The Print Connoisseur

John Taylor Arms, Loop the Loop, 1920. Original aquatint printed directly from the copper plate, frontispiece, The Print Connoisseur December 1920.


Frederick Reynolds, Castle of Vitre, 1920. Original mezzotint printed directly from copper plate, frontispiece The Print Connoisseur, October 1920


While clearing an office recently, several early volumes of The Print Connoisseur appeared. Published by Winfred Porter Truesdell (1877-1939) from 1920 to 1932, the quarterly magazine was distinguished by its frontispiece prints, printed directly from the original copper plates and bound into each issue. Truesdell did the printing for the first year himself from his New York studio, but the second and third year were printed at the Clinton Press in Plattsburgh, NY. During this time, Truesdell moved to Champlain, NY, where he joined Hugh McLellan’s Moorsfield Press, and from 1924 forward he and McLellan did the printing.


Dominique Jouvet-Magron, Le Manoeuvre au Levier, 1923. Original etching printed directly form the copper plate, frontispiece The Print Connoisseur April 1923.


“The Print Connoisseur,” American Art News 19, no. 4 (November 6, 1920), p. 4. Stable URL:

Truesdell’s New York City studio was located in the fashionable east side, not far from J.P. Morgan’s home and library. The studio at 154 East 38th Street was shared with British print maker Frederick Thomas Reynolds (1882-1945) and also served as the meeting place for the Brooklyn Society of Etchers.

Today the address leads to an empty lot, but a sense of the neighborhood can be had thanks to the building directly across the street, owned in the 1920s by Edith Bowdoin, daughter of financier George S. Bowdoin. Although Bowdoin had her father’s carriage house converted to accommodate her automobiles, the façade remained untouched. In the 21st century, the building housed the Gabarron Foundation’s Carriage House Center for the Arts, which hosted exhibitions and lectures until 2011.

George Elmer Burr, Moraine Park, Colo., 1921. Original etching printed directly from copper plate, frontispiece The Print Connoisseur June 1921.


The Print Connoisseur is available digitally through Hathi Trust and has been indexed by David Patrick at:


Maurice Victor Achener (1881-1963), Annecy, Porte Perriere, 1923. Original etching printed directly from the copper plate, frontispiece The Print Connoisseur October 1923.

  George C. Wales, Outbound, 1923. Original etching printed directly from the copper, frontispiece The Print Connoisseur January 1923.


Visualizing the Virus

Visualizing the Virus was founded and is led by Dr Sria Chatterjee, an art historian and environmental humanities scholar who received her PhD from the department of Art & Archaeology at Princeton in 2019. It is made possible by a grant from DARIAH EU and support from the Institute of Experimental Design and Media, FHNW. Princeton Center for Digital Humanities is a project partner.

They have a wide network of collaborators and are particularly grateful to the Max-Planck Kunsthistorisches Institute, the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda, the Department of History at Princeton University, PACE Center for Civic Engagement at Princeton for their collaborations.

The project goes beyond the media narratives around Covid-19. They write:

Visualizing the Virus is an interdisciplinary digital project through which one can visualize and understand the Coronavirus pandemic from a variety of perspectives. It aims to center the inequalities the pandemic makes visible. Gaps between the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences are hard to bridge. This means that pandemics are often studied without considering their many interconnected histories. Visualizing the Virus connects insights from different disciplines to create a collective digital space for exactly such a convergence. We are not only interested in the ways in which scientists, artists and people in their everyday lives have made the virus visible; but also in processes, historical and contemporary, that the viruses make visible – inequalities, be it of access to resources and healthcare, vaccine imperialism, xenophobia, gender inequalities, and so on.

If you would like to participate by collaborating and/or contributing to the project, they would love to hear from you. Our Graphic Arts webinar and acquisitions played a small part, with thanks to Ellen Ambrosone.

 Dulari Devi, Corona Effect in Patna, 2020. Acrylic on paper. Purchased with funds from South Asian Studies and Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

Pictures on paper

Coming in the fall, The Color of a Flea’s Eye: The Picture Collection by Taryn Simon, exhibition and events at NYPL opening September 1, 2021; in conjunction with the show currently at the Gagosian Gallery, July 14–September 11, 2021 (

Read more: Words on Pictures: Romana Javitz and the New York Public Library’s Picture Collection by Anthony T Troncale, Jessica Cline, 2020

New Yorker:

Taryn Simon: The Color of a Flea’s Eye: The Picture Collection by Taryn Simon, Joshua Chuang, and Tim Griffin, 2020. Marquand Library use only » Oversize Z664.N499 S56 2020q

Or go see it in person:

Looking under Presses and Printing:

Circulating postcard collection has Princeton’s Drumthwacket


In Conversation: Taryn Simon and Teju Cole:

Freak Photography

At the very end of the March 15, 1890, issue of Wilson’s Photographic Magazine, the editor threw in a photo-engraving [below] produced by the Moss Engraving Company after a negative by William P. Rhoades of Hot Springs, Arkansas, with a challenge to his thousands of readers to explain how the double exposure was made. With the next issue due out in only two weeks, Wilson emphasized, “Guesses are requested early.”

