Category Archives: prints and drawings

prints and drawings

Eunice Burton Berger’s printing plates and illustrated music

When an author finishes a book or a poem, she sends the text off to a publisher. When a painter finishes an oil painting, it is hung in a gallery so buyers can see and hopefully, buy it. What happens to a composer who writes music for a marching band? How do you print the 35 parts and have them distributed to be copyrighted and played? The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a suitcase filled with the printing plates, proof sheets, and published music by Eunice Burton Berger (ca.1888-1966), a Dorchester, Massachusetts musician who did just that. Together with her husband, Louis H. Berger (1879-1965), an engineering and surveying instrument manufacturer, Berger wrote, printed, promoted, and sold her music to radio programs, military bands, and national music companies.

Note the initials, E.B.B. by the handle.

One of many examples of her self-promotion is a reply she received from Harvey S. Firestone Jr., Princeton University class of 1920 (1898-1973) and son of Harvey S. Firestone (1868-1938), in whose memory Princeton University’s Firestone Library is named. In addition to managing the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, both father and son sponsored The Voice of Firestone (originally called The Firestone Hour), a radio broadcast on NBC Radio beginning on December 3, 1928, featuring classical musicians and popular Broadway stars. The show later became the first series to be simulcast on both radio and television, and Harvey Jr. actively managed both the radio and television programs. [Broadcasts archived]It is unknown whether Berger’s music was ever included in one of the Firestone broadcasts.


Berger’s compositions include: “On the Brink,” “The Song of the Sea,” “The Spirit of Our Forefathers,” all copyrighted by her between 1939 and 1943, plus “Men of the Sea,” copyrighted in 1960. A few additional poems and partially completed musical scores are also found in her suitcase, along with correspondence between Berger and various members of the branches of the service thanking her for sending her scores. Copyright notices and certificates from the Library of Congress are present for each of her compositions along with paste-ups and proof at each stage of the printing process. There are contracts for royalties and research on the art to be included on the sheet music.

Engraved metal plates for “The Spirit of our Forefathers” come with instructions to the engraver as to what Berger wanted changed or improved. Although she shared credit with Charles E. George, bandmaster of the Irving Post of the American Legion in Roslindale, Massachusetts, on this and several other songs, it was Mr. and Mrs. Berger who produced sheet music and endlessly promoted the work.


The Spirit of Our Forefathers music by Charles E. George and lyrics by Eunice Burton Berger

The 35 marching band parts for “On the Brink,” copyright applied for October 31, 1939, include Berger’s notation additions and printed title laid down at the head of the page. There is a contract dated August 31, 1944, between Eunice Burton Berger and Broadcast Music wherein she gives them exclusive rights to perform “The Song of the Sea” for five years, and they agree to pay her royalties. Along with this are four small brass plaques commemorating relatives lost at sea, possibly the inspiration for several of her song.

The remainder of the material includes a family genealogy by Berger, a number of photographs, and love letters between the dedicated couple. Canadian-born Eunice Burton Berger was married twice, first to Charles Redmond in Canada, and then to Louis H. Berger, a partner in his father C.L. Berger’s firm in Boston, manufacturers of Engineering and Surveying Instruments. The couple lived in the Dorchester section of Boston.

Washington Fought Here

D. McLellan, after a painting by Brückner, Washington at Princeton, Jan. 3, 1777, 1853. Lithograph with hand coloring. “Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1853 by Blanckmeister and Hohlfeld in the Clerk’s office of the District court.” Graphic Arts Collection

This fall a group of Princeton students will study the 1777 Battle of Princeton in a class entitled “Battle Lab”. The class description reads,

“Revolution! Espionage! Alexander Hamilton! George Washington! Cannon fire on Nassau Hall! This fall, think outside of the classroom and explore the past in your own backyard: Revolutionary-era Princeton and the physical remains of the legendary battle between American and British forces on January 3, 1777. What happened on that day? Who died? Where are their bones? Why are lawyers fighting over the land? In this new, interdisciplinary course, you will undertake to answer these questions and help solve the longstanding puzzle of the Battle of Princeton. In the process, you will explore how events of the past persistently shape the present day.”

They will also draw on our George Washington collection of lithographs and engravings, as well as the John Trumbull (1756-1843) sketches and watercolors.

