Category Archives: prints and drawings

prints and drawings

Nathaniel Orr and Company

Orr Family Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

“If you would like,” wrote J. A. Adams, “I can give you constant work on these drawings for 18 or 20 months. I would rather you would come to this city, as it would be more convenient. Please let me know whether you can devote your whole time to them or how many you can do.” The offer was made in the summer of 1843 to Nathaniel Orr (1822-1908). Engraver Joseph Alexander Adams (103-1880) and in turn, the artist of the original designs John Gadsby Chapman (1808-1889), were both exceedingly pleased with the young artist’s work and thanks to this offer, Orr moved to New York City to work full-time on an Harper and Brother’s Illustrated Bible.

In the 1850s, Orr established his own firm and needed a logo. Various drawings survive leading to several wood engravings used in advertising, stationery, and other N. Orr and Company information. Two of his engraved blocks are held in the Orr Family Papers, collected by his daughter and donated to the University of Florida.

Woodblock seen above, at an angle with raked light and below, straight on from the top.

A second version of Nathaniel Orr’s company logo can be seen below. If it looks familiar, it was the logo borrowed by Sinclair Hamilton, Class of 1906, and stamped on the cover of his book: Early American Book Illustrators and Wood Engravers 1670-1870 (with the inner text changed to present his own information). It would have been kinder if Hamilton had included an entry on Nathaniel Orr either in his first volume or the supplement.


The earliest version of this design was printed in 1843 [seen below], when Nathaniel Orr first moved from Albany to New York City.


A third design was created for the head of Orr’s stationery near the end of his career. After several tries, seen below, the final design was printed.

Orr Family Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

The Valise

Latin American Studies and the Graphic Arts Collection are collaborating on the purchase of the limited edition publication La valija (The Valise), which was unveiled Tuesday night at the Museum of Modern Art. The collective artists’ project unites seven South American artists—Johanna Calle (Bogotá, Colombia), Matías Duville (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Maria Laet (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Mateo López (Bogotá, Colombia), Nicolás Paris (Bogota, Colombia), Rosângela Rennó (Belo Horizonte, Brazil), and Christian Vinck Henriquez (Maracaibo, Venezuela)—with the Argentine writer César Aria.

The artists created over 50 original artworks responding to Aria’s novel Un episodio en la vida del pintor viajero (An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter), which follows the German painter Johann Moritz Rugendas’s 1837 journey through South America.

Designed to fit in a special valise, the works include original prints, maps, artist’s books, airmail envelopes, origami toys, posters, a sound recording, and a hand blown glass sculpture, all reflecting the artists’ shared affinity for geography, travel literature, and book-making.








To celebrate the publication of The Valise, Aria gave a private reading for members of the Library Council of The Museum of Modern Art. He told the audience that he had wanted to be a painter but now paints with his words. Rejecting computers, Aria said he prefers to write using a fountain pen (he has an extensive collection) on good heavy paper.







For more information on this project, see

The novelist was recently profiled in The New Yorker to mark the publication of Ema the Captive, his 13th novel in English. See: Alena Graedon, “César Aira’s Infinite Footnote to Borges,” The New Yorker, January 27, 2017

Probably the best seller of 1786

A Wonderful Discovery of a Hermit Who Lived Upwards of 200 Years ([United States: s.n., 1786?]). Broadside with hand colored woodcut. Sinclair Hamilton Collection of American Illustrated Books. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Hamilton 110

An Account of the Wonderful Old Hermit’s Death, and Burial ([Boston?: Printed by Ezekiel Russell?, 1787?]). Broadside with hand colored woodcut. Sinclair Hamilton Collection of American Illustrated Books. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Hamilton 111

The Sinclair Hamilton collection holds two broadsides concerning a hermit “who lived upwards of 200 years.” In the first, the hermit (who told everything but his name) was discovered in 1785 by “two Virginia gentlemen, Captain James Buckland and Mr. John Fielding.” The second describes a visit in 1786 by Dr. Samuel Brake, who offered the hermit a drink of rum, his first drink of alcohol and shortly after, the hermit died. “A deplorable ending to a man who had lived 200 years without liquor and might have lived 200 years more had he not drank that horrid draught!”

The text in each of the broadsides was also published in small booklets, which sold well.

