Typographic satire

Charles-Georges Doucet Coqueley de Chaussepierre (1711-1791), Le roué vertueux, poëme en prose en quatre chants, propre à faire, en cas de besoin, un drame à jouer deux fois par semaine. A Lauzanne (The Virtuous Rake, a Prose Poem in Four Odes, Suitable for a Drama Performed Twice a Week, if Necessary) ([Paris: Claude-Antoine Jombert], 1770). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017-in process

Both a lawyer and royal critic, Coqueley de Chaussepierre had a reputation as a comic. In 1770, he wrote Le Roué virtuous as a parody of the play L’Honnête criminel, ou l’amour filial (The Honest Criminal: Or, Filial Piety) by Charles-Georges Fenouillot de Falbaire (1727-1800). The bourgeois drama told the true story of Jean Fabre, who served a prison term for his religiously persecuted father. The public loved it but Coqueley was appalled and responded with this typographic joke.

Le Roue vertueux is composed exclusively of pieces of sentences, single words in no logical sequence, and the remaining punctuation. On the other hand, the first chapter or ode can be read: “Oh crime! Oh consoling horror! Oh peaceful agitation of the soul!”

The author wrote, “by putting nothing into it, we cannot criticize the style.” Later generations forgot about Fenouillot de Falbaire’s play and celebrated Coqueley de Chaussepierre’s typographic originality and the surrealist vision of the book.

The book is also innovative in the five plates that divide the chapters, engraved and aquatinted by or in the style of Jean-Baptiste Le Prince (1734-1781). It is thought to be one of the first books to include aquatints.



Chocolate Tinted Egg Shell Plate

When Edward Livingston Wilson (1838–1903) started his first magazine, The Philadelphia Photographer, in 1864, his partner in this venture was Michael F. Benerman, foreman at the Caxton Press of Sherman & Company, a large book and job printing firm at the corner Seventh and Cherry Streets. They met through the various print jobs Benerman did for the photography studio of Frederick Gutekunst (1831–1917), where Wilson was an assistant.

Benerman was an experienced bookman. In 1863, he would have been working on a series for Josiah Whitney’s Geological Survey of California, with maps, lithographic plates, and letterpress text. The firm’s edition of Thomas L. McKenney’s History of the Indian Tribes of North America, begun in 1865, remains one of the most important color plate books produced in America. Wilson was in good hands.

Although Benerman soon stepped back from the day to day operation of the magazine, he continued to print this and other publications for Wilson, under the corporate name Benerman and Wilson.

When ferrotypes (also called tintypes) were developed, Wilson was one of the first to published the formula, along with several small manuals complete with an actual tintype as a frontispiece.



Note the process of this one is specified as a “Chocolate Tinted Egg Shell Plate.”

In 1872, the editor of The Photographic Times (distributed inside The Philadelphia Photographer) wrote,

“The publishers have kindly supplied us with some advance sheets of Mr. Trask’s Practical Manual on Ferrotyping, so that we need not wait until its issue to know how complete it is. The reason why so many bad ferrotypes have been made, and why so comparatively few good ones are made, is because no first-class practical ferro’.yper, such as Mr. Trask pre-eminently is, has thought to give us a complete manual of instructions on the subject. As our readers mostly know, we have for two or three years been in the habit of appending to our catalogues some brief instructions in ferrotype making written by Mr. Trask. They were necessarily brief, however, for want of space.

In the forthcoming manual, however, we think everything will be given that will not only enable the careful operator to make the best of work, but it will help him out of trouble should any occur. Mr. Trask very evidently knows his business. We know him to be a most skilful operator, and one who is constantly studying up improvements, taking advantage of everything that will secure the best results. We know of no one more capable of teaching others than he, and he writes just like the practical man that he is. An idea of his book may be had from his Introduction or Preface, from which we extract, viz:”

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired both the first Philadelphia edition of Trask’s Practical Ferrotyper and the London issue, both 1872. Each has an original tintype frontispiece finished with the “chocolate egg shell” treatment.

Albion K. P. Trask, Trask’s Practical Ferrotyper (Philadelphia: Benerman & Wilson, 1872). One tintype frontispiece. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process

Albion K. P. Trask, Trask’s Practical Ferrotyper. First London issue. (Philadelphia: Benerman & Wilson, 1872). One tintype frontispiece. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process.

Murder: Victim died of acute boredom in his own library. Body discovered surrounded by the past year’s best sellers.

