Category Archives: Illustrated books

illustrated books

27 tableaux vivants

The Graphic Arts Collection has two new book projects with covers designed by Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979), along with her original painted designs. Our expert rare book conservator, Mick LeTourneaux, solved the problem of how to store each painting with the published book by constructing custom clamshell boxes with two compartments.

The first book is Delaunay’s 27 tableaux vivants published in Milan by Edizioni del Naviglio in 1969. Pochoir designs on leporello or accordion pages stretch out to form a small exhibition of 27 costume designs created over the 84 year old artist’s lifetime. Princeton’s book is no. 457 of 500 copies on velin Aussedat, from a total edition of 650.

Sonia attracted wealthy clients: a woollen embroidered coat was made in 1925 for the movie star Gloria Swanson, in geometric shades of rich spicy reds, browns and creams. In these fashion creations, straight lines predominate as diamonds and stripes and straight-edged lines turn at right angles. It’s as if the excitement of the whirling ballroom has been supplanted by the glamour of the road. But not for long: in the 1930s the curves and wheels and arcs were very much back.

For four more decades Sonia designed fabrics for the Amsterdam luxury store Metz and Co, and latterly for Liberty. She didn’t abandon the poets, it must be said. A “poem-curtain” of the time has verses by the surrealist Philippe Soupault embroidered in wool. She made “poem-dresses” – words that walked – and lectured at the Sorbonne on “the influence of painting on clothing design”.

The book is accompanied by two trial designs for the cover along with the painted binding. Inside the covers, Delaunay’s work is illustrated with an introductory text from publisher Jacques Damase (1930-2014, who was also the former owner of this volume), extracts from Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918), and a poem from Blaise Cendrars (1887-1961), with whom Delaunay had earlier worked on Prose du Transsibérien (1913).


The second book, also from the estate of Jacques Damase and with a painted cover design by Delaunay is André Salmon’s Propos d’atelier, published in France 1938–1967. It is also accompanied by a serigraph poster for a 1967 exhibition in Arras, in which the same design from Delaunay re-appears in inverted fashion.

…practical examples of mensuration: of singular use for work-men, artificers, and other ingenious persons delighting therein

Besides information on carpentry and logarithms, this book contains a frontispiece by the wonderful, under appreciated printmaker Thomas Cross, the elder (1632?–1682), who is credited with over 200 portraits.

The National Portrait Gallery, London, lists 165 prints, and Johnson’s A Catalogue of Engraved and etched English title-pages lists only 26. When someone recognizes his worth, a complete study will list more.

Samuel Foster (died 1652), The art of measuring: containing the description and explanation of the carpenters new rule. Furnished with a variety of scales, fitted for the more speedy mensuration of superficies and solids. Written by Sam. Foster, sometime Professor of Astronomy in Gresham Colledge. Also, certain geometrical problems, a table of logarithms to 10000, and some uses of the same exemplified in arithmetick and geometry ; but more particularly applied to the mensuration of superficies and solids, as board, glass, pavement, wainscot, plaistering, tyling, timber, stone, brick-work and gauging of cask. The second edition with additions by W. Leybourn. To which is added, A supplement, being the description of the line of numbers, with its use in divers practical examples of mensuration: of singular use for work-men, artificers, and other ingenious persons delighting therein By John Wiblin, carpenter. (London: Williamson, 1677). Rare Books 2007-3537N

Here are a few other Cross title pages and frontispieces:

The Dictionary of National Biography notes rudely:

CROSS, THOMAS (fl. 1632-1682), engraver, was employed in engraving numerous portraits of authors and other celebrities as frontispieces to books published in the middle of the seventeenth century. His style shows no attempt at artistic refinement, but merely an endeavour to render faithfully the lineaments of the persons or objects portrayed; this he executed in a dry and stiff manner. His portraits are, however, a valuable contribution to the history of the period, and some of them are the only likenesses we possess—e.g. that of Philip Massinger, prefixed to an edition of his plays in 1655. Among the persons of note whose portraits were engraved by him were Thomas Bastwick, Richard Brownlowe, Jeremiah Burroughes, …, and many others, including a portrait of Richard III in Sir G. Buck’s ‘ Life and Reign’ of that monarch (1646).

Foster’s book ends with an advertisement!

