Category Archives: Events

The Ghostlight Project at Princeton

We are invited to join McCarter Theatre Center, Princeton University Triangle Club, and the Princeton University Lewis Center for the Arts Program in Theater on Thursday, January 19, 2017, for a brief gathering on the lawn outside the Matthews Theatre to launch The Ghostlight Project. This event is free and open to the public.

The Ghostlight Project aims to create spaces that will serve as beacons of light in the coming years, the hoped-for outcome of which is a network of people across the country working to support vulnerable communities. These gatherings are a public affirmation of each theater’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. They are a pledge to stand for and protect the values of inclusion, participation, and compassion for everyone regardless of race, class, religion, country of origin, immigration status, (dis)ability, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

Organizers ask that participants begin to arrive starting at 5:00 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., a series of brief remarks will commence, followed by a group “moment of light.” The event will conclude by 6:00 p.m. For more information about The Ghostlight Project, including a full list of participating theaters, visit

Making history: collections, collectors, and the cultural role of printing museums

Association of European Printing Museums (AEPM) 2017

In case you haven’t already seen this call for papers, please consider proposing something for the upcoming AEPM conference. Princeton University Library is a member.

The conference will take place May 11-13, 2017 at The Museum of Typography, Chania, Crete (Greece) and the theme will be: Making history: collections, collectors and the cultural role of printing museums. It will look at the ways in which collections of printing heritage materials become museums. Possible subjects for discussion include:

Who collects printing heritage materials?
How is printing heritage transmitted from one generation to the next?
What motivates founders of printing museums?
How do collections become museums?
How are collections made available to the public?
What forms do independent printing museums take – associations, foundations, privately-owned companies?
What challenges do independent collections and printing museums have to face?

Proposals for talks are invited from museums of printing and graphic communication, and from heritage workshops, collectors, and scholars involved in printing heritage. Abstracts of no longer than 250 words should be submitted along with a brief biography to: and by January 30, 2017. Speakers will be allocated 30 minutes (including discussion) in which to present their papers.

The conference will also offer an opportunity to discover some aspects of Greek printing heritage with the help of several invited speakers:

Yiannis Filis, former dean of the Technical University of Crete (Greece)

Gerry Leonidas, associate professor of typography at the Department of typography and graphic communication, vice-president of ATypI (United Kingdom)

Klimis Mastoridis, professor of typography & graphic communication, University of Nicosia, Cyprus

George D. Matthiopoulos, lecturer in the Department of graphic design at the School of art and design of the Technological Educational Institute of Athens (Greece)

Konstantinos Staikos, architect, book historian and researcher (Greece)


Having just moved a library collection ourselves, it is fun to see how someone else accomplished it. According to their publicity, the first Rijksmuseum opened in 1800 and eight years later, the new King Louis Napoleon moved the collections to the Royal Palace on Dam Square, the former city hall of Amsterdam. In 1876 the architect, Pierre Cuypers, was commissioned to design a new building, which remained basically unchanged since its opening in 1885.

From 2003 to 2013, the entire building and presentation of their collections was renovated. For the first time, the museum’s Special Collections are also displayed so that visitors can enjoy objects from the applied arts, science, and national history, including their collection of magic lantern slides, hold-to-light prints, and optical devices [see below].



The building is also the home of the Cuypers Library, the largest and oldest art historical library in the Netherlands, holding 5,4 km (3 1/3 miles) of books. During their recent renovation, not only was the original study room updated but a viewing balcony for the visiting public was installed so non-researcher do not disrupt those actively using study materials.

The reading room is shared between the library and the print study collection, which holds more than 500,000 engravings, etchings, woodcuts, lithographs, and “sheets in other graphic techniques” dating from 1440 to the present. Fashion and ornament prints, maps, decorative papers, and popular prints are included alongside the Rembrandts, Picassos, and the other masterworks. More information about appointments can be found here:

A Rijksmuseum Special Collections hold-to-light slide. This link takes you to similar views in the Graphic Arts Collection at Princeton.

Song of Myself



8,992 words from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” spiral outward from a fountain in New York’s newly dedicated AIDS Memorial. Located in St. Vincent’s Triangle, across from the former site of St. Vincent’s Hospital where an AIDS ward opened in 1984, the memorial was designed by Jenny Holzer and will be completed before the end of 2016.


