Category Archives: photographs


Composite of Circus People

The Graphic Arts Collection holds two composite photographs of circus people. One is organized and indexed. The second, well, the second isn’t.

Both are heavily varnished, adding to glare in these reproductions. Here is the first:

Here is the second, with a few details:

The owner of his own Midwest circus, Charles (Uncle Charley) Andress (1852-1933) was also a circus historian, publishing several articles and photo-essays, including Route Book of Barnum & Bailey [Circus], 1905.

In 1907, Show World magazine announced “Will Make Large Picture. Charles Andress, of the Barnum & Bailey Show, is making rapid progress in collecting photographs of performers and circus people for the largest photograph ever made. When completed it will contain over 1,200 people. This photograph is being made irrespective of any particular show. The center will be made up of the representative circus men of the past and present, in this and foreign countries; and the rest of the photograph will be of performers and musicians, staff officers, etc., of the various shows throughout the country.”

Fritz the Elephant

Many people have heard the story of Jumbo the Elephant, who was killed by a freight train, or of Topsy, who was electrocuted at Coney Island, but how many know the history of Fritz the elephant? We recently discovered vintage photographs that tell this tragic story.

Fritz (ca. 1870-1902) was an Asian elephant measuring 2.90 meters and weighing about 7.5 tons. Given the large number of animals who died during the five year European tour of Barnum and Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth (1897-1902), Fritz was added to the company during the tour’s final year. In May 1902, while performing in Bordeaux, Fritz the elephant killed an employee of the circus who was greasing his feet and workers started keeping him in chains.

During a parade through the city of Tours, in front of the Place Nicolas Frumeaud, Fritz the elephant became agitated and then, uncontrollable. There are several versions of this story. Perhaps someone burned the elephant with a cigar or fed him something inedible. Perhaps it was a physical condition, due to the chains and unhealthy treatment. Circus workers surrounded him, wrapped him in chains, tied him up with ropes, and eventually strangled him. After several hours, Fritz died in the public street on June 11, 1902, as onlookers watched in horror.

Circus director J.A. Bailey (1847-1906), who was with the company, decided to leave the elephant in Tours. Fritz was stuffed and his body remains on view at the Musee des Beaux-Arts de Tours (Tours Museum of Fine Arts). Read the memoir of Fritz’s trainer: George Conklin (1845-1924), The Ways of the Circus: Being the Memories and Adventures of George Conklin, Tamer of Lions, Set Down by Harvey W. Root, with a foreword by Don C. Seitz (New York: Harper [1921]). Recap 4298.264



Photographer unidentified.

Fritz on exhibit

Where the West Begins

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a small photography album compiled by Elbert John “Dutch” Reuter (1896-1975), an Arizona printer, typographer, and publisher. Through approximately 230 photographs, the album documents Reuter’s trip from Peru, Indiana, to his new home in Prescott, Arizona. The pages are decorated with captions and poems presumable by Reuter himself, although he soon married Ruth Sylvia Reed in Gallup, New Mexico, and she might of helped to layout the book.


At the age of 14, Dutch became an apprentice to a printer in his hometown of Peru, Indiana, and learned all aspects of the printing and publishing trade. Not long after his 21st birthday, he joined the army but a few days later the  armistice was signed that brought World War I to a close and his release followed soon after.

In 1923, Dutch and a friend applied for a printing job at the Jerome Verde Independent in Arizona but when they showed up for work–after driving cross country for many days–the boys were told the paper decided not to expand and didn’t need them.  Two weeks later, they were hired by the Journal-Miner in Prescott, where Reuter remained for the rest of his life.

Eventually, Dutch became owner and publisher of the Yavapai County Messenger and manager of the Prescott Printing Company. The album follows him through his first years in Arizona as he gets to know the people and the landscape. Several photographs document his joining the “Smoki People,” a group of Prescott businessmen who dressed up and performed their own versions of Hopi ceremonial dances and rituals (finally shut down in 1990).

See more of his biography here:

Read more about the Smoki People here:

Dutch Reuter at the top right with his Linotype machine.

Harper & Brothers before they left Franklin Square

“When Harper & Brothers occupied its new publishing complex at Franklin Square in the summer of 1855,” writes Carol Gayle, “it was a model plant equipped with the latest types of rapid printing presses and using modern methods in every department. But in 1878 the Third Avenue elevated railroad was built. Its tracks ran along Pearl Street about 12 feet (4m) from the big windows of the editorial and sales departments.”

