Category Archives: photographs


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

Les vierges de Lesbos



Joseph Méry, Les vierges de Lesbos [The Virgins of Lesbos]. Poème antique (Paris: Georges Bell, 1858). Illustrated with photographs by Auguste Nicolas Bertsch (1813–1870) and Camille d’Arnaud (active 19th century) after paintings by Jean-Louis Hamon (1821–1874). Signed by Bell on verso of half-title. One of 300 copies. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process

The Graphic Arts Collection is pleased to have acquired one of the first books of French poetry illustrated with original photographs. The poem’s first edition had no illustrations and was published together with Méry’s Nuit lesbienne. According to Monselet (Catalogue . . . d’une jolie collection de livres rares, Paris, 1871, n. 215), the volume was printed in an edition of only five or six copies for friends, probably too sexually explicit for the era. Later, Georges Bell funded a larger and more elaborate edition.

In 1854 the photographer Auguste Nicolas Bertsch (1813-1870) became a founding member of the Société française de photographie, serving on the board of directors from 1858–1870. Sometime before 1855 he began a collaboration with the writer and photographer Camille d’Arnaud at his studio at 27 rue Fontaine Saint Georges, Paris. For the first illustrated edition of Méry’s poem, Bertsch and Arnaud made 900 salted paper prints from collodion-on-glass negatives, which were trimmed and pasted into each volume; three each in an edition of 300.

The photographs are after paintings by Jean-Louis Hamon (1821-1874), who worked at the Sèvres porcelain factory until he received recognition in the Paris International Exhibition of 1855. Ten new paintings were accepted into the 1857 International and in 1861, another five, including one titled Vierge de Lesbos.



See also Joseph Méry (1798-1865), Le dernier fantome; illustré par G. Staal (Paris: Publié par Gabriel Roux … ; , 1853). Purchase; Acquired with matching funds provided by the Program in Hellenic Studies with the support of the Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund; 2003. Rare Books (Ex) Oversize 2004-1239Q


Nuit lesbienne (first verse)

La fille de l’Erèbe, à la rose étoilée,
La nuit couvre le temple et sa douce vallée ;
Comme une ombre plaintive échappée au cercueil,
Alcyone se plaint, seule sur un écueil :
C’est l’heure des frissons, et des songes funèbres !
Rhodina, sur son lit, a peur dans les ténèbres,
Un bruit vague a troublé l’écho du corridor :
La lampe va s’éteindre au candélabre d’or,
Et sa pâle lueur, jouant avec les ombres,
De sinistres reflets couvre les lambris sombres :
Rhodina se recueille ; elle invoque en tremblant
La Reine de la Nuit, au diadème blanc,
Diane de Délos, dont les regards austères
Ne sont point indulgents aux amoureux mystères,
Diane de Délos, triple divinité
Qui des pieux hymens garde la chasteté.

1,100 San Francisco Boxers

[Boxers of San Francisco] (1910s-1930s).1 album; 36 cm. Gelatin silver prints. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2012-0036Q

Back in 2011, we acquired an album containing 1100 portraits, presumed to be boxers from the San Francisco area in the early 20th century. It has become one of our most requested resources, especially relatives asking if their fathers and grandfathers are listed.

Each of the photographs are numbered and a typed list was included identifying a small number of the 1100 men. Thanks to Ananya Malhotra, class of 2020, we now have this list in digital form so it can be searched online: Francisco Boxers.pdf

The public can now identify the man on the left as Jimmy Cumpston who fought Al Ramus in 1920:

Another of the fighters is Al Delmar, a middleweight boxer from San Francisco. His first professional fight took place on June 23, 1920 against Earl Biddle. Delmar won this fight in a knock out and went on to win twelve more, losing seven, and had nine end in a draw.

Eddie McGovern, alias Iron Man, was a light heavyweight from San Francisco. He boxed from 1920 to 1932, winning sixty-two matches (thirty-four in a knock out), lost thirty-four, and finished in a draw thirty-four times.

We would be glad to add to this list, if anyone can identify other boxers. Here are a few more images:



“ONEEVERYONE, a public art project by Ann Hamilton, is framed by the recognition that human touch is the most essential means of contact and a fundamental expression of physical care. Commissioned by Landmarks for the Dell Medical School, ONEEVERYONE begins with a series of more than 500 portraits of Austin community members, photographed through a semi-transparent membrane that focuses each point where the body make contact. These images are presented in multiple forms, including porcelain enamel architectural panels; a newsprint publication with commissioned essays responding to the project; public forums; and an exhibition at the Visual Arts Center.”—Andrée Bober, Landmarks Director

“This book presents yet another form for the portraits. Its pages hold at least one image of each participant who volunteered their time and opened themselves to an exchange with the artist. Through the images touch–something we feel more than see–becomes visible.”


