Category Archives: Illustrated books

illustrated books

Printers’ Marks on Eighth Avenue


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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

 


 



Nathaniel Orr and Company

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

Cheap and Well-Illustrated

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

 

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

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


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

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



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

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

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

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

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

John Gadsby Chapman (1808-1889), Bible illustrations ([New York? 1846?]). 5 v. Note: “These proofs, from the original cuts, were taken by hand by the Engravers thereof, in course of execution for ’Harpers Family Bible’ – New York 1843.-44. 45- and are, so far as I know, the only complete set existing. Presented by me to my Daughter. – Rome October 5. 1879. – John G. Chapman.” Sinclair Hamilton Collection of American Illustrated Books. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize Hamilton 199q

Walks in Paris, 1894

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

-in Luxembourg Gardens
-in Hôtel Drouot

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

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



-At the nightclub, Moulin de la Galette

 


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

 

Murder: Victim died of acute boredom in his own library. Body discovered surrounded by the past year’s best sellers.

John Riddell (pseudonym for Corey Ford, 1902-1969), John Riddell Murder Case, a Philo Vance Parody (New York: C. Scribner’s sons, 1930). Caricatures by Miguel Covarrubias (1904-1957). Recap 3742.68.351

 **Explanation of the title page: “Meaning No Offense” is the title of Ford’s 1928 book and “Salt Water Taffy” is his next book published in 1929.
 

Under the pseudonym S. S. Van Dine, Willard Huntington Wright (1888-1939) wrote crime fiction and introduced the popular detective Philo Vance. His novels later became radio dramas and motion pictures starring William Powell, all available today on YouTube.

The character and voice of Philo Vance was so beautifully written and so often repeated in New York society that in 1930, humorist Corey Ford (1902-1969) partnered with the Mexican caricaturist Miguel Covarrubias (1904-1957) to write a parody, along with parodies in the voices of Will Rogers, Sherwood Anderson, and others. They followed this with In the Worst Possible Taste in 1832 (Recap PN6231.P3F47).

Covarrubias moved to New York in 1924 and was given an exhibition at the Whitney Studio Club shortly after he arrived. He charmed his way into New York literary circles with his satirical drawings, first published in The Prince of Wales and Other Famous Americans (1925) (Firestone ND259.C8 A3). Covarrubias went on to draw covers for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker before returning to Mexico in the mid-1930s.

 

See also: S.S. Van Dine, The Benson murder case (New York: A. L. Burt [c1926]). Recap 3998.46.316. Or watch it here:

Films:
The Clyde Mystery (September 27, 1931)
The Wall Street Mystery (November 4, 1931)
The Week End Mystery (December 6, 1931)
The Symphony Murder Mystery (January 10, 1932)
The Studio Murder Mystery (February 7, 1932)
The Skull Murder Mystery (March 1932)
The Cole Case (The Cole Murder Case) (April 3, 1932)
Murder in the Pullman (May 22, 1932)
The Side Show Mystery (June 11, 1932)
The Campus Mystery (July 2, 1932)
The Crane Poison Case (July 9, 1932)
The Trans-Atlantic Murder Mystery (August 31, 1932)


Sorting Out John William Orr and Nathaniel Orr, Part Two

Already an established engraver, Nathaniel Orr (1822-1908) moved to New York City around 1843, to begin working on The Illuminated Bible, embellished with sixteen hundred historical engravings… (Harper & Brothers, 1846. GAX Hamilton 198Q).

He is sometimes listed as Orr Jr. and worked at 75 Nassau Street, in the shop of John William Orr (1815-1887), presumed to be Nathaniel’s uncle.

https://graphicarts.princeton.edu/2016/02/11/sorting-out-john-william-orr-and-nathaniel-orr/

75 Nassau Street in 2017.

 

In 1850, Nathaniel Orr took an office of his own around the corner at 151 Fulton Street but within a year, moved to 52 John Street where he stayed until his retirement in 1888. It is a large building and Nathaniel has a reputation for offering his fellow artists rooms to work whenever they were in need.

52 John Street is part of the central building.
Alfred Tallis (active 1860), Tallis’s New York Street Views (New York: Tallis and Company, 1863)

 


Orr’s business was two doors away from the Methodist Episcopal Church at 44 John Street, first built in 1768, then rebuilt in 1817 and 1841. One of Orr’s early prints (left) is an image of the first Church building, which has recently been painted onto the wall of the memorial park east of the current Church. This Church is famous for including both black and white members equally in their congregation:

“At the birth of Methodism in this country its handful of votaries were so simple and honest, and so free from any thought of race distinctions in the divine presence, that no special notice was taken of the fact that there were colored people present to their disparagement. When Captain Webb and his associates met in a sail loft in 1765, on what was then known as the Battery, at the south end of New York city, they thought not of the complexion of the attendants, but rather of the salvation of their souls. And four years later, when John Street Church was built to accommodate the congregation of that first formed Methodist Church in America, there were no Negro pews nor back seats nor gallery especially provided for the dark-skinned members. They were welcomed in common with other members to all the privileges of God’s house and worship.” –One Hundred Years of The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. Chapter I, Early Race Distinctions.