The first Leaves of Grass was put on sale in at least two stores, one in New York and another in Brooklyn, in late June of 1855. Printed in the shop of Andrew Rome of Brooklyn (where Andrew was assisted by his younger brother Tom), the quarto-size volume was designed and published by Whitman himself, who is also believed to have set the type for a few of its 95 pages. As William White has shown, 795 copies were printed in all, 599 of which were bound in cloth with varying degrees of gilt, the rest of them in paper or boards. A recent census of extant copies of the first edition reveals that nearly 200 copies survive today. Ivan Marki, “Leaves of Grass, 1855 edition,” in J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, eds., Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).

Princeton University Library has three copies of Whitman’s 1855 edition. Seen here: Walt Whitman (1819-1892), Leaves of Grass (Brooklyn, N.Y.: [Walt Whitman]; [Brooklyn: Rome Bros], 1855). Rare Books (Ex) Behrman American no. 226q.



I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.

Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.

Read the entire poem:

Comparing Rome and Venice



Thursday and Friday, we welcomed the students of ART 233/ARC 233 Renaissance Art and Architecture with Carolina Mangone. Although the class focuses on the renaissance, we pulled Giambattista Nolli’s 1748 plan of Rome (176 x 208 cm) to compare with a facsimile copy of Jacopo de’ Barbari’s 1500  map of Venice. Three extra tables had to be brought in to accommodate the two.

The class description reads “What was the Renaissance? This class explores the major artistic currents that swept northern and southern Europe from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries in an attempt to answer that question. In addition to considering key themes such as the revival of antiquity, imitation and license, religious devotion, artistic style, and the art market, we will survey significant works by artists and architects including Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo, Jan van Eyck, Dürer, and Michelangelo. Precepts will focus on direct study of original objects, with visits to Princeton’s collections of paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, books and maps.”




nolli27The border of Nolli’s plan consists of decorative elements interspersed with the symbols of the 14 Rioni (the districts of Rome). Here is the 8th Rioni: Sant’Eustachio, named after the eponymous church located in Municipio I of the city. Its logo is the head of a stag with a cross between the antlers (although Nolli has changed that slightly here).



Princeton Students: A Chance of Free CAA Registration

Registration is in full swing for the 2017 Annual College Art Association (CAA) Conference in New York City, February 15-18, 2017. What can cost up to $500 for some is being offered gratis to a few lucky students with the CAA Student Scholarships.

This, of course, includes entrance to the fabulous art book fair:

“We are always listening to what our members want and seeking out the benefits to fit your needs. That is why we have partnered up our sponsors, multinational publisher, Routledge, Taylor & Francis, and art materials specialist, Blick Art Materials, to create a student scholarship fund to assist CAA Student Members with conference costs. CAA’s Annual Conference Partner Sponsor, Routledge, Taylor & Francis will award four (4) CAA Student Members with complimentary registration and an additional $250 in scholarship money to help with conference expenses such as travel, housing, or meals. Receipts will be required for reimbursement. CAA’s Annual Conference Presenter Sponsor, Blick Art Materials will also fund conference registration fees for four (4) CAA Student Members. No travel expenses are available.”

What does this mean for you? It means register today for the 2017 Annual Conference before the Early Registration deadline for a chance to be one of the lucky 8 CAA Student Members to receive one of these scholarships. Recipients will be randomly selected by CAA and announced in mid January.

Tell your students:

De Profundis

de-profunctisAndré Gide (1869-1951), Oscar Wilde: In memoriam (souvenirs) Le “De profundis”. Avec une héliogravure. 4e. éd. (Paris: Mercure de France, 1913). Rare Books: Sylvia Beach Collection (Beach) 3254.789.369


Princeton University Library offers 36 different options for studying Oscar Wilde’s De profundis, the letter he wrote during his imprisonment in Reading Gaol to Lord Alfred Douglas. You can read the transcription, enjoy a fine press edition, hear it sung, or research it with annotations. Now we have another.

On Sunday 30 October 2016, Patti Smith read Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis in the former chapel of Reading Prison, Reading, and that reading has now been made available to all (approximately 3 hours). Something to do over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Event: Patti Smith reads De Profundis (2016) from Artangel on Vimeo.

“De Profundis,” writes Colm Tóibín, “cannot be read for its accurate account of their relationship, nor taken at its word.” This is in part because Wilde had no other choice but to write a letter, or write nothing at all. The succession of prisons in which he was held between 1895 and 1897 allowed no writing of plays, novels, or essays.