The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to have acquired this volume, along with the newspaper of commissioned essays, thanks to Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin. For more information on this extraordinary project, see



Ann Hamilton, ONEEVERYONE (Austin, Texas: Landmarks, University of Texas at Austin, 2017). 1 volume (unpaged): no text. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process


Burr McIntosh, Class of 1884, and the Burr McIntosh Monthly

The actor, photographer, publisher, and professor Burr McIntosh, Class of 1884 (1862-1942) studied first at Lafayette College and then, for one year at Princeton. Although he never graduated, he went on to have a dynamic if eclectic career, leading first to the Broadway stage and celebrity playing the character Talbot “Taffy” Wynne in the original 1895 Broadway production of Trilby.

McIntosh learned photography by chance and excelled, serving as a photojournalist for Leslie’s Weekly and publishing a memoir, The Little I Saw of Cuba, in 1899. (Recap 10871.604). “In the Spanish-American War,” he wrote, “I was too old to enter the army, but was Leslies‘ chief correspondent as well as representing the Hearst papers, and others.” He also had the first recorded case of Yellow Fever and lost 71 pound in three weeks.

By 1901 McIntosh had recovered and opened a photography studio on West 33rd Street, near the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The actor-turned-artist had such success with portraits of the fashionable elite that he added publisher to his resume, designing a lavish magazine to present his work [see Google image above].


Unveiled on April Fool’s Day, the Burr McIntosh Monthly ran from 1903 to 1910, mixing photographs of beautiful women with celebrity profiles and serious information on the contemporary photography scene.

In particular, it is a treasure-trove on American pictorialism, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Carl Moon, and others. Issues were bound by string so the plates could easily be removed and framed. Unfortunately McIntosh’s lifestyle was equally lavish and by 1908, the Burr McIntosh studio was forced into bankruptcy. His magazine limped on for another year or so before closing.


But just as one business was ending, McIntosh announced a new vision for a colossal artists’ colony in Los Angeles and moved west. He purchased land, hired staff, and made plans. With his own funds waning, McIntosh proposed reopening his magazine and using it to fund his enterprise, but this never happened. Instead, he went back to acting, this time in films, where he is best remembered as Squire Bartlett in Way Down East directed by D.W. Griffith in 1920.;1824760


In corresponding with the Princeton alumni association in the 1930s, McIntosh lists his employer as himself, his position in the firm: “The Whole,” and the business of the firm: “Spreading Cheer.” In a second card, his business address is given as “Cross Roads of the World, 6671 Sunset Boulevard.”


The Burr McIntosh Monthly (New York: [Burr McIntosh Publishing Co., etc.] 1903-10). Firestone Library TR1 .B877

See also: Burr William McIntosh (1862-1942), Football and love; a story of the Yale-Princeton game of ’94 … (New York, London: The Transatlantic Publishing Co., 1895). Seeley G. Mudd Library (Mudd) P79.606
Burr McIntosh in The Adorable Cheat, highly recommended.


Thanks to the Mudd Library staff for their help. All documents found in the Princeton University Archives. Alumni Records, Undergraduate, Box 173.

Bingham’s Washington Crossing the Delaware

Washington Crossing the Delaware, From an unfinished painting by G. C. Bingham, between 1856 and 1871. Albumen silver print. Graphic Arts Collection GAX2017- in process.

Yet another find has been made, thanks to the renovation and reorganization of our library. This time credit goes to Steve Ferguson for identifying an albumen silver print of G.C. Bingham’s painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” taken during the many years that the work sat unfinished in the artist’s studio. It is, so far, the only image of Bingham’s painting in its earliest stages and will be extremely helpful to American painting scholars who want to study his composition and process.

“September 14, 1855, Bingham was spending most of his time on portraiture. He had opened a studio in the Grand Jury room of the courthouse at Columbia and was engaged upon a number of portraits. By the fourteenth of November he was in Jefferson City and had taken a room in the Capitol, where he remained for a month or more painting portraits. Incidentally, he exhibited in his studio there the “Verdict of the People.” Early in December he spoke in a Whig meeting in the Capitol. March 14, 1856, he was in Columbia again, engaged upon a historical painting, “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” no doubt inspired by Leutze’s popular representation of the same subject, which it resembles markedly both in composition and in purpose. For many years the picture remained unfinished, and not until eighteen years after its beginning was it actually completed. It is a large canvas, and, like Leutze’s, it is crowded and confused and wholly impossible as far as truth to nature is concerned.” —-Fern Helen Rusk, George Caleb Bingham, The Missouri Artist (1917. Marquand ND237.B5 R8)

One of the changes Bingham made between 1865 and 1871 was to remove the horse and rider behind Washington and replace it with two less active soldiers. In general, the entire background is simplified, giving a stronger focus to the central figures. Below are a few of Bingham’s other changes.

