Category Archives: Ephemera

La Plus Forte Femme Porteur. Excentrics, Phenomenals, et Equilibrists.

 

A new archive of 96 advertising postcards has come to the Graphic Arts Collection, primarily featuring women performing acts of strength and balance. These European cards are meant for promotion and communication but few have actually been mailed. They date from the early twentieth century, most humorous, only a few with politically incorrect images.

Several are family acts or husband and wife combos. The performers are seen lifting a variety of animals, objects, and people. Most cards printed in France, Italy, or Spain as collotype or off-set, although there are a few photographic cards.

 

Here is just a tiny selection:

“Dick Carter” Detective Humoriste. [French]. Paris: Amax. Composite portrait photo of Carter in character and out, with various hand-cuffs (apparently an escape-art routine).

3 Arizona’s Latest Novelties. 2 Ladies 1 Gent Juggling. Russian Dancing While Juggling Unique Tricks. [French].

3 Arizona’s Latest Novelties. Juggling, with four while turning single & double, twists… 2 Ladies, I Gentleman. Russian, Dancing, Whole, Juggling.

3 Sandarows. Luft-Act. [German?] Illus by J.S. Brandoly of trio on a stage as well as various aerial routines depicted;

Aidas et Alex, Acrobates Olympiques. [Italy]. Large card featuring poster of the two—with Adas holding Alex aloft. With message on verso (1913) to a theatre in St. Etienne to see if there are any openings in the program there for the pair (then working in Naples).

Alfredo Chimenti. Camposanto de Ierez! Si ella en ti resuscitara… [Firenze: Susini.] Crude illus of Chimenti in uniform, clutching his heart, crying…

Alfredo Chimenti. Io canto le più belle Canzoni Napolitane. [Firenze: Susini.] Crude illus of Alfredo in a checkered sweet, over-sized hands… here promising that he will sing the most beautiful Neapolitan songs.

Anseroul et Cie, Double et Triple Saut Perilleaux/ The Great Anseroul’s, TheWorld’s Greatest Acrobats Introducing Double-and Treble Somersaults. 2 Ladies/ 4 Gentlemen. [Germany]. Illustrated postcard, send from the Troupe to someone in France.

August Arlys, Jockey-Gymnaste. [France?] Postcard featuring large half-tone of Monseiur Arlys dressed as a jockey, and standing under a giant horseshoe.

Baby Wilfrid, La Plus Forte Femme Porteur. Excentrics, Phenomenals, Equilibrists. [French]. Illus.
Bella Lygie et Carlys. Original. [French]

 

Ezzard Charles and other boxing champions

 

June 22, 1949, Ezzard Charles (1921-1975) defeated Joe Walcott to win the National Boxing Association championship. The following year on September 28, he won a grueling 15-round decision over his childhood hero Joe Louis and was proclaimed the world heavyweight champion.

Born in Georgia and raised in Cincinnati, Charles was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990, 15 years after his death from Lou Gehrig’s disease. Today, the Graphic Arts Collection celebrates this champion athlete by adding his promotional lapel pin to our collection, along the the pins for seven other boxers: Charles L. ”Sonny” Liston (1932-1970), Henry Armstrong (1912-1988), Archie Moore (née Archibald Lee Wright, 1913-1998), Jersey Joe Walcott (née Arnold Raymond Cream, 1914-1994), Sugar Ray Robinson (née Walker Smith Jr., 1921-1989), Bob Montgomery (1919-1998), and Randolph Adolphus “Randy” Turpin (1928-1966).

https://www.ephemerasociety.org/2021-conference/ This also serves as a reminder that the 2021 National Ephemera Society Conference begins March 18, 2021 and a virtual fair will follow. Don’t forget to register.

 

Tennyson Cigar, 5 Cents


Alfred, Lord Tennyson by London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company, ca. 1870

Tennyson cigars 5 cents: Panetela and Invincible, long filler imported Sumatra wrapper ([Detroit]: Mazer Cressman Cigar Co., Inc. makers, no date, [ca.1920]). Graphic Arts Collection 8359710

John Bain, Tobacco in Song and Story (H. M. Caldwell, 1896). [left]

 

Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) was a well-known lover of cigars. In his honor, the Mazer Cressman Cigar Company in Detroit named one of their best for the poet. In addition, the Cadillac Can Company manufactured a tin humidor for display in stores, featuring a lithographed portrait of Tennyson when open. There are several other boxes or canisters advertising Tennyson cigars, a few pictured here.

Who was the first African American musician to perform at the White House?

Blind Tom Concerts at Odd Fellows’ Hall, Columbia, Thursday Evening, October 29th, ‘68. Philadelphia, 1868. Printed handbill/program. 1868. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2021- in process.

