Category Archives: Illustrated books

illustrated books

1933=one cent . . . 2019=one cent

On May 1, 1933, in the depths of the Great Depression, The Catholic Worker newspaper made its debut with a first issue of twenty-five hundred copies. Dorothy Day and a few others hawked the paper in Union Square for a penny a copy to passersby.–

Still costing one penny, The Catholic Worker remains one of the best sources for black and white graphic art. Here are a few cuts from a recent issue. Browse or search for additional examples of CW art here:
Rita Corbin

After realizing she had no interest in advertising, she then studied under printmaker Harold Sternberg at the Art Students league, followed by an apprenticeship with German-born abstract expressionist Hans Hoffman, though her studies with him came to end when she married. But her best art education, she said, came from spending afternoons visiting the art museums and galleries, and walking the streets and riding the subways drawing the ordinary people she saw.

Rita arrived at the Catholic Worker on Chrystie Street at the age of twenty. Although she wasn’t aware of it she was following in the footsteps of Ade Bethune. the first Catholic Worker artist. As Dorothy did with Ade fifteen years previously, she immediately set Rita to work illustrating the paper, and Rita became a life-long contributor as one of the three primary Worker artists along with Ade and Fritz Eichenberg. Of the three, Rita was the only one to have lived at the Catholic Worker, and she also raised five children while being an artist. –“In Memory of Rita Corbin 1930-2011” by Kate Hennessy in The Catholic Worker January 2012

Julie Lonneman

Rita Corbin

Julie Lonneman

June Hildebrand

Brian Kavanagh

The Catholic Worker. Firestone Library Forrestal Annex 0921.247f
36 East 1st Street
New York NY 10003
Phone: 212-777-9617

American War Information Unit, 1945

KZ: Bildbericht aus fünf Konzentrationslagern Amerikanisches Kriegsinformationsamt (S.l.: American War Information Unit, no date [1945]). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

One of the earliest reports and the first published by the United States Army on the horrors of Nazi concentration camps, this fragile pamphlet offers eyewitness accounts of American and British troops after the liberation of Buchenwald, Belsen, Gardelegen, Nordhausen and Ohrdruf.

KZ was distributed in Germany by the Psychological Warfare Division of the American War Information Unit (Amerikanischen Kriegsinformationsamt im Auftrag der Oberbefehlshaber der Aliierten Streitkräfte) at the end of the war in order to convey the enormity of the crimes committed under the Nazi regime. Despite wide circulation, relatively few copies remain and so, it is important that one has now entered the Graphic Arts Collection.

These photographs are reported to have played an important role as evidence in the Nuremberg Trials. Note, only a few pages have been posted here due to the horrific content depicted.


Ricketts’s drawings, published and unpublished

[Above] John Byrne Leicester Warren, Baron de Tabley (1835-1895), Poems dramatic and lyrical; with illustrations by C. S. Ricketts (London: E. Mathews and John Lane ; New York : Macmillan and company, 1893). ExC J. Harlin O’Connell Collection 3713.1.1893. “This edition is limited to six hundred copies.”

[Above] Charles Ricketts (1866-1931), Nimrod, 1893. Pen and ink drawing for John Byrne Leicester Warren, Baron de Tabley (1835-1895), Poems dramatic and lyrical; with illustrations by C. S. Ricketts (London: E. Mathews and John Lane ; New York: Macmillan and company, 1893). Graphic Arts Collection GA 2006.02078

[Below] Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), The Sphinx; with decorations by Charles Ricketts (London: E. Mathews and J. Lane, 1894). Rare Books 3989.5.386.11. “Limited for England to 200 copies.”

[Below] Charles Ricketts (1866-1931), The Sphinx, 1916. Pen and colored inks drawing, not included in Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), The Sphinx (London: E. Mathews and J. Lane, 1894). Graphic Arts Collection GA 2006.02079. The genesis of this drawing is not known. There was no proposed 1916 edition of the Wilde book.

Charles Ricketts has been called the quintessence of the nineties. In his life as much as his work, he embodied not merely an “aesthetic” devotion to art and beauty but also many of the fin de siècle’s finest creative energies. …In London, the writers Oscar Wilde, Michael Field, John Gray, Thomas Hardy, W. B. Yeats and Thomas Sturge-Moore were all eager for Ricketts to decorate their books or design stagings for their plays.