Over the last four months of Wilde’s incarceration, he and the governor of Reading prison came up with a scheme. Since “regulations did not specify how long a letter should be,” Wilde would be given pen and ink each day and be allowed compose correspondence as long as he liked. The letter would then be his personal property when he left. Despite its literary density, the letter remains, writes Tóibín, “one of the greatest love letters ever written.”

Reading prison has just been opened to the public for the first time this year. Since July, artists, writers, and performers have gathered with audiences inside the prison to celebrate and commune with the spirit of Wilde. Among the events have been readings of De Profundis by Tóibín, who read the letter in its entirely last month, as did Patti Smith.–Josh Jones,


For more information on this series, see Artangel:



The Inaugural Gillett G. Griffin Memorial Lecture

willats-four-menPlease save the date for the Inaugural Gillett G. Griffin Memorial Lecture:

The London Circle: Early Explorations of Photography

delivered by
Sara Stevenson

on Sunday, 2 April 2017 at 3:00 p.m. in The Friends Center, Princeton University
corner of William Street and Olden Street, Princeton, New Jersey

Dr. Sara Stevenson was chief curator at the National Galleries of Scotland for thirty-six years and responsible for building and developing the Scottish National Photography Collection. She is the author of numerous books and catalogues, the most recent written together with Alison Morrison-Low is Scottish Photography: The First Thirty Years (2015).

The focus of Dr. Stevenson’s talk will be the Richard Willats album of early paper photography purchased by Gillett G. Griffin for the Graphic Arts Collection, Rare Books and Special Collection, Princeton University. Additional information forthcoming.


This lecture series is held in honor of Gillett Good Griffin (1928-2016).

“Born in Brooklyn, New York, on June 22, 1928, Griffin grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut. While attending Deerfield Academy, he developed an interest in and began to collect New England children’s books printed before 1846. In 1951, the same year he graduated from Yale, he wrote, illustrated, and printed A Mouse’s Tale, which was nominated one of the Fifty Books of the Year for its design by the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

Griffin came to Princeton in 1952 as curator of graphic arts in the Princeton University Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections division, a position he held until 1966. In 1957 he took a leave of absence to design books for Princeton University Press and write articles on the history of printmaking and related graphic themes.” -Jamie Saxon, Arts and Humanities Writer. For the complete obituary see:

willats-sleepingDon’t miss it



All photography seen here was reproduced from the Richard Willats album, permanent link:

Election Night at Princeton

20161108_171728_resizedThe American Whig-Cliosophic Society is Princeton University’s largest and oldest student organization, based in Whig Hall.

Tonight the American Whig-Cliosophic Society will host an Election Night Extravaganza starting at  7:00 p.m. until election results are announced. According to the Daily Princetonian the event is open to all students of the University community. There will be 270 bubble teas, representing the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, 1000 Dunkin’ Donuts, pizza, a photo booth, a raffle for a grand prize of Beats Headphones, and more. There will also be screenings on all four floors, with MSNBC showing in the basement, CNN on both the first and second floors, and Foxon the third.

Additionally, a Cannon Green photo booth will be open all day between Whig Hall and Clio Hall. A photographer will be present to take photos of people with Nassau Hall in the background as well as balloons that spell “VOTED.” A Snapchat filter will also be available on the spot.



Chelsea Old Town Hall


Each fall for the last twenty years, an Antiquarian Book Fair has been held in the historic Chelsea Old Town Hall on The King’s Road. Completed in 1886, the building’s architecture and decoration rival the exhibitor’s offerings for a visitor’s attention.

The Chelsea Old Town Hall is at the junction of Sydney Street and the King’s Road, which was just that, Charles II’s private road to Hampton Court. Visitors to the fair walk down a long marble-floored corridor and through carved mahogany doors that open to the grand Main Hall. Topped with a vaulted ceiling, candelabra chandeliers, stained glass windows, and grand marble columns, the Hall features a series of wall murals commemorating celebrities who lived in “the Royal Borough,” including George Eliot, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Carlyle and many others.
There was no information in the hall identifying the mural artists but according to The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide, having won a competition in 1912, Mary Sargant Florence (1957-1954) decorated in tempera the “Literature” panel in Chelsea Town Hall.” Other sources speculate that Sargant-Florence may have completed more than one work for the Hall.
Regardless of the setting, the fair itself is relatively casual, with piles of prints open to anyone willing to pick through them. No wonder long lines stood in the rain this week for the pleasure of attending this fair.