“The clatter and smoke from the trains distracted editors and visitors and disrupted meetings. A decade and a half later, what with economic upheavals and banking crises, and all four founding brothers dead, Harper & Brothers went into receivership. The firm’s days in the historic iron building at Franklin Square were numbered, although not until 1922 did the company’s leadership contract for a new brick building at 49 East 33rd street.” Margot Gayle and Carol Gayle, Cast-iron Architecture in America: The Significance of James Bogardus (1998). UES TH140.B64 G38 1998

Harper & Brothers announced that they would be moving from their Franklin Square building in the spring of 1922 and the November 25, 1922, issue of Publishers Weekly confirmed that “a lease has now been closed thru Douglas Gibbon & Co. for the building on the north side of Thirty-Third Street, directly adjoining the Vanderbilt Hotel on the west.”

To document the firm’s landmark building and operations, Harper’s former staff photographer Peter A. Juley (1862-1937) was called back into duty. The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired 22 photographs from that shoot capturing many aspects of book production in the old building. When the company moved, the presses were closed and all printing was out-sourced to a plant in New Jersey.

The set of photographs includes staff performing various tasks such as collating, typesetting, inking plates, printing, typing, writing, and photographing. Also pictured are exterior views of the building including the loading docks, street view, and entrance.

Peter Juley opened a small portrait studio in Cold Spring, New York, around 1896 and within five years joined Harper’s Weekly as a staff news photographer. Demand for his talented work increased rapidly, prompting Juley to relocate to Manhattan where he continued to work with Harper & Brothers until 1909.

Juley is best known for his portraits of American artists, now archived in the Archive of American Art. With his son Paul, the studio also served as official photographers for the Salmagundi Club, National Academy of Design, the New York Public Library, and the Society of American Artists.

See: American Artists in Photographic Portraits: from the Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, compiled and written by Joan Stahl (New York: National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution in association with Dover Publications, 1995). Marquand Library (SAPH): Photography TR681.A7 N34 1995


No published source has been found for these photographs. Several of them are marked for cropping and on the back, noted “5/2/22 Round Table,” the name of a children’s magazine that was no longer being published in 1922. It has been suggested that there might have been hopes of reviving the title, which never happened.


Peter A. Juley, “Pictures of Old Plant,” April 1922. 22 gelatin silver prints. Graphic Arts Collection GAX  2017- in process.

We digitized the photographs on a flatbed scanner and some of the scans seen here are much darker than the original photograph. The contrast in both is high, given the strong light from the large windows.

Note the enlarging camera and ancient photographic equipment. Can anyone tell us why they kept an ice trunk in the studio?

The New Incas

Paul Yule, The New Incas; introduction by John Hemming (London: New Pyramid Press, 1983). Copy 18 of 40. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2006-0047E

In reorganizing the elephant volumes today, this embossed leather binding caught our attention. The New Incas was published, printed, and bound in 1983 by Robert Hadrill at The New Pyramid Press, Waterside Workshops, 99 Rotherhithe Street, London. The photographs are by Paul Yule.




For other Hadrill bindings, see:

Some Trout: Poetry on Trout and Angling, with etchings by D.R. Wakefield (Wiveliscombe, Somersetshire: Chevington Press, [1987]). Publisher’s quarter forest green morocco and marbled paper boards, by Robert Hadrill. Copy 27 of 75. Rare Books: Kenneth H. Rockey Angling Collection (ExRockey) Oversize PN6110.A6 S65e

My Illustrated Alphabet (London: New Pyramid Press, 1986). Designed, printed, and bound by Robert Hadrill–t.p. verso. Copy 16 of 65. Cotsen Children’s Library (CTSN) Folios / Picture Books 17215



1879 Hall, Princeton University

Andrew Eskind recently posted information on the former George Eastman House photography database we all like to use. I repost here in case you missed it.

1. is alive and well. It extends work Greg Drake and I did at Eastman House, but no longer has any relationship with GEH (now GEM). I had permission to export the data–much of it grant supported–and to extend it beyond its status at the time of my departure in 2003.

2. Yes, it continues to be maintained and web served via Filemaker which favors Safari and Chrome web browsers, and has issues with Firefox (and perhaps other) browsers. The issues are mostly cosmetic, but no guarantees.

3. We edit offline on a daily basis, but only refresh the online copy one per month–usually mid-month. The current version still says “March” but will change to “April” probably sometime next week.

4. The relationship to is simply as one source among many they use. However, PIC in no way supercedes In fact, I believe their snapshot is based on the 1998 print edition of the final G.K. Hall print edition. There is no formal relationship and they don’t track additions, deletions, corrections (yes, we catch mistakes on occasion)–I think photographydatabase includes nearly twice as many photographer records as PIC lists as sourced from us.