Not only did he receive a number of answers from around the United States but also examples of work produced in several different methods. In the April 5 issue, Wilson reprinted the photo-engraving and quickly reminded everyone this was not the first time anyone had created a double exposure. He credited Edward Z. Webster with making a daguerreotype in 1850 that included two self-portraits opposite each other at a table. Unfortunately, no reproduction was included and the daguerreotype is not known to have survived. Wilson called this “Freak” photography.

“The interest which has followed our article on the subject of “Freak” photographs, on page 207 of our magazine of April [5]th, has proven to be a great deal more widespread than we at first thought might be the case,” writes Wilson. “As one instance we may [state] (showing at the same time how quick our foreign co-workers are to follow the innovations and inventions of their American cousins), that we have already received a book from a German publisher which faces us with a reproduction of our own engraving of the “Double Subscriber,” accompanied by the instructions we gave for making “Freak” photographs…”.

One of the subscribers who answered Wilson’s challenge was Michigan photographer Abel J. Whalen, who not only described his camera-back apparatus but sent a group of photographs created using his patented process. Wilson published several and with all the publicity Whalen received, he went on to make “Freak” photographs a speciality.

Whalen, however, refused to allow Wilson to published the complete description of how his photographs were made. Instead, with Wilson’s approval, he offered readers the chance to purchase specimens, a vignetting box he would build, and instructions for creating their own pictures. In return, “I will expect $5 with each order.”

F. Gutekunst, Gentlemen of the Jury, Phototype print after a negative by Abel J. Whalen, 1890, published in Wilson’s Photographic Magazine, June 21, 1890. Whalen’s portrait is repeated 14 times against a black background.

“From time to time, since the publication of our issue of April 5th, we have presented articles upon what appear to be “the latest thing out” in photography, namely, “freak” photographs, or photographs which present the same subject in one or more attitudes upon the same plate. Several such pictures have been engraved for our pages, but we have been unable, until now, to present one of a style which, t us, seems to open up a fine lot of possibilities  for the genius of the enterprising photographers who are going to be the first to “get the business” there surely is in it form their patrons. We allude to the “Gentlemen of the Jury” of Mr. A.J. Whalen (formerly of Waldron), Pittsford, Mich. The old time “double” picture, already fully described on page 207 of our issue of April 5th, will, doubtless, have a “big run” too; but we think Mr. Whalen’s method of vignetting in the camera, by means of his “adjuster” and kit, such mysteries as his “Gentlemen of the Jury” gives results which are far more unique, and which, so readily produced, are sure to become popular.”

Wilson went on to highlight Whalen’s photographs several time in his many publications, including Wilson’s Photographic Magazine, Photographic Mosaics, and The Photographic Journal of America, while also running Whalen’s full-page advertisements. One can’t help but imagine it was a winning arrangement for both men, giving Wilson popular copy for the magazine and Whalen a good income.

Olympic medalists in graphic works

The 1928 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the IX Olympiad, held July 28-August 12, 1928, in Amsterdam.

Gold: William Nicholson (1872-1949), British. Un Almanach de douze Sports (Paris Société Française d’Edition, 1898).

Silver: Carl Moos (1878-1959), Swiss. Miscellaneous posters

Bronze: Max Feldbauer (1869-1948), German. Viererzug (Four-in-Hand)




The 1932 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the X Olympiad, held July 30-August 14, 1932, in Los Angeles.

Gold: Joseph Golinkin (1896-1977), American. Leg Scissors, lithograph, 1932?

Silver: Janina Konarska (1900-1975), Polish. Narciarze (Skier), woodcut.

Bronze: Joachim Karsch (1897-1945), German. Stabwechsel



The 1936 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad, held August 1-16, 1936 in Berlin.


Gold: Alex Diggelmann (1902-1987), Swiss. Arosa I Placard

Silver: Alfred Hierl (1910-1950), German. Internationales Avusrennen (International Avus Race)

Bronze: Stanisław Ostoja-Chrostowski (1900-1947), Polish. Yachting Club Certificate

The 1948 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XIV Olympiad, held July 29-August 14, 1948 in London.