Wilde especially was proud of Ricketts’s involvement in his own work: he once called Ricketts “the subtle and fantastic decorator” of his books. In some respects, Ricketts was Wilde’s collaborator or kindred spirit. His sympathies with Wilde were profound. His designs for Wilde’s The Sphinx mark one of the high points, if not the high point, of late-Victorian book design.”

–selection by Nicholas Frankel, Associate Professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University, editor of Ricketts’s The Sphinx and author of Oscar Wilde’s Decorated Books and Masking The Text: Essays on Literature and Mediation in the 1890s.

Death’s Arrow

The Christian’s Looking-Glass. In four parts. I. Contemplations on the Life of Man; Shewing his Birth, Progress, and Manner of living, his Thirst after Riches, and sudden Decay from that Vain-Glory. Set forth in a plain and easy Stile, for the instruction both of old and young. II. An excellent Poem on Time; fit to be purused by those who spend their precious Time in voluptuous, sinful, and unnecessary Pleasures. III. Sacred Contentment: Or, The best Companion for an afflicted Mind. IV. Rules out of the Golden Tables of Ptolomy [sic]. Printed and sold at the printing office in Aldermary church-yard, Bow Lane, 1780. Graphic Arts Collection, on deposit from Bruce Willsie, Class of 1986.

This simplified woodcut of death with an arrow is a common symbol in western art. Here are a few more examples.

Hieronymus Bosch, Death and the Miser, ca. 1485/1490. Oil on panel. National Gallery of Art


Willem van Swanenburg, after Maarten van Heemskerck, Allegories of the Misuse of Wordly Property, Plate 4, ca. 1609. Engraving. British Museum


Jan van de Velde II, Death with arrow and hourglass, 1633.


Thomas Bewick, Fable of the Old Man and Death, ca. 1789. Illustration to an unidentified publication. Wood engraving. British Museum


Unidentified artist, The Last Drop, 1778. Etching. Published by Matthew Darly.


Wall-painting commemorating Louis, duke of Orléans, in the family chapel at the monastery of Les Célestins, Paris, commissioned in the late fifteenth century and destroyed ca.1779. Antiquarian Gaignières drawing. Bodleian Library, MS Gough-Gaignières 1, fol. 1r.


After Francis Hayman, The Bad Man at the Hour of Death, ca. 1784. Hand-colored mezzotint. Published by Carington Bowles. British Museum


after Joshua Gleadah, Death and the Dancer, 1800s. Aquatint. Wellcome Library, London.

Fire Safety 1828

Giovanni Aldini (1762-1834), Habillement du pompier pour le préserver de l’action de la flamme. Par le Chev. Jean Aldini. Et instruments mis à l’exposition publique honorés d’une médaille en or par le Gouvernement L. et R. de Milan, le 4 Octobre 1828 (Milan de l’Imprimerie Impériale et Royale, [1828]). Hand colored engraved frontispiece. Graphic Arts Collection GAX N-001774

The Italian physicist Giovanni Aldini (1762-1834) is perhaps best-known for his experiments in galvanism and in lighthouse engineering. With this small pamphlet dated 1828, he introduced a protective suit for firemen lined with cloth soaked in alum for the body and asbestos cloth for the face and hands. The outer layer is made of copper wire gauze. A demonstration of the suit’s effectiveness is captured in this hand colored frontispiece, in which a fireman plunges his body into an open flame. In another print, not in this pamphlet, a firemen conducts a mock rescue using the clothing:

The artist of these scenes has been attributed by one source to the French artist Victor-Philippe-Francois Lemoine-Benoit (1800s):

This short tract is, as Aldini states on p. 15, a forerunner to a larger work which he proposes to publish the following year. This intended work Essai expérimental sur l’art de traverser les flammes et de sauver des personnes et des objets préc ieux dans les maisons incendiées was published in 1830 as Art de se préserver de l’action de flamme, with five additional engravings, unfortunately only digitized in black and white:;view=thumb;seq=1OCLC: 1734256


On December 8, 1896, The Daily Princetonian published a short note:

A new magazine which is creating quite a stir among the lovers of current literature is a monthly periodical called John-A-Dreams. This little and attractive magazine was started last June and has been issued monthly since then and its final success is assured by the large sale which it has attained. Its form is novel which adds much to its popularity.

