Category Archives: prints and drawings

prints and drawings

19th-century German scrapbook needs research

Here are a few images from a recently acquired scrapbook that contains wonderful prints, cut and pasted without any additional captions by the owner. The material is primarily German, primarily late 18th and early 19th century on themes of women’s life and fashion. There are a total of 89 prints on 28 leaves, all in good condition. The image on the front cover has been identified as Seidel quarry at Rochlitz with a view of Hartenstein castle on the back cover.

This would make an interesting study in itself or part of a larger project on domestic print collecting by women. Requests for free digitization can be made here:

Decorative Fireboards

The Graphic Arts Collection is the fortunate new owner of two decorative fireboards with color woodblock prints from Zuber & cie. A fireboard or chimney board is a panel designed to cover a fireplace during the warm months of the year. Neither of these sheets are titled or dated and since the Zuber artisans preserve their woodblocks for continued use, it is difficult know where or when they were made. The blocks were likely carved in the early 19th century, while the sheets may be 20th century.

If the scenes look familiar, the design of the fireboard was often a repetition of the wallpaper and/or other design elements in the room. There are many definitions online, but most are similar:

In warm weather, a fireboard effectively reduced the number of mosquitoes and other insects, or even birds, that might enter a house through an open, damperless chimney. The board or shutterlike contrivance typically of wood or cast of sheet metal frequently decorated with painting and stencilling. Some fireboards have notches cut out of the lowest edge to accommodate andirons.

Fireboards are also called: chimney boards, chimney pieces, chimney stops, fire boards, summer boards. Store-bought chimney board papers and panels of wallpaper custom cut to match the paper chosen for walls received similar treatment. Pasted to heavy paper or canvas nailed over the edges of the frame, they were less durable than wood fireboards and therefore less popular.


See other Zuber designs here:

Conrad Rossi-Diehl

Artist and art educator Conrad Rossi-Diehl (1842-1926) was brought to the United States from Rhenish, Bavaria, as a child and spent his early years in various mid-west cities before his artistic talent became evident. When offered the chance to study in Europe, Rossi-Diehl chose to go to Munich to study under Wilhelm von Kaulbach (1805-1874), concentrating on fresco painting and elements of design. This led to various teaching positions with St. Louis Art Society, the Chicago Academy of Design and the Missouri State University, where he lasted until the spring of 1885. It was time to move to New York City.


Rossi-Diehl found work at the Hebrew Technical Institute, while organizing a weekly journal, entitled The Reflector: an Illustrated Journal Devoted to the Interests of Labor & Capital VS Monopoly. This often overlooked publication, filled with bright chromolithographs and articles about the Knights of Labor and early craft unions, only lasted from May to November 1886 but its emphasis on craft and artisan training led directly to his next venture [The Reflector is available at the Library Company and New-York Historical Society].

A plate from The Reflector reproduced in black and white in Quarter of a Millennium: The Library Company of Philadelphia, 1731-1981


At this point, Rossi-Diehl joins John Ward Stimson (1850-1930) to establish the Artist Artisan Institute also called the New-York Institute for Artist-Artisans, on West 23rd street. Stimson had been lecturing in art at Princeton College before being named Director of Art Education at the Metropolitan Museum of Art but resigned to lead his own school focused on practical art training. Both Stimson and Rossi-Diehl believed that America needed to improve the artistic nature of its manufactured products like wallpaper, book covers, and stained glass windows. Rossi-Diehl directed the drawing and design classes, emphasizing form, ornamentation, anatomy, and perspectives. Unlike his previous schools, he taught craft as art and in doing so, sought improve Americans homes and cities.