John Riddell (pseudonym for Corey Ford, 1902-1969), John Riddell Murder Case, a Philo Vance Parody (New York: C. Scribner’s sons, 1930). Caricatures by Miguel Covarrubias (1904-1957). Recap 3742.68.351

 **Explanation of the title page: “Meaning No Offense” is the title of Ford’s 1928 book and “Salt Water Taffy” is his next book published in 1929.

Under the pseudonym S. S. Van Dine, Willard Huntington Wright (1888-1939) wrote crime fiction and introduced the popular detective Philo Vance. His novels later became radio dramas and motion pictures starring William Powell, all available today on YouTube.

The character and voice of Philo Vance was so beautifully written and so often repeated in New York society that in 1930, humorist Corey Ford (1902-1969) partnered with the Mexican caricaturist Miguel Covarrubias (1904-1957) to write a parody, along with parodies in the voices of Will Rogers, Sherwood Anderson, and others. They followed this with In the Worst Possible Taste in 1832 (Recap PN6231.P3F47).

Covarrubias moved to New York in 1924 and was given an exhibition at the Whitney Studio Club shortly after he arrived. He charmed his way into New York literary circles with his satirical drawings, first published in The Prince of Wales and Other Famous Americans (1925) (Firestone ND259.C8 A3). Covarrubias went on to draw covers for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker before returning to Mexico in the mid-1930s.


See also: S.S. Van Dine, The Benson murder case (New York: A. L. Burt [c1926]). Recap 3998.46.316. Or watch it here:

The Clyde Mystery (September 27, 1931)
The Wall Street Mystery (November 4, 1931)
The Week End Mystery (December 6, 1931)
The Symphony Murder Mystery (January 10, 1932)
The Studio Murder Mystery (February 7, 1932)
The Skull Murder Mystery (March 1932)
The Cole Case (The Cole Murder Case) (April 3, 1932)
Murder in the Pullman (May 22, 1932)
The Side Show Mystery (June 11, 1932)
The Campus Mystery (July 2, 1932)
The Crane Poison Case (July 9, 1932)
The Trans-Atlantic Murder Mystery (August 31, 1932)

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. https://blogs.princeton.edu/graphicarts/2009/10/hot_corn.html


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

Gillett G. Griffin Memorial Lecture

The Gillett G. Griffin Memorial Lecture Series is being established in honor of our former colleague Gillett Good Griffin (1942-2016), who served as graphic arts curator within Rare Books and Special Collections from 1952 to 1966. Although officially the collection’s second curator, he was the first to establish a place for the graphic arts collection inside Firestone Library, along with galleries and study rooms where students were regularly and warmly welcomed. Gillett’s passion for collecting began almost 70 years ago while he was a student at Yale University School of Art. His personal collection of Japanese prints, for instance, was begun as an undergraduate and later, when Gillett generously donated them to Princeton University Library, formed the basis for the department’s collection.

When we received the sad news of Gillett’s passing in June 2016, we wanted to find a way to not only commemorate the man but also his passion for bringing objects in the collection directly to the public and the public to the collection. To that end, we decided to select one of the great treasures acquired by Gillett for an in-depth investigation presented in a public memorial lecture.

In 2017, the inaugural lecture will be delivered by Dr. Sara Stevenson, former chief curator at the National Galleries of Scotland. For 36 years, Dr. Stevenson was responsible for building and developing the Scottish National Photography Collection and she continues to publish, her most recent publication entitled: Scottish Photography: The First Thirty Years. Her lecture, “The London Circle: Early Explorations of Photography,” will highlight the Richard Willats album of early paper photography purchased for the graphic arts collection by Gillett.

The lecture will be held on Sunday, April 2, 2017, at 3:00 in the Friends Center followed by a reception. The event is free and open to the public.


Spirit Photography on Trial


La revue spirite, the leading journal of 19th-century French spiritualism, was founded in 1858 by Allan Kardec (pseudonym of Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail 1804-1869) and after his death, Pierre-Gaetan Leymarie (1817-1901) took over as editor. Leymarie was not only a fake medium but also active in the bogus practice of spirit photography, using the respected journal to advertise and promote it.

Leymarie formed a partnership with the photographer Édouard Isidore Buguet (1840-1901) along with an American medium Alfred-Henri Firman. They sold their manipulated prints through La revue spirite, where Leymarie printed glowing reviews. This lasted for several years until the French police caught on to their scheme.


In April 1875, an undercover officer went to Buguet’s studio on the pretense of having his photograph taken. During the session, props and other tricks were discovered and Buguet was arrested. Leymarie and Firman were also charged with fraud.

A sensational trial followed, in which many respected men and women testified on the men’s behalf. Eventually, Buguet confessed and was sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of 500 francs but escaped before he served any time. Leymarie was sentenced to one year and Firman six months, after which both returned to successful careers in the spiritualism business. La revue spirite continues to be published.