More importantly, photographydatabase collates public photography collections worldwide-now over 1000. It also collates museum exhibitions (not gallery exhibs)-now nearly 9500 – both historic and current. To a lesser extent we track galleries–not their exhibs, just the photographers they represent or whose work they have in inventory. The world is far too dynamic to keep everything up-to-date-some museums provide Annual Reports of their new photography acquisitions, most do not. Some are easy to monitor via their websites-many don’t provide such information online. We’re currently in the process of sorting out which part of the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s photography collection has been distributed to the National Gallery, and which has gone to GW. Same issue with Time, Inc. as well as a couple of smaller collections.

5. For an historic overview of the long-term evolution, see these postings graciously mentored by A.D. Coleman a few years ago-still basically current:

As always, Greg and I are happy to hear from users with suggestions, corrections, or just in need of navigational support. Regards, Andrew Eskind, Rochester, NY

1844 Plain Directions for Obtaining Photographic Pictures

Thanks to Sara Stevenson for discovering the following new information.

In the November 1844 issue of The Art-Union, Thomas Willats placed the following advertisement:

“Photography . . . Energiatype, photogenic and iodized paper, and every apparatus or chemical preparation required in Photography may be obtained, upon the most moderate terms, of Thomas Willats, Optician, 98, Cheapside, for many years with E. Palmer, Newgate-street, who has retired from the business. Lists of prices forwarded gratis, and full instruction given to purchasers. ‘We have examined some of the pictures executed by means of Mr. Willats’s improved camera, and find them most perfect, even to the minutest detail. The camera is of superior value, as it can be adjusted with greet facility and certainty, and obviates the trouble in the old instrument.’”

Horne, Thornthwaite, and Wood became the successors to Palmer’s shop and Thomas Willats set up at a fashionable Cheapside address where he not only sold equipment but also began publishing a series of scientific manuals, the first in 1844 titled Plain Directions for Obtaining Photographic Pictures by the Calotype, Energiatype, and other processes on paper… . By 1845, his brother Richard Willats had joined the firm, now known as “T. & R. Willats”. New editions and revisions of the first manual were issued in 1845, 1846, 1847, 1850, 1851, 1852, 1853, 1855, and 1860.

A copy of the first edition of Thomas Willats’s publication was collected by Robert Ormes Dougan (1904-1999) and came to Princeton University Library when a small portion of his collection was acquired by Peter Bunnell. (See catalogue: The Robert O. Dougan Collection of historical photographs and photographic literature at Princeton by Peter C. Bunnell, 1983). Princeton, Oxford, and Cambridge hold the only three institutional copies of this important early document.

Since it is so rare, here is a copy:



Plain directions for obtaining photographic pictures by the calotype and energiatype processes (London: T. Willats, 1844). Provenance: Robert O. Dougan Collection of Historical Photographs and Photographic Literature at Princeton. Marquand Library (SAX): Rare Books XB87.0057



**In 1897, daguerreotypes of Thomas Willats and Richard Willats were exhibited in London. If anyone knows the present location of these, please let us know.


Chocolate Tinted Egg Shell Plate

When Edward Livingston Wilson (1838–1903) started his first magazine, The Philadelphia Photographer, in 1864, his partner in this venture was Michael F. Benerman, foreman at the Caxton Press of Sherman & Company, a large book and job printing firm at the corner Seventh and Cherry Streets. They met through the various print jobs Benerman did for the photography studio of Frederick Gutekunst (1831–1917), where Wilson was an assistant.

Benerman was an experienced bookman. In 1863, he would have been working on a series for Josiah Whitney’s Geological Survey of California, with maps, lithographic plates, and letterpress text. The firm’s edition of Thomas L. McKenney’s History of the Indian Tribes of North America, begun in 1865, remains one of the most important color plate books produced in America. Wilson was in good hands.

Although Benerman soon stepped back from the day to day operation of the magazine, he continued to print this and other publications for Wilson, under the corporate name Benerman and Wilson.

When ferrotypes (also called tintypes) were developed, Wilson was one of the first to published the formula, along with several small manuals complete with an actual tintype as a frontispiece.



Note the process of this one is specified as a “Chocolate Tinted Egg Shell Plate.”

In 1872, the editor of The Photographic Times (distributed inside The Philadelphia Photographer) wrote,

“The publishers have kindly supplied us with some advance sheets of Mr. Trask’s Practical Manual on Ferrotyping, so that we need not wait until its issue to know how complete it is. The reason why so many bad ferrotypes have been made, and why so comparatively few good ones are made, is because no first-class practical ferro’.yper, such as Mr. Trask pre-eminently is, has thought to give us a complete manual of instructions on the subject. As our readers mostly know, we have for two or three years been in the habit of appending to our catalogues some brief instructions in ferrotype making written by Mr. Trask. They were necessarily brief, however, for want of space.