 

 

The International Dictionary of Black Composers lists the 19th-century pianist who performed under the stage name “Blind Tom” as Thomas Greene Wiggins Bethune (1849-1908). Bethune was the name of the man who purchased Wiggins and his family when he was only a child and who served as his manager throughout his career (winning several court battles to retain custody). Wiggins was born blind and enslave but found to be a musical prodigy when Bethune bought a piano for his daughter. It was Wiggins who excelled on the instrument and made his concert debut at the age of 8.

 


Wiggins is believed to be the first African American performer to play at the White House, giving a concert for President James Buchanan in 1859, the same year newspaper advertisements bill him as “Blind Tom.” It would be untrue to say he was completely self-taught since as an adult he studied composition with W. P. Howard and with Joseph Pozananski.

Judging from his publicity at the time, Wiggins performed constantly until 1898, sometimes two or three times a day. An internationally celebrated figure, there is a great deal of information available on Wiggins, including a chapter in Oliver Sachs’ An Anthropologist on Mars, appearances in novels by Willa Cather and John Steinbeck, as well as the novel The Song of the Shank by Jeffrey Reynard Allen.

The Graphic Arts Collection acquired a previously unrecorded 1868 handbill/program for a series of Philadelphia concerts by Wiggins. It joins a broadside [left] already in our collections promoting the pianist.

 

“Be Healthy.” The Ethics of Medical Advertising.

Public Health Institute. Be Healthy. Chicago, 1937. Color enamel silkscreen on metal. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

 

The Public Health Institute (PHI) was established in downtown Chicago in 1919 to cheaply diagnose and treat the epidemic of venereal disease. By 1929, the PHI was serving 1500-2000 patients a day at its three branches, including a south side location opened under pressure from black civic leaders.

Patients remained anonymous and no one was denied service because of inability to pay. Its profits were reinvested in other venereal disease programs, including direct support for the Illinois Social Hygiene League (ISHL) and a $100,000 renovation of Provident Hospital, the first African-American owned and operated hospital in the United States. The PHI’s relationship with ISHL and its director, Dr. Louis Schmidt, brought it notoriety when Schmidt was expelled from the Chicago Medical Society (CMS) for violating its ban on advertising.

“According to its own reports, the PHI not only advertised in daily newspapers but placed 25,000 posters in public toilets, factories, and streetcars. The CMS’s unanimous action against Schmidt and the Institute—based on how PHI’s advertising challenged the social and economic power of their monopoly—was publicly ridiculed, since it punished a charity that had healed thousands. The case brought attention to the increasing cost of medicine and inadequate health care for the lower classes, initiating a conversation about a universal right to health care that continues to this day.”

 

Read more at: “The Case Of Dr. Louis E. Schmidt: Medical Rights In The Early 20th Century” by Robert Glover, Northern Illinois University and at https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/010599614

 

“The whole issue was clearly focused in the case of Dr. Louis E. Schmidt, who as head of the Public Health Institute in Cook County, Illinois, had given medical service at about one-third less than customary cost to considerable numbers of people of the lower income groups. Dr. Schmidt was ousted from the Chicago Medical Society and was about to be dropped from the American Medical Association.

He thus defended his activities: “We cannot make all doctors rich by forming a trade union…. Ours is a profession, not a trade…. The time will come when both the profession and the public will be better served. If we organize to bring the cost of hospital, laboratory, and medical care within the purse of all that great majority of our people known as the middle classes, all reputable, capable physicians will prosper greatly.

Such a plan will take the business of meeting the health problems of these people with small incomes away from the quacks, charlatans, and patent medicine vendors, who now prey upon a public which has no other place to turn.” —https://brocku.ca/MeadProject/Young/1930/1930_14.html

Coloured or Uncoloured

During our WinterSession class this morning, “Don’t Touch the Money,” one of the things we noticed about the mid-19th-century change packets, used in Great Britain to give a customer their change, was the description of “Coloured Tea” or “Uncoloured Green Tea.” The Oxford English Dictionary has many definitions of ‘coloured,’ but at the very bottom is an obsolete usage:
“Of a wrong act or intention: misrepresented so as to appear favourable or acceptable; disguised; glossed over. Obsolete.
1537 J. Husee Let. 24 May in Lisle Papers (P.R.O.: SP 3/5/65) f. 90 M. Owdall shall..at lenght haue lytyll thankes and lesse honesty for his coloryd doinges.
1557 Bible (Whittingham) 1 Thess. ii. 5 Nether dyd we any thing in coulored couetousnes.
1570 J. Foxe Actes & Monumentes (rev. ed.) II. xi. 2052/2 Of that your execrable periury, and his coloured and to shamefully suffered adultery.”