Henry Hoff, Surrender of the Hessian Troops to General Washington, after The Battle of Trenton, 1850. Lithograph with hand coloring. “Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1850 by Henry Hoff in the Clerk’s office of the District court of the Southern District of New York.” Graphic Arts Collection

Jean Nicolas Laugier (1785-1875) after a painting by Léon Cogniet (1794-1880), Washington, ca. 1839. Engraving. Graphic Arts Collection.

Nathaniel Orr, George Washington vignettes, no date. Wood engraving. Graphic Arts Collection.


Henry Hoff, Washington Crossing the Delaware, 1850. Lithograph with hand coloring. “Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1850 by Henry Hoff in the Clerk’s office of the District court of the Southern District of New York.” Graphic Arts Collection



Satirical Pudding

Asked yesterday to find the satirical print with the pudding led to a search. Here are some of the prints that were found.

Thomas Rowlandson (1756 or 1757-1827), The Spanish Pye, A Ditty for Young Patriots, September 3, 1808. Hand colored etching. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Rowlandson 1807.51f. Gift of Dickson Q. Brown, Class of 1895.


James Gillray (1757-1815), The Plumb-Pudding in Danger-or State Epicures Taking un petit souper, February 26, 1805. Hand colored etching. Graphic Arts collection GA 2006.01303. Gift of Dickson Q. Brown, Class of 1895.


Sharpshooter [John Phillips (active 1840-1852)], Emancipation Pudding; or, Who are the Carvers, March 1829. Etching. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2011.00981. Gift of Dickson Q. Brown, Class of 1895.


J. Josephs, A Cut, ca. 1818. Hand colored etching. British Museum.


The Commercial Treaty; or John Bull Changing Beef and Pudding for Frogs and Soup Maigre!, November 25, 1786. Hand colored etching. British Museum.

George III, dressed as a cook but wearing a ribbon and star, advances from the left with a large dish of ribs of beef. He is followed by (presumably) Queen Charlotte as a cook-maid carrying a pudding. They meet a grotesquely caricatured Frenchman and Frenchwoman, probably intended for Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. The man strides forward holding out a dish of frogs; he is foppishly dressed with a long queue and sword; the woman wears a cap but is dressed in the fashion with very projecting bust and ‘derrière’; on the latter at her back is seated a monkey. She holds a small dish or cup. Beside George III is a stolid English dog; a lean French greyhound stands on his hind legs begging for English beef. In the centre, above and between the two men, is a knife inscribed ‘Margaret Nicholson’s Knife’–British Museum

Charles Williams, John Bull taking a lunch- or Johnny’s purveyors pampering his appetite with dainties from all parts of the world, November 1, 1798. Hand colored etching. British Museum.


Isaac Cruikshank, Sancho alias Ioe Butt’s entertainment on taking possession of his new government!, August 30, 1808. Hand colored etching. British Museum.


Marie-Hélène Vieira da Silva (1908-1992)

Marie-Hélène Vieira da Silva (1908-1992) and Léopold Sedar Senghor (1906-2001), Élégie pour Philippe-Maguilen Senghor pour orchestre de jazz et chœur polyphonique et Soudainement, La terre, Le ciel, trois gravures originales de Vieira da Silva (Paris: Galerie Jeanne Bucher, [1986]). In-folio, 450 x 300: (15 ff. premier et dernier blancs), couverture muette. En feuilles, couverture rempliée, chemise à rabats d’édition.

Very rare edition of this poem written by Senghor in homage to his son who died in 1981, illustrated with 3 original full-page engravings by Vieira da Silva and printed in an edition of 72 copies on Japan, signed by the author and the artist.


Marie-Hélène Vieira da Silva (1908-1992)

Léopold Sedar Senghor (1906-2001)

Isabella Piccini

Antonio de Solis y Ribadeneyra. Istoria della conquista del Messico della popolazione, e de’ Progressi nell’America Settentrionale (Venice: Poletti, 1715). Engraved frontispiece portrait and seven additional plates. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2018- in process


We recently acquired the second Italian edition of this account of the conquest of Mexico by Spanish forces under Hernando Cortéz (1485-1547). The work describes the three years between the appointment of Cortéz as commander of the invasion expedition and the fall of Mexico City.

Solis was private secretary to Philip IV and considered the “cronista mayor de Indias.” His account contains three marvelous full-page engraved portraits of the author, Cortéz, and Montezuma by the famous printmaker Suor Isabella Piccini and five other plates engraved by Alessandro della Via, illustrating significant scenes of the conquest.


