Category Archives: Ephemera

21,552 portraits in a treen

Changeable Portraits of Ladies (London: R. Ackermann, Jan. 1, 1819). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

Followed rapidly by ‘Chageable Ladies’ (1819), the Changeable Gentleman’ novelty was introduced by Rudolph Ackermann in London in 1818. It consisted of a set of caricature-profile cards … in which each picture is horizontally cut into three divisions corresponding, roughly, to hair, forehead, and eyes in the top portion; nose and ear in the narrower middle part; and mouth, chin, and neck in the lower part. The divisions allow productions of an infinite variety of faces. The cards are presented in wooden slide-top boxes … each having wooden dividers to separate upper, middle, and lower sections.–Michael Twyman, Encyclopedia of Ephemera

This clever variation on a transformation or metamorphosis game involves a series of 28 hand colored aquatint portraits, each cut into three sections arranged in a treen or a small wooden box with three compartments and a sliding lid. According to the instructions (under the lid) this toy permits the possibility of twenty-one thousand nine hundred and fifty-two different permutations.

“Each Head being separated into three moveable parts, the changing of any one of these parts will produce a new face including many celebrated characters, such as Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary, Catherine II, &c. &c.; in short, almost every imaginable diversity of countenance and character. the grand, the grotesque, the beautiful, the whimsical, may be instantly produced in the most pleasing, surprising, and even laughable varieties.”

The instructions further note “it is hoped that the physiognomical apparatus here presented to the public will afford a very curious and almost inexhaustible fund for Lavaterian experiment.”

See also: John Ford, Rudolf Ackermann and the Regency World, 2018, p. 21.
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Joe Weider’s Mr. America Muscle Building Course


The Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies is not only about women. The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a collection of Joe Weider body building pamphlets and ephemera dating from the late 1950s into the 1960s. They include: Joe Weider’s Mr. America Muscle Building Course, in its original folder; Joe Weider’s “Trainer of the Stars.” Sex Education for the Bodybuilder; How to Develop a He-Man Personality; and many more.

From the official Joe Weider website, here is a little history:


Today it is universally accepted that to be healthy one must exercise and eat a nutritionally balanced diet. But it wasn’t always that way. The world owes this understanding, in large part, to the lifelong efforts of Joe Weider. Joe Weider is recognized as the man who changed the way the world understands the connection between exercise, nutrition, and good health. He created the famous fitness magazine empire that was the first to bring information about training, nutrition, and his beloved sport, bodybuilding, to men and women eager to improve their physical lives. He created, popularized and sold machinery and weights that are seen in gyms and homes everywhere and his belief in nutritional supplements was instrumental in the formation of today’s huge vitamin and supplement industry. Today the Weider name is synonymous with health and fitness. …For years Joe oversaw a publishing empire that included the “Bible” of bodybuilding, Muscle & Fitness, Muscle & Fitness Hers, Flex for the hard-core bodybuilder, Men’s Fitness for the active man, Shape for the active woman, and Fit Pregnancy and Natural Health.

Born in 1920, Joe Weider grew up in a tough neighborhood in Montreal, Canada during the hard times of the Great Depression. When young Joe left public school at age 12 to pull a small wagon 10 hours a day delivering fruit and groceries for a market, it was an act of survival for both him and his family. Standing 5’5” and weighing a mere 115 pounds, Joe became easy prey for teenagers looking to score some quick change, which prompted him to head off to the Montreal YMHA and request a tryout with the wresting team. The coach turned him down, for fear he would be hurt. Undaunted, he made his way to a local newsstand and purchased two used magazines for a penny, including a 1930 edition of the Milo Barbell Co.’s Strength magazine. Those publications inspired him to lift weights, and later to begin his own magazine. Joe scavenged a local train yard for an old axle and two flywheels, which he cobbled into a makeshift barbell. He lifted, pumped and pressed this scrap metal endlessly, and his scrawny physique was rewarded with sprouting sinews of muscle. By the time he turned 15, neighborhood bullies no longer bothered Joe. A scout from the Verdun Barbell Club in Montreal invited to Joe to join. Two years later, Joe competed in his first amateur contest, the Montreal District Senior Meet, where he lifted 70 pounds more than competitors in his weight class. His total surpassed even those of the light-heavyweights and heavyweights and earned him a national ranking.