Definition of artificer
1 a skilled or artistic worker or craftsman
2 one that makes or contrives

Who attended the trial of Queen Caroline?

George Hayter (1792-1871), The Great Historical Picture of the Queen’s Trial, 1823. Oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery, London

A Descriptive catalogue of the Great Historical Picture, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Great Historical Picture, painted by George Hayter, member of The Academy of St. Luke, &c. &c. &c., representing the trial of Her Late Majesty Queen Caroline of England: with a faithful interior view of the House of Lords, and one hundred and eight-nine portraits ; amongst which are included those princes of the royal family, with most of the peers and distinguished personages who were in the House on that memorable occasion, and who did the artist the honor to sit : containing in the whole upwards of three hundred figures : now exhibiting at Mr. Cauty’s great rooms, No. 80½, Pall Mall. London: Printed by W. Hersee, White Lion Court, Cornhill. 1823. Graphic Arts Collection 2020- in process.

[Together with:] The Great Historical Picture of the Queen’s Trial by Mr. George Hayter… [London]: Hersee, Printer, 1, White Lion Court, Cornhill. [1823]. Broadside. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process.

On August 17, 1820, 260 prominent citizens of London gathered in the House of Lords to hear the introduction of the bill of pains and penalties aimed to “deprive Her Majesty Caroline Amelia Elizabeth of the Title, Prerogatives, Rights, Privileges and Pretensions of Queen Consort of this Realm, and to dissolve the Marriage between his Majesty and the said Queen.” — J. B. Priestley, The Prince of Pleasure and his Regency (1971). The Pains and Penalties Bill passed by a narrow margin.

London artist George Hayter received the prestigious commission to paint the scene, asking dozens to sit for him in his studio so their portraits would be accurate. Three years later, he capitalized on the excitement still surrounding the trial by staging an exhibition of his painting in Pall Mall with a catalogue [seen here] identifying each person attending the trial. This guaranteed the sale of his catalogue to at least the 189 people in the scene.

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired both the illustrated catalogue for Hayter’s exhibition and a handbill handed out to potential patrons passing in the street.

Affixed to the end of the catalogue is a note: “* The Asterisks are placed to the names of those gentlemen who, though present at the Trial, are so situated in the Picture, that the Artist did not find it necessary to trouble them to sit [pose for their portrait].”

The 8 stanza poem on the handbill is fittingly dramatic, equal to the excitement felt throughout London: “There sat the anxious Caroline / within the lofty Hall / Before the searching eyes of men / Who waited for her fall.”


Ned Buntline: shot and revived, hung and survived, abstained and died

Edward Zane Carroll Judson served with the U.S. Navy from 1839 to 1842 during the Second Seminole War in Florida. While still in service, he began publishing short fiction under the pen name Ned Buntline (a buntline is one of the ropes attached to the foot of a square sail).

Although he is best-known for stories about the American West, many of Buntline’s early pieces relied on his personal experiences in Florida, including Matanzas, or, A Brother’s Revenge: a Tale of Florida (1848); The Red Revenger, or, The Pirate King of the Floridas. A Tale of the Gulf and its Islands (1848); and most notably, The White Wizard. Or, The Great Prophet of the Seminoles. A Tale of Strange Mystery in the South and North (Graphic Arts Collection. Oversize Hamilton 657q).

White Wizard originally appeared in the New York Mercury in 1858, later published as Beadle’s Sixpenny Tales in 1862 and American Talks in 1869.

Not only did Judson have a spectacular life but he was the best paid of all 19th-century American authors, reportedly earning ~$20,000/year in the 1860s. His stories number at least 400, but only 7 are held in the Sinclair Hamilton Collection of American Illustrated Books.

Of the many anecdotes told about Judson, perhaps the most sensational is the factual account of his hanging, from which he survived. As reported in the Washington Post, July 25, 1886, here is a section:

“Acting Mayor S.V.D. Stout and John D. Gass, who were Jail Commissioners, went to consult Louis Horn, jailer. When the mob rushed into the jail, they knocked Horn out of a rocking chair and secured the keys, when he said, “For God’s sake, don’t let all the prisoners out.” Three of the mob entered Buntline’s cell. While one caught him by a leg, another seized him by the collar. A third, placing his foot on Buntline’s neck, was about to fire, when the jailer pleaded with them not to kill him there.