Painted mural in the memorial park, 48 John Street, next to the Methodist Episcopal Church

Nathaniel Orr was involved in many anti-slavery publications. In January 1853, he accepted a commission to engrave Frederick M. Coffin’s illustrations for Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup. The project was finished in less than six months, published August 1853.

Later that year, Coffin and Orr partnered with John McLenan (1827-1865) to illustrate the sensationalist bestseller Hot Corn: Life Scenes in New York Illustrated by Solon Robinson (1854). So great is Nathaniel’s popularity by now, that of the three artists only Orr, the wood engraver, is mentioned on the title page. https://blogs.princeton.edu/graphicarts/2009/10/hot_corn.html

 

For some of Nathaniel Orr’s earliest work, see:
John Gadsby Chapman (1808-1889), Bible illustrations ([New York? 1846?]). Manuscript note on title page of vol. 1: “These proofs, from the original cuts, were taken by hand by the Engravers thereof, in course of execution for Harpers Family Bible-New York 1843.-44. 45- and are, so far as I know, the only complete set existing. Presented by me to my Daughter. Rome October 5. 1879. John G. Chapman.” The engravers whose works are mentioned are Roberts, Childs, Minot, Howland, Gordon, Butler, Morse, Nathaniel Orr, Hall, Hart, Henry Kinnersley, Augustus F. Kinnersley, Pekham, Bookhout, Holland, Weeks and Adams. (GAX) Oversize Hamilton 199q

Callot’s Vie de la mere de Dieu


Jacques Callot (1592-1635) and François Rennel, Vie de la Mère de Diev representée par emblesmes = Vita Beatae Mariae Vir. Matris Dei emblematib[us] = [The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary the Mother of God, represented in emblems]… ([Nancy: Antoine Charlot, 1628]). [4], 26 leaves of etched emblems.  Bound in a late nineteenth-century red morocco gilt, gilt edges, by Riviere. Provenance: Sir Henry Hope Edwardes, 10th Baronet (1829–1900), with his bookplate. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process

 

On each plate, below the Latin are four lines of French verse, as in the quatrain accompanying the figure of the salamander (symbol of the French king Francis I, representing the man who had been through fire and lived) in the opening emblem:

“Chaldaeo praevalet una Deo” (Chaldeans prevail with God):

Je vis sans me bruler au milieu de la flame:
Et la Vierge au milieu du crime original,
Par l’absolu pouvoir de l’Arbitre eternal,
Dans le brasier commun n’a point bruslé son Ame.
[note the last two lines are reversed in the second edition]

The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to have acquired a rare first edition of this beautiful emblem book, one of two illustrated by Callot (the other being Lux claustri). The etchings are here in the unnumbered state. Paulette Choné convincingly established the place of printing, printer and date of the work, and also identified François Rennel as the author of the text (the initials ‘F. R.’ appear at the end of the preface; see P. Choné, Emblèmes et pensée symbolique en Lorraine (1525–1633), Paris, 1991, p. 725 ff.).

 


It was Callot’s close friend François Rennel (1583-1649), councillor at the Chambre des Comptes de Lorraine, who conceived the artist’s two emblem books. Both men were influential members of a Jesuit congregation in Nancy.

“The first works by [Maximilian van der Sandt] Sandaeus must have made a vivid impact; his inspiration, his sophisticated poetry and metaphorical vocabulary show a close affinity to the extreme delicacy of the Vie de la mere de Dieu and Lux claustri.” — P.Choné

“The publishing history of the Vita Beatae Mariae virginis. Vie de la bien-heureuse vierge Marie is complex. Whereas only one edition of the Lux claustra was published—Paris by François Langlois in 1646—three undated editions of the Vita beatae Mariae virginis… Vie de la bien-heureuse vierge marie were published in addition to that produced by Langlois in 1646 as a partner edition to the Lux claustra, and in all of these the text is different.”

“A further variant version of the work, (including the engravings but no text) exists in the Getty Museum. In the 1646 edition … each emblematic engraving is accompanied by a Latin motto, together with a Latin distich and a French quatrain. In one of the undated editions the mottoes are in French rather than in Latin, and there is a Latin distich, but no French quatrain, while the other two follow the pattern of the Lux claustra, and include both Latin and French mottoes, together with a Latin distich and a French quatrain. While the Latin mottoes remain the same in all editions that include them, the French mottoes in the undated Benoît Audran edition, in which they appear alone, are different from those which appear together with Latin mottoes in the other two undated editions.”—Alison Saunders, The Seventeenth-century French Emblem: A Study in Diversity (2000)

Zozimus

Zozimus (Dublin: A.M Sullivan, 1870-1872). Complete run bound in one volume. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017-in process

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a complete run of the Irish satirical weekly Zozimus (1870-1872).