His dream, however, was to publish a magazine committed to sharing accurate, complete training advise with routines with its readers. So, with $7 in his pocket, he began to work on what would become the first issue of Your Physique, to be published in August 1940. Orders poured in, and within 18 months Joe had made a $10,000 profit—a small fortune at a time when a loaf of bread cost 4 cents and a gallon of gas 11 cents. Remembering his own difficulties in tacking down equipment, Joe started the mail-order Weider Barbell Co. in 1942; his magazine now offered weight sets and other equipment as well as some rudimentary vitamin and mineral supplements. In 1946, Joe and his brother Ben rented Montreal’s Monument National Theater to host the first Mr. Canada contest, and former the International Federation of Bodybuilders that night. In 1965 he created the Mr. Olympia contest, which is the premier contest in all of bodybuilding. Among the most famous Mr. Olympia winners is Arnold Schwarzenegger, a seven-time titleholder. In recognition of women’s dedication to the sport, Joe went on to create the Ms. Olympia contest in 1978, and added the Fitness Olympia contest in 1995. There are presently 170 countries affiliated with the IFBB and it now ranks as one of the top seven international sport federations in the world.

1788 Dutch board game

Neerlands Staatkundi[g] Werpspel [Dutch Political Throwing Game],1788. Engraving and letterpress on laid paper. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019-in process

The Graphic Arts Collection acquired this scarce Dutch dice game, published one year after the defeat of the Patriotic party by an avid follower of the Orangist party. A simple sheet with an ingenious optical illusion mocking the political ambitions of the Patriots, symbolized by the figure of Johan Jacob le Sage ten Broek (1742-1823), a Dutch professor of philosophy, theology, and an avid Patriot. Other copies of the game come with a printed eight-page brochure but we are content to play without it.

one of the side vignettes


This engraved board game has four folding flaps and when all flaps are closed an engraved title appears across the front. There is a vignette beneath of a Dutch scholar (Johan Jacob le Sage ten Broek) accompanied by an 8 line engraved poem (overall dimension ca. 264 x 215 mm).

Left and right side flaps open to reveal another central engraved vignette of a Dutch soldier (the scholar turns into soldier) in front of two Dutch houses that turn up on the verso of the two lower flaps.

When the lower flaps are opened you see richly embellished round and square playing fields numbered 1 through 28 with satirical topics framing the central vignette. Our scholar turned soldier is now a captured hussar (the Dutch soldier turns into an Austrian hussar) as the gallows printed on the verso merges with the recto image and behold! the devil is hanging the hussar.

Can anyone translate the cover poem for us?

Nobody’s Boy

Wood engraving by George Gorgas White (ca.1835-1898)

Frank Drayton, Nobody’s Boy (Philadelphia: Winner & Shuster, 1856). Graphic Arts Collection GC048 Sheet music collection

“Written expressly for and respectfully dedicated to James Lynch, Esq. of Sanford’s Opera Troupe…” Cover art designed by George Gorgas White (ca.1835-1898). Guitar. First line of text: The flow’rs of spring have pass’d away./ First line of refrain: The days are few since I was call’d.

Sinclair Hamilton thought highly of George G. White’s illustrations and attributed the design for this famous temperance book to White, engraved on wood by Van Ingen.

T.S. Arthur, Ten Nights in a Bar-Room and What I Saw There (Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo & Co., 1854). Graphic Arts Collection Sinclair Hamilton 1274

Still another interesting personality about this time and a man whose death only occurred last year, was George G. White, an all-around illustrator and an exceedingly prolific workman, who, never achieving great results. nevertheless played a prominent part in the illustrative history of his times. A Philadelphian by birth, White settled early in New York and was a contributor to most of the pictorial publications of the day. He illustrated many school books and was the author of a series of drawing-books, for many years in popular favour among school boards. He possessed a most remarkable and famous collection of clippings from the European illustrated papers, which were carefully filed away ready for instant reference, and he used them freely. The work of the late Sir John Gilbert attracted him greatly and that English draughtsman was his inspiration for a long time, and indeed, his influence was ever apparent through his work. White was not over-scrupulous in appropriating from his scrapbooks, and his ability to adapt the work of other and abler men to his own requirements was well known among his professional brothers and was a standing jest. Later in life, White did all sorts of hack work. the quality and character of which reflected on him but small credit. — Arthur Hoeber, The Bookman, Volume 8 (1899), page 218


Graphic Arts holds a small collection of blank notebooks (also called pocket memorandums) produced and distributed as advertising for various fertilizer companies in the early twentieth century. Some include calendars or almanac listings but mainly they have brief ads at the top of each empty page. The majority of our collection comes from the Baltimore area, home of the Miller Chemical & Fertilizer Corporation, the Hubbard Fertilizer Company, and a dozen more.

“If it’s worth while to use fertilizer, it is worth while to use the best.”


Printed Corks

With summer vacation over, many friends of the Graphic Arts Collection are returning with additions to our printed cork collection. Along with printed cloth, printed boxes, printed cigarette cards, printed labels, and other printed ephemera, we also collect printing-in-the-round with these international corks.