The New York Times said “Mr. Stimson’s idea in the establishment of the institute was…teaching principles instead of mere imitation, and developing the democratic American idea that art is not necessarily the mere foible of the foolish, the fad of new fashionables, or the monopoly of the speculator.” By 1890 the The Artisan-Artist Institute had 250 students with classes in painting, sculpture, architecture, illustration, etching, stain glass, ceramics, carving, metal working jewelry, interior decoration and plastic modeling. They became known as  “the most promising among the art educational institutions of the country” and 23rd Street became the center of art instruction in New York. Students included T. M. Cleland (1880-1964) and Henry McBride (1867-1962).

Meanwhile Rossi-Diehl published a variety of anatomy manuals and design books, while also writing passionate editorials for the Times and other journals. Below is a small section from “The Training of Teachers: A Review of an Argument in The Times Concerning Frederic Burk’s Book” by Rossi-Diehl, New York Times 13 Oct 1897: 6.


The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a small group of drawings by Rossi-Diehl, about whom little has been written. A short biography can be found by William Richard Cutter (1847-1918) in American biography; a new cyclopedia, and there is a brief piece in Scannell’s New Jersey First Citizens: biographies and portraits of the notable living men and women of New Jersey with informing glimpses into the state’s history and affairs (Patterson, N.J. : J.J. Scannell, 1917/1918-).




The Princeton Print Club webinar, save the date

Harry Shokler (1896-1978), Triple Arch Connecting Reunion and West College, 1945. Serigraph. Fifth print issued by the Princeton Print Club.

In 1940, Elmer Adler was invited to Princeton University for 3 years and stayed for 12 in an “experiment in the study of printing and the graphic arts.” He filled the 12 rooms at 40 Mercer Street with permanent displays of fine printing along with rotating exhibitions managed by undergraduates and supervised by Adler, who was called the Prince of Prints. They formed the Princeton Print Club to not only engage the students with a print lending library, but reach a broad community of artists, printers, and collectors.

The Princeton Print Club will be the focus of a free webinar at 2:00 edt on Friday, May 28, 2021. Julie Mellby will present an illustrated history of the organization, joined by Marilyn Kushner, New York Historical Society, who will talk about the explosion of interest in printing and print collecting at that time, and by Alexandra Letvin, from the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, where they continue to circulate fine art prints to the students each semester as part of their Art Rental program. Registration: HERE

John Taylor Arms demonstrating intaglio printing

On lending day, the boys lined up before breakfast in order to be first to see the print selection. By noon, 400 or more framed works had been circulated.

The initial idea was for Adler, with his large collection of books, plates and prints, to give informal courses in the graphic arts that would serve to stimulate the cultural interests of Princeton undergraduates. A group of students decided to go further by forming an organization whose activities would revolve around 40 Mercer (later 36 University Place) and so it was that the Princeton Print Club came into existence.

With a regular membership fee of $5 a year, the club rapidly gained support among undergraduates, faculty, and alumni until enrollment hit 100. Each member received an annual fine art print depicting the Princeton campus, as well as invitations to lectures, demonstrations, and an annual print sale. Proceeds were used to establish a circulating collection of prints and photographs lent to students at the beginning of each semester. That collection forms the basis of the current Graphic Arts Collection, now part of Firestone Library’s Special Collections.

Louis L. Novak (1903-1988), Joline-Campbell Hall from Blair Court, 1943. Linocut. Third print issued by the Princeton Print Club



Please join us at 2:00 edt on Friday, May 28, 2021. The event is free but you must register for the zoom link: HERE. For more information, please contact


The debilitated situation of France VS the flourishing condition of the United States, 1836

Conflict and contrast form the basis for this lithograph, on deposit with the Graphic Arts Collection thanks to Bruce C. Willsie, ’86. With France on the left and the United States on the right, the print even has two distinct titles, taken from separate captions on the left and right. Beneath King Louis Philippe (1773-1850) is written: “The debilitated situation of a monarchical Government when puffed up by pride and self-importance, whose resources must be wrung from the people’s hands. The difficulties to which such a State must ever be exposed.” Beneath Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) is the text: “The flourishing condition of a well-formed industrious Republic. The willingness displayed by the citizen of a free state to serve his country with his blood and fortune.” The debilitated situation of France VS the flourishing condition of the United States.


