Pour Raillerie

Bookplate collections often include prints that have names embedded in their design, mistaken as bookplates. This is the case with the above engraving found in a box of unsorted bookplates in our collection.

It is the title page for a series of eight plates by the Swiss engraver and entomologist Johann Rudolph Schellenberg (1740-1806). The small volume was called Pour raillerie (For mockery or All in Mockery) and was originally published in Winterthur, Switzerland, in 1772. (available for free download by the Swiss National Library):

Schellenberg partnered with Johann Caspar Fuessli (1743-1786) on multiple projects, most notably Archiv der Insectengeschichte / Archives de l’histoire des insects (Winterthour: Chez J. Ziegler, 1794). “The figures, which occupy 37 plates, are designed, etched and coloured by Mr. Schellenberg, of Winterthur, a man of uncommon knowledge in this branch of painting, whether we consider fidelity of character, high finish, or spirit of altitude. They appear chiefly to have been drawn from the insects themselves, a few excepted, in which the figures of Roesel may be traced.” –J. Johnson, Analytical Review: Or History of Literature, Domestic and Foreign, vol. 10 (1791).

We have yet to find the other plates in Pour raillerie, but they may still turn up.

Description of the Poets

Fabricious’s Description of the Poets. Vide:Gil Blas—“People think that we often dine with Democritus and there they are mistaken. There is not one of my fraternity, not even excepting the makers of Almanacs, who is not welcome to some good table. As for my own part, there are two families where I am received with pleasure. I have two covers laid for me every day, one at the house of a fat director of the farms, to whom I have dedicated a romance, and the other at the house of a rich citizen, who has the disease of being thought to entertain wits every day at his table; luckily he is not very delicate in his choice, and the city furnishes him with great plenty.” Print by Thomas Rowlandson, text from: Alain René Le Sage, The History and Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane (London, 1716).

The Miseries of Human Life, written in 1806 by James Beresford, a Fellow at Merton College, Oxford, had extraordinary success and became a minor classic in the satirical literature of the day. Dozens of editions were published and printmakers rushed to illustrate their own versions of life’s miseries.

Thomas Rowlandson (1756/57–1827) began drawing scenes based on Beresford’s book as soon as it was published and after two years, the luxury print dealer Rudolph Ackermann selected fifty Miseries in hand colored etchings for a new edition of the Beresford work. Fabricious’s Description of the Poets (1807) is one of Rowlandson’s interpretations of the miseries of social life.

Thomas Rowlandson, Miseries of Human Life. Fifty etchings after James Beresford’s book of the same title. London: R. Ackermann, 1808.

The exhibition The Miseries of Human Life and other Amusements: Drawings by Thomas Rowlandson opens at the Princeton University Art Museum July 1, 2017.

The Chariot Race at Barnum and Bailey’s Show, 1898

While reorganizing and rehousing our circus poster collection, we can across this drawing for the weekly London newspaper, The Graphic. The drawing is mounted on the board’s recto and the published wood engraving on the verso. A double window mat is being made to house both as they are mounted.

The drawing is by William Small (1843-1929), who was a regular on the staff of The Graphic. Originally from Edinburgh, Small moved to London where he illustrated novels, magazines, and children’s books. Besides The Graphic, his work can be found in The Quiver, Good Words, and the Sunday Magazine, among others.

William Small, The Chariot Race at Barnum and Bailey’s Show, 1898. Graphite, chalk, gouache drawing. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2017- in process. Mounted with published wood engraving on verso.

William Small, The Chariot Race at Barnum and Bailey’s Show. Published in The Graphic, London, February 12, 1898. Wood engraving. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2017- in process

In the same issue of The Graphic is an advertisement for the performance at the Olympia on Hammersmith Road. Two performances were held each day, announced here “in its seventh week.”

Here is the art studio at The Graphic, posted at Spartacus Educational, http://spartacus-educational.com/Jgraphic.htm where they note: “When it was first started, the journal was produced in a rented house. However, by 1882 the company owned three buildings, twenty printing machines and employed over 1,000 people. The Christmas edition, printed in colour and costing a shilling, was particularly popular, selling over 500,000 copies in Britain and the USA.”

Optical devices on view

Our new reading room includes a consultation room at one end for small classes and group discussions. The room also has a case now filled with a portion of the optical devices collection. On view are a portable camera obscura, camera lucida, stereoviewers, megalethoscope, zograscope, zoetrope, thaumatropes, magic lanterns, and much more.

You are welcome to come individually or with a group to see these objects Monday-Friday between 9:00-4:45. At some future date, the back wall will be removed and students will be able to view the collection whenever the building is open, seven days/week.

For more information on the individual items, see the category list to the right and select ‘Pre-cinema optical devices.’