In the forthcoming manual, however, we think everything will be given that will not only enable the careful operator to make the best of work, but it will help him out of trouble should any occur. Mr. Trask very evidently knows his business. We know him to be a most skilful operator, and one who is constantly studying up improvements, taking advantage of everything that will secure the best results. We know of no one more capable of teaching others than he, and he writes just like the practical man that he is. An idea of his book may be had from his Introduction or Preface, from which we extract, viz:”

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired both the first Philadelphia edition of Trask’s Practical Ferrotyper and the London issue, both 1872. Each has an original tintype frontispiece finished with the “chocolate egg shell” treatment.

Albion K. P. Trask, Trask’s Practical Ferrotyper (Philadelphia: Benerman & Wilson, 1872). One tintype frontispiece. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process

Albion K. P. Trask, Trask’s Practical Ferrotyper. First London issue. (Philadelphia: Benerman & Wilson, 1872). One tintype frontispiece. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process.

Gillett G. Griffin Memorial Lecture

The Gillett G. Griffin Memorial Lecture Series is being established in honor of our former colleague Gillett Good Griffin (1942-2016), who served as graphic arts curator within Rare Books and Special Collections from 1952 to 1966. Although officially the collection’s second curator, he was the first to establish a place for the graphic arts collection inside Firestone Library, along with galleries and study rooms where students were regularly and warmly welcomed. Gillett’s passion for collecting began almost 70 years ago while he was a student at Yale University School of Art. His personal collection of Japanese prints, for instance, was begun as an undergraduate and later, when Gillett generously donated them to Princeton University Library, formed the basis for the department’s collection.

When we received the sad news of Gillett’s passing in June 2016, we wanted to find a way to not only commemorate the man but also his passion for bringing objects in the collection directly to the public and the public to the collection. To that end, we decided to select one of the great treasures acquired by Gillett for an in-depth investigation presented in a public memorial lecture.

In 2017, the inaugural lecture will be delivered by Dr. Sara Stevenson, former chief curator at the National Galleries of Scotland. For 36 years, Dr. Stevenson was responsible for building and developing the Scottish National Photography Collection and she continues to publish, her most recent publication entitled: Scottish Photography: The First Thirty Years. Her lecture, “The London Circle: Early Explorations of Photography,” will highlight the Richard Willats album of early paper photography purchased for the graphic arts collection by Gillett.

The lecture will be held on Sunday, April 2, 2017, at 3:00 in the Friends Center followed by a reception. The event is free and open to the public.


Spirit Photography on Trial


La revue spirite, the leading journal of 19th-century French spiritualism, was founded in 1858 by Allan Kardec (pseudonym of Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail 1804-1869) and after his death, Pierre-Gaetan Leymarie (1817-1901) took over as editor. Leymarie was not only a fake medium but also active in the bogus practice of spirit photography, using the respected journal to advertise and promote it.

Leymarie formed a partnership with the photographer Édouard Isidore Buguet (1840-1901) along with an American medium Alfred-Henri Firman. They sold their manipulated prints through La revue spirite, where Leymarie printed glowing reviews. This lasted for several years until the French police caught on to their scheme.


In April 1875, an undercover officer went to Buguet’s studio on the pretense of having his photograph taken. During the session, props and other tricks were discovered and Buguet was arrested. Leymarie and Firman were also charged with fraud.

A sensational trial followed, in which many respected men and women testified on the men’s behalf. Eventually, Buguet confessed and was sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of 500 francs but escaped before he served any time. Leymarie was sentenced to one year and Firman six months, after which both returned to successful careers in the spiritualism business. La revue spirite continues to be published.

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a rare first edition of Proces des Spirites, Edite par Madame P.G. Laymarie, which is the account of the 1875 trial, complete with the passionate testimony of the Parisian elite compiled by Leymarie’s wife Marina. La photographie spirite et l’analyse spectrale comparées (1875) has also been acquired, offering a contemporary account by L. Legas, the president of the Belgian spiritualist group La Vérité.


Various photographs by Buguet found on google image.

Procès des spirites. Edité par Mme P.G. Leymarie (Paris: Librarie Spirite, 1875). Graphic Arts Collection 2017-in process

L. Legas, La photographie spirite et l’analyse spectrale compares (Paris; Legas, 1875). Graphic Arts Collection 2017-in process

See also: Henri Sausse, Biographie d’Allan Kardec (Paris: Pygmalion, 1993). (F) BF1283.K228 S287 1993