Gold: none awarded

Silver: Alex Diggelmann (1902-1987), Swiss. World Championship for Cycling Poster

Bronze: Alex Diggelmann (1902-1987), Swiss. World Championship for Ice Hockey Poster




Photography before Photoshop

William Notman (1826-1891), “Victoria Skating Rink, Carnival Shrove Tuesday, March 1, 1870.” Albumen silver print published in The Philadelphia Photographer (Philadelphia, Pa.: Benerman & Wilson, December 1870). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2007 0008M


In May of 1870 the Canadian photographer William Notman sent the publisher Edward Wilson a copy of a composite photograph entitled “Victoria Skating Rink,” with an offer to edition the print for Wilson’s magazine The Philadelphia Photographer. The offer was immediately accepted and later that fall Wilson received several thousand albumen silver prints that were pasted into the December issue as a special end-of-year treat for his subscribers. Wilson wrote,

“Our picture this month is another example, on a more extended scale, of composition photography; and an example of a class of work which is perfectly legitimate in photography and to which in the future our best artists must reach. The subject is the “Skating Carnival,” which was given in Montreal last winter, during the visit of Prince Arthur [the Duke of Connaught, Queen Victoria’s youngest son], who may be seen in his fur cap, face front, on the left of the picture. It is the work of Mr. Wm. Notman, in Montreal, and as an example of this class, is admirable indeed.”

The fancy dress skating carnival had taken place on March 1, 1870, at the Victoria Rink in Montreal but Notman did not begin work until the following day, when he posted an invitation to anyone who skated at the carnival. Those men and women who attended were asked to come to his studio in costume, to be photographed individually. Approximately 150 portraits were shot, printed, trimmed, and then arranged into a group composition. The background was painted in and the whole scene rephotographed for an inter-negative from which an edition of albumen silver prints could be made.

The first composite prints were completed by April 25, barely two months after the carnival and one was immediately shipped to Wilson in Philadelphia, hoping it would be one of the monthly ‘embellishments’ to his popular journal. Wilson noted:

“The rules of composition are preserved throughout and the photography is excellent. …This is no easy performance, yet those acquainted with the rules of composition and grouping may attempt it and soon succeed. In this the harmony, the ease and naturalness of all the figures, together with the variety, the correct perspective, the perfect light and shade, and admirable definition, make it the most charming thing of the kind we have seen. Many nice studies for positions may be taken from this picture. It is full of matter for study, which fact we hope will be taken advantage of.”

Several large scale versions were also made by projecting the scene onto a light sensitive canvas using a solar enlarger. The photograph was over-painted in oil by Henry Sandham and Edward Sharpe, further obscuring the separate portraits. One such painted photograph is held at the McCord Museum, McGill University, measuring 37 1/2 x 53 1/2 inches, a gift of Charles Frederick Notman [N-0000.116.21.1 seen below]

A key to the picture was also prepared, so some of the 150 individuals photographed could find themselves within the scene and want to buy a copy of the picture.

The Secret Out At Last

Here are a series of 19th-century metamorphosis trade cards from the Graphic Arts Collection. No more needs to be said.






The Battle of the Aristotytpe Companies


Although the use of collodion as a binder for photographic paper prints goes back to the 1860s, the commercialization of ready-to-use papers took longer to develop and to be accepted by American photographers. In 1884, the Germany manufacturer Paul Eduard Liesegang began selling a collodion emulsion printing out paper (POP) he called Aristotype. The name comes from the Greek aristos and rupos, that is, best type (read more: “Differences In Image Tonality Produced By Different Toning Protocols For Matte Collodion Photographs” by Sylvie Penichon –


By the end of the 1880s, most photographers abandoned albumen papers for Aristotype papers, with Americans preferring collodion-chloride POP and Europeans using gelatin-chloride POP. This led to the formation of dozens of companies battling for dominance in the Aristotype paper market. Largest was the American Aristotype Company, formed in 1889 with E. & H. T. Anthony as their New York agent, along with the New York (later the New Jersey) Aristotype Company, the Nepera Chemical Company, the PhotoMaterials Company of Rochester, and of course the Eastman Kodak Company, among many others.

Eventually they were all bought out or merged or went bankrupt leaving Kodak as the single American producer. A lawsuit was filed claiming the company used criminal tactics to corner the market but by then, Kodak was too big to fail (see: United States v. Eastman Kodak Co., 226 F. 62, 71 (W.D.N.Y. 1915). Decided August 24 1915).

Wilson’s Photographic Magazine printed dozens of articles and recipes for differing paper chemistry, giving the American public a chance to see for themselves which brand or producer was preferred. In 1893, in particular, Wilson had multiple negatives printed on different papers and inserted them into each copy of the magazine, which had an edition close to 6,000 at that time. Princeton is fortunate to have issues with the photographs still intact, as many were removed by collectors.

