Category Archives: Ephemera

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.

See also:

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:

Grand jeu de l’histoire de Paul et Virginie

Grand jeu de l’histoire de Paul et Virginie. Avec figures coloriées (France, after 1863). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a scarce set of playing cards inspired by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre’s popular novel Paul et Virginie, first published in 1788. The cards are housed in a mid-nineteenth-century romantic paneled cloth binding, ornately decorated with gilt and colored detailing. The central panel on the front cover has been cut away to enclose a further colored vignette and title caption from the playing cards.

Rare book dealer and historian Amanda Hall determined that the previous occupant of the binding was “Madame Wolliez’ Souvenirs d’une mère de famille, a collection of educational stories that was first published in 1833 but which continued in print through to the end of the century. This seems most likely to have been a publisher’s binding issued by the booksellers Mame in Tours for their ‘fifth’ edition of 1863. Madame Wolliez’ work has been removed from its binding and is has been replaced by these beautiful playing cards, each separately mounted.”


The date of this collection is hard to judge but might be sometime after 1863, given the binding. OCLC suggests a date of 1815 but the Morgan Library copy has a watermark of the Dambricourt paper mill suggesting that it was created around 1834. “Some of the unsigned etchings can be traced back to the first illustrated edition of 1789, containing plates after Moreau le Jeune and Joseph Vernet.”–Morgan, Corsair online catalog.

It has been suggested that the cards were the work of Jean-Charles Pellerin at Epinal: “Dès 1800, Pellerin inaugure sa longue série d’illustrations du roman [de Bernardin de Saint-Pierre] avec son Grand jeu de l’Histoire de Paul et Virignie” (see François Cheval and Thierry-Nicolas C. Tchakaloff, Souvenirs de Paul et Virginie, 1995, p. 153). Paul Toinet, however, ascribes them to the celebrated artists and engravers of rue Saint Jacques in Paris (see Toinet, Répertoire bibliographique et iconographique de Paul et Virginie, no. 742).

Both the Morgan Library and Yale University record copies of the twenty-five cards printed on a single sheet. There are also copies in the Musée Léon Dierx de Saint Denis de la Réunion and at the Rouen Musée national de l’éducation.


The novel tells the story of Paul and Virginia, who are raised as brother and sister by two widows. Both mothers agree to marry the two children when they are old enough. Virginia’s aunt proposes to send her niece to France. Virginia accepts, though she is heartbroken to leave Paul, whom she loves. Two years later, she sails back to Mauritius Island, but her ship is pushed against reefs by a tempest and Paul fails to save her. Shortly after, he dies from grief.

In The French Revolution: A History, Thomas Carlyle wrote: “[It is a novel in which] there rises melodiously, as it were, the wail of a moribund world: everywhere wholesome Nature in unequal conflict with diseased, perfidious art; cannot escape from it in the lowest hut, in the remotest island of the sea.”


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.