Category Archives: Paper

The Watermark Collection

Thomas Keith Tindale and Harriett Ramsey Tindale, The Handmade Papers of Japan; foreword by Dard Hunter (Rutland, Vt.; Tokyo, Japan: Charles E. Tuttle, 1952). Published in an edition of “not more than two hundred and fifty copies.”

Portfolio (v. [4]) contains foreword by Haruji Yoshida (director general, Government Printing Agency) and catalog (5 p.), and 20 sheets of colored papers made at the Oji Paper Mill of the Government Printing Agency in Tokyo, each with a pictorial light and shade watermark made by the tesuri-kako-ho (hand-rubbing) method from engravings by Seishiro Suzuki, Yayoji Shiomi, Kinnojo Kawashima and Sadakichi Kataoka.

Gift of Edwin N. Benson, Jr. Class of 1899 and Mrs. Benson in memory of Peter Benson, Class of 1938. Graphic Arts: Reference Collection (GARF) Oversize TS1095.J3 T5q

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Snow and Crow. Engraving by Kinnojo Kawashima. The watermark is on grey paper and is of a crow resting on a blossoming branch which is covered iwth snow. Note the detail of the bird’s claw.



Japan Paper Company, New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston



paper-samples2John Bidwell wrote, “Hand-papermaking is now more of an art than a trade, more of a creative opportunity than a commercial proposition.”

In the early 20th century, paper manufacturers in the United States started making sample booklets to promote hand-made and specialty papers. Each of the small volumes included a variety of materials: bound swatches, sizes, weights, colors, and prices of the papers for sale. Unlike written descriptions, this promotional material demonstrated the tactile qualities and aesthetic beauty of the merchandise to the finite market of luxury, limited-edition publishers.

The Japan Paper Company was one of the leading importers of hand-made papers for fine press editions. When Harrison G. Elliott (1879-1954) became the company’s manager, he greatly expanded the firm’s scope, distributing papers from fifteen European and Asian countries.

Elliott was a good friend and associate of Elmer Adler, while Adler was the director of the Pynson Printers. When he gave up that business and came to Princeton, Adler brought with him his collection of paper sample books. Today, the Graphic Arts Collection has identified and catalogued over six dozen booklets, including a large group from the Japan Paper Company.

Recently, a small collection of full-size sheets were also uncovered, which had been sent to Adler by Elliott in 1938.


1. Oriental Papers. New York City: Japan Paper Company, [19–]. (GAX) 2014-0431N
2. Japanese Tissue Papers Carried in Stock by Japan Paper Company. New York: Japan Paper Company, 1916. (GAX) 2013-0263N
3. Hand Made Papers. New York: The Company, [1917?]. (GAX) Oversize 2010-0002F
4. Privately Printed Books and Their Personal Value as Christmas Gifts. New York: Japan Paper Company, 1921. (GAX) 2004-3723N
5. [A collection of paper sample books from the Japan Paper Company]. [New York: Japan Paper Company, 1924-1939] (GAX) TS1220 .J361
6. Dutch Charcoal Papers. New York City: Japan Paper Company, 1929. RCPXG-7207242
7. Renka Announcements: deckle edge sheets and envelopes imported and carried in stock by Japan Paper Company. [New York, N.Y.: Japan Paper Company, 193-?] (GAX) Oversize 2010-0008Q
8. Handmade Paper: its Method of Manufacture. New York: Japan Paper Company, 1932. RCPXG-5893687
9. Aurelius Hand Made: Handmade Deckle Edge Announcements from Italy … by Japan Paper Company. [New York, N.Y.: Japan Paper Company, 1935?] (GAX) Oversize 2010-0141Q
10. Arnold Hand-Made Deckle Edge Cards & Envelopes: from England … by Japan Paper Company. [New York, N.Y.: Japan Paper Company, 1938?] (GAX) Oversize 2010-0019Q
11. Samples of Letterhead Papers with Envelopes to Match from Japan Paper Company. New York, N.Y.: Japan Paper Company, [1938?] (GAX) Oversize 2010-0017Q
12. Oriental Papers. New York City: Japan Paper Company, [1939?] RECAP-91156800
13. Samples: Bethany, Virgil, Ragston. New York, N.Y.: Japan Paper Company, 1939. (GAX) Oversize 2010-0020Q