Buntline was then dragged pell-mell into the street. He was then permitted to say his prayers and on finishing pulled a ring from his finger, handed it to a minister to be sent to his father at Pittsburgh, Pa. The crowd then hallooed, “Take him on,” and they did so.

They first attempted to hang him to a sign, but the rope having been too short, he was dragged to a lamp-post. When they began to pull him up, acting Mayor Stout cut the rope and the form of Buntline dropped to the earth. The utmost silence prevailed at this critical moment, when a man named Ashbrook cried out: “It’s a d—n shame to treat a human being in such a brutal manner and if John Porterfield is a gentleman, he will have the wretch turned loose!” At this Porterfield came out and said: “Take him back to jail” and Buntline was returned to his cell.

Dr. Stout said he had received severe internal injuries and that while attending him Buntline boasted that if he saw that a man was going to shoot him he could dodge the bullet. When Buntline had recovered and was about to be sent down the river, still another mob gathered at the upper wharf to lynch him; but the crowd was left standing when the boat started with no Buntline on board. The sheriff alluded the angry assemblage by taking Buntline to the lower wharf where he was put on a steamer and that was the last seen of Buntline in Nashville. “

In one obituary, possibly written by Judson himself before his actual death in 1886, it is noted that “Ned Buntline probably carried more wounds on this body than any other living American.”

Ned Buntline (pseudonym for E.Z.C. Judson, 1822 or 1823-1886), The White Wizard. Or, The great prophet of the Seminoles. A tale of strange mystery in the South and North; illustrations by Darley. Original, chromoxylographed paper wrappers (New York: F.A. Brady [1862]). Graphic Arts Collection. Oversize Hamilton 657q

Buntline’s heroes were not always the white men.

“…Coocoochee, a Mohawk prophetess. Though she was not a member of any of the tribes—Shawnee, Miami, and Delaware—that predominated numerically at the Glaize, Coocoochee nevertheless was treated as a revered member of the intertribal village community. Her respected position was based on her reputation as a medicine woman who conversed with numerous spirits and accurately forecast the results of raids.”

Also see Helen Hombeck Tanner, “Coocoochee: Mohawk Medicine Woman,” American Indian Culture and Research Journal 3(3) (1979): 24-25, 28. The Ohio Iroquois, known as Mmgoes, began migrating into Ohio in the 1740s and 1750s; Coocoochee’s family relocated to Ohio sometime after 1768, the year in which the first Treaty of Fort Stanwix supposedly made the Ohio River a permanent boundary and acknowledged that the country north of the River belonged solely to the Indians.

Another good read:

Read more:

Remedies for the vices of speech

Antoine de Bourgogne (ca. 1594-1657). Linguae vitia & remedia Emblematicè expressa (Antwerp: Widow Cnobbaert, 1652). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process.

Small oblong 16mo (74 x 97 mm). [12] leaves, 191, [1 bl.] pages ; etched title, 93 full-page etchings. Nineteenth-century red morocco with triple gilt fillet borders, spine and turn-ins gold-tooled, edges gilt over marbling, by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Provenance: James Toovey (1814-1893), London bookseller, armorial gilt bookplate with motto inter folia fructus.


This copy includes the cancelled leaf A8, blank except for pagination and headline on the verso. Interesting that it come at the description of an echo.

Rare book historian Nina Musinsky regards this as one of the most delightful of the Netherlandish emblem books, with 94 miniature etchings. This second Latin edition reprints the same plates and text as that of 1631, which was published at the same time as a Flemish-language edition.

Musinsky notes, “The purpose of the book was to list and propose remedies for the “vices” of speech: garrulousness, equivocation, insults, foul language, detraction, blasphemy, lying, perjury and calumny. The theme can be traced back to antiquity, having been treated by Plutarch in the Moralia; but the author, a member of the secular clergy at the Cathedral of Bruges, was more immediately influenced by Erasmus’s De linguae usu ac abusu” (1525. Princeton Rare Books 2949.32.46).


Part 1 provides examples of improper or sinful speech; two introductory emblems (the first a grisly vision of hell) are followed by 45 examples of such speech, each with an etched emblem on the verso and a motto and four-line poem on the facing recto, with an occasional note in smaller italic type at the foot of the page.