  Friends, less talk and more Champagne. . .

From The New York Times: “Who Made That Champagne Cork?”

According to legend, a French monk named Dom Pérignon realized that a cork could seal in the fizz and flavor of Champagne after he saw Spanish travelers using tree bark to plug their water gourds. But George Taber, author of “To Cork or Not to Cork,” and other historians dispute this story. Taber cites evidence of Champagne corks on the Duke of Bedford’s household inventory list from 1665 — several years before Dom Pérignon took charge of the vineyards at the abbey of Hautvillers. Still, Pérignon and his name remain indelibly associated with Champagne. . . .

Complete Index to Pynson Printers Jobs

The Graphic Arts reference collection holds four enormous volumes documenting jobs produced by Elmer Adler’s Pynson Printers from 1922 to 1940 when the press was closed. An index to these volumes has been created by Sherry X. Zhang and Jena Mayer with help from Brianna R. Cregle and AnnaLee Pauls, which is key word searchable allowing researchers, for the first time, to study Adler’s commercial work. PDFs are attached here and to the voyager record for these scrapbooks. Pynson Printers jobs. Graphic Arts: Reference Collection Oversize Z232.P99 A9f
Volume one:Copy of PynsonPrinters_Volume 1
Volume two:Copy of PynsonPrinters_vol.2
Volume three:Copy of PynsonPrinters_vol.3
Volume four:Copy of PynsonPrinters_vol.4 (1) (1)
Extras: Copy of PynsonPrinters_Presses
“From the twentieth of March, 1922, the Pynson Printers are at your service for the planning and production of all printing in which quality is the first consideration. We have founded our organization on the belief that the printer should be primarily an artist—a designer and a creator rather than a mere manufacturer. Toward this end, we have assembled a group whose several abilities and varied experience cover every phase of the art and business of printing. . . . We will do no work in which quality must be sacrificed to exigencies of time or cost” (Reprinted in Lawrance Thompson “Forty Mercer Street,” Princeton University Library Chronicle 2, no. 1 (November 1940): 32).

Together with designers Walter Dorwin Teague (1883-1960), Hubert L. Canfield, and David Silvé, Adler opened a small, fine press printing shop at 122 East 32nd Street named Pynson Printers, after the sixteenth-century printer Richard Pynson.

Within six months, the others had moved on, leaving Adler the sole owner of the firm (see: John F. Peckham “Forty Mercer,” Princeton Alumni Weekly 41, no. 12 (December 16, 1940): 8). As stated in the opening announcement, concerns with quality rather than commercial practicality led production. To that end, he sought out artisans, publishers, and clients who shared his love of typography and fine printing.

The Pynson Printers office moved to the New York Times building at 239 West 43rd Street, elegantly decorated by Lucien Bernhard. In a 1925 letter to Rockwell Kent (1882-1971), with whom he was already in business, Adler wrote, “Since you were last here Mr. [Lucien] Bernhard has arranged to build a studio adjoining our shop which will help create more of the kind of thing we want to have….” (Adler to Kent, February 13, 1925. CO262, box 32, Adler papers). These three men, Adler, Kent, and the recently emigrated German designer Lucien Bernhard (1883-1972), began working together on a variety of printing and design projects.

Their first fine press book, Candide, began in 1925 when 27-year-old Bennett Cerf and his 23-year-old friend Donald Klopfer decided they wanted a business of their own. Cerf was vice-president at the publishing house of Boni & Liveright and interested in the firm’s catalog of 109 titles published under the Modern Library imprint. Klopfer and Cerf raised $215,000 to purchase the imprint and then, set about to redefine the Modern Library to make it distinctly their own.

“We went to a man I had heard was a great typographer named Elmer Adler, who headed the Pynson Printers,” said Cerf. “He was so good that he was allowed to have his office in the New York Times building . . . Elmer Adler was an elegant gentleman whose family headed the Adler Rochester clothing company. It was beautiful, beautiful work that he turned out at only about eight times what it should have cost . . . Elmer helped us redesign modern library [and] helped us find the man to design the flying girl with the torch. . . So the modern library had a new dress that was very stylish,” (Bennett Cerf oral history, p. 144. Columbia University Libraries).

“We were talking about doing a few books on the side,” recalled Cerf, “when suddenly I got an inspiration and said, ‘We just said we were going to publish a few books on the side at random. Let’s call it Random House.’” Kent was so taken with the idea he offered to draw them a trademark on the spot and five minutes later handed Cerf the Random House symbol, which has been on their colophon ever since.