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a rare first edition of Proces des Spirites, Edite par Madame P.G. Laymarie, which is the account of the 1875 trial, complete with the passionate testimony of the Parisian elite compiled by Leymarie’s wife Marina. La photographie spirite et l’analyse spectrale comparées (1875) has also been acquired, offering a contemporary account by L. Legas, the president of the Belgian spiritualist group La Vérité.


Various photographs by Buguet found on google image.

Procès des spirites. Edité par Mme P.G. Leymarie (Paris: Librarie Spirite, 1875). Graphic Arts Collection 2017-in process

L. Legas, La photographie spirite et l’analyse spectrale compares (Paris; Legas, 1875). Graphic Arts Collection 2017-in process

See also: Henri Sausse, Biographie d’Allan Kardec (Paris: Pygmalion, 1993). (F) BF1283.K228 S287 1993

Hogarth’s Prison Scene

Our copy of William Hogarth’s “Prison Scene,” plate seven from “A Rake’s Progress,” is going to New York City to join the exhibition, “Taming Traders: Origins of the New York Stock Exchange,” at the New-York Historical Society from March 31 to June 11, 2017. http://www.nyhistory.org/exhibitions/taming-traders-origins-new-york-stock-exchange



Mounted on the 225th anniversary of the New York Stock Exchange, the exhibition charts the development of this crucial trading institution. Objects on display include early bond and stock certificates, correspondence, portraits of traders, and views of Wall Street and the Tontine Coffee House. The exhibition is curated by Dr. Michael Ryan, New-York Historical vice president and director of the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library.

Their website tells the story:

On May 17, 1792―under a buttonwood tree, the site of street trading at the time―24 stock brokers signed an agreement that regulated aspects of trading, thus creating the New York Stock Exchange. Before then, in the early days of the new republic when the United States was deeply in debt, it was Alexander Hamilton’s job as the first Secretary of the Treasury to persuade his colleagues in the first Congress that debt could be a beneficial commodity that could be sold and traded. But rampant speculation in war debt and bank stock turned to financial panic and provided the cautionary backdrop for the drafting of the Buttonwood Agreement in May 1792, which would change global commerce forever.

William Hogarth (1697–1764) engraved the eight plates of “A Rake’s Progress” in 1735 and we had the entire set on view back in 2011 in our own exhibition Sin and the City: William Hogarth’s London: http://rbsc.princeton.edu/hogarth/events

Walt Whitman and “Life Illustrated”

“Christmas at ‘Grace,” Life Illustrated NS Vol. 1, no. 13 (January 26, 1856). Folio. Graphic Arts Collection 2017 in process. Walt Whitman’s unsigned contribution is a critical review of the Christmas service at Grace Episcopal Church, occupying nearly two of the four columns on the front page.


Jason Stacy writes, “The phrenologists Orson Squire Fowler (1809–1887), Lorenzo Niles Fowler (1811–1896), and Samuel R. Wells (1820–1875) published Life Illustrated: A Journal of Entertainment, Improvement, and Progress between 1854 and 1861, after which the newspaper merged with the American Phrenological Journal.

Life Illustrated was one of the earliest periodicals to review Whitman’s first edition of Leaves of Grass (1855), and the review described the poet as “a perfect loafer; yet a thoughtful loafer, an amiable loafer, an able loafer.” The journal also printed Emerson’s famous letter to Whitman that began “I greet you at the beginning of a great career . . .” in October 1856, and Whitman published this letter in the second edition of Leaves of Grass (1856).” http://whitmanarchive.org/published/periodical/journalism/tei/per.00312.html

Between November 1855 and August 1856, Whitman published a number of items in Life Illustrated on topics ranging from the opera to working-class housing to the English language as the nation’s “mightiest inheritance.” The Graphic Arts collection recently acquired a number of issues of the newspaper with his contributions.

Here are a few:

“The Circus,” Life Illustrated NS Vol. 2, no. 18 (August 30, 1856). Folio. Graphic Arts Collection 2017 in process. Walt Whitman’s contribution, unsigned, describes his experiences at a performance of Dan Rice’s circus and occupies one and a half of the four columns on the editorial page.



“Voltaire,” Life Illustrated NS Vol. 2, no. 2 (May 10, 1856). Folio. Graphic Arts Collection 2017 in process. Walt Whitman’s attributed contribution is an appreciation of the radical Voltaire, occupying nearly two columns on the front page.



“The Opera,” Life Illustrated NS Vol. 1, no 2 (November 10, 1855). Folio. Graphic Arts Collection 2017 in process. Walt Whitman’s first contribution, unsigned, occupies three of the four columns on the front page.