Part 2, with 45 more etchings, turns to the remedies for each kind of evil language (each number responds to the same number in the first part). The delicate unsigned etchings are attributed, apparently without question, to Jacobus Neeffs (1610-1660) and Andries Pauli (or Pauwels) the elder (1600-1639), after designs by Abraham van Diepenbeeck (1596-1675), who dominated Antwerp book illustration at the time.

See more designs by Abraham van Diepenbeeck in three other books at Princeton: The Holy Bible: containing the bookes of the Old & New. Cambridge [England] : Printed by John Field …, 1659-1660. William H. Scheide Library 63.9

The temple of the Muses, or, The principal histories of fabulous antiquity : represented in sixty sculptures / designed and ingraved by Bernard Picart le Romain and other celebrated masters ; with explications and remarks, which discover the true meaning of the fables, and their foundation in history. Amsterdam : Printed for Zachariah Chatelain, 1733. Rare Books Oversize NE1715 .P6f

William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle 1592-1676. A general system of horsemanship in all it’s branches: containing a faithful translation of that most noble and useful work of His Grace, William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, entitled, The manner of feeding, dressing and training of horses for the great saddle … with all the original copper-plates in number forty-three …    London: J. Brindley, 1743. Rare Books Oversize 4235.673f



References: Landwehr (3rd ed.) 96; Funck, Livre belge à gravures, p. 284; Forum, The Children’s World of Learning, part 7, no. 3815; cf. Praz, p. 292 (1631 Latin edition); de Vries, De Nederlandsche Emblemata132 (1631 Flemish edition).



The Chalk Plate process

Cartoons Magazine 4, Issue 4 (1913): 401-03

Beginning in 1885 (copyrighted 1888), wood engraving faced serious competition from a new reproductive process. No, not the Kodak camera. It was the chalk-plate process, or Hoke process, named after Joseph W. Hoke who developed a method of free-hand drawing on a chalk covered metal plate, which was then stereotyped and ready for printing in one or two hours, greatly decreasing the time needed to produce illustrations for breaking news stories and other daily newspaper work.

According to Anne Johnson’s 1914 Notable women of St. Louis, it was Hoke’s daughter and professional artist Martha Hoke (1861-1939) who produced the first and still most famous chalk-plate illustration of a murder victim discovered in a trunk, which she was able to sketch around 1:00 p.m. and the picture printed in the regular afternoon edition of the Post-Dispatch a few hours later.

Miss Martha Hoke… was the first person in St. Louis to make drawings for newspaper illustrations. Her father, Joseph W. Hoke, made a discovery in the line of engraving which he perfected by much experiment upon plates capable of producing, in a very short time, a type which could be set up with reading matter. This was the first successful engraving process using the artist’s drawing directly. Miss Hoke gave her father much assistance in the trial drawings necessary to perfect this method. All illustrations had, up to that time, been engraved on wood, or steel, or stone, or etched on copper. Mr. Hoke prepared a chalk composition, baked upon a steel plate, of such consistency that a drawing could readily be made by a pointed stylus bent at such an angle that when held as a pen or pencil the point would be vertical.

The drawing so made is placed in a stereotyping box and as a matrix it is cast in type metal. This type could be produced in a very short time. The possibilities for newspaper illustrations—which previous to that had been very meager and poor—were developed by an emergency, which at once placed this invention in great demand and general use. The event which so suddenly brought success financially was a murder at the Southern Hotel by a man named Maxwell, who hid the body of his victim, Preller, in a trunk which he left in a room he had occupied. The discovery of this brought out an extra edition of one of the daily papers, with a drawing by Miss Hoke. This famous case made chalk plates known to all newspapers everywhere.

Outside the big city papers, such as the New York Times or the Washington Post, many publishers could not afford to maintain a full photoengraving department and so, used chalk-plates for all their illustrations well into the twentieth century. Manuel Rosenberg included a chapter in his 1922 The Manuel Rosenberg Course in Newspaper Art entitled The Chalk Plate Method for the Artist in the Small Town. “Before the invention of the photoengraving process,” he writes, “the newspaper artist and the cartoonist usually used chalk plates. Today the chalk plate is practically a medium of the past. For small-town publications, however, it is often a more serviceable medium than the up-to-date photo-engraving process.”

