Category Archives: Ephemera

Board games on view

Ellen Liman, Georgian and Victorian Board Games: the Liman Collection. Arthur L. Liman, foreword; A. Robin Hoffman, introduction (New York: Pointed Leaf Press, 2017). Graphic Arts Collection -On order


Our colleagues at the Yale Center for British Art are presenting the exhibition Instruction and Delight: Children’s Games from the Ellen and Arthur Liman Collection, on view through May 23, 2019. Please forgive the dark cell phone photography here, which doesn’t do justice to this bright and colorful show.

Curated by Elisabeth Fairman, Chief Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts at the Center, with the assistance of Laura Callery, Senior Curatorial Assistant, they note:

By the beginning of the eighteenth century in Britain, parents and teachers had begun to embrace wholeheartedly a suggestion from the philosopher John Locke (1632–1704) that “Learning might be made a Play and Recreation to Children.” The material culture of this period, and the subsequent generation, reveals a significant shift in thinking, as adults found fresh value in childhood and in play for its own sake. British publishers leapt at the chance to design books and games for both instruction and delight. This small display celebrates the recent gift of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century children’s games and books to the Center by Ellen and Arthur Liman,

Happily, many of these rare and fragile games are also available to students in the collections of Princeton University Library.

See also:
Francis Reginald Beaman Whitehouse, Format Table Games of Georgian and Victorian Days. Revised 2nd ed (Royston (Herts.), Priory Press Ltd., 1971). Cotsen Children’s Library GV1243 .W59 1971

Giochi dell’Oca e di percorso by Luigi Ciompi & Adrian Seville:



Lew Ney comes to Princeton

The Greenwich Village printer, publisher, and celebrated bohemian Lew Ney (born Luther E. Widen, 1886-1963) left over 100 of his books and small magazines to the Princeton University Library without a clue as to why, having no known attachment to the institution or its faculty. A recent discovery may shed a small light on this question.

On November 1, 1920, Lew Ney (pronounced looney) and his friend Emil Luft traveled to Princeton where they stopped for the night, sleeping on the floor in the office of the Daily Princetonian, before traveling on to Trenton to visit Dr. Henry A. Cotton (1876-1933). As the director of the New Jersey State Hospital, Cotton experimented with unusual treatments to cure insanity, of particular interest to Lew Ney, who used to commit petty crimes and plead insanity, in order to interview the patients at various asylums.

The details of this trip were recorded by Lew Ney himself who had begun publishing a series of news sheets, typed and mimeographed on rented equipment, which he would personally distribute around Greenwich Village. His first attempts were The Village Gossip and Atmosphere, which both came and went in 1919. The following year, he began The Vagabond, illustrated by Emil Luft. “This was a vagabond’s newspaper,” he declared, “a daily diary of a damn dead-for-sure Bohemian.”

Until recently only one issue of The Vagabond was known to have survived, held in Widener Library at Harvard University and dated August 23, 1920. Thanks to a visiting researcher, a second issue of The Vagabond dated November 1, 1920, has been discovered, saved by Richard Halliburton, Princeton Class of 1921, who served on the editorial board of The Daily Princetonian and became chief editor of The Princetonian Pictorial Magazine (The PIC) [Halliburton papers C0247].

The issue describes in detail the men’s journey to Princeton, their adventures along the way, and one entire page in which Lew Ney insists his readers subscribe to the various Princeton newspapers. He writes “The Princeton Pictorial, also known as PIC. Edited by another vagabond, managed by a hobo, and pictured by a tramp. Moreover the best paper of its kind in the world. Is full of vagabondia, pictures, and free advertising for Ford, Cookstours, Herlick’s Malted Milk tablets, … and such.” This praise might be repayment for Halliburton’s friendship during their visit.

“Fortune smiled on Emil and I when we met Dick Halliburton, managing editor of the PIC at the Frenchman’s lunch room past midnight [elsewhere described as “a lunch room where French is spoken free and lunches served a la carte. We eat 95¢ worth”]. Emil made a sketch of Dick on page 3. He waited for us to finish our saw dust and milk and then led us away to his office. I moved or removed our bulky baggage [to] the Princetonian’s office and suggested to him that I wanted to make a stencil and he invited both of us to remain as long as we cared to. He stuck around himself until 2:30 a.m. and then went home to spend an hour telling his room-mate all about us.

Emil helped himself to a bath in the basement and came up ready for bed as soon as Dick left. And so I spread out the blanket on the bare floor, put a chair against the door, and put out the lights. At eight I was up and banging away on the typewriter again. The janitor entered and grinned when he saw Emil’s bare feet, and several students came to the door for information. One intimated that Dick might have invited us to his club, where there is lots of room – on the floor. We were satisfied with our lot, however, I for one preferring floors to beds.”