“Probably the best domestic seller of 1786 was James Buckland’s An Account of the Discovery of a Hermit, Who Lived about 200 Years in a Cave at the Foot of a Hill, 73 Days Journey Westward of the Great [Allegheny] Mountains, which appeared in that year at [Pittsburgh], Portsmouth, Middletown, New Haven, Norwich, and Boston, and which went through several myth-adding editions in the next few years.”

“Its vogue is noted here merely to emphasize the fact that the American public was becoming prepared for that literary enfranchisement noticeable in the last years of the eighteenth century.” –Earl L. Bradsher, The Cambridge History of American Literature: Later National Literature: pt. II (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1921).

“The next day they did not depart as they had proposed, but being so much pleased, they tarried several days. At their departure they used their utmost endeavours to persuade the Hermit to come off with them; but he refused, and said he had been exceeding happy in their company, and could have entertained them longer; as for leaving his Cave he could not, he thought Heaven had provided that place for his dwelling, in which he ever expected to reside while he lived in this world. Notwithstanding his reluctance to leave his Cave, he was exceedingly affected with their leaving him, he wept like a child, and taking Capt Buckland by the hand, he embraced him, wishing him prosperity, after which they departed.”

In American Bibliography: 1786-1789 (1912), Charles Evans lists the following works by James Buckland:

19527 — An Account of the Discovery of a Hermit, Who Lived about 200 Years in a Cave, at the Foot of a Hill, 73 Days Journey Westward of the Great [Allegheny] Mountains Written By James Buckland And John Fielding, The Persons Who Discovered Him. [Pittsburgh]: Printed by John Scott and Joseph Hall, 1786.

19528 — The Remarkable Discovery of an American Hermit, Who Lived Upwards of 220 Years. Portsmouth: Printed and sold by George Jerry Osborne. 1786.

19529 — A Surprizing Account of an Old Hermit Lately Discovered in America; To Which Is Added, an Elegant Engraved Typographical Plate, Containing the Hermit, and the Travellers who Discovered Him… Middletown: Printed and sold by Woodward and Green. 1786.

19530 — A Surprizing Account of an Old Hermit, Lately Discovered in America. With an Elegant Engraved Typographical Plate, Containing the Hermit and the Travellers Who Discovered Him.  New-Haven: Printed by Daniel Bowen. 1786.

19531 — A Wonderful Discovery of an Old Hermit, Who Lived Upwards of Two Hundred Years. [Ornament.] Norwich: Printed by John Trumbull, M.DCC.LXXXVI.

19532 — A Wonderful Discovery of a Hermit! And a Most Remarkable Narrative of a Citizen of London, Who Left his Native Country on Account of Being Connected with a Nobleman’s Daughter, and Sailed in a Ship Bound for Italy . . .  [Boston: Printed by Ezckiel Russell and] Sold at the Office near Liberty Pole, [1786].

A Letter to Bailey and His Elephant, part 3

Thanks to the help of Jennifer Lemmer Posey, Associate Curator of the Circus Museum at The Ringling and Editor of Bandwagon, The Journal of the Circus Historical Society, we have the identity of the gentlemen seated above, drawn on an envelope by Henry Herman Cross (1837-1918) and mailed June 30, 1884, to James Anthony Bailey (1847-1906).

He is the entrepreneur and circus owner Adam John Forepaugh (1831-1890), once called ‘the Nobelist Roman of them all.’ From 1865 through 1890, Forepaugh owned and operated a circus under various names including Forepaugh’s Circus, The Great Forepaugh Show, The Adam Forepaugh Circus, and Forepaugh & The Wild West. His operations were at least equal to or larger than those of P. T. Barnum.

Forepaugh’s outfit “even claimed forty elephants for the 1883 season in response to the birth of P. T. Barnum’s ‘baby elephant’ at his winter quarters barns in Bridgeport the year before. The ‘Elephant wars’ of the 1880s were a result of a generation of gambling management tactics that many people understood as bluster.” — Susan Nance, “Entertaining Elephants: Animal Agency and the Business of the American Circus,” JHU Press, Jan 14, 2013.

