, Has no salesmen, never solicits work, and takes jobs only on the understanding that he’s the boss so far as printing goes. His shop turns out three or four books a year that people hear about, always in small quantities.

It also prints books privately for amateur poets and such. When the Times’ employees gave Mr. Ochs a testimonial book on his seventieth birthday, Adler printed it: one copy, at a cost of $4,000. He has done special editions of Willa Cather, Lord Dunsany, Arthur Machen, Elinor Wylie, James Stephens, and others. He doesn’t care about the literary quality of his books, however; they’re just fine typography and handmade paper to him. Given a free hand, he’s enjoy getting out an issue of the congressional record. He’s the chief editor, and chief everything else, of the Colophon, the Book-Collector’s Quarterly. It started up two years ago and has done very well, everything considered; editions limited, of three thousand this year. He prints parts of each issue and the rest is done in half a dozen other fine printshops in this country and England.”




Oak Tree Press First Chapters

The Graphic Arts Collection acquired a nearly complete deluxe set of Oak Tree Press’s First Chapter Series of Booker Prize-winning novels and prints [8 of 10]. Not only are the individual numbered copies signed by the author on the title page and hand bound in cloth, but many include a signed print within the slipcase. The series began in 2006 with J.M. Coetzee’s Life and Times of Michael K, with a lithograph by the South African artist Colbert Mashile [above].

“Colbert Mashile was born in 1972 in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga and currently lives and works in Johannesburg. Mashile received his Diploma in Fine Arts from the Johannesburg Art Foundation in 1994 and later continued his studies at the University of Witwatersrand where he obtained a BA in Fine Arts in 2000 and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Heritage Studies in 2002. Since then Mashile has presented ten solo exhibitions, with the most recent being Messages from our Ancestors in 2013 at the Art Eye Gallery in Sandton, Johannesburg.” — Read more:


“Ezequiel Mabote [his work above] is a self-taught artist who grew up in an arts neighborhood in Maputo. He was influenced by the old masters of sculptures, paintings and batiks at the age of 10. He then took art lessons at Noroestel High School in Maputo. In 1998, Ezequiel moved to South Africa to fulfill his dreams in art. He stayed in Durban KwaZulu Natal with his cousin brother, Isaac Sithole. Isaac introduced him to the Bat Centre where he networked with local artists. In 1999, he attended a printmaking workshop at the Bat Centre with Samuel N Mbingilo from the John Muafangejo Art Centre in Namibia.

He held his first exhibition in 1999 at the Intensive Care Café at the Bat Centre and two years later attended printmaking workshops at the Caversham Press in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands under well-known artists such as Malcolm Christian, Dr David Koloane, the late Gabi Nkosi, Kevin Sipp, Xolile Mtakatya and many more. Ezequiel now specializes in printmaking, woodcut colour reduction, oil pastels, paintings, sculptures, murals and bookbinding.”–


Also part of this series is Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie with a lithograph by Thomas Howard; Holiday by Stanley Middleton with a watercolor by the author [above]; The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer with an etching by Cyril Coetzee; Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth with a woodcut by Ezequiel Mabote; The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood with an ink drawing by Yoko Ono; The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst with a lithograph by Gilbert and George [at the top of the page]; and Possession A Romance by A.S. Byatt with a lithograph by David Royle.

Oak Tree Fine Press is a privately owned publishing company based in Oxfordshire, England. “We specialize in exceptionally high quality books featuring work by the world’s greatest authors and artists. All profits from the sales of all our books go to organisations assisting children living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.”

Additional information from the press states, “The support of Nobel Prize winner J. M. Coetzee has been vital to the success of the series, and its second volume featured his Booker Prize winning novel of 1999, “Disgrace.” Since then, a wide range of authors have collaborated on the series, linked by their shared status as Booker Prize winners, and their mutual interest in contributing to a worthwhile cause through the creation of beautiful and thought provoking book. Each book is comprised of the first chapter of the title, accompanied by an illustration made especially for the series.”