Japanese Circus Acrobats

A colorful Japanese toy print turned up unexpectedly this week. Publication information at the lower right tells us the artist of the nine vignettes was Nomura Yoshikuni and that it was published by Shichihōdō (or Shippōdō) in Kyoto, a firm that often published materials related to Kabuki theater. Nomura Yoshimitsu (Yoshikuni III) 1855-1903 was the grandson of Utagawa Yoshikuni I, who was a pupil of Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861).

The acrobats are called street performers, known for accomplishing these feats out-of-doors and so, Yoshimitsu sets these views in natural landscapes. No other copy of the print has been found in an American collection.

Nomura Yoshimitsu (Yoshikuni III, 1855-1903), Untitled [Japanese circus acrobats].  Kyōto, Japan: Shichihōdō, ca. 1890. Color woodblock print. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process.

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?

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Elmer Adler Undergraduate Book Collecting Prize

The winners of the 2017 Elmer Adler Undergraduate Book Collecting Prize were announced at the Friends of the Princeton University Library’s dinner that took place on Sunday April 30th. The jury awarded first, second, third prize, and honorable mention.

First prize was awarded to Matthew Kritz, class of 2018, for his essay, “Books Unforgotten: Finding the Lost Volumes of My Tradition.” Matthew discusses what he describes as his “textual crusade” to collect books on subjects of Jewish interest. Specifically, he explains how he has applied the Jewish law of met mitzvah to locate and care for rare and oft-forgotten religious texts and other works of the Jewish canon. Matthew received a prize of $2000, and the book Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink: Jewish Illuminated Manuscripts, edited by Marc Michael Epstein. Matthew’s essay will represent Princeton in the National Collegiate Book Collecting Competition, which is sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America.

Second Prize was awarded to Nandita Rao, class of 2017, for her essay “Of Relationships: Recording Ties through My LP Collection.” Nandita discusses how her eclectic album collection has been a source of relationship building, and how her “vinyl teachers” have fostered a love of music and her desire to pursue a graduate degree in this area. Nandita received a prize of $1500, and a copy of the book, Shaping Jazz: Cities, Labels, and the Global Emergence of an Art Form by Damon J. Phillips.

Third prize was awarded to Katherine McClain Fleming, class of 2019, for her essay, “Paperback Princess,” in which she discusses her collection that centers on women authors and strong female characters, particularly those who reside within the British literary tradition. She explains how much these women have had an impact on her own development, noting that “They serve as my frames of reference for looking at the world, but more fundamentally, they have built, and continue to build, me.” Katherine received a prize of $1,000, and Elaine Showalter’s book, A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Bronte to Lessing.

Honorable mention was awarded to Kyle Lang, class of 2019, for his essay, “Runner’s High: A Collection of Books about Running.” Kyle discusses how his collection has helped inform, inspire, and sustain his passion for long-distance running, which most recently has included a heightened sense of awareness of “the transcendence of running beyond a personal level.” Kyle received a prize of $500, and Alan Gewirth’s book, Self-Fulfillment.

Matthew Kritz ‘18 and Katherine McClain Fleming ‘19

The book prizes, chosen to complement each student’s collecting focus, were donated by the Princeton University Press. Each of the winners will also receive a certificate from the Dean of the College.

Thanks to this year’s judges for their congenial service: Claire Jacobus, member of the Friends; John Logan, Literature Bibliographer; Eric White, Rare Books Curator; Kent Cao, Department of Art and Archaeology PhD candidate and member of the Student Friends; and Minjie Chen, East Asian Project Cataloger for Cotsen Children’s Library.

Congratulations to our winners!

First American Detective Novel

In 1860, Nathaniel Orr (1822-1908) began designing and cutting the wood engravings for the female author Metta Victoria Fuller Victor (1831-1885). Writing under the pseudonym Seeley Regester (as well as Corinne Cushman, Eleanor Lee Edwards, Metta Fuller, Walter T. Gray, Mrs. Orrin James, Rose Kennedy, Louis LeGrand, Mrs. Mark Peabody, The Singing Sybil, and Mrs. Henry Thomas), Victor created some of the earliest and most popular dime novels, beginning in 1860 with Alice Wilde, The Raftsman’s Daughter, and The Backwoods Bride.

Although Orr’s name is often left out of descriptions, his wrappers, frontispieces, and interior plates helped enormously to promote and endear these books to the American public.

Their best seller, Maum Guinea, and Her Plantation “Children,” was published in 1861 and received compliments from no less than President Abraham Lincoln for its abolitionist message. Perhaps even better remembered is The Dead Letter, serialized in 1866 and then published in 1867, with plates by Orr. The work is often credited as the first American full-length detective novel, by a male or female author.