George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879), Washington Crossing the Delaware, 1856-71. Oil on canvas. Chrysler Museum of Art, Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., in honor of Walter P. Chrysler, Sr. Posted with the Chrysler’s permission.

“The painting illustrates the historic crossing of the Delaware River by George Washington and his troops.  George Caleb Bingham paints Washington seated atop a horse, which forms the apex of a pyramid, with the oars creating the base of the triangular composition.  Artists create a sense of stability and balance by using this choice of arrangement. Washington’s huddled men row across the frozen river almost directly toward the viewer. Bingham added minor embellishments to the scene.  Washington was unlikely to have been mounted on his horse for the crossing.   It would have made the ride too unstable.  In addition, the event happened in the early hours of the morning, in the dark.  Regardless, the artist is still able to capture the tense and risky crossing occurring on December 25, 1776 in a perilous snowstorm, leading to the Battle of Trenton.”–Chrysler Museum

For more information on George Washington’s campaign, see:


Ichikawa Danjuro IX (1838-1903) meets Adolfo Farsari (1841-1898)

Utagawa Yoshiiku 歌川 芳幾 (1833-1904), [Meeting between the Kabuki actor Danjuro IX and the Italian photographer Adolfo Farsari], [Tokyo: Nichinichi Shinbun, 1874]. Color woodblock print. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process A vault

“Utagawa Yoshiiku was a Japanese printmaker and illustrator. As a printmaker, he designed a wide range of prints including those depicting bijin (beautiful women), musha (warriors), yakusha (actors), and the sensationalized pictures of blood-stained mayhem called chimidoro-e and muzan-e, among others. From 1874 to 1875 he designed nishiki-e shinbun for the Tokyo newspaper Nichinichi Shimbun, which he co-founded.”

“. . . The founders of Tōkyō nichinichi shinbun are: Johno Denpei (1832-1902, pseud. “Sansantei Arindo” as gesakusha: popular fiction writer), Nishida Densuke (1838-1910, former clerk of TSUJI Den’emon’s kashihon’ya: lending library), and Ochiai Ikujiro (1833-1904, pseud. “Utagawa Yoshiiku” as Ukiyoe print artist).” –See William Wetherall’s News Nishiki website; Amy Reigle Newland, The Hotei Encyclopedia of Japanese Woodblock Prints (Hotei Publishing Company, 2005), p. 505.

One of the prints Yoshiiku designed for his newspaper was this meeting of the renowned Kabuki actor, Ichikawa Danjuro IX (1838-1903) and the Italian-born photographer, Adolfo Farsari (1841-1898).

According to the Japanese text, in May 1872 an unidentified “yojin” (“ocean person”) visited Danjuro IX backstage and asked to photograph the actor in exchange for some European cigarettes.

The Westerner, not identified in the text, was almost certainly Adolfo Farsari, who took up residence in Japan in the early 1870s and became one of the most prominent photographers in the country.


To read the entire newspaper, see: Tōkyō nichinichi shinbun [microform] = 東京日日新聞 (Tōkyō: Nippōsha, 東京 : 日報社, Feb. 21, 1872- Dec. 31, 1942). East Asian Microfilms (HYGF): Forrestal Annex Microfilm J00057

For more on Farsari, read the catalog of an exhibition held at the Villa Contarini, Piazzola sul Brenta, Italy, Dec. 18, 2011-April 1, 2012: East Zone: Antonio Beato, Felice Beato e Adolfo Farsari : fotografi veneti attraverso l’Oriente dell’Ottocento / a cura di Magda Di Siena ; testi di Magda Di Siena, Rossella Menegazzo (Crocetta del Montello (Treviso): Antiga, 2011). Marquand Library use only DS508.2 .E27 2011

Comparing collections in Oslo, Glasgow, Oxford, and Princeton

We are offering a guest post today written by Larry J. Schaaf, Director, William Henry Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonné, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford with additional information from Tone Rasch, Curator, The Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology, Oslo, Norway. Our sincere thanks to them both.