There is no other recorded contact between Lew Ney and Halliburton, who was lost at sea and presumed dead in 1939. However, this visit may have had a lasting impression on the Greenwich Village bohemian and may have been one small influence in his final bequest to the University.
See more:
Daily Princetonian, Volume 7, Number 13, 6 October 1928 — WELL KNOWN PRINCETON GRADUATE SWIMS THE PANAMA CANAL; Richard Halliburton Had to Pay His Tonnage Through the Locks to Be Allowed to Swim From the Atlantic to the Pacific Like Other Steam-boats.

Programmes of the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, for the Season of 1836

The Graphic Arts Collection has been given, on deposit, 135 programs from the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, for the Season of 1836. The bound set is inscribed from the actor and playwright Sir Edward Seymour Hicks (1871-1949), best known for the role on stage and screen of Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.

Our thanks to Bruce Willsie, Class of 1986, for finding and donating this volume. Here are a few samples assumed to have been collected and bound by Hicks:


Jeu d’Ovide

Jeu d’Ovide ou de Métamorphoses = The Game of Ovid or the Metamorphosis, ca. 1923. Graphic Arts Collection 2019- in process


This early 20th-century transformation game is played by rotating 18 wooden joysticks to change various facial features and create an almost unlimited series of profiles or expressions. The complex device won the Grand Prize at the 1923 Lépine Competition in Paris.

Louis Jean-Baptiste Lépine (1846-1933), Prefect of the Paris police,  established this annual competition for inventors, originally intended to encourage small toy manufacturers but expanded to include a wide variety of innovations.

The 118th edition of the Concours Lépine Show will take place April 27 to May 8, 2019 at the Foire de Paris in the Porte de Versailles. If you wish to enter, you can download information here. Applications should be mailed to: Lépine competition, 12, Rue Beccaria, 75012 Paris France






From 1903 to 1917, the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) served as the leading militant organization campaigning for women’s rights in London. Run exclusively by women, the WSPU was dedicated to political action and civil disobedience led by Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928) and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia.

The game’s title, “Pank-a-Squith,” comes from a combination of the names Emmeline Pankhurst and Prime Minister H.H. Asquith, the two major players in the struggle.

Fighting for women’s suffrage, members became known as the suffragettes, represented here in the six figures making their way around this 1909 board game sold to help raise money for the WSPU. Each of the women carries a rolled petition, traveling from the first square representing home and family to the winning square of the Houses of Parliament.

Along the way, there are arrests, hunger strikers, and many other setbacks. This game, recently acquired by the Graphic Arts Collection with the help of Sara Howard, the Program in Gender & Sexuality Studies librarian, also includes the rare instruction sheet outlining the consequences of landing on each square.

Pank-a-Squith [board game.] (Germany: [Women’s Social and Political Union, 1909]) Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process.


See also: Elizabeth Crawford, The women’s suffrage movement: a reference guide, 1866-1928 (New York: Routledge, 2001). Firestone JN979 .C73 2001


German Prospectors in California

Fortuna im Goldlande oder das Lustige Kleeblatt in Californien. Unterhaltendes Gesells chaftsspiel. Nürnberg: Verlag von J.L. Lotzbeck, [n.d., c. 1855]. Hand-colored lithograph and illustrated board, folding down into the original card slipcase with a hand colored label. Graphic Arts Collection 2019- in process


On the morning of January 24, 1848, James Wilson Marshall discovered gold on John Sutter’s property in California and the American Gold Rush began. Within a year, the ’49ers flooded the area in search of their fortune, traveling from across the United States and as far as Europe. Few men and women were successful, but a game was produced around 1855 to allow the German public to join with these optimistic prospectors.


Fortuna im Goldlande oder das Lustige Kleeblatt in Californien = Fortune in the Gold Land or the funny shamrock in California was first published by the Nuremberg publisher Johann Ludwig Lotzbeck (1816-1886) and very successful, given advertisements in local newspapers. The game takes you along with four German friends, who are traveling to California in search of gold. Along the way, they (you) encounter Native Americans and various wild animals (lions, crocodiles, bears, etc.), eventually digging for gold with unusual tools. If you make it to the center point, riding an ostrich or a lion, the goddess of fortune will pour your gold out of two cornucopias.

For more information, see Norbert Finzsch and Michaela Hampf: “’Fortuna in the Gold Land: or the funny shamrock in California.’ Rhenish emigrants in California, 1830 to 1900,” Schöne Neue Welt, 2001, pp. 237-57.