For the Graphic Arts Collection, it is the engraver Suor Isabella Piccini (1644-1734), who is of particular importance. The daughter of the printer Giacomo Piccini (died 1669), she is becoming better known for her many 17th- and 18th-century engraved portraits commissioned by Venetian publishers. See also:  Not unlike the 20th-century Sister Corita Kent (1918-1986), Piccini sent much of her time in the Convent of Santa Croce creating art, in particular to illustrate prayer books and manuals.


Alessandro della Via (active 1688–1724) also engraved book plates and portraits in Venice at this time but little more is known of his biography.


School Begins

Giulio Tomba (about 1780-1841) after Felice Giani (1758-1823). Rosaspina’s Zeichnungsschule [Rosaspina’s Drawing School], ii/ii. Nuremberg: Johann Friedrich Frauenholz, 1811. Etching and engraving and drypoint. Graphic Arts Collection GAX

The Italian printmaker Francesco Rosaspina (1762-1841) taught engraving at the Accademia di Belle Arti [the Academy of Fine Arts] in Bologna. This scene shows the master sitting at the top of the table, along with various female bystanders only allowed to watch. State i/ii [above] of the print is held at the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University M25869, showing us the various objects in the room before the dark shadows were added. The engraver Giulio Tomba was a student of Rosaspina and could be represented by one of the figures around the table.

Color printing by Jean Robert, assistant to J. C. Le Blon

For those who study the history of printed color, the German printer Jacob Christoph Le Blon (1667-1741) is celebrated for his development of three and four color prints. We usually think of the deluxe editions he produced but forget his three-color system was also used on simple, utilitarian volumes.

Thanks go to Charles B. Wood III, who found this work on obstetrics by Angélique Marguerite Le Boursier Du Coudray (1712-1789). the pioneering midwife who published the manual on childbirth, developed from the lectures and classes she gave throughout Europe. The illustrations are beautifully printed in colors by Le Blon’s assistant Jean Robert (active 1746-1782) and the frontispiece portrait of Du Coudray is also engraved by Robert.

Angélique Marguerite Le Boursier du Coudray (1715-1794), Abbrégé de l’art des accouchemens, dans lequel on donne les préceptes nécessaires pour le mettre heureusement en pratique. On y a joint plusieurs observations intéressantes sur des cas singuliers. Ouvrage très-utile aux jeunes Sages-Femmes, & généralement à tous les éléves en cet art, qui désirent de s’y rendre habiles. Nouvelle édition, enrichie de figures en taille-douce enluminées. Par Madame Le Boursier du Coudray, ancienne maîtresse sage-femme de Paris (Saintes: Pierre Toussaints. Libraire, imprimeur du Roi, rue Saint Maur. M. DCC. LXIX [1769]). Rare Books and Special Collections RG93 .xD8

See also the 1756 book engraved by Pierre François Tardieu (1711–1771) and Jean Robert (active 1746–1782), and printed by Pierre Gilles Le Mercier (active 1735–1766): “Coloritto or the Harmony of Colouring in Painting” in Antoine Gautier de Montdorge (1701-1768), L’art d’imprimer les tableaux, traité d’après les écrits, les opérations & les instructions verbales, de J. C. Le Blon (Paris: Chés P. G. Le Mercier … Jean-Luc Nyon … Michel Lambert … 1756). Graphic Arts Collection 2004-3391N.

Curtis in Alaska

While Edward Curtis (1868-1952) is best remembered for his 2,200 photogravures (ink prints from photographic negatives) published in the 20 volume set, The North America Indian, he began publishing his photographs with images from the Alaskan/Yukon Gold Rush of 1897, and more importantly, as one of the official photographers on E.H. Harriman’s Alaskan expedition of 1899. It was through the Harriman project that Curtis was introduced to the master printers at John Andrew and Son in Boston, who transformed his glass positives into rich aquatinted photogravures. Curtis went on to enlist their services again with his own mammoth series.

When Curtis knew them, the engraving firm was in its thirtieth year, run by John’s son George Theodore Andrew (1843-1934) and their technical skill made it worth the cross-country shipping. Although the scale of the Alaska prints does not compare with the prints in The North American Indian, many of the photogravures in Alaska are equally rich in detail and texture.