Victor wrote and Orr engraved many different genres, including mysteries, Westerns, romances, temperance novels, and rags-to-riches tales. These cheap little books brought tremendous financial success for both their author and illustrator, allowing Orr to move his family into a palatial estate along the Palisades, just west of present day Hoboken, with a view of the Manhattan skyline. Later, the Orrs and the Victors both moved to neighboring homes in Ho-ho-kus, New Jersey, and both families are buried in the nearby Valleau Cemetery.

Metta Victoria Fuller Victor (1831-1885), Maum Guinea, and Her Plantation Children (New York: Beadle and Company, 1861). F PS 3129.V58 M386 1861
Metta Victoria Fuller Victor (1831-1885), The Dead Letter, an American Romance (New York: Beadle and Company, 1867). F PS 3129.V58 D433 1867

Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Highlights

On Friday, May 5, Martin Heijdra, Director of the East Asian Library and Setsuko Noguchi, Japanese Studies Librarian in the East Asian Library presented a general introduction to the rare books in the East Asian Collections for students, faculty, and staff.  They welcomed special requests and tried to select titles based upon the audience. New Japanese acquisitions were a particular focus.


Martin Heijdra showed an early example of four color printing.

Setsuko Noguchi shared the epic multi-volume Heike Monogatari (The Tale of the Heike) with elaborate gold endpapers and illumination.


We were given a small clue to identifying Korean, Chinese, and Japanese books. The Korean, on the bottom, often has five equidistant holes sewn around the spine. The Chinese book, in the middle, often has four hole sewing at uneven intervals. The Japanese volume at the top is stab sewn through four equidistant holes.


Learn the history of silver mining in Japan told through an elegant Japanese scroll.


This working manuscript for Pei wen yun fu is dated between 1662 and 1722 (and might be called a Chinese Webster’s Dictionary).


Shaka Hasso Monogatari (The Eight Lives of the Buddha) with the original woodblock for two leaves, image and text. The block is double-sided with another image and text printed from the verso.



Heroes of the Colored Race

Heroes of the Colored Race. Chromolithograph. Philadelphia: Published by J. Hoover, 628 Arch St., 1881. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process. Purchased with funds from the Hurlbut Barnes Cutting Memorial Fund.

Thanks to Steven Knowlton, Librarian for History and African American Studies and funds from the Hurlbut Barnes Cutting Memorial Fund, the Graphic Arts Collection is the fortunate new owner of a rare, 19th-century chromolithograph entitled Heroes of the Colored Race.

The print commemorates men prominent in and representative of the advancement of African American civil rights, including Blanche Kelso Bruce, 1841-1898; Frederick Douglass, 1818-1895; Hiram Rhodes Revels, 1827?-1901; John Roy Lynch, 1847-1939; Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1865; James Abram Garfield, 1831-1881; Ulysses Simpson Grant, 1822-1885; Joseph Hayne Rainey, 1832-1887; Robert Smalls, 1839-1915; John Brown, 1800-1859; and Charles Edmund Nash, 1844-1913.


The central vignette highlights portraits of ex-United States Senator Blanche Kelso Bruce of Mississippi, abolitionist, federal administrator, and diplomat Frederick Douglass, and ex-United States Senator Hiram Revels of Mississippi.

The four corners are filled with scenes showing the contributions of African Americans to the prosperity of the United States through their labor, studies, and participation in civic life, and the preservation of the Union through service in the United States Colored Troops. Also featured are portraits of African American members of the United States House of Representatives John R. Lynch of Mississippi, Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina, Robert Smalls of South Carolina, and Charles E. Nash of Louisiana.

Bruce, Douglass, Lynch, Rainey, and Smalls were all enslaved for some portions of their lives.


The printer/publisher was Joseph Hoover, born of Swiss-German heritage in Baltimore on December 29, 1830. The Library Company of Philadelphia’s biographical database on local printers states that by 1893, Hoover was noted as “probably the largest publisher of pictures,” distributing internationally 600,000 to 700,000 prints a year with his son, Henry L. Hoover. The listing continues:

“Hoover settled in Philadelphia in 1856. He opened a wood turning and framing establishment on the 1400 block of Hamilton Street, and about 1858, married his first wife Roseanna (b. ca. 1833). …In the spring of 1868 the “chromo and print publisher” advertised his removal to 804 Market Street, from where he oversaw the work of Duval & Hunter and James Queen and issued his well-advertised and acclaimed “The Changed Cross” in 1870. . . . During the 1870s and 1880s, Hoover’s business continued to grow (estimated worth of $30,000-$40,000) and he established printing plants at 450-452 North Thirteenth Street and [numerous other locations]. With this financial success also came professional acknowledgment and Hoover was one of only three chromolithographers to be honored at the Centennial Exhibition of 1876.”