It generally contains several short stories which are marvels for their freshness and simplicity as well as for the pleasing manner in which they are told. Besides this there are in each number several poems which compare favorably with the present day verse. The two departments “The Artistic Standpoint” and “By The Fireside are of especial interest. The former is a series of criticisms which show a keen grasp of the subject at hand. This magazine is edited and published by Robert Sloss of the class of ’93. The cover design, as well as all parts of the magazine, is very artistic. —Daily Princetonian 21, No. 109 (8 December 1896).

John-a-Dreams: A Magazine for the Conservative Iconoclast and the Practical Dreamer, Devoted to Mere Literature and to Classical Typography.

After graduation, Robert T. Sloss (1872-1920, Princeton Class of 1893) moved to Greenwich Village where he formed a partnership with John J. Corell (1873-1954) to found the Corell Press and the monthly magazine John-a-Dreams. Their staff artist and poet was Sloss’ classmate Booth Tarkington (1869-1946, Princeton class of 1893) and the cover image of a dreaming man was drawn by the artist John Sloan (1871-1951), still living in Philadelphia but already a well-known illustrator. At the time, Sloan had left The Philadelphia Inquirer to join the art department of The Philadelphia Press, where he only worked afternoons and evenings, leaving his mornings free to paint and take on other commissions.

While Tarkington was writing one-act plays, his college classmate Robert Sloss launched in Greenwich Village a “little” magazine called John-a-Dreams. The publication appeared only seven times between August, 1896, and May, 1897, but during its short life Tarkington, the unpaid staff artist, contributed prose, poetry, and drawings “The Kisses of Marjorie,” for instance, first appearing there.
…Most of Tarkington’s contributions to John-a-Dreams are unimportant, though they illustrate a poetic preoccupation that began at the age of thirteen and lasted till he was thirty. Throughout the Nineties he composed poems, and only after his first novel was published did he foreswear verse.
…Then he abandoned poetry completely, except when his fictional characters occasionally were moved to lyric expression. Before 1899, however, about two dozen of his poems appeared in print, many in Princeton publications, a handful in the Indianapolis Journal, and three in Sloss’ magazine.

–James Leslie Woodress, Booth Tarkington: Gentleman from Indiana (Philadelphia; New York: Lippincott, 1955).

For more information, the archive of Corell Press is held by Wichita State University: MS 89-20, where they note:

The collection consists of selected material of Sloss (Princeton Class of 1893): correspondence, printed copies of two of his articles, and newspaper clippings. Correspondence includes letters of recommendation for Sloss from Princeton faculty (1891-1893) and other letters from such notables as Edmund Gosse and Theodore Roosevelt, written to Sloss in London when he was a journalist there during World War I. …Most of the correspondence and literary works are attributed to Booth Tarkington; however, some also concern Corell’s magazine, John-a-Dreams. Correspondents include Edward W. Bryant, Robert T. Sloss, Carolyn Wells, Kenneth Brown, St. George Best, and Barton Currie. The collection also contains copies of the little magazine, John-a-Dreams, including its prospectus and inaugural issues.

Booth Tarkington, Tantor Media

John-a-Dreams (New York: Corell Press and the Press of the Classical School (Associated), 1896-1897). Vol. 1. no. 1 (July 1896)- v. 2, no. 6 (June 1897). Rare Books 0901.415 v.1-2, no.5

Everett Shinn, Robert Henri and John Sloan, ca. 1896. Photograph shows the three men in Henri’s Philadelphia studio; a few years later all three had moved to New York. Published in: Archives of American Art Journal v. 19, no. 2, p. 3; v. 35, no. 1-4, p. 99

Fritz Eichenberg

When Robert Brown asked Fritz Eichenberg (1901-1990) [left] about his dramatic book illustration, the artist answered,

“Well, it solves, also, my own problems. Some people have to take it to a psychiatrist or a psychoanalyst. I was able to use art as a kind of purifier, or as a kind of a safety valve for my own problems. Because to leave your so-called “native country” and come into a completely new civilization and adjust yourself to it – raise children here – presents a problem which is not insurmountable. But it’s psychologically difficult. You don’t want to be a rebel in your new country. You want to show your gratitude, in a way. You also try to do your share to improve conditions wherever they can be improved by your knowledge, or by your work, or by your contribution to society. And, I think, through my work, I could reach people, which has always been very important to me. …

…Man is a very fragile being. He does his best to corrupt the environment in which he lives. We have now the problems of pollution and nuclear energy and we have gone through a disastrous war. We lost more than the war. We lost our integrity and our standing in the world to a large degree. Whatever I could do as a kind of conciliator coming from the other side I tried to do.