The Harriman Expedition to Alaska was the last great 19th-century survey of the North American frontier…

Curtis’ relationship with Harriman, Robert Grinnel, a leading ethnographic expert on Native Americans and other members of the party had a great influence on the rest of his life. After a trip of nine thousand miles the party returned with five thousand pictures and over six hundred animal and plant species new to science. New glaciers were mapped and photographed and a new fjord was discovered. Curtis photographed many of the glaciers, but it was his Indian pictures on this trip that established his artistic genius. Curtis produced a souvenir album of photographs for the participants.

Harriman Alaska Expedition (1899), Alaska… (New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1901). “Advertisement. The publication of the series of volumes on the Harriman Alaska Expedition of 1899, heretofore privately printed, has been transferred to the Smithsonian institution by Mrs. Edward H. Harriman, and the work will hereafter be known as the Harriman Alaska series of the Smithsonian institution. The remainder of the edition of volumes I to V, and VIII to XIII, as also volumes VI and VII in preparation, together with any additional volumes that may hereafter appear, will bear special Smithsonian title pages. Smithsonian institution … July, 1910.” ReCAP WA Q115 .H2 1901

Alice Guy Blaché, First Female Filmmaker

Detail from Hook and Hand [poster] from [Alice Guy] Blaché productions. Chromolithograph. 1913. Film opened February 1914, directed by Herbert Blache.

From 1896 to 1906 Alice Guy was probably the only woman film director in the world. She had begun as a secretary for Léon Gaumont and made her first film in 1896. After that first film she directed and produced or supervised almost six hundred silent films ranging in length from one minute to thirty minutes, the majority of which were of the single-reel length. In addition, she also directed and produced or supervised one hundred and fifty synchronized sound films for the Gaumont Chronophone.

See also:
Emmanuelle Gaume, Alice Guy, la première femme cinéaste de l’histoire : roman (Paris: Editions Plon, [2015]). Firestone Library PQ2707.A945 A625 2015
Daniel Chocron, Alice Guy: pionnière du cinéma ([Paris]: Jardin d’essai, c2013). Firestone Library PN1998.3.G89 C46 2013
Alison McMahan, Alice Guy Blaché: lost visionary of the cinema (New York; London: Continuum, 2002). ReCAP PN1998.3.G89 M39 2002

José Angel Toirac’s “Parables”

Parables, with Cuban artist José Angel Toirac and writer Robert Glück, is an extension of Toirac’s life project of examining how the Cuban State has used press imagery to manufacture consent and sell the Revolution which Fidel lead in 1959,” writes Loring McAlpin, ’83. “It’s a sumptuous book meant to be a scripture for Fidel and the Cuban Revolution.”

You may have missed the evening last spring at The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS), Harvard University, where Toirac, Glück, and McAlpin present their limited edition, fine press book gathering photographs from magazines and newspapers like Granma, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, and re-purposing the Cuban Revolution as a Gospel, a new religion with a new scripture.

But you can still catch them if you happen to be in Washington D.C. in October 2018, when artists Meira Marrero, Loring McAlpin, and José Angel Toirac will join in a conversation about Parables with Michelle Bird at National Gallery of Art.

They note:

Parables (the project/exhibition) by Meira Marrero and José Angel Toirac is a collection of 33 photographs of Cuban life published by the official Cuban press. Sources range from magazines and newspapers like Granma, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, to books on the history of the revolution. These photographs constitute a narrative of the Cuban Revolution as well as a retelling of the Gospels, with Fidel Castro performing the life of Christ from his childhood in Nazareth to his ascension into Heaven. Just as Christianity appropriated pagan festivals, the Cuban state has incorporated biblical stories into its narrative of the Revolution. Christian expressions have been fashioned into official slogans such as “these are the days to unite.”

In Parables the religious roots of this idolatry are exposed. Poet, fiction writer, editor, and New Narrative theorist Robert Glück was invited to write the “scripture” accompanying these images, as if compelled by the faith they conveyed, without mention of either Fidel or Jesus. Parables (the book) is a limited-edition artist book of 33 parables, each with a corresponding image, designed by Cynthia Madansky and Loring McAlpin.

In Fidel’s Shadow: Cuban History (and Futures), One Year On


José Angel Toirac, Meira Marrero, and Robert Glück, Parables, design by Cynthia Madansky and Loring McAlpin ([New York?]: Faithful Castle Press, 2017). Graphic Arts Collection 2018 in process.