Candide was a success but Adler’s partnership with Random House was short-lived. “Elmer didn’t cotton to trade publishing . . . He was a very difficult partner anyway—very querulous and dictatorial, and he wanted to do everything his way, and when we wanted to have other printers do books, Elmer was very jealous.”

Cerf and Klopfer bought out his share, even though he never put up any money to join them. Adler continued to do business with Random House and Cerf remained a stockholder in the Pynson Printers. Kent did business with them both and joined Bernhard in founding a design firm they named Contempora.

Adler closed the Pynson Printers in 1940, when he was invited to move to Princeton, New Jersey, and established a department of Graphic Arts for Princeton University. He brought with him a personal collection—fourteen tons of books, prints, paintings, records, and equipment—which became the basis for the graphic arts collection we enjoy today. Although he donated some records of the Pynson Press to the NYPL in 1936, he retained a large amount of material with which to teach, including papers, proofs, and plates, which he sold to the Princeton University Library in 1948 for one dollar.

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Put this in your pocket

Put This in Your Pocket: Souvenir of Athens (Athens: American Rug Company, [1906]). 30 unnumbered pages. Gift; Program in Hellenic Studies with the support of the Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund. 2019. Graphic Arts Collection 2019- in process

Note the rainbow roll lithograph on the cover and read Steven Heller’s “Evolution: Rainbow Roll” in Print Magazine, May 15, 2013.

To the traveller, Greece and Athens in particular offer inducements as a winter resort which are in many instances overlooked by the tourist. The winter temperature averages little if any lower than that of Cairo while the complete absence of dampness at night is especially desirable. The death rate of Athens is only 12 in the thousand of population, while that of Cairo is 55. To the student of ancient history or early civilization no city in the world offers more attractions than Athens. With its wealth of historic temples monuments and ruins while the modern city with its wide streets handsome residences hotels second to none in Europe, and pleasant drives are inducements which should be better known by the travelling public. Athens is one of the cheapest cities on the continent to live in and there are many delightful excursions into the interior of Greece which under the direction of competent couriers may be made at a limited expense. Taken altogether the attractions of Athens can justly claim at least a share of the travellers winter outing


Thanks to Dimitri H. Gondicas, Stanley J. Seeger ’52 Director, Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies and Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and Hellenic Studies, ’78, for the donation of this souvenir booklet picked up in Athens by a tourist in 1906. Travelers are being convinced to go the Greece, not only to see the sites but also to purchase oriental rugs, making a comparison between the livability of Athens compared to Cairo. An odd combination of salesmanship and antiquities.


Five pages of personal and corporate references from around the world are offered. We can assume these are for the American Rug Company and not the Temple of Jupiter.

The first eight Surgeons-General of the United States Navy

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, The Maltine Company of Brooklyn published a series of pamphlets advertising the company to the general public through interesting facts and medical history. This was the first, ca. 1898, listing the Surgeons-General of the U.S. Navy.

William P.C. Barton (1786-1856), Princeton Class of 1805, studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania before entering the Navy at the age of 23 as a surgeon. The portrait below left is by Thomas Sully (1783-1872), depicting Barton in his first uniform [Philadelphia Museum of Art]. The artist of the portrait used by the Maltine Company is not identified.

Besides teaching and practicing medicine, Barton was a talented botanical illustrator, publishing: Vegetable Materia Medica of the United States or, Medical botany: containing a botanical, general, and medical history, of medicinal plants indigenous to the United States (Philadelphia: M. Carey & Son, 1817-1818). Graphic Arts Collection 2015-0057Q


A Flora of North America. Illustrated by coloured figures, drawn from nature by William P.C. Barton (Philadelphia: M. Carey & sons, 1821-23). Graphic Arts Collection 2015-0055Q

According to Appletons’ Cyclopaedia, the U. S. Naval Bureau of Medicine and Surgery was organized by Barton and he was the first chief clerk of that Bureau, appointed in 1842 by President John Tyler. Although the post of Surgeon General of the Navy wasn’t created until 1871, Barton is considered the first to hold the Navy’s senior position.

Surgeon-Generals of the Navy
William P. C. Barton 1842–1844
Thomas Harris 1844–1853
William Whelan 1853–1865
Phineas J. Horwitz 1865–1869
William Maxwell Wood 1869–1871
Jonathan M. Foltz 1871–1872
James C. Palmer 1872–1873
Joseph Beale 1873–1877

Notre-Dame Cathedral in silent films

The Graphic Arts Collection of French silence movies from the 1920s holds several films that include images of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Two are documentaries and one is a movie about several tourists on holiday [see above]. Each of these can be downloaded to your own media device, if you like. Because the title frames are held for a long time (our first attempt at digitization), you might want to fast forward to get to the pictures.

For more information about the collection or to search it by key work, use this link: