Category Archives: Ephemera

Greenwich Village, Civil Rights and Social Justice Map

Congratulations on the 40th anniversary of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), which launched a new website yesterday at: One of their amazing new resources is the Civil Rights and Social Justice Map, along with archives and research materials:

Village Preservation offers a variety of tools to help you learn more about the history and culture of their neighborhoods, written by the people who live there:
• Greenwich Village Historic District Map and Tours
• Civil Rights and Social Justice Map
• East Village Building Blocks
• Historic Image Archive
• Oral Histories
• Preservation History Archive
Research & Education
• Neighborhood History
• Designation Reports
• Property Owners and Researchers
• Kids’ Education
• Allied Organizations

There is an archive to their newsletters, with information on the preservation of individual buildings as well as neighborhoods:

Both image and oral history archives:

As well as photographs of individual Greenwich Village celebrities:

All walking tours are currently virtual but will hit the streets again as soon as it is safe.

Scott Printing Machine Works, Plainfield, New Jersey

525 South Avenue, Plainfield, New Jersey, in 2020.


Scott Printing Press Co.’s Works, Plainfield, N.J., Industrial Area, side view of the factory along with the water tank. Plainfield Public Library.

In 1884, Walter Scott (1844-1907) moved his printing press manufacturing business from Chicago to Plainfield, New Jersey, taking over the lot previously used by New Jersey’s Central Baseball Club. By 1903, Walter Scott & Company covered five acres of downtown Plainfield. “The buildings are of brick, contain a floor space of upwards of 115,000 square feet and are connected with each other by a narrow-gauge railroad, 2,300 feet in length, which runs through the buildings.” —Newspaperdom 10 (January 1, 1903).

Scott operated the largest printing press manufacturing firm in the United States (claimed to be the largest in the world), known especially for high-speed presses and folding machines used by newspapers. In 1893, the New York World installed the first color press in America adapted to newspaper printing, which was built by Scott’s Company in Plainfield. Known as a brilliant inventor, he received his first patent in 1874 and by 1903, held 200 patents. When he died 1907, his widow, Isabella Scott, operated the business until her death in 1931.

Google maps overview of the factory buildings still standing in 2020. The New Jersey Transit Raritan line still runs along the rear of the buildings.


Advertisements: The Inland printer. v.3 (1885/86) and American Printer and Lithographer 31 (1900).


A biographical sketch of Scott was published in The Inland Printer that begins “It is with pleasure that we are enabled to place before our readers the portrait of a gentleman whose name is familiar to every printer in the United States, Mr. Walter Scott. Blessed with great genius, tireless energy, indomitable perseverance, and administrative ability, he has succeeded in building up what is now the largest and most progressive printing press manufacturing establishment in the world.” It continues:

“Mr. Scott was born in Scotland on May 22, 1844. He was educated at the Ayr Academy, studied theoretical and applied mechanics, and learned the machinist trade. He came to the United States in 1869 and settled in Chicago. He was employed in several printing offices, and was for many years foreman of the pressrooms of the Inter Ocean. In 1872 he commenced to make inventions in printing machinery. His mechanical skill and thorough knowledge of the requirements of the printing office enabled him to produce economical and labor-saving machinery which was eagerly sought after by the appreciative printer. Among his inventions at that time was the printing from a web, pasting, cutting and folding, so as to produce a newspaper with the leaves cut in book from at one operation; also a new rotary web printing and folding machine which produced 30,000 copies per hour.

The demand for Mr. Scott’s improved machines became so great … that in 1884 it was found necessary to erect extensive and commodious works at Plainfield, New Jersey, a cut and description of which will be found below. Messrs. Walter Scott & Co. now makes no less than 117 different kinds and sizes of printing machines, ranging from a small cylinder press to a large book and newspaper machine costing $40,000 and capable of printing, pasting, cutting, and folding 96,000 eight-page papers per hour; besides many other machine and appliances connected with printing.

…This extensive manufactory is situated on South Avenue, between Richmond and Berckman Streets, and adjacent to the central Railroad of New Jersey, in the city of Plainfield. The works occupy five acres, are connected with the central Railroad by a siding and 1,700 feet of rails are laid through the yard to the various building. … The area of floor space is over 78,000 square feet. The buildings are beautifully lighted up by 25 arc and 400 incandescent electric lights, the dynamos of which are placed in the engine room.