For examples of English hand-made papers see: John Bidwell, Fine papers at the Oxford University Press (Risbury, Herefordshire: Whittington Press, 1999). “This edition of 300 copies is set in 14-point Centaur (from matrices belonging originally to Oxford University Press) printed at Whittington on Zerkall mould-made paper, & half-bound with Fabriano Roma paper.”  GAX copy is no. LI. Graphic Arts Collection (GA) HD8039.P33 B5 1999f

Stay overnight in a paper factory

20160702_132719_resizedOn 36th street in Long Island City is a factory building that once housed Isidor Goldberg’s pioneering firm, The Pilot Electric Manufacturing Company also known as the Pilot Radio Company.

After the Second World War, the building was home to a successful paper mill and later, Samuel Roth ran the Romo Paper Products printing company listed as a stationary and greeting card company. Most recently, the factory has been transformed into a hotel, perfect for historically curious travelers.
20160702_133031_resizedIn the basement nightclub is one of the original paper machines from the La Pietra machinery company. It has been converted into the DJ’s booth, or was the day I visited.

20160702_133007_resizedHere’s a picture [below] from the hotel files, before the basement was converted into a nightclub, which shows the machine a little clearer.
20160702_132509_resizedThere are various decorative book motifs throughout the public areas. In the central stair is a three-story column of books and around the corner are several walls embedded with codex volumes. At the front desk is the original Burroughs adding machine and an early typewriter. It is an enormous building and I’m sure there is more that I missed.20160702_133240_resized

Making Paper

bertram2The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a rare trade catalogue from the Scottish firm Bertram, presenting their entire line of papermaking machinery. Note below the watermark printed on each plate so that people can’t steal and reproduce their images.



Paper Makers’ Catalogue ([Edinburgh]: [James Bertram & Son], printed by Mackenzie and Storrie, letterpress and lithographic printers, 1890). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2015- in process

Happily the Capital Collections site for Edinburgh Libraries and Museums recently posted the history of this important manufacturer and the quote here is a portion of their text:

Bertram Limited, Sciennes was founded in 1821 in Edinburgh and developed into a major manufacturer of papermaking machinery. The firm was founded by George and William Bertram, who came from a family which had been involved in papermaking in Midlothian for generations.

After spending about twenty years in Dartford, Kent learning their craft as papermaking machinery engineers, the brothers returned to Edinburgh to set up their own business, a workshop erected near Sciennes, with a few machines and a small forge. The company moved to new, larger premises around 1859, on the site which it was to occupy for over a century. Another engineering company James Bertram & Son was set up in Leith Walk, by a younger brother in 1845.

In 1860 William Bertram retired after 40 years in the business. He died the same year. George continued to supply not only papermaking machines but other machinery used in the paper making process, including steam engines. David, George’s son took over the business from his father. He was the last of the direct line of Bertrams. When he died in 1907, the family name disappeared from the board.





Progressive Series Showing Japanese Papermaking

paper making in japan coverProcess of Japanese Paper Making of Japanese Shrubs. 16 hand colored collotypes. Graphic Arts Ephemera collection.

paper making in japanThis inexpensive souvenir pack of cards shows the steps of traditional papermaking in Japan. Although the color is decorative, the photographs capture a great deal of useful information.

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The Book of Tomorrow, in 1884

livre de demain4Albert de Rochas d’Aiglun (1837-1914), Le livre de demain (The Book of Tomorrow) ([Blois: Raoul Marchand] 1884). Copy 181 of 250. Graphic Arts Collection (GA) 2008-0772N.

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Described as a tour-de-force of bookmaking and papermaking, the printer Rochas d’Aiglun presented the newest techniques of printing in forty-four separate fascicles, which were compiled and published in 1884. Each fascicle was printed on a different kind of paper, using multiple combinations of color and printing techniques, along with essays on the history of paper, ink, and the use of color in printing.