The closest we could come in contemporary New Jersey language was “My opinion was colored by the fact that I didn’t like him.”

According to the history posted by the London Horniman Tea company,
“Until 1826, only loose leaf teas had been sold, allowing unscrupulous traders to increase profits by adding other items such as hedge clippings or dust. Horniman revolutionised the tea trade by using mechanical devices to speed the process of filling pre-sealed packages, thereby reducing his cost of production and hence improving the quality for the end customer. This caused some consternation amongst his competitors, but by 1891 Horniman’s was the largest tea trading business in the world.”

In Erika Rappaport’s book, The Making of the Consumer, she notes:

In 1826 the Quaker, abolitionist and parliamentary reformer John Horniman began selling tea in pre-weighed and sealed packages. … When it was first introduced, however, Horniman’s innovation at once created and responded to the idea that the Chinese drink was not a luxury to be sought, but a poison to be avoided. John Horniman packaged his tea to distinguish it from the competition and as a reaction to widespread anxieties about the purity of Chinese productions. Between the 1820s and the 1870s merchants such as Horniman, scientists, journalists and politicians warned British consumers that Chinese manufacturing methods were dirty and fraudulent, the most dangerous practice being the colouring of tea, especially green tea, with unwholesome and even poisonous materials.”

So at this time when packaging was developed as a “cash carry system” and as packaging for the secure sale of products, the word that was coined to describe pure products was “Uncoloured.” The Princeton collection of change packets offers us a wonderful history of advertising in the 1860s, 1870s, and 1880s, with the emphasis on health and trust in a manufacturer. Although we tried to find a connection with other definitions of the word that had to do with race, there doesn’t see to be a direct connection.

When we can travel again, we should all visit the Horniman Museum and Gardens, with their famous walrus.

Maria Malibran 1808-1836

Maria Felicia Malibran (1808-1836) first appeared on stage in Ferdinando Paër’s Agnese, when she was 8 years old. When she was 17, she was a singer in the choir of the King’s Theatre in London. Tragically the singer died at the age of 28.

A recent request for additional views of the Malibran’s death mask are offered here in case there is interested. Here also is a living portrait: Henri De Caisne (1799-1852), Portrait de Maria Malibran-Garcia (1808-1836), dans le rôle de Desdémone, 1830. © Musée Carnavalet, Paris.

A selection from Oxford Music Online:
“Spanish mezzo-soprano. She was the daughter of the composer García family and sister of the mezzo-soprano Pauline Viardot. She studied with her father, a rigorous teacher whose harshness towards her was notorious, and made her London début at the King’s Theatre in June 1825 as Rosina.

…She made her Italian début at the Teatro Valle, Rome, on 30 June 1832 as Desdemona; moving to Naples she sang the same role at the Teatro del Fondo on 6 August and Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia at the S Carlo on 7 September, followed by La Cenerentola, La gazza ladra, Semiramide and Otello, scoring a tremendous success at every performance.

Her first marriage having eventually been annulled, she married the violinist Charles de Bériot in March 1836, and at Drury Lane in May of that year created the title role in Balfe’s The Maid of Artois, which he had written for her. A riding accident when she was pregnant resulted in her death during the Manchester Festival. To judge from the parts adapted for her by both Donizetti and Bellini, the compass, power and flexibility of Malibran’s voice were extraordinary. Her early death turned her into something of a legendary figure with writers and poets during the later 19th century.”

A few other sources:
Memoirs, Critical and Historical, of Madame Malibran de Bériot (London, ?1836)
G. Barbieri: Notizie biografiche di M.F. Malibran (Milan, 1836)
I. Nathan: Memoirs of Madame Malibran de Bériot (London, 1836)
Memoirs of the Public and Private Life of the Celebrated Madame Malibran (London, 1836)
M. Merlin: Madame Malibran (Brussels, 1838)
M. Merlin: Memoirs of Madame Malibran (London, 1840)
W.H. H[usk], ed.: Templeton and Malibran: Reminiscences of these Renowned Singers, with Original Letters and Anecdotes (London, 1880)
E. Legouvé: Maria Malibran (Paris, 1880)
E. Heron-Allen: Contributions towards an Accurate Biography of de Bériot and Malibran (London, 1894)

 


Call the apothecary


Since the Renaissance, apothecaries have turned up in plays, poetry, novels, and movies. Did you ever wonder what the apothecary used when she or he was called to someone’s home? The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a 19th-century, leather and brass apothecary’s travelling medicine case, manufactured by Savory & Moore, Chemist to the Queen & HRH Prince of Wales. It is a nice complement to the apothecary’s scale at the Princeton University Art Museum [bottom].