…The factory and its equipment are the most complete of anything we have ever seen in this line of manufacture, and we understand it is the largest exclusively devoted to the manufacture of printing and kindred machinery in the United States, over one hundred and fifty machines being in process of construction at one time.– The Inland Printer, American Lithographer 7 (1889/1890): 564-66

See also:
Frederick W. Hamilton, Type and presses in America, a brief historical sketch of the development of type casting and press building in the United States ([Chicago] Pub. by the Committee on education, United typothetae of America, 1918). Graphic Arts Collection 2006-1856N

Herbert L. Baker, Cylinder printing machines, being a study of the mechanism and operation of the principal types of cylinder printing machines ([Chicago] Pub. by the Committee on education, United typothetae of America, 1918). Graphic Arts Collection 2007-0021N



Need a Project, no. 11? Paper theaters identified

With enormous thanks to Alain Lecucq, actor, director, and paper theater historian writing from France, our two paper theaters have been identified: the prosceniums made in Vienna, Austria, at the beginning of the 20th century.

Theatre one in: Anna Feja Seitler and Heino Seitler, Papiertheater: die Sammlung Anna Feja Seitler und Heino Seitler, edited by Norbert Donhofer (Wien : F. Deuticke, 1992). Access:

Theatre two in: Katharina Siefert and Ingrid Wambsganz, Papiertheater: Die Bühne im Salon: Einblicke in den Sammlungsbestand des Germanischen Nationalmuseums: Begleitpublikation zur Ausstellung “Theaterdonner” im Germanischen Nationalmuseum, 19.12.2002-23.3.2003 (Nürnberg: Verl. des Germanischen Nationalmuseums, 2002). Access:

See also:
Alain Lecucq, Le Théâtre de papier: des origines à nos jours (Epinal: Centre départemental de documentation pédagogique des Vosges, 1984).

UNIMA 2000: l’art mondial de la marionnette = The Worldwide Art of Puppetry, edited by Marek Waszkiel; Penny Francis; and Alain Lecucq ([Prague]: Union internationale de la marionnette, 2000).

Petite histoire du Théâtre de papier… Cette technique de manipulation de figurines plates dans une scénographie miniature naît, vrais emblablement, au début du XIX e siècle en Angleterre. C’est en 1811, qu’I.K.Green publie, à Londres, la première façade de théâtre à monter. Ces théâtres vont se composer de plusieurs éléments indispensables pour jouer un spectacle : une façade, souvent inspirée de théâtres existants, des décors et des coulisses, des personnages dans des positions variées et un texte, résumé souvent malhabile de celui d’origine. Ces feuilles seront mises en couleurs par l’imprimeur avec des techniques diérentes selon les pays – peinture à la main, au pochoir, lithographie…ou par l’acheteur lui-même. A la maison, l’heureux possesseur de ces feuilles les collera sur du carton puis les découpera, les assemblera, et présentera son spectacle à sa famille ou à ses amis.La taille de ces théâtres dépassera rarement les cinquante ou soixante centimètres. Outre l’Angleterre, on trouve des théâtres de papier en Autriche, en Allemagne, au Danemark, en Espagne, en Italie, en Moravie et en France

A little history of the Paper Theater … This technique of handling flat figurines in a miniature scenography was born, most probably, at the beginning of the 19th century in England. It was in 1811 that I. K. Green published the first theater facade to be erected in London. These theaters will consist of several elements essential to play a show: a facade, often inspired by existing theaters, sets and backstage, characters in various positions and a text, often clumsy summary of the original one. These sheets will be colored by the printer with different techniques depending on the country–hand painting, stenciling, lithography–or by the buyer himself. At home, the happy owner of these sheets will stick them on cardboard and then cut them, assemble them, and present his show to his family or friends. The size of these theaters will rarely exceed fifty or sixty centimeters. Besides England, there are paper theaters in Austria, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Moravia and France

Need a Project, no. 9? Money

1. Whose portrait is hidden in the $20 note?
2. How many number 5’s are on the $5 note?
3. Which bill cannot be redesigned, thanks to a recurring provision in the annual Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act?
4. Which denomination came first?
5. What happened to the Harriet Tubman $20?

Since 1929, United States has attempted to standardize the design of its paper currency while still allowing denominations to have their own icons, portraits, and security features as well as a distinct character in colors, textures, and watermarks.

Did you know there are two sides to the Great Seal on the $1 note? One side, the reverse, features the pyramid and the floating eye, called the Eye of Providence. This design is located on the left of the banknote. The other side of the Great Seal features the bald eagle holding the olive branch and exactly 13 arrows. And there are thirteen vertical stripes on the shield and thirteen stars in the constellation above the eagle. President Franklin D. Roosevelt switched the placement of elements, so he is responsible for putting the unfinished pyramid (with 13 steps) on the left side of the banknote.

© =Federal law permits color illustrations of U.S. currency only under the following conditions:
The illustration is of a size less than three-fourths or more than one and one-half, in linear dimension, of each part of the item illustrated; the illustration is one-sided; and all negatives, plates, etc. are destroyed and/or deleted after their final use.

The phrase Novus ordo seclorum (= New order of the ages) is the second of two mottos that appear on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States. The first motto is Annuit cœptis (= Providence favors our undertakings or Providence has favored our undertakings)



No. 1: In 2003, the $20 note was redesigned to include an embedded security thread that glows green when illuminated by UV light. In addition, a portrait watermark of President Jackson is visible from both sides of the note. Finally, the note includes a color-shifting numeral 20 in the lower right corner of the note. An Alexander Hamilton portrait watermark is visible on the $10 note. The portrait of Lincoln was removed from the watermark of the $5 note.

No. 2: Not counting digits in the changing serial numbers, there are 10. Be sure to count the three 5’s watermarked in a vertical pattern on the left and one large 5 embedded in the paper on the right.

No. 3: The $1 note remains the same since the note was issued in 1963. “The United States government redesigns Federal Reserve notes primarily for security reasons: to stay ahead of counterfeiting threats and keep counterfeiting levels low. Because the $1 note is infrequently counterfeited, the government has no plans to redesign this note. In addition, there is a recurring provision in the annual Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act that prohibits the redesign of the $1 note.”

No. 4: On June 25, 1776, the Continental Congress authorized issuance of the $2 denominations in “bills of credit” for the defense of America.

No. 5: All plans are on hold. Read the whole story here:

See also $100 note:

Need a Project, no. 8? Color IQ

Are you overwhelmed when confronted with hundreds of Pantone color samples at Home Depot? Do you have difficulty telling red from green?  Are you one of every twelve men who have some form of color vision deficiency? When was the last time you tested your perception of colors and hues?

This week, why not schedule a few minutes to take one of several color IQ tests?

The most common form is the Farnsworth–Munsell 100 Hue Color Vision Test, which contains four distinct rows of similar color hues, each containing 25 distinct variations of each hue. Each color hue at the polar end of a row is fixed in position, to serve as an anchor. Each hue tile between the anchors can be adjusted as the observer sees fit. The final arrangement of the hue tiles represents the aptitude of the visual system in discerning differences in color hue.

The system was developed by Dean Farnsworth in the 1940s and it “tests the ability to isolate and arrange minute differences in various color targets with constant value and chroma that cover all the visual hues described by the Munsell color system.”


Then test your ability to name and match color with hue:

There are also tests for color blindness and other conditions. Once you finish, results are calculated immediately. You can also compare your results with those of others and see where you stand internationally. Note, the older you are, the greater the chances that your color perception is poor.


See also: Colour-blindness and colour-perception by F.W. Edridge-Green, M.D., F.G.S. … ; with three coloured plates (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., Ltd., 1891). Full text online


Or Colour. The most fascinating magazine in the world (London: William Dawson and sons. 1914- ).

If you have to write, write with a pencil.

**This is very bloody**


Museum of the History of the Recorded Word

The Story of the Recorded Word (New York: New York Times Company, 1939). “To tell the story briefly related in this booklet, the New York Times has been assembling…more than two hundred objects now on exhibition…From the exhibits have been selected the illustrations in this booklet.”