As late as 1941, Popular Mechanics was suggesting chalk plates for cartoonist of high school newspapers [below] and offering a full-page description of the process complete with illustrations. (volume 75, no. 1, January 1941, p.117)

Many lengthy descriptions of the process have been published. One appeared in The Art Amateur: Devoted to Art in the Household 44, no. 6 (May 1901): 158, entitled “How to make chalk plates.”

The following is the method of producing on “chalk plates” such illustrations as are used for general newspaper work: A metal plate, covered with a coating of chalk about a sixteenth of an inch thick, is put into the hands of the draftsman. It should be the actual size of the illustration to be made. The draftsman draws upon the plate with a metal point or needle, like a shoemaker’s awl; every time he makes a line he removes the chalk from that part of the plate, and the exposing of the metal makes his drawing appear dark, contrasted with the whiteness, of the chalk. [In much the same way the etcher removes his etching ground from a copper plate with the etching needle; the etching ground, however, is wax, and it usually is darkened by smoking, so that, the copper of the plate being light, the drawing appears light upon a dark ground.]

When the artist has finished his drawing—which is really a scratching away of the chalk—the plate is handed to a stereotyper, who makes a stereotype of it. This is done in the following way: It is put into a casting box, not unlike an iron waffle pan, which when closed leaves an opening about one-fourth of an inch in front of the plate, and on the top of which there is an opening, into which the stereotyper pours liquid type metal, as a boy pours melted lead into a bullet mould. The metal fills the vacuum in front of the plate and runs into each gully or furrow which the draftsman’s needle point has made. Of course where the chalk has not been removed, the type metal does not go; when the metal is cold and the casting—box opened, we find a thin plate of metal where the lines rise to an even height, wherever the artist has scratched a line down to the metal plate; but the plate is lower wherever the unremoved chalk prevented the liquid touching the metal plate. This crust of type metal fastened to a block, so that it is type high, resembles a wood engraving or a photo-engraved plate, and serves the same purpose. When the inked rollers of the printing press go over it, they ink the raised lines only, which correspond to the lines the artist drew, and hence it prints just like type.

This method of making illustrations for the newspapers has great advantages and disadvantages. It has the advantage of cheapness, for the plates cost next to nothing, and when the castingbox is once bought the expense of type metal and the recoating of the plates is very slight. It is a very quick method also, as an artist can draw a portrait half an hour before the paper goes to press. His drawing may take fifteen minutes and the casting fifteen minutes more. In photo-engraving, the photographing and etching of the plate takes a couple of hours. The disadvantage of the method is that the artist must make his drawing the exact size it is to be printed, while for photo-engraving he usually works on a larger scale, which is not only easier for him, but when a drawing thus made is reduced it has a greater appearance of fineness and finish than a drawing made small. Then, too, the laying bare of the plate with a metal point, and raising a dust of chalk, which sometimes covers up the lines, is not as pleasant a way of working—does not seem as natural as drawing with a pen on Bristol board. In pen drawing. also, more pressure on the pen turns a thin line into a thick one; in the chalk-plate process, to thicken a line you either have to go over it several times, removing chalk on its sides, or else use a larger instrument than you used for the fine lines.”

See also: R.M.A., “Stereotyping Chalk Plates,” The Inland Printer 28, no. 2 (November 1901): 194-96.

Note, chalk-plates should not be confused with chalk manner engraving from the eighteenth century.

Neither should it be confused with relief line block printing, a technique that uses a negative of a line drawing being contact printed onto a photosensitized metal plate. Light hardens this emulsion into an acid resist while non-exposed areas are washed away in warm water. When etched in a bath of acid the metal surrounding the emulsion protected lines is eaten away forming a low relief, which can be printed as any relief matrix.

The first printing of a Mozart cantata commissioned by Franz Heinrich Ziegenhagen

First of several music plates

This is the first printed appearance of Die ihr des unermeßlichen Weltalls (also called Eine kleine deutsche Kantate; Little German Cantata) (K619) written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) in 1791, the same year as he wrote The Magic Flute and also the year of his death. The setting here is for soprano and piano but later composers have arranged the work for orchestra as well as string quartets.