This hinged single layer case is lined in black morocco and has an inner hinged document compartment behind the cover, along with 20 compartments (one with hinged flap). One section is removable with further compartment beneath. Although we can’t be sure, this case is seemingly complete with 17 bottles, scales and weights, palette knife & mixer; one stopper broken, early leather repair to inside of lid.

Savory and Moore were established at 143 New Bond Street in 1797, finally closing their doors in 1968. This particular case appears to have traveled the West of England. Two of the medicine bottles are labelled, one with Henry Hodder & Co. Ltd. Bristol, Bath & Newport; the other with Young & Co., cash chemists, Bristol. Both labels are early 20th century but the case itself is 19th century.

 

Loosely inserted in the document compartment is a single sheet of laid paper with three manuscript medicine recipes, one for ‘Mrs Day’, another for ‘Master Day’. The leaf includes printed stamps for Steele & Marsh of Bath, and H. Jenkins, chemist, in addition to an embossed stamp for J. Robinson, operative, dispensing & family chemist. [c.1870]

 

What else is in the library collection?

The Robert H. Taylor manuscript collection from Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603), includes correspondence listing fees paid to [among many others] apothecaries, and other employees of the Great Wardrobe; military officers in fortifications; and keepers of royal palaces.

 


Apothecary’s Balance and Weights, 1639. Princeton University Art Museum y1950-126. Gift of Frank Jewett Mather Jr. Note the scales being used in the print below.

 

“Mrs Lavement arriving back home late after the theatre with Captain O’Donnel causing Mr Lavement (an apothecary) much anger and jealousy, Roderick Random apprentice to Mr Lavement watches the scene with amusement.” Etching by T. Rowlandson after himself after T. Smollett. in The Adventures of Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett, M.D. (London: J. Sibbald, and sold by T. Kay, 1793): v.1, p. 116. Graphic Arts GA 2014.00633

Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) is the printer of the illustrated broadside The apothecary’s prayer!!. [London]: [s.n.], July 30, 1801. Graphic Arts GA 2014.00082

King Lear, Act 4, scene 6:
But to the girdle do the gods inherit,
Beneath is all the fiends’;
There’s hell, there’s darkness, there’s the
sulphurous pit,
Burning, scalding, stench, consumption; fie,
fie, fie! pah, pah! Give me an ounce of civet,
good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination.
There’s money for thee.

 

Holiday Cards

As the trees come down and ornaments go back in their boxes, many of us carefully archive the beautiful works on paper created by artists and writers under the auspices of holiday cards. One of the masters of paper architecture is Werner Pfeiffer. Those fortunate few who receive his miracles of construction and design, editioned from 160 to 180, look forward each December to the small white envelope that brings his latest creation. Always colorful, each year is different and each card is unique. Here are a few recent gifts.

A brief biographical sketch:
Born in 1937 in Stuttgart, Werner Pfeiffer studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in his home town. In 1961 he emigrated to the United States and had a career as a designer and art director, receiving awards from The New York Art Directors Club, The New York Type Directors Club, the New York Society of Illustrators, and the American Institute of Graphic Arts, among others. In 1969 he was appointed Professor of Art at Pratt Institute in New York and at the same time established the imprint Pratt Adlib Press. He currently lives and continues to publish from Red Hook, New York.

A part of Vassar’s lovely video portrait:

Still 1¢, now searchable online

Rita Corbin

Brother Mickey McGrath

Founded in 1933 by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, The Catholic Worker movement began in New York City and has grown into an international faith-based, grassroots movement for peace and social justice through nonviolent direct action. The Catholic Worker newspaper documents the voices, events, and values that shaped the movement across the decades. Thanks to the Catholic Research Resources Alliance and Marquette University, all but the first ten years of the newspaper are now digitized and available online for all. Current issues on paper are still available for only one penny.

The graphic artists in this month’s issue include Michelle Dick from the Island of Kaua’i, Hawaii; Brother Mickey McGrath from Camden, NJ; Meg Crocker Birmingham (1951-2011), and Rita Corbin (1930-2011).
Michelle Dick

“A major collection of archival materials relating to Day and to the Catholic Worker movement is held by Raynor Memorial Library’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives. The collection now comprises more than 200 cubic feet, including the personal papers of Day, Maurin, and others involved in the movement; records of past and present Catholic Worker communities; photographs; audio and video recordings of interviews, talks, television programs, and peace demonstrations; and a wide variety of publications.”

Visit the digital archive to explore issues of The Catholic Worker. Find out about the Dorothy Day/Catholic Worker collection at Marquette. Thanks very much to Raynor Memorial Libraries, 1355 W. Wisconsin Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53233

Rita Corbin

Rita Corbin

Michelle Dick

You might enjoy watching:

https://www.pbs.org/video/revolution-of-the-heart-the-dorothy-day-story-lwz697/