In addition to the prints, during the 1890s Wilson’s magazine included advertising by the various companies battling for the photographers’ attention. As seen above, American Aristotype Company used dry detailed listings of their prices, while the New York Aristotype Company hired the firm of Terwilliger & Peck to design humorous advertisements that changed frequently. One in particular shows the company man physically crushing his competitors, the uncomplicated drawing of the ad reflecting the uncomplicated use of their papers.

In 1925, the American Aristotype Company, by then a wholly owned subsidiary of Eastman Kodak, closed its plant for good and the heyday of Aristotypes ended.

Nicanor Parra, Don Quixote de Chile

Manifiesto is considered the fifth collection of poems by Chilean writer Nicanor Parra, originally published in 1963 by Editorial Nascimento as a single sheet folded in two parts inside a cardboard folder.

When an individual is presented not with one, but two of the highest awards in literature for his work, as was the case with Nicanor Parra then the poet must be doing something right in order to achieve such a place of distinction. In 2011 the jury that awarded the Juan Rulfo Award to Nicanor Parra bestowed the award in recognition for his body of outstanding work which included the books Poemas y anti poemas, Versos de salon, Canciones rusas, and Otros poemas, as well as Prédicas del Cristo de Elqui, Nuevos sermones, and Artefactos and Ecopoemas.

In December of 2012 Parra received the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world’s highest literary honor that a writer can receive. On this occasion, the Royal Highness Prince of Asturias said the following words of praise for the antipoet, “We salute and recognize in the anti-poet Nicanor Parra the alter ego and all that has been built up over the years, Don Quixote de Chile, Nicanor Parra.”–Nicanor Parra: The Physicist Who Made a Significant Contribution to the Literary World by Ruben E. Gonzalez; Delilah Dotremon. Alabama State University, Montgomery. Hipertexto 19 Invierno 2014 pp. 63-82


Ladies and gentlemen
This is our last word
– Our first and last word –
The poets have come down from Olympus.

For the oldest
Poetry was a kind of luxury
For us, however
First need is:
We can’t live without poetry.

Unlike the older ones
– And I say this with all due respect –
We support
That the poet is not an alchemist
The poet is a man, too
A builder who builds his wall:
A door and window manufacturer.

We talk
In the language of everyday
We don’t believe in cabbalistic signs

And something else:
The poet is here
So the tree doesn’t grow crookedly.

This is our message.
We denounce the poet creator
The cheap poet
The rat in the library poet.
All these gentlemen
– And I say this with all due respect –
Should be accused and judged
For building castles in the air
For waste space and time
Composing sonnets for the moon
For grouping words together at random
According to the latest Paris fashion.
For us not:
Thought is not born in the mouth
It is born in the heart of the heart.

continue reading:

The largest job undertaken by the GPO pre1900

United States. War Department, The War of the Rebellion : a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies prepared under the direction of the Secretary of War by Robert N. Scott ([Pasadena, Calif.] : Historical Times ; [s.l.] : distributed by Broadfoot Pub. Co., 1985, c1971). Reprint of the ed. published in 1971 by the National Historical Society, Harrisburg, Pa. Originally published in 1880 by the Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. Also called Official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Firestone Library E464 .U6 1985. Digital copy:

“One of the largest jobs ever undertaken by the [Government Printing] office since it came into the possession of the Government was commenced a few months ago in the Document Room. I refer to the printing of the official records of the war, or perhaps better known by the title “Rebellion Records.” Colonel Scott, the officer in charge of this work at the War Department, estimates that these records will make 96 large octavo volumes, of about 800 pages each, or 76,800 pages.

As 10,000 copies of each of these volumes are to be printed for Congress, some idea may be formed of the formidable character of the task. It will require nearly 50,000 reams of paper to print these copies, which, at $4 per ream, will amount to $200,000. The composition will probably exceed 250,000,000 ems, and the number of books will be 960,000.”–R. W. (Robert Washington) Kerr (born 1841), History of the Government Printing Office, (at Washington, D.C.) with a brief record of the public printing for a century, 1789-1881. By R.W. Kerr, of the Government Printing Office (Lancaster, Pa., Inquirer Print. and Pub. Co., 1881). Graphic Arts Collection 2006-3271N

Note all the women working as sheet feeders.

“An order was sent from the [GPO] to a New York type-founder in July 1877 for 60,000 pounds of type. This amount was subsequently increased about 15,000 pounds, making perhaps the largest single order ever given by a printing office, or filled by a type-founder, since the art of printing was discovered.”–History of the GPO, p. 46

“In January 1878, three accomplished sneak thieves, who had previously been shadowing the [GPO]–as was proved by a subsequent examination into the matter–succeeded in abstracting from the safe, by means of false keys, during the temporary absence from the room of the paymaster, some $9,000; and although the parties were afterwards arrested in New York, and indicted, they were never brought to justice, nor was the money ever recovered.”–History, p.46. No record of this theft was published in Washington or New York City newspapers.