The libretto by Franz Heinrich Ziegenhagen (1753–1806), who commissioned the work from his fellow mason, covers the relationship of the progressive and masonic ideal to the commandment of love as outlined in Ziegenhagen’s book Lehre vom richtigen Verhältniss zu den Schöpfungswerken.

Franz Heinrich Ziegenhagen (1753-1806), Lehre vom richtigen Verhältniss zu den Schöpfungswerken und die durch öffentlicche Einführung derselben allein zu bewürkende allgemeine Menschenbeglückung [=The Teaching of the Right Relationship to the Works of Creation and the General Happiness That Can Only Be Admirable by Public Introduction of Them]. Herausgegeben von F. H. Ziegenhagen… einer Musik von W.A. Mozart (Hamburg: Herausgeber, 1792). Prints by Daniel Niklaus Chodowiecki (1726-1801). Graphic Arts Collection 2019- in process

Ziegenhagen was a German industrialist, freemason and philanthropist who spent his entire fortune trying to realize his utopian ideals in actual communities.

The utopian minded philanthropist Franz Heinrich Ziegenhagen appeared just as “revolutionary” in Hamburg in 1792. …. Ziegenhagen’s utopian concept of a social order of “Liberté, égalité et fraternité” rested upon Rousseauian principles, and he … conceived of agrarian colonies where everything is built upon communal property and communal work. Here the political principle that every member of the community is electable would rule, that is to say that there would be an absolute democracy. Indeed, Ziegenhagen dared even to send an abbreviated version of his essay to the National Convention in Paris in the fall of 1792 with the demand to implement his suggestions as soon as possible in France. However, neither the French National Convention nor the few German princes and universities to whom he sent this book reacted to his appeal. –Peter Uwe Hohendahl, Patriotism, Cosmopolitanism, and National Culture: Public Culture in Hamburg 1700-1933 (Rodopi, 2003)

At the heart of the community was Ziegenhagen’s passion for educational reform: An “Erziehungs-kommune,” or educational commune, was to be set up where all children would be educated together without distinction based on birth, wealth or any other kind of status. An emphasis was also to be placed on activities, with practical lessons taught alongside the theoretical.

Ziegenhagen actually founded an agricultural community along these lines in Billwerder, near Hamburg but failed to gain the wider support needed for his initiative to succeed. Forced to sell the property in 1802, Ziegenhagen retired to his home town of Elsass where he committed suicide in 1806.

The etched plates are by Daniel Niklaus Chodowiecki (1726-1801), born in Poland but who spent most of his life in Berlin and became the director of the Berlin Academy of Art. His largest folding plate depicts the realization of Ziegenhagen’s utopian project, featuring [above] the author on horseback surveying the busy scene of the community in action. The frontispiece [top] shows a lecture hall with its tall walls filled with illustrations of natural history and students packed into the benches. Six other etchings depict classroom scenes, including a scene with older children in a laboratory, a ‘Kunst-Kammer’ in the background, being taught how to dissect a pig.

 …Love me in my works,
Love order, proportion, harmony!
Love yourselves and your brothers!
Strength and beauty shall be your ornament
And clarity of understanding your nobility.
Hold out the brotherly hand of everlasting friendship;
It was delusion, not truth, that withheld it for so long.

Le Plutarque français

Édouard Mennechet, editor, Le Plutarque français: vies des hommes et des femmes illustres de la France, depuis le cinquième siècle jusqu’a nos jours, avec leurs portraits en pied gravés sur acier, [=The French Plutarch: lives of illustrious men and women of France, from the fifth century to the present day, with their full-length portraits engraved on steel] ([Paris, 18??]). Graphic Arts Collection Oversize 2004-1041Q

The Graphic Arts Collection holds 35 separate parts from different volumes of Le Plutarque français. Each has the hand colored steel engraving laid in mid-volume, rather than a frontispiece. The men and women profiled are: Georges, cardinal d’Amboise. — Louis XII. — Bayard. — François Rabelais. — Marguerite de Valois. — Le cardinal du Bellay. — Anne de Montmorenci. — François Ier. — Clément Marot. — Cossé-Brissac. — Michel de l’Hospital. — Ambroise Paré. — Jacques Amyot. — Gaspard de Coligny. — François de Guise. — Catherine de Medicis. — Ronsard. — Brantôme. — Louis Ier de Bourbon. — Etienne Jodelle. — Montaigne. — Crillon. — Marie Stuart. — Lesdiguières. — Le duc de Guise. — Philippe de Mornay. — Henri IV. — de Thou. — de Malherbe. — Sully. — Bassompierre. — Mathieu Molé. — Jean le Clerc. — Guez de Balzac. — Gondi.