The first attempt to produce a fine piece of book-making in America

After appearing in 54 numbers (28 pages each), Harper’s Illuminated and New Pictorial Bible came out in all its morocco-bound, hand-tooled, gold-embossed, and gilt-edged glory in the early part of 1846. Frank Weitenkampf called it “the first richly illustrated book in the United States, the first attempt to produce a fine piece of book-making.” By 1859 the Bible had sold 25,000 copies at more than a half million dollars retail. –details from Eugene Exman, The Brothers Harper (Z473.H29 E9 1965).

The total edition is uncertain since a large number of copies were lost in their building fire of 1853.

The initial idea came from the engraver Joseph Alexander Adams (1803-1880), who contracted with Harper’s on the guarantee of half the final profits from the Bible.  According to Exman:

Adams was “concerned with the problem of printing wood engravings, especially to find a border that would both support and protect the blocks. In 1839, he developed a galvanic process whereby an electric current passing through a solution holding copper would coat a wax mold of his border engraving with a shell of copper. This shell, when affixed to a block, gave the necessary support to the engraving itself. This discovery, now known as electrotyping was simultaneously developed that same year by two Englishmen and a Russian.

Another mechanical aid was the development of the six-roller press by Isaac Adams (not related to the engraver) and his brother Seth of Boston. This press was first put into operation at Cliff Street in 1840. Since the Adams press could take a larger sheet than other presses, this may have been the reason for the decision to issue the Harper-Adams Bible in folio.”

John L. O’Sullivan of the Democratic Review wrote “We think it questionable taste to print the edition in the obsolete form of folio.”

John Gadsby Chapman (1808-1889) supplied 1,400 designs to be engraved, for which he was paid $2,121.80. In his volume of proofs for the bible Illustrations, Chapman lists the engravers as Roberts, Childs, Minot, Howland, Gordon, Butler, Morse, Orr Jr. (Nathaniel), Hall Hart, Kinnersley (Henry), Kinnersley (Augustus F.), Peckham, Bookhour, Holland, and Weeks. He goes on to say only a few can be definitely ascribed to Adams (such as the title page above).

John Gadsby Chapman (1808-1889), Bible illustrations ([New York? 1846?]). 5 v. Note: “These proofs, from the original cuts, were taken by hand by the Engravers thereof, in course of execution for ’Harpers Family Bible’ – New York 1843.-44. 45- and are, so far as I know, the only complete set existing. Presented by me to my Daughter. – Rome October 5. 1879. – John G. Chapman.” Sinclair Hamilton Collection of American Illustrated Books. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize Hamilton 199q

Gee’s Bend Prints Acquired

Loretta Pettway (American, born 1942), Remember Me, 2006. Color soft ground and spit bite aquatint etching. Edition of 50; printed and published by Paulson Fontaine Press. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017 AAS1

Mary Lee Bendolph (American, born 1935), Get Ready, 2006. Color soft ground and spit bite aquatint etching. Edition of 50; printed and published by Paulson Fontaine Press. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017 AAS2

Loretta Pettway (American, born 1942), Lazy Gal, 2006. Color soft ground and spit bite aquatint etching. Edition of 50; printed and published by Paulson Fontaine Press. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017 AAS3


Three spectacular new etchings have been acquired for Firestone Library’s African American Studies Room (B floor) thanks to a joint initiative between the Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton University Library, and the Department of African American Studies.

Many thanks to all those who participated, especially our art handlers John Walako and Rory Mahon, see here, who did a beautiful job hanging the works this morning.

Mary Lee Bendolph and Loretta Pettway are members of the Gee’s Bend Quilters Collective and live in the area of Rehoboth and Boykin, Alabama. For a history of the group, see their website:

The etchings were produced in 2006 in collaboration with the printmakers at Paulson Bott (now Fontaine) Press in Berkeley, California. See more at:



John Beardsley’s 2002 study, Gee’s Bend: the Women and their Quilts, has been placed in the AAS room so students and visitors can learn more about the collective. For additional source material, see this video from Glass World Films:

The Quiltmakers of Gee’s Bend (Award-winning PBS Feature) from Glass World Films on Vimeo.