Princeton’s copy takes the imprint from the preliminary leaf. The ornamental title page is printed in color, with the text inside colored ornamental borders. This copy has the “Avis/Tarif” fascicle on pink paper (not called for in contents section), one extra plate in fascicle 3, and a special extra 16 page fascicle on fine heavy blue paper “L’astronomie.” The Jaune de Voiron paper fascicle (28) has the alternate setting “Dissertation . . .”.

An astonishing variety of different papers are shown in a variety of colors, weights, and textures. Almost every page is printed in at least two colors with the text block enclosed in an attractive typographic border of one or two contrasting colors. Several engravings, silhouettes, and photo-lithographs were created for this work and the last principle fascicle contains ten paper samples from papyrus to Chinese and Japanese papers.

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Hard Cyder


Thanks to an anonymous donor, the Graphic Arts Collection is the fortunate new owner of Hand Papermaking magazine’s 2013 broadside.

Created by Eric Avery, Susan Mackin Dolan, and Mark Attwood, Hard Cyder combines a charming Adam and Eve, inspired by a 1790 design engraved by Patrick Maverick, together with a 1756 recipe derived from William Ellis’s, The Complete Planter and Cyderist: or, a New Method of Planting Cyder-Apple, and Perry-Pear-Trees; and the Most Approved Ways of Making Cyder… (English Short Title Catalog, 162679).

Susan Mackin Dolan’s handmade paper with “triple dipped” in batches of kozo with “veils of iris and wheat straw.” Mark Attwood’s type and border are letterpress from polymer plates. And the crowning touch is Eric Avery’s marvelous Adam and Eve, printed on his Vandercook proofing press.

Hand Papermaking (Firestone Oversize TS1109 .H36q) was founded in 1986 by Amanda Degener and Michael Durgin. Princeton holds a complete run of the semi-annual, which offers “a unique repository of information and inspiration on the art and craft of hand papermaking. Each issue features articles on a variety of topics within the field, including: contemporary artistic approaches, craft techniques, historical topics and reference, international development, and educational initiatives.” And each issue includes at least one unique sample of handmade paper!

It’s a minor curator detail but I printed the image here in New Hope on my Vandercook proofing press. Mark’s type and border are letterpress from polymer plates.

Need paper?

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paper allen2paper allen4Need some paper? Why go to Office Depot when you can make it yourself? That’s what our good friend Allen Scheuch, Class of 1976, did.

Two years after he graduated from Princeton University, Scheuch decided to learn to make paper. The class he attended followed Dard Hunter’s book, Papermaking: the History and Technique of an Ancient Craft (New York: Knopf, 1943). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) TS1090 .H816 1943.

A 24 x 32 inch paper mould was fashioned from varnished mahogany, with a bronze screen, simple brass (kitchen cabinet) handles, an inlaid brass rod on one side for reinforcement, and an “S” (for Scheuch) in a circle for the watermark.

100% linen rag was torn and beaten into a milk-like soup. For each sheet, Scheuch dipped the mould into the mixture and let the water drain. The top “deckle” finished the sides of the paper before the damp sheet was transferred to a felt where it would dry.

“I used one or two pieces but that was all!” Scheuch told me. “I liked the texture and the deckle but could never bring myself to use it casually – it meant too much to me! – and never ended up using it in a special project. So this will be its special project – as a teaching aide in Princeton’s Graphic Arts Department; I can’t imagine a finer one!”

paper allen3Even better, this winter Scheuch’s mould and some of his paper will find their way into the Princeton University Art Museum as an educational element for the upcoming extravaganza: 500 Years of Italian Master Drawings from the Princeton University Art Museum, opening January 25, 2014.

Our sincere thanks to Mr. Scheuch!