A complete table of contents for Le Plutarque français, as well as an index to the painters and engravers can be found in the 1838 edition available through google books: Here are a few more plates.




The Sun – El Astro Brillante

Invitacion al mundo filosofico para reconocer al sol. verdadero iman conocido [Invitation to the philosophical world to recognize the sun. The true known magnet] found in: J.L.T. .., Historia sucinta de un feliz descubrimiento hecho en uno de los paises del Asia (Madrid: [Don Tomás Jordan, impresor de camara de S.M], 1836). Cover: Descubrimiento oriental, representado en una lamina fina. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

This small, obscure brochure has one engraving by Esteban Boix (born 1774) after a design by D. Domingo presenting Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727); Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier (1743-1794) Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) and others contemplating the sun with the author “J.L.T.”

The anonymous writer relates how “he grappled with the nature of light – its propagation, materiality, interaction with the eye etc. – by reading the theories of Lavoisier, ‘immortal’ Newton, Descartes, Huygens, Bernoulli, and Malbranche, but was left confused and dissatisfied.

So one night in summer 1832 he undertook to travel mentally into space to contemplate the sun (‘el astro brillante’), traveling for three quarters of an hour and being oblivious to a fire raging in his village. While the experience left him with a three-day headache, it revealed the sun to him as ‘elVerdadero Iman’, and a new science styled ‘Imanica’.”

This is the only recorded copy in the United States. Thanks to our dealer for the transcription/translation.

José Vasconcelos: not a man to inspire indifference

The UNESCO: International Bureau of Education noted that “José Vasconcelos is, without doubt, one of the most controversial figures in the social and political history of Mexico. Although he spent a good part of his life in either voluntary or compulsory exile, the impact of his original personality goes beyond his own lifetime, while his vast educative, literary, political and philosophical work is still widely studied and discussed today. He was not a man to inspire indifference, and has therefore been described in all manner of highly contradictory terms. His life covers a large period of Mexican history, from Porfirio’s dictatorship, through the revolutionary movement of 1910, and up to the establishment and consolidation of civilian regimes.”

Author, philosopher, politician José Vasconcelos (1881-1959) served twice as Minister of Education and also held the position of Rector of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He exerted a profound influence on Mexican culture by promoting education for the lower classes and encouraging popular exposure to literature. One of the ways he accomplished this was through several magazines that reprinted European authors, including El Maestro.

In her paper, “Dreaming of a cosmic race: José Vasconcelos and the politics of race in Mexico, 1920s–1930s”, Cogent Arts & Humanities 3, 2016, Linnete Manrique writes:

“Vasconcelos introduces the first volume [of El Maestro] by stating that the purpose of the magazine is “to disseminate practical knowledge among the country’s population.” He notes that the magazine will be distributed gratis precisely because it is meant for the general public. However, it is clear that his five-page introduction addresses one particular group of people and not all, that of intellectuals.

Vasconcelos critiques his colleagues for their lack of action and indifference toward the masses, and rallies them to become involved in his educational crusade. In his characteristic grandiose speech, Vasconcelos declares, “[the masses] will become a ruinous burden if we abandon them, if we maintain them ignorant and poor; but if we educate them and make them strong, their strength merged into ours will make us invincible.”

“From his point of view, the intellectual is the only one capable of leading the Mexican nation toward modernity and into the world stage. In a similar vein, Vasconcelos explains that the content of the magazine will not be what people want but what they need, with “the continuous purpose of elevating them.”

Authors presented in El Maestro include Romain Rolland, George Bernard Shaw, and Leo Tolstoy, which serve to highlight Vasconcelos’ aspiration that through European literature the Mexican people would become civilized [or so he believed].

El Maestro, Revista de Cultura Nacional. Tomo I: 1,2,3,4,5y6; Tomo II: 1,2,3,4y5,6; Tomo III: 1,2,3,4,5. México: Talleres Gráficos de la Nación, 1921-1923. Firestone Library 0906.608