…And since I have been lucky enough to be commissioned to do the imagery accompanying the works of great writers, it makes me a kind of a mediator – a kind of interpreter – a visual interpreter – and has helped many people to read Dostoyevsky who’ve never read Dostoyevsky before. Or the Brontes. Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are probably the most popular books I have done.

–Smithsonian Archives of American Art Oral history interview with Fritz Eichenberg, 1979 May 14-December 7.

St. Toirdealbhach’s Tale (from The Once and Future King)

Thanks to the friendship between former Graphic Arts Curator Dale Roylance and Eichenberg, Princeton holds complete proof sets for most of the wood engravings Eichenberg printed as book illustrations. This includes the unpublished illustrations planned for an edition of T.H. White (1906-1964), The Once and Future King (New York: Collins, 1939)

The Maid and the Unicorn (from The Once and Future King)

Merlyn and Archimedes (from The Once and Future King)

The Boar Hunt (from The Once and Future King)

The Wart and the Hawks (from The Once and Future King)


Drawn with Craniological Inspection by George Cruikshank

Don Juan Asmodeus, A Political Lecture on Heads, alias Blockheads!! A Characteristic Poem: Containing the Heads of Derry Down Triangle, the State Jackal … [etc.] Drawn from Craniological Inspection, after the Manner of Doctors Gall and Spurzheim, of Vienna (London: J. Fairburn [1818?]). Graphic Arts Collection Cruik 1815.5. Frontispiece fold out by George Cruikshank.

The anonymous author of this small book [King of the Demons] states his purpose on the title page:

I prophesy on each man’s skull
The heavy, thick, the dark, or dull;
O’ver politics supreme I reign,
Explore the labyrinths of the brain:–
To show how little, great men are
Is Asmodeus constant care!

John Gay (1685–1732). The Beggar’s Opera. 1922.
Act I
Scene 1.
Scene, Peachum’s House.
PEACHUM sitting at a Table with a large Book of Accounts before him.

AIR I.—An old Woman clothed in Gray, &c.

Through all the Employments of Life
Each Neighbour abuses his Brother;
Whore and Rogue they call Husband and Wife:
All Professions be-rogue one another:
The Priest calls the Lawyer a Cheat,
The Lawyer be-knaves the Divine:
And the Statesman, because he’s so great,
Thinks his Trade as honest as mine.


Here are a few of the ten blockheads.

Identified by Dorothy George as Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool (1770-1828), Prime minister 1812 to 1827. Also known as Liverpool. His verse reads in part:
Jack Jenkinson, secure as fate,
A stupid pillar of the State;
Whose father, o’ve the Atlantic wave,
In days of yore both got and gave,
Got places, money, meat, and fuel,
And fed the poor with water gruel;


Isabella Anne Ingram Shepherd, 2nd Marchioness of Hertford (1760-1834), married Francis Ingram Seymour, Viscount Beauchamp, later 2nd Marquess of Hertford.
The lecture goes:
Her sparkling eyes, where Cupids muster,
Outshine the ruby’s polish’d lustre.
Yet crows’ feet, underneath her lashes,
Have mark’d her jolly cheeks with gashes;
And spite of dress, of airs, and pride,
Proclaim the age she fain would hide.

Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh and 2nd Marquess of Londonderry (1769-1822). Better known as Viscount Castlereagh. As Chief Secretary for Ireland (1798-1801) was instrumental in the passage of the Act of Union in 1800, but his attempt to achieve subsequent political emancipation of Roman Catholics was unsuccessful. Pictured with ass’s ears and the motto Eiren-go-bray [Ireland Forever].
His lecture ends:
That head joust now consumed in smoke,
Around our necks has placed a yoke,
Which many a painful year ‘twill take
Either to lighten or to break;
And ages yet unknown to fame,
Shall curse the Irish Statesman’s name.