Printed in 1836 by an anonymous artist, possibly in Philadelphia, the scene presents the American superiority following the Treaty of 1831, in which France agreed to pay claims for Napoleonic depredations on American shipping (specifically, France agreed to pay 25 million francs, and in return, the United States paid a small sum to extinguish French claims against the American government and reduced the duties on French wines).

On the American right side a trunk is filled with bags of money while on the left, the French trunk is overturned with bills spilling out on the ground. The officers on the right are proud and sure of themselves while on the French left the men are unsure, fighting amongst themselves. Between them lies an ocean with an equal number of battle ships ready for war.



A center medallion includes lines from Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, slightly altering the beginning:

Can [tyrants but by tyrants conquer’d be,
And] Freedom find no champion and no child
Such as Columbia saw arise when she
Sprung forth a Pallas, arm’d and undefiled?
Or must such minds be nourish’d in the wild,
Deep in the unpruned forest, ‘midst the roar
Of cataracts, where nursing Nature smiled
On infant Washington? Has Earth no more
Such seeds within her breast, or Europe no such shore?


A Complete Stranger’s Guide through London


Thanks to a deposit by Bruce C. Willsie ’86, the Graphic Arts Collection now holds 51 of the 88 separate engravings covering 74 London streets published by John Tallis (1818-1876) from 1838 to 1840. Exceptionally rare, these unbound prints were originally published in parts and only later as a bound set. Tallis promised that his directory to the buildings and businesses on each street would be corrected and updated every month. The elaborate title explains it all:

Tallis’s London Street Views, Upwards of One Hundred Buildings in Each Number, Elegantly Engraved on Steel; with a Commercial Directory Corrected Every Month, The Whole Forming a Complete Stranger’s Guide Through London, and by Reference, from the Directory to the Engraving, Will Be Seen All The Public Buildings, Places of Amusement, Tradesmen’s Shops, Name and Trade of Every Occupant, &c. &c. To Which Is Added an Index Map of the Streets, From a New Actual Survey, Now Making, At a Cost of Upwards of One Thousand Pounds; and a Faithful History and Description of Every Object Worthy of Notice, Intended To Assist Strangers Visiting the Metropolis, Through All the Mazes Without a Guide. London: published by John Tallis, 15, St. John’s Lane, St. John’s Gate; and regularity kept by al booksellers and toy shops, in England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. Each street may be had separately.

The narrow format made each sheet easy to fold and carry in your pocket for onsite reference, but may also explain their scarcity today. The guides were used so frequently, they eventually fell apart and were discarded.

Each view on two attached sheets, offers both sides of a street, along with one fully engraved and aquatinted building and a map of the area at either end. One typically sold for 1½d. Owners paid extra to have the name of their business engraved over the building or featured at the end of the sheet.


Read more: Alison O’Byrne & Jon Stobart (2017) “Introduction: Roundtable on John Tallis’s London Street Views (1838–1840),” Journal of Victorian Culture, 22:3, 287-296, DOI: 10.1080/13555502.2017.1327196

For a digital view of Tallis’s Streets, see: The map here shows the locations of the Street Views depicted; each marker is placed at the center of the appropriate plate. For more on the Street Views, see the Museum of London’s project or the London Topographical Society’s publications on the subject.


Remarks on the Jacobiniad, 1795

“Say who for Larning, ever equalled I?” Slightly photoshopped

Remarks on the Jacobiniad was a ten-part series published in the Boston Federal Orrery between Dec. 8, 1794 and Jan. 22, 1795, satirizing the Democratic-Republican societies in Boston. Disguised as a serious literary review of a fictitious poem, “The Jacobiniad,” the parts were later published in pamphlet form and attributed to John Sylvester John Gardiner (1765–1830), an Episcopal priest and rector at Trinity Church, Boston (DAB).