Histoire de Mr. Jobard and others


Studies of modern comics often begin with Rodolphe Töpffer (1799-1846), although many artists (Gillray in particular) were drawing linear narratives much earlier. Princeton holds 17 volumes attributed to Töpffer, beginning with a facsimile of La bibliotheque de mon oncle (Geneve, Imprimerie de la Bibliothèque universelle, 1832). Rare Books (Ex) PQ2542.T2 xB5 1832

French artists were publishing similar books in the 1830s through the print shop La maison Aubert. In her wonderful new study, Another World, Patricia Mainardi writes, “Each of the twelve comic books published by Aubert in the “Collection of Jabots” has the same size and format, identical with those of Töpffer and no doubt dictated by the publisher. Seven were written by the caricaturist Cham, who wrote his first two, The Story of Mr. Lajaunisse and Mr. Lamélasse, in 1839, when he was twenty-one years old.

An admirer of Töpffer, Cham later redrew the illustrations for Töpffer’s Mr.. Cryptogame when it was published in the journal L’Illustration in 1845 in wood-engraved format. While it is beyond question the Töpffer influenced these French artists, it is also possible that the French artists influenced Töpffer as well.” — Another World: Nineteenth-Century Illustrated Print Culture (2017)

Aubert’s 1846 catalogue lists seven lithographed books by Cham (pseudonym of Camles Amedee of Noah, 1819-1879) and the Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to have recently acquire five of these earliest books, including:

Mr. Lamélasse ([Paris]: Aubert, [1839?]). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2017- in process.

Un génie incompris: [Histoire de la vie de M. Barnabé Gogo] ([Paris]: Aubert & Cie, [1839?]). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2917- in process

Histoire de Mr. Lajaunisse ([Paris]: Chez Aubert, [1839]). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2017- in process. Note, Mr Lajaunisse has been digitized in full by Yale University’s Beinecke Library:

Histoire de Mr. de Vertpré et de sa ménagère aussi (Paris: Aubert, 1840). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2017- in process

Histoire de Mr. Jobard ([Paris]: Chez Aubert & Cie., [1840?]). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2017- in process


Thanks to the British Museum, we known La maison Aubert specialized in popular prints and satires. “Founded in 1829 by Charles Philipon (who was always the brains of the enterprise) and his brother-in-law Gabriel Aubert (who ran the shop), a notary who had bankrupted himself. First established as the Magasin des Caricatures in the Passage Véro-Dodat in 1829 (which moved to the Place de la Bourse in 1841) and a second shop in the Galerie Colbert in 1835.”

About the same time Aubert (who died in 1847) established his own lithographic printing press under the imprint Aubert et Cie, publishing books by Cham and many others. See James Cuno, “The business and politics of caricature-Charles Philipon and the Maison Aubert,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts CVI (1985): 95-112.


Un genie incompris tells the story of a young draftsman of dubious talent who is rejected by the Academy of Fine Arts and eventually, is forced to become a caricaturist!


Here are a few of Cham’s delightful other plates.





A parody of Victor Hugo’s “Légende des Siècles”

Le Sire de Chambley (Edmond Haraucourt 1856-1941), La Légende des sexes. Poëmes hystériques. 1st edition (Bruxelles: pour l’auteur, 1882 [Nevers, 1883]). Binding by Carayon. Copy 22 of 212. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process

Fabulous endpapers.


The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to have acquired a first edition of Edmond Haraucourt’s first book, published when he was twenty-six years old at his own expense, to parody Victor Hugo’s Légende des Siècles (Legend of the Centuries). He called his book, La Légende des sexes.


Our copy has a particularly fine Japonism style binding by the French artisan known only as Carayon. The endpapers are beautiful color woodcuts depicting the Japanese folktale, Shita-kiri Suzume (Tongue-Cut Sparrow).


A member of the whimsical literary circles of Hydropathes and the Chat Noir, Haraucourt published the volume under the pseudonym Le Sire de Chambley and under his own fictitious imprint. Even so, he was not accepted into the Académie Française because of the book, which was promoted as “l’épopée du bas-ventre” (genteelly translated as an epic of the lower abdomen).

Haraucourt knew Victor Hugo (1802-1885) a few months before Hugo’s death and was one of the ten poets to accompany his coffin at his funeral. In accord with Hugo’s will he was carried in the hearse of the poor but followed by chariots loaded with flowers. Haraucourt went on to serve as President of the Victor Hugo Foundation from 1928 to his death in 1941.