The Story of The Recorded Word: Telling In Condensed Form The History of Five Thousand Years of Recording From Man’s First Impressions On Clay To The Modern Newspaper (New York: New York Times, 1940). Graphic Arts Collection Z4 .N56 1940



Arthur Hays Sulzberger (1891-1968), publisher of The New York Times from 1935 to 1961, was enthusiastic when Elmer Adler (1884-1962) proposed a Museum of the History of the Recorded Word. Sulzberger gave his tenant additional space on the tenth floor in the Times 43rd Street building, emphasizing that the focus should be on the final case with the most current edition of the New York Times (rotated daily).

He wrote to Adler, “The desire is to impress the observer with the scholarship, research, and authenticity in back of each issue of the New York Times to show how five thousand years of scholarship contribute to the presentation of each day’s issue of the paper.”

On April 25, 1938, the Museum of the History of the Recorded Word opened to the public with a series of cases circling a single room filled with originals and facsimiles presenting a chronological history of printing. In the middle was a cast of the Rosetta Stone, a rack to display newspapers around historic events, and an old hand press.

The Times printed an announcement taking credit for Adler’s show, which read in part: “The New York Times has assembled a History of the Recorded Word, a permanent collection showing the progress of that word from the dawn of writing to the present day from the primitive markings of stylus, brush and reed pen down through the epochal invention of movable type to the books and the newspapers of the power presses of today.”



By 1940, annual museum attendance was recorded at 8,311 and later rose to approximately 30,000. A didactic exhibition of photographic reproductions traveled to libraries, schools, and 26 other venues across 14 states. Interest eventually dimmed and in 1965 the museum collection was downsized through an auction at Parke- Bernet Galleries and in 1982, after it had been on view for 43 years, the remaining display was donated to the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Adler traveled to Princeton in 1939, where he delivered a lantern slide lecture about the museum display to members of the Princeton Bibliographical Society. He said “For nine-tenths of recorded time man has learned to write; for the last 500 years he has learned to print; and only yesterday he has learned to speed up printing,” Read more about the museum and Adler’s transition to Princeton: file:///C:/Users/jmellby/AppData/Local/Temp/prinunivlibrchro.73.3.0391.pdf


“Story of Recorded Word: New Exhibit Covers Six Thousand Years,” New York Times, April 24, 1938.

How much money can you spend in one month?

In the 1926 French silent movie 600,000 francs par mois a bet is made between a bored millionaire and a railroad worker that the latter can’t spend 600,000 francs every month for one year. The worker quits his job and tries desperately to spend huge sums gambling, drinking, traveling, and so on, only to find he continually earns more than he spends. You’ll have to watch the whole film to find out what happens in the end.

The popular comedy was released again in 1927 with the English language title Mister Mustard’s Millions and in 1933 as 600,000 Francs a Month.

The story comes from a novel by Jean Drault (pseudonym for Alfred Gendrot, 1866-1951), adapted for the stage by André Mouëzy-Eon, Six cent mille francs par mois: pièce en trois actes et quatre tableaux d’après le roman de Jean Drault (Paris: Billaudot, 1931).

If the plot sounds familiar, there was also a comic novel written by Richard Greaves (pseudonym for George Barr McCutcheon, 1866-1928) in 1902 called Brewster’s Millions, later adapted for the stage in 1906. According to film archives, there have been at least 13 film adaptations from this American version, in which a grandson will inherit a fortune from his grandfather if he can spend $1,000,000 over one year.

Pathé films home edition of 600,000 francs par mois in the Graphic Arts Collection of French silent films has been digitized and can be seen here.   Each reel is meant to play approximately one minute so it takes quite a few to play the entire movie.  **Note, if you have any trouble playing the films directly on the website, hit the download arrow at the bottom right and play them on your own preferred video player. Also, a number of films have already been downloaded by various people and can also be found on Youtube.


You may not have seen the 1914 film of Brewster’s Millions by Cecil B. DeMille (1881-1959), but surely you remember the 1985 adaptation with Richard Prior (1940-2005) and John Candy (1950-1994). In this version, Prior has one month (30 days) to spend $30,000,000 in order to receive his inheritance.

See the video or read the book Brewster’s Millions here on Google books.


A poster by Léo Joannon from 1933.