Cruikshank letter

George Cruikshank (1792-1878), [Cries of London] ([London, Dublin; J. Robins, 1827-29?]). Graphic Arts Collection Cruik 1827.4 (9 pl. by R. Cruikshank, and the remainder by G. Cruikshank). Autograph letter written and signed by G. Cruikshank, to J. Hawkins, esq. June 1850, inserted at beginning. Gift of Richard Waln Meirs, class of 1888

This small volume of Cries of London by Robert and George Cruikshank has no title page. In its place is pasted a letter from George to J. Hawkins:

[George Cruikshank] 48 Mornington Place. June 12th, 1850
Sir. I was in the country when your note arrived here – and since my return I have been expecting any day to be able to call upon you – but have been prevented by a [?pressure] of enjoyments. Shall however visit upon you now in the course of a few days,

Might this be a note to the print collector mentioned in the British Museum database:

John Heywood Hawkins (1802/3-1877). Major British print collector and member of Parliament; of Bignor Park, Sussex. Gave some prints in 1849. Part of collection in sale of prints and drawings, Sotheby’s, 29.iv. -8.v.1850. Hawkins retained many of the rest. In 1854/5 he sold his Netherlandish prints to Colnaghi’s who gave the first refusal to the BM (see 1855,0114.206 to 229, and 1855,0414.231 to 280, purchased for £508 1s). In 1857 he sold his early Italian prints to Colnaghi, who again gave the first refusal to the BM. Carpenter successfully asked the Trustees to purchase 58 for £450 (1858,0417.1571 to 1628). Hawkins sold a number of drawings directly to Sotheby’s in 1861, whence the BM purchased 31. Others of his prints and drawings came to the BM later via other routes.

Ce n’est pas la girouette qui tourne, c’est le vent

Edgar Faure (1908-1988) wrote “Ce n’est pas la girouette qui tourne, c’est le vent” = “It’s not the weathervane that turns, it’s the wind”

The comment might fit this nineteenth-century satirical dictionary, published by the bookseller Alexis Eymery under the anonymous “Society of Weathervanes.” Contributors are said to include the singer and poet Pierre-Joseph Charrin, the printer Joseph Tastu, the writer René Perin, and the Count César Proisy of Eppe. The book has been described as “stigmatizing the flip-flops and successive loyalties of personalities under the different regimes of the Revolution to the Hundred Days.” At the front is a wonderful allegorical plate, in which a colorful gentleman signs any and all proclamations, from the constitutional monarchy to the second return of King Louis XVIII. Note the blade with a declaration from the government of the year 2440, waiting to be signed.

“Only a few weeks after the publication of the Dictionary, an essay is published under the title of Censeur des girouettes, ou les honnêtes gens vengés. The author tries to justify the opportunism of this period by the higher interest of the fatherland and thinks to see in the Dictionnaire des girouettes a threat against the civil peace and the necessary reconciliation between all the French people:

“Si ces auteurs, étrangers au bonheur de leur patrie, n’ont pas réfléchi aux dangers de leur compilation dans un moment de tout ce qui existe en France a besoin de tout oublier ; s’ils n’ont point calculé que la haine de tel individu n’attend souvent qu’un léger signal pour se venger d’une injure personnelle ; ces auteurs dis-je d’imprudens Français que seule l’ineptie de leur ouvrage peut seule excuser. » Cette contre-attaque se révèle totalement inefficace ; au contraire, des livres inspirés du dictionnaire des girouettes sont édités, tel le Dictionnaire des immobiles, par un homme qui jusqu’à présent n’a rien juré et n’ose jurer de rien, par Adrien Beuchot.

A. Carrière-Doisin, Le censeur du Dictionnaire des girouettes, ou, Les honnêtes gens vengés (Paris: Chez Germain Mathiot, 1815). Recap DC145 .E964 1815

Alexis Eymery (1774-1854), Dictionnaire des girouettes, ou Nos contemporains peints d’après euxmêmes; ouvrage dans lequel sont rapportés les discours, proclamations, chansons, extraits d’ouvrages écrits sous les gouvernemens qui ont eu lieu en France depuis vingt-cinq ans; et les places, …. par un Société de girouettes. 3. éd., rev., cor., et considérablement augm.; ornée d’une gravure allégorique (Paris: A. Eymery [etc.] 1815). Recap DC145 .E964 1815