See also Victor Hugo (1802-1885), La légende des siècles (Paris: Hetzel, [188-?]) Recap PQ2285 .L15 1880

Jack Ziegler

Noted by Richard Sandomirmarch in the New York Times, “Jack Ziegler, whose satirical, silly and observational style enlivened more than 1,600 cartoons at The New Yorker beginning in the mid-1970s, died on Wednesday in a hospital in Kansas City, Kan. He was 74.”

We hold only one drawing by Ziegler, which could have been drawn yesterday:
Jack Ziegler (1942-2017), “You realize, of course, Jacobi, that should anything go wrong, the General and I will have to deny any knowledge of this,” May 13, 1974. Pen and wash drawing. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2009.00382. Gift of Henry Martin, Class of 1948.

The drawing is inscribed and dedicated to his friend and fellow New Yorker cartoonist Henry Martin (born 1925, Class of 1948): “For Henry with unending admiration from the new kid on the block, Jack Ziegler.”

More comments can be found at

See also Jack Prelutsky, There’ll Be a Slight Delay, and Other Poems for Grown-Ups. Illustrations by Jack Ziegler (New York: W. Morrow, 1991). Firestone PS3566.R36 T47 1991

Sorting Out John William Orr and Nathaniel Orr, Part Two

Already an established engraver, Nathaniel Orr (1822-1908) moved to New York City around 1843, to begin working on The Illuminated Bible, embellished with sixteen hundred historical engravings… (Harper & Brothers, 1846. GAX Hamilton 198Q).

He is sometimes listed as Orr Jr. and worked at 75 Nassau Street, in the shop of John William Orr (1815-1887), presumed to be Nathaniel’s uncle.

75 Nassau Street in 2017.


In 1850, Nathaniel Orr took an office of his own around the corner at 151 Fulton Street but within a year, moved to 52 John Street where he stayed until his retirement in 1888. It is a large building and Nathaniel has a reputation for offering his fellow artists rooms to work whenever they were in need.

52 John Street is part of the central building.
Alfred Tallis (active 1860), Tallis’s New York Street Views (New York: Tallis and Company, 1863)


Orr’s business was two doors away from the Methodist Episcopal Church at 44 John Street, first built in 1768, then rebuilt in 1817 and 1841. One of Orr’s early prints (left) is an image of the first Church building, which has recently been painted onto the wall of the memorial park east of the current Church. This Church is famous for including both black and white members equally in their congregation:

“At the birth of Methodism in this country its handful of votaries were so simple and honest, and so free from any thought of race distinctions in the divine presence, that no special notice was taken of the fact that there were colored people present to their disparagement. When Captain Webb and his associates met in a sail loft in 1765, on what was then known as the Battery, at the south end of New York city, they thought not of the complexion of the attendants, but rather of the salvation of their souls. And four years later, when John Street Church was built to accommodate the congregation of that first formed Methodist Church in America, there were no Negro pews nor back seats nor gallery especially provided for the dark-skinned members. They were welcomed in common with other members to all the privileges of God’s house and worship.” –One Hundred Years of The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. Chapter I, Early Race Distinctions.

Painted mural in the memorial park, 48 John Street, next to the Methodist Episcopal Church

Nathaniel Orr was involved in many anti-slavery publications. In January 1853, he accepted a commission to engrave Frederick M. Coffin’s illustrations for Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup. The project was finished in less than six months, published August 1853.

Later that year, Coffin and Orr partnered with John McLenan (1827-1865) to illustrate the sensationalist bestseller Hot Corn: Life Scenes in New York Illustrated by Solon Robinson (1854). So great is Nathaniel’s popularity by now, that of the three artists only Orr, the wood engraver, is mentioned on the title page.


For some of Nathaniel Orr’s earliest work, see:
John Gadsby Chapman (1808-1889), Bible illustrations ([New York? 1846?]). Manuscript note on title page of vol. 1: “These proofs, from the original cuts, were taken by hand by the Engravers thereof, in course of execution for Harpers Family Bible-New York 1843.-44. 45- and are, so far as I know, the only complete set existing. Presented by me to my Daughter. Rome October 5. 1879. John G. Chapman.” The engravers whose works are mentioned are Roberts, Childs, Minot, Howland, Gordon, Butler, Morse, Nathaniel Orr, Hall, Hart, Henry Kinnersley, Augustus F. Kinnersley, Pekham, Bookhout, Holland, Weeks and Adams. (GAX) Oversize Hamilton 199q