Elucidations on a Collection of Sample Prints on Strasbourg Special Papers

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Theodore Goebel (1829-1916), Musterdrucke auf Strassburger Special-Papieren. Sammlung hervorragender Kunstblätter hergestellt unter Anwendung der wichtigsten graphischen Verfahren [Sample Prints on Strasbourg Special Papers. An Excellent Collection of Works on Paper Prepared Using the Most Important Printing Techniques] (Strassburg-Ruprechtsau: Neue Papier-Manufactur, 1900). Graphic Arts Collection GA 2013- in process.

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In celebrating the bibliophile and historian Theodor Goebel’s 70th year as a printer, The Inland Printer referred to him as the Nestor of typography in Germany. Bigmore and Wyman, vol. 1, describes Goebel as “one of the most earnest and accomplished among German students of the history and antiquities of printing. In addition to this, he is a sound practical printer”

The author of several distinguished volumes, Goebel angered traditionalists when he brought printing history up-to-date with Die graphischen Künste der Gegenwart [The Graphic Arts of the Present Time] in 1895. Five years later, Goebel lent his essay Erlauterungen zur Sammlung von Musterdrucken auf Strassburger Specialpapieren [Elucidation on a Collection of Sample Prints on Strasbourg Special Papers] to a wonderful specimen book prepared by the Strasbourg Neue Papier Manufactur.

For the first time, a copy of this extraordinary volume has reach the United States and can be found in the Graphic Arts Collection at Firestone Library.
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The book is a “state of the art” survey of printing techniques to the turn of the last century, including etching, engraving, photogravure, heliogravure, phototypies, lichtdruck or collotype, autotype, lithography, chromolithography, and much more. There are examples of paper for playing cards in color (spielkarten), maps in color (landkartendruck) and other special papers.

Near the end is an astonishing progressive series of lithographic proofs showing a bird’s eye view of the actual Neue Papier factory.

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Specimens of Paper with Different Water Marks, 1377-1840

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1593 unicorn watermark

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1377 griffin watermark

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During the 1952-53 fiscal year, a unique collection of nearly 400 specimens of European papers with different watermarks (1377-1840) was acquired for the Graphic Arts Collection, at the suggestion of Elmer Adler (1884-1962) with a fund turned over to the Library by the Friends of the Princeton University Library (FPUL). Adler must have been a good negotiator, talking rare book dealer Philip Duschnes down from $350 to $300.

The album was elaborately created with sheets of many shapes and sizes bound in various layers, with a brief description written at the top of each sheet. I have included the front matter pinned to the endpapers.

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Originally in the collection of Dawson Turner (1775–1858), the auction catalogue description reads: ’Watermarks on Paper. A very curious collection of upwards of three hundred and seventy specimens of paper with various Watermarks, for A.D. 1377 to A. D. 1842, collected with a view to assist in ascertaining the age of undated manuscripts, and of verifying that of dated ones, by Dawson Turner, Esq. and bound in 1 vol. half calf.’

See also: Catalogue of the Remaining Portion of the Library of Dawson Turner, Esq., M.A., F.R.S., F.S.A., F.L.S., etc., etc. formerly of Yarmouth: which will be sold by auction by Messrs. Puttick and Simpson … Leicester Square … on Monday, May 16th, 1859, and seven following days (Sunday excepted). [London, 1859], item 1523.


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Specimens of Paper with Different Water Marks, 1377-1840. 1 v. (unpaged); 40 cm. 371 specimens of watermarked paper, together with brief descriptions of each in a mid-nineteenth century ms. hand. The specimens are mainly blank leaves, though some leaves feature writing and letterpress. Specimen 334 is stamped sheet addressed to Dawson Turner (1775-1858), Yarmouth. Purchased with funds from the Friends of the Princeton University Library. Graphic Arts: Reference Collection (GARF) Oversize Z237 .S632f

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Dawson Turner may have seen a goat, but this is a definitely a Unicorn, specifically a “bearded unicorn”, with its horn removed by Victorian scissors. The date c.1440 is almost certainly wrong; a much more plausible date is mid-1470s.
Thanks very much to Paul Needham for the correction.

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For comparison, here is an image of a Unicorn precisely of this type used by Caxton, in Bruges, c. 1475.

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