If you want to go further, Alfred Gendrot AKA Jean Drault collaborated with the Germans during the Nazi occupation of France and wrote several anti-Semitic publications. He was arrested in September 1944 , tried and convicted in November 1946. The sentence was later reduced to five years imprisonment and Drault died not long after his release. See “Anti-Semitism on Trial: Jean Drault in Front of His Judges” by Grégoire Kauffmann (1946).

Horsford’s Acid Phosphate

Front covers
Back covers

While clearing out a storage room, a dozen or so copies of this advertisement were found. Eben Norton Horsford’s obituary in Harvard Crimson ran on January 3, 1893:

Professor Horsford died very suddenly of heart disease at his home in Cambridge Sunday afternoon. He was apparently in the best of health on Saturday, and to the many who knew him the announcement of his death will seem almost increditable [sic]. Eben Norton Horsford was born at Moscow, New York, July 27, 1818. He attended the district and other schools of that place until he was thirteen, when he entered the Livingston County High School.

In 1834 he was employed for a short time in railroad surveys, and then entered the Renssaller Institute where he was graduated a civil engineer in 1837. For the next two years he was engaged under Professor Hall in the geological survey of New York. From 1839 to 1843 he was the professor of mathematics and natural science at the Albany Female Academy, and during this time he lectured on Chemistry at Newark College, Delaware. In 1843 he went to Germany where for two years he studied chemistry under Liebig.

On his return to America he was appointed Rumford Professor of applied sciences at Harvard. He resigned this office in 1861 and since that time he has devoted much of his time to the study of chemistry and to chemical manufactures. In all he has taken out about thirty patents, most of them in a chemical line. In 1847 he married. His wife died in 1855 and in 1857 he married again. He had five daughters.

Outside of his professional career, Professor Horsford engaged in many works of general utility. One of his first works on returning from Germany was to investigate and select the proper material for the service pipes of the Boston Water Works. He was a member of the committee for the defense of Boston Harbor in the Civil War. He also devised a marching ration for the army which was very widely adopted. In 1873 he was one of the United States’ commissioners to the World’s Fair in Vienna, and in 1876 he was commissioner at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.

Of late years Professor Horsford has taken a great interest in archaeology. At the end of Commonwealth Avenue, he erected a statue of Lief Ericson at the spot where he believed that he landed. Another of his researches resulted in the discovery of the site of the ancient city of Norumbega, at the mouth of Stony Brook in Weston, where he erected a stone tower in 1889. Among his literary work has been the publication of numerous chemical researches in the scientific publications of Europe and this country. Prof. Horsford established the Rumford Chemical works in Providence, and was President of the company for many years.

Below: Rumford Chemical Works and Mill House Historic District

Body seating dimensions and other early 20th-century issues in car design

Here are a few of the materials pulled for the upcoming writing seminar “Living with AI” led by instructor William Penman and assisted by Anu Vedantham, assistant university librarian for research services. The students will compare early 19th and 20th-century technology with contemporary ways we are “searching YouTube, unlocking our phones with our faces, seeing advertising on Facebook, asking Siri to turn up the music . . . actively and passively use artificial intelligence (AI) daily. How does AI promise new kinds of interactions? Why are some industries turning to AI while others are not? How are the risks and benefits of AI shaping the future design of these technologies?”

Both fiction and non-fiction texts are being considered, including the definitive 20th-century car book, The Great Gatsby.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The cruise of the rolling junk,” in Motor (New York, N.Y.)  Vol. 41, no. 3-5 (Feb.-Apr., 1924). Oversize 2003-0046F. “Beginning an adventure in motoring by the author of “This side of paradise.” — Pt. 1. “The modern argonauts, the author and his wife, in a battered Expenso, are en route from Westport, Connecticut, to the family homestead in Alabama. … ” — Pt. 2. “The author and his wife are driving from Westport, Connecticut to the family home in Alabama, in quest of peaches and biscuits …” — Pt. 3.

The Locomobile book: a description of the latest models. Designs by T.M. Cleland (Bridgeport, Conn.: Locomobile Company of America, 19150. Graphic Arts Collection Oversize TL215 .L636 1915q

George E. Goddard, Body seating-dimensions ([Detroit, Mich.? : Society of Automotive Engineers?], 1922). Rare Books Oversize 2008-0305Q

Fortitude outside New York Public Library reading The Great Gatsby.