“Democracy,” designed and executed by one who has neither place nor pension.

Attributed to William Charles (1776-1820), Democracy against the Unnatural Union. Trial Octr. 14t 1817. Designed and executed by one who has neither place nor pension, 1817. Etching. Graphic Arts collection GAX 2017- in process

Two hundred years ago, candidate William Findlay (1768-1846) and Joseph Hiester (1752-1832) ran against each other for the Democratic-Republican (later called Jacksonian) nomination for Governor of Pennsylvania. Findlay won the nomination and the Governorship in 1817 but Hiester won when they ran again in 1820.

This satirical print is on Findlay’s side, who floats up to the governor’s chair while commenting “How easy do I [ascend].” Hiester stands on a shaky foundation at the right, labeled “federalism” and “old schoolism.” Below are bundles of the U.S. Gazette and Aurora newspapers. The paper Hiester has in his hand says “Serious Reflections.” One member of the crowd says, “I am thinking to myself how foolish we shall look if we do not Succeed.”

Scottish-born William Charles did have a place. He set up a printshop on South 3rd Street in Philadelphia. This is a view by William Birch around 1800 across the street:

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. (1800). South East corner of Third, and Market Streets. Philadelphia. Retrieved from http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-7e61-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Seconda parte delle logge di Rafaele nel Vaticano

Detail of plate one, God Dividing Light from Darkness


A single plate engraved by Giovanni Ottaviani after Raphael was recently found among the unidentified prints in our collection. This led to the discovery of a complete set of all 13 painted engravings for the “Seconda Parte” of the celebrated Loggie di Rafaele nel Vaticano. The spectacular volume has now been acquired for Princeton University Library in honor of Marvin Bielawski, Deputy University Librarian, Princeton University Library, thanks to the joint efforts of the Friends of the Princeton University Library and the Graphic Arts Collection.

Plate one, God Dividing Light from Darkness

Seconda parte delle Logge di Rafaele nel Vaticano. Volume two of Loggie di Rafaele nel Vaticano. Engraved by Giovanni Ottaviani (1735–ca. 1808) and Giovanni Volpato (1732–1803); after designs by Gaetano Savorelli (died 1791), Ludovicus Teseo Taurinensis (active 18th century) and Pietro Camporesi (1726–1781); after frescoes by Raphael (1483-1520). Publisher unknown, 1776. Title page and 13 engraving with hand painted gouache color. Purchased by the Friends of the Princeton University Library and the Graphic Arts Collection in honor of Marvin Bielawski. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2017- in process.

This volume of 18th-century painted engravings reproduces the 16th-century frescoes by Raphael (Rafaello Sanzio d’ Urbino) along the Loggia of the Vatican in Rome. Sometimes called Raphael’s Bible, the Loggia’s 13 arcades are decorated with 52 frescoes: 48 subjects from the Old Testament and 4 depicting the life of Christ. The original sketches were made by Raphael, the cartoons prepared by Giulio Romano, and the painting done by multiple artists between 1516-1519.

Only one of the 4 scenes from each arcade are reproduced in brilliant gouache color for the Seconda parte. All 52 scenes can be seen in black and white in Picturae peristylI Vaticani, manus Raphaelis SancI, in tabulis aereis nova cura expressae, chartisque reddita anno MDCCLXXXX ([Rome: Caleografia Camerale, 1790]). Rare Books (Ex) Oversize 2009-0001E

Professional photography will soon be completed of this beautiful volume but for now, here are some images of our new acquisition.

Plate two, Adam and Eve at Work out of Paradise.


Plate three, Building of the Ark.


Detail of plate four, Three Angels Appearing to Abraham.


Plate five, God Appearing to Isaac.


Detail from plate six, Jacob’s Ladder.


Detail from plate six, Jacob’s Ladder.


Detail from plate seven, Joseph Telling his Dream.


Detail from plate eight, The Finding of Moses.


Detail from plate nine, Moses Showing the Tables of the Law.


Plate nine, Moses Showing the Tables of the Law.


Plate ten, The Fall of Jericho.

Detail from plate ten, The Fall of Jericho.


Detail from plate eleven, David’s Triumph over the Syrians.


Plate twelve, The Judgment of Solomon.


Every copy of this volume should be considered unique.  Many were painted at a later date, or done with a different hand. See for example this detail from plate twelve of the copy owned by the New York Public Library.


Detail from plate thirteen, The Last Supper.

Title page of volume two, Logge di Rafaele nel Vaticano.


Below is the title page from volume one, not held at Princeton University Library