A Slap at Slop


The Lenny Bruce of the early nineteenth century, William Hone (1780-1842) was a radical comic writer and publisher who joined forces with the visual artist George Cruikshank (1792-1878) to expose and ridicule abuses in British politics as well as the news media supporting the conservative government.

Hone was charged with three counts of libel in 1817 but brilliantly acquitted of all charges citing his use of parody. It wasn’t a crime to be funny.


One of the greatest but least celebrated publications issued by the two men was a serial news sheet titled A Slap at Slop, lampooning the work of John Stoddard, publisher of The Times and The New Times newspapers.

Along with two variant editions of A Slap at Slop, the Graphic Arts Collection holds Hone’s personal copy of Factiae and Miscellanies (1827), a collection of 14 of his tracts and 120 engravings by George Cruikshank, which includes Hone’s manuscript annotations, autograph letters, newspaper clippings, and a likenesses of William Hone and George Cruikshank. These came to Princeton thanks to the astute collecting and generous gift of Richard W. Meirs, Class of 1888 and Gordon A. Block Jr, Class of 1936.

Rather than talk about their work, here are some examples (obviously just a taste) reproduced hopefully large enough for you to read the hilarious texts for yourself:





George Cruikshank (1792-1878), A Slap at Slop and the Bridge-Street gang: Royal cuckoo clock, 1821. Pencil drawing for the Royal Cuckoo Clock, with inscription in George Cruikshank’s hand “Reward for the discovery of the Royal Society–south of the pendulum of England”. References: Cohn 749. Graphic Arts Collection GC022/George/Drawings

William Hone (1780-1842), A Slap at Slop and the Bridge-Street Gang (London: Printed by and for William Hone, 1822). Illustrations by George Cruikshank. Graphic Arts Collection Cruik 1819.41

William Hone (1780-1842), A Slap at Slop and the Bridge-Street Gang; with twenty-seven cuts (London: Printed by and for William Hone, 1822). Illustrations by George Cruikshank. Graphic Arts Collection Cruik 1817.28

William Hone (1780-1842), A Slap at Slop and the Bridge-street gang ([London, W. Hone, 1821]) 5th edition; 26 illus. by G. Cruikshank. “By a closer setting of the material, room is made for an extra illus. and over a column and a half on the Queen’s death. Included also is an octavo sheet with 4 original pencil sketches with explanations, 3 of them from “A slap at slop.” The two issues and the drawings inserted in a red cloth wrapper and slip case. Graphic Arts Collection Cruik 1821.28

William Hone (1780-1842), Factiae and Miscellanies. With one hundred and twenty engravings drawn by George Cruikshank (London: Published for W. Hone by Hunt and Clarke, 1827). A collection of 14 of Hone’s tracts gathered together and published under the above title. There is an additional woodcut on the title representing two men seated at a table. These are likenesses of William Hone and George Cruikshank. Laid in: “The queen’s matrimonial ladder / printed by William Hone, Ludgate Hill, London. Price (with the pamphlet) One shilling.” 30 x 6.5 cm., folded to 15.5 x 6.5, on cardstock. Provenance: The author’s copy, containing his ms. annotations, with autograph letters bound in, and newspaper clippings laid in. Front free endpaper has trial title page, entitled “A history of English parody …” Annotations by George T. Lawley, noting he purchased the volume from Hone’s family. Graphic Arts Collection Cruik 1827.61

Établissements Nicolas designed by Cassandre

A.M. (Adolphe Mouron) Cassandre (1901-1968), Établissements Nicolas maison fondée en 1822 … liste des grands vins fins (Charenton-le-pont [Paris]: [Établissements Nicolas]; [Paris]: Imp. Draeger, 1930). Ephemera – advertising

A student of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France, Adolphe Mouron Cassandre was a painter, commercial poster artist and typeface designer. His inventive graphic techniques show influences of Surrealism and Cubism and became very popular in Europe and the US during the 1930s.

He was a teacher as well as an artist and led courses at both the École des Arts Décoratifs and the École d’Art Graphique in 1934 and 1935. He and several other partners formed the advertising agency Alliance Graphiqe, which worked for a broad client base throughout the 1930s.

One of his most well recognized posters was the Normandie Poster and while his primary success stemmed from designing posters he also designed magazine covers, advertisements, logos and typefaces. In 1937 he designed the typeface Peignot for the Deberny & Peignot type foundry in Paris, France. He joined the French army during the German invasion of World War II, after the devastating effects of the war he found work designing sets for ballet and theater production. In 1968, after a severe battle with depression, he ended his own life.–Biographical information taken from:

See also: Henri Mouron, A.M. Cassandre (New York: Rizzoli, 1985). Graphic Arts Collection NC1850.M6 M68 1985


Google images


Playing the weather

Artist Sara Bouchard writes, “Weather Box is a hand-cranked music box, housed in scavenged cardboard and accompanied by 12 punch card scores derived from actual weather data. I obtained hourly reports from the National Climatic DataCenter then graphed changes in temperature, wind and precipitation onto a timeline, which became the foundation for each punch card score. Each score represents one month of weather observations as recorded by NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, at the Belvedere Castle weather station in Central Park, NYC.”