“In 2009, Tone Rasch of the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology contacted me about a mysterious paper negative in their collection [left]. It depicts a man standing among the ruins of a once-grand urban building. In 1935 this museum had been one of the recipients of Miss Matilda Talbot’s distributions of her grandfather’s photographs but I knew straight away that it was not the work of Talbot.

This negative had come into the museum through the collection of the Swedish professor of photography, Helmer Bäckstöm. He had made some notes on the negative and elsewhere suggested that it was by the Edinburgh photographers Hill & Adamson.

Some years before I had catalogued Glasgow’s collection of their work and I was immediately reminded of two negatives taken during the 1848 demolition of the 15th-century Trinity College Church, then shamefully being demolished to make way for Waverly Station. and
but the association was not convincing.”

willattsalbum_princetonQuite separately one of the entries that I contributed to the biographical dictionary in Roger Taylor’s Impressed by Light [(SAPH) Oversize TR395 .T39 2007q] a couple of years before was on John Sherrington, an English Catholic who had moved to Rotterdam in 1838 after a bank failure.

We knew very little about Sherrington’s calotypes save for the fact that some prints from them were included in the fabulous Willats album at Princeton University. Permanent Link: [leaf 37, seen left ]

I have to freely confess that none of these disparate threads came together in my mind at the time. However, for whatever reason, last week when I was reviewing the online version of the album the memories all fell into place – it is clear that the Norwegian negative and the Willats print are from the same session.

Just when was this fire that destroyed the theatre? Surely it would have been mentioned in the accounts of the Great Fire of 1849 that destroyed the commercial heart of the city, but curiously, so far no mention of the destruction by fire of the Rotterdam theatre has been traced.

What little we know of Sherrington at this point is primarily through the fame of his daughter, the soprano Madame Lemmons-Sherrington.

close-upCropped and Photoshopped

This quest fits in well with the multiple intents of the William Henry Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonné, now being prepared for online publication by the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford. We presently have item-level records on about 25,000 original negatives and prints done by Talbot and his close associates and distributed through collections worldwide. It had been common practice in the past for most any early paper photograph to be attributed to Talbot, mostly because of a lack of information on just how many photographers were experimenting on paper in the 1840s. I remember many years ago Dr David Thomas, then curator of photographs at the Science Museum, telling me that anytime somebody turned up an early paper photograph in one of their collections he simply placed it in one of the Talbot boxes because there was no other place to store it. Hence is history created. The Catalogue will recognise these historical associations and attempt to properly attribute them.”


Here Tone mentions “I contacted Martin Jürgens at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and he found another version of the Willats picture.;akten;archieven;algemeen&view=lijst&volgnummer=1&positie=7&beschrijvingssoort=157879244&doc_beschrijvingssoort=157879244&a_z=%5BARGS_PLACEHOLDER%5D This is a bit confusing because this text differs from the album text, telling that ruin is from the fire in Rotterdam in 1849 from the sugar refinery of Mr. Tromp. Not at all a theater fire.

This photograph is not attributed to Sherrington, as are 11 other photos in the city archive, among these the wheel boat that is in the Willats album as well. I have sent a mail to the archive to ask if they have any further information on Sherrington or the sugar refinery. I have also sent a mail to Copenhagen Museum that has the collection of Frederik Riise who once owned the paper negative. The text that tells about the gift of Frederik Riise is written on the back side of the negative, same thing with the unreadable words at the right side of the picture.

And just to clarify, “The paper negative was photographed in 2009 when it was mounted between two glasses with an exhibition text. As you will see, the picture is less distinctly than the newer positive print. You can see the 2009 picture here:

New information can be found at

willats-volumeThe Willats album was purchased for Princeton by Gillett Griffin (1928-2016). Please 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.

The Pioneers of Photography

The Princeton University Library is extremely fortunate to receive donations from an international family of friends and supporters throughout the year and in particular during the winter holidays. One such offering arrived today from Patrick Montgomery and The History of Photography Archive, where they have created a very clever deck of cards featuring the men and women who established photography as an art form. It will be a good addition to our small but growing collection of playing cards.


It must have been great fun deciding who was going to be a king or a queen or a joker in this deck. They seem to have made all the right choices, given the extent of their archive. Here is a short piece on Montgomery:, and a look at their website:

See also: Mercedes Grundy, An image of Jamaica : examining photographs by Valentine & Sons at the World’s Columbian Exposition, text by Mercedes Grundy; photo selection by Patrick Montgomery (Shelter Island, N.Y.: Archive Farms, 2011). Marquand Library (SAPH) Oversize TR33.J26 G78 2011q