While not the earliest American political caricatures, the six engraved plates in Remarks on the Jacobiniad are rare examples of 18th-century colonial American satire. Various almanacs of the period also contain plates making fun of political figures, such as “Washington with Federal Constitution and Benjamin Franklin in chariot pulled by thirteen freemen, representing the original thirteen states,” from Bickerstaff’s Boston Almanack, or Federal calendar for 1788. Graphic Arts Collection Oversize Hamilton 44.

John Sylvester John Gardiner (1765-1830).] Remarks on the Jacobiniad: Revised and corrected by the author; and embellished with Carricatures [sic]. Part First. Boston: E. W. Weld and W. Greenough, 1795. 6 engraved plates. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2021- in process

“Inspired by the political clubs of revolutionary France (the Jacobins being the most famous), American Democratic clubs formed in the early 1790s in most major cities, often boasting among their members some of the most prominent political names of the period (Sam Adams in Boston, the Livingston family in New York). Their increasingly vocal reaction to the Federalist administration prompted a series of mock-epic responses in 1794 and 1795, including Lemuel Hopkins’s The Democratiad, Boston poet John Sylvester John Gardiner’s Remarks on the Jacobiniad, and Democracy: An Epic Poem (Franklin 1970, vi).

In each case, the object of satire is not merely the political views of the Democrats but their preferred mode of discourse, the open “town-meeting”-style forum. Recasting such debates as travesties of the grand debates found in serious epics like The Iliad and Paradise Lost, the Federalist Wits portrayed their Democratic opponents as disorderly buffoons, wholly incapable of governing even their own meetings, much less the nation as a whole.”

–Colin Wells, “Revolutionary Verse,” The Oxford Handbook of Early American Literature Edited by Kevin J. Hayes Mar 2008. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195187274.013.0023

“[George] Washington, disturbed by the strong political disagreements of his era and eager to retire to his home, Mount Vernon, eliminated himself as a candidate in 1796. A vigorous campaign between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson ensued, resulting in the election of Adams. These cartoons are caricatures of Democratic-Republicans from a pamphlet containing the satirical poem Remarks on the Jacobiniad. The Republicans were nicknamed Jacobins after the Parisian radicals, reflecting the Republicans’ general support of the French Revolution. Federalists, on the other hand, upheld Washington’s strict course of neutrality and feared the spread of Jacobinism in the country.”

— Laurel Grunat, Mitchel Grunat, and Robert Goehlert, Presidential Campaigns, a Cartoon history, Indiana University Libraries Bloomington, 1976

Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828), John Sylvester John Gardiner (1765-1830), c. 1810-1820. Oil on panel. Boston Athenaeum.

John Gardiner was born in Wales but spent much of his youth in the West Indies, where his father served for the British government as attorney-general. He was sent to Boston for his education, returning to Britain only at the outbreak of the American Revolution. In 1783, however, he moved permanently to Boston and was eventually named rector of Trinity Church. He was a published author and a founder of the Boston Athenaeum.






His lean left hand he stretched, as if to smite / And, mansir l, groped his breeches with his right.




Feminist Cartooning: Winnie Winkle, the Breadwinner


Before Working Girl, 9 to 5, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, or even Our Miss Brooks, which each featured single females in the mostly male world of business, there was the groundbreaking Winnie Winkle. She was the iconic working girl of the 20th century, who first appeared on September 20, 1920, in the comic strip Winnie Winkle, the Breadwinner, written and drawn by cartoonist Martin Branner. The 19th amendment granting women the right to vote in the United States had only been ratified a month earlier on August 18.

The comic strip was such a success in Chicago and New York City that the character continued to appear for more than seventy years, with the final strip published July 28, 1996. Needless to say, Winnie changed a great deal over the years, married, had children, lost husbands, ran her own company, and so on. For some, she was at her best in the original 1920s stories, when she worked as a secretary/stenographer for Mr. Bibbs.