Zozimus was the pseudonym for Michael Moran (ca. 1794-1846), a beloved blind Dublin street personality who recited poetry, sang ballads, and gave advice. His memory was revived in 1871 with a biography by Dubliniensis Humoriensis Gulielmus, Memoir of the Great Original, Zozimus (Michael Moran), the Celebrated Dublin Street Rhymer and Reciter.

 

When Alexander M. Sullivan (1830-1884) started a weekly satirical magazine, he called it Zozimus after Moran and John Fergus O’Hea (1838-1922), his chief artist, designed a portrait of Moran for the cover. Each issue included one full-page satirical plate by O’Hea, several smaller cartoons, and humorous doggerel, not unlike the British Punch or Vanity Fair.

Zozimus only lasted a little over two years but in 1876 O’Hea returned with Zoz: The Irish Charivari, a weekly with milder social satire. This also folded after two years.

Here are a few samples of O’Hea’s caricatures from the pages of Zozimus.




Alpha Beta


Ines von Ketelhodt, Alpha Beta. Text by Michel Butor (Flörsheim am Main: I. v. Ketelhodt, 2017). Two volumes, in French and German. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2017- in process

Investigating the visual and conceptual structure of the printed page, Alpha Beta is designed, printed, and bound by the German artist Ines von Ketelhodt. Her matrix is the writing of Michel Butor (1926-2016), a French novelist whose experiments with narrative and structure put him at the forefront of the literary trend known as le nouveau roman (the new novel).

Von Ketelhodt has letterpress printed a passage in which Butor offered a portrait of a universal library: Itinéraire: les bibliothèques. In the first volume, it is in Butor’s original French and in the second volume, it has been translated into German. Each letter of the alphabet is confined to one transparent page so that, as the pages are turned, a single letter disappears throughout. By the end, only the punctuation remains on the right, with Butor’s text in reverse on the left.

Transparency is at the core of this volume, printed from polymer plates on to cellophane sheets and housed in a plexiglass slipcase. The text is fluid, both in its narrative and here, even in its physical format. Here is the French text:

Rangés dans leurs casiers comme des bouteilles les volumes fermentent à l’intérieur de la grande cave aux lampadaires doux sur les fronts ridés ou bouclés qui se penchent dans le déchiffrement de leurs annotations. Par ici les dictionnaires, l’espalier des langues; dans cette galerie les cristallisations des sonnets et des haïku, la joaillerie des ballades. On ouvre une grille et c’est la haute salle de lecture avec ses verrières qui répercutent les somnolences, les feuillettements, les émerveillements. Comme une vrille de volubilis la longue phrase s’entortille autour de la rambarde qui longe les balcons des romans-fleuves avec leurs péniches de familles, d’héritages, d’affrontements, d’effondrements, d’écoeurements et de baisers. Plus loin les rayons de l’Histoire Naturelle avec les herbiers et les flores; les oiseaux, s’envolant quand on tourne les pages, virent autour des colonnes de fer, effleurent les crânes et reviennent dormir dans leur volière de cuir ou de toile; les rugissements des fauves et le passage des poissons devant ces fenêtres d’aquarium.

Here are two possible English translations I have found for this complex text:

Placed in their lockers like bottles, the volumes ferment inside the large cellar with soft lamps on the wrinkled or curled fronts that lean in the decipherment of their annotations. Here the dictionaries, the espalier of languages; In this gallery the crystallizations of sonnets and haiku, the jewelry of ballads. It opens a grid and it is the high reading room with its stained glass that reverberates drowsiness, leaflets, wonders. Like a twist of volubilis the long sentence is wrapped around the railing that runs alongside the balconies of the novels-rivers with their barges of families, inheritances, confrontations, collapses, disgustings and kisses. Further on are the rays of Natural History, with herbals and floras; The birds fly away when they turn the pages, look round the iron columns, brush their skulls and come back to sleep in their leather or canvas aviaries; The roar of the wild beasts and the passage of fish in front of these aquarium windows.

Arranged like bottles on their shelves, the volumes age in the large cellar, soft lamps hovering over creased or ringleted foreheads lowered in their attempts to decipher the comments. Here are the dictionaries, the espaliers of languages; in that aisle over there, the crystalline sonnets and haikus, the gemlike ballads. Opening a grating, you find yourself in a lofty reading room with a glass ceiling that reflects back the drowsiness, the leafing, the ecstasies. Like a climbing plant, the long sentence twines around the railing that runs along the galleries of the Romans-fleuves with their barges full of families, inheritances, conflicts, collapses, wearinesses and kisses. A bit farther on: the natural history shelves with their plant posters and flora; the birds that fly upward when you turn the pages and circle around the iron columns, touch their skulls and then return to their leather and linen aviaries to sleep; the beasts of prey roaring and the fish gliding by the aquarium windows.

 

See also Vieira da Silva (1908-1992), Vieira da Silva: peintures. Includes Butor’s Itineraire (p. 7-19) (Paris: L’Autre musée, 1983).