Weather Box: March 2014 from Sara Bouchard on Vimeo.

When introduced to Professor Beatrice Kitzinger’s class “Arts of the Medieval Book,” who were comparing contemporary artists’ books with traditional codex structures, the students made comparisons to a Medieval book of hours that holds the offices of the canonical hours of the day. In Bouchard’s work, each page or strip activates the various senses in a small, personal reverie: it can be read with its graphic symbols; seen through its visual aesthetics; and heard as a sensory experience.

Sara Bouchard is a “multi-disciplinary artist and songwriter with a strong foothold in American roots. As an artist, I investigate ways to interact with and represent the American landscape through song. As a musician, I perform original and traditional tunes – drawn from bluegrass, old-time, jazz, country and blues – with my band Salt Parade.”–

O Books! Books! Books!

Sections from the ode “To A, B, C, & Co.” have been reprinted many times in many sources over the years. A search for the original publication of the poem led to the November 9, 1827 issue of The Ariel, a Philadelphia literary gazette.

Although no author is given, the work was written by the New Jersey poet Samuel Joseph Smith (1771-1835), who lived as somewhat of a recluse outside Burlington, rarely leaving the family home. The biography by his cousin Amelia Smith that accompanies a compilation of his writings claims this verse is autobiographical.

Here’s the whole:

Ye wee bit, crooked things ! I mind
The time when first I spied your faces,
And found—no trifling job to find—
That I must learn your names and places.

My grandsire, with well-meaning care,
Bore me to where the mistress she was
Hard at ye—but naught fancying there,
I was at home as soon as he was.

O ‘t was a most unsavoury measure,
To take a weentie, small as me,
From all his young heart knew of pleasure,
And bind him down to A, B, C.

I liked ye not—I’ll ne’er deny it—
And did my best the dose to shun,
But scolded, flattered, shamed, to try it,
Ye all were swallowed, one by one.

For ye are pills that every wee thing,
Is, will he, nill he, doomed to take,
Like measles, itch, small-pox, or teething,
Whate’er wry faces he may make.

And now I love ye well, I’m thinking,
Acquaintance wears disgust away;
Even smoking, hanging, snuffing, drinking,
But few admire at first, they say.

Aye ! and at times my bosom feels
Some pity for the life ye ‘re leading,
By blockheads gripit, neck and heels,
And twisted into wretched reading.

In dead born volumes—never read—
From age to age ye lumbering lie,
Where old housekeeping spiders spread
Their bits of weaving out to dry.

And oft in flimsy novels worn,
Till folk may see ye through and through,
And oft by reckless urchins torn,
For they must have their novels too.

O books ! books ! books !—it makes me sick
To think me how ye ‘re multiplied;
Like Egypt’s frogs, ye poke up thick
Your ugly heads on every side.

If a young thought but shake its ear,
Or wag its tail, though starved it look,
The world the precious news must hear,
The presses groan, and lo ! a Book.

Some busy trifler travels—dies—
Commits a murder, plays or sings—
Makes silly speeches, gathers flies,
Or rhymes—and forth a volume springs!

A host of worthies, stimulated
By hope of pudding or of praise,
Serve up, for stomachs sick and sated,
Their vapid flummery fifty ways.

O, if one half—and may be t’ other,
Were fairly in the Red Sea tost,
And left with Pharaoh’s host to smother,
Little worth keeping would be lost.

However we may find, no doubt,
Some crumbs of comfort—and we need ’em;
Knowing, we are, though books come out,
Not absolutely forced to read ’em.

Aweel, poor things! ye mind me, too,
Of blessed hours for ever past,
When o’er life’s morning fresh and new,
The star of joy its radiance cast.

When dear delusive hope exposed
Her rainbow-tinted scenes before me,
And those loved eyes that death has closed,
Watched with parental fondness o’er me.

But hold; we’ve doubtless shown a sample,
Sufficient, of our tediousness,
And now must set a good example,
By thinking more, and scribbling less.

Samuel Joseph Smith, Miscellaneous Writings of the Late Samuel J. Smith of Burlington, N.J. (H. Perkins, 1836)

Published in The Ariel: A Literary Gazette, Vol. 1 no. 14 (November 3, 1827)