At home, Winnie’s mother worked equally hard while her father did all he could to avoid getting a job. He never tired of living off his daughter, just as her many bosses found ways to slack off while at the office. Surprisingly, Winnie was based on Branner’s own wife, “who worked with her husband in the production of the cartoon strip”:

“Winnie Winkle sprang from the pen of Connecticut’s Martin Branner, who drew his inspiration for the comic-strip beauty from his long-time wife Edith Fabbrini. The couple met when Martin was 18 and Edith 15. They married and for 15 years were headliners on the vaudeville circuit as the dance team Martin and Fabbrini. Martin left the theater to serve in World War I in the Chemical Warfare Service. Exhausted by tapping out two and three shows a day on the Keith Orpheum and Pantages vaudeville circuits, Martin (called Mike by his friends) began developing his talent for drawing. The couple hailed from New York, but settled in Waterford, Conn. One of their lasting legacies can be seen in the town’s seal, which the couple designed.”–

San Francisco Enquirer 1917






From 1926 to 1928, ten Winnie Winkle the Breadwinner movies were produced, written by Branner and starring Ethelyn Gibson as Winnie, with Billy West as director: Working Winnie (1926); Happy Days (1926); Winnie’s Birthday (1926); Oh! Winnie Behave (1926); Winnie’s Vacation (1927); Winnie Wakes Up (1927); Winnie Steps Out (1927); Winnie Be Good (1927); Winning Winnie (1927); and Winnie’s Winning Ways (1928). Here is a bit from Winnie’s Vacation:

Théâtre des voyages

Théâtre des voyages. Le Tour du monde par un petit français. Grand spectacle en 24 tableaux (Paris: M.-D. [i.e. Mauclair-Dacier] Editeur and J.J.F. [i.e Jeux et Jouets Français]. [1905]. Series: Théâtre des voyages et des actualities. Cotsen Collection (CTSN) Toys 46025

A recent search through our collections of paper theaters led to one particularly rare item in the Cotsen Children’s Library A multi-media Théâtre des voyages, this home theater comes with a music box for sound to accompany a scrolling 17 foot vertical panorama with 24 lithographic scenes and titles on either end. The narrative takes a young French boy on a world tour from France to New York City, the Rocky Mountains, mining for gold in the Klondike, hunting with indigenous people in the mid-West and Alaska, attending a marriage in Peking, getting arrested in Bangkok, feasting in Benares, crossing the Siberian steppe and on to Moscow, being enslaved and sold by Tuaregs, escaping to ride the rapids of the Oubangi to Brazzaville, traveling through Africa to Algiers, Marseilles, and finally home.

The toy theater was produced and sold by Mauclair-Dacier, who established his own business in 1887, which ran successfully through 1904 when he was taken over by JJF (Jeux et Jouets Français).

While many of the scenes are politically incorrect as might be expected of a 1905 toy, others are surprisingly egalitarian, such as the multi-racial orchestra playing below the proscenium arch throughout the entire show.

The rolling narrative is interrupted by sliding ‘tableaux lumineux’ (hold to light slides) mounted on wooden frames that slide through the top of the box and cover the scroll while it changes scene. Here are a few examples:.








For other Cotsen treasures, see:

Life Post Quarantine

For those of us who came back to a physical office or work place last year, it can be hard to now share the streets with the rest of the world. New drivers are crazy and even the sidewalks can be dangerous. Be careful out there.

George Cruikshank (1792-1878) after George Moutard Woodward (approximately 1760-1809), The Art of Walking the Streets of London, Plate 1 and 2. January 1, 1818. Etching with hand-coloring. Graphic Arts collection GC022 Cruikshank prints. Gift of Richard W. Meirs, Class of 1888.

The British Museum notes: The title is from Gay’s ‘Trivia’. Woodward died in 1809; the costume of the principal figures has been brought up-to-date. Both plates are said to be from the ‘Caricature Magazine’. Reid, No. 764. Cohn, No. 898.