Recently in Illustrated books Category

The Cannibals' Progress in 1798

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Anthony Aufrere (1756-1833), The Cannibal’s Progress, or, The Dreadful Horrors of French Invasion, as Displayed by the Republican Officers and Soldiers, in their Perfidy, Rapacity, Ferociousness and Brutality, Exercised towards the Innocent Inhabitants of Germany (London: Wright, Cadel and others; Hartford: Hudson & Goodwin, 1798). Sinclair Hamilton Collection of American Illustrated Books. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Hamilton 175

The artist for this eighteenth-century pamphlet describing the horrors of the French invasion of Swabia, Germany, was William Wadsworth. According to Sinclair Hamilton, Wadsworth lived in Hartford, Connecticut, and worked as a freelance engraver for Hudson & Goodwin. No activities outside that press have been recorded.

Our library owns a second book illustrated, in part, by Wadsworth, also published by Hudson and Goodwin. Noah Webster (1758-1843), The American Spelling Book: Containing an Easy Standard of Pronunciation. 21st Connecticut ed. (Hartford: Hudson & Goodwin, 1798). Sinclair Hamilton Collection of American Illustrated Books. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Hamilton 181

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Ediciones Vigía


The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired twenty-five hand-made books from Ediciones Vigía based in the city of Matanzas to the east of Havana, Cuba. Most have a mimeographed reproduction of a typescript text, wrapped in unique, decorative paper binding. The books are hand-colored, stapled, sewn, glued, folded and in countless other ways constructed into editions of 200, most with a signed colophon.

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The Cuban publishing house has been active since 1985 under the artistic direction of Rolando Estévez Jordán and editorial direction of Laura Ruiz. Agustina Ponce serves as the overall director of Ediciones Vigía.

A few of the titles now in the Graphic Arts Collection include Nancy Morejón and Rolando Estévez Jordán, El Río de Martín Pérez y Otros Poemas (Matanzas, Cuba: Ediciones Vigía, 1996); Fernández René and Juan Antonio Carbonell Gómez, La Ikú y Elegguá (Matanzas, Cuba: Ediciones Vigía, 1994) and Rafael Acosta de Arriba and Hiram Aguíar, Los Signos al Infinito: Una Lectura de la Poesía de Octavio Paz (Matanzas, Cuba: Ediciones Vigía, 1992). They will all soon be searchable here.

This video gives you a chance to go inside the artists’ studio in Cuba and see them at work. Well worth the time to watch.



Kees van Dongen (1877-1968), Deauville. Aquarelles gravées sur cuivre par Maccard et dessins encouleurs de Van Dongen; texte de Paul Poiret (Paris: Ed. M-P. Trémois, 1931). Charles Rahn Fry Pochoir Collection. (GAX) Oversize 2003-0059F


On July 1, 1912, Eugène Cornuché opened the Hotel Normandie in the seaside town of Deauville and Paris newspapers wrote that it was the “most beautiful hotel in the world.” Next door, Cornuché built an enormous casino, inspired by the architecture of the Petit Trianon at Versailles.

The following year, Coco Chanel opened her first boutique on the Rue Cambon and the Dutch artist Kees van Dongen (1877-1968) joined the elite members of Paris society who began frequenting the Normandy resort. By the time the Promenade des Planches was constructed in 1923, the Deauville beachfront had become more fashionable than the Avenue des Champs-Elysées.

When the stock market crashed in 1929, the number of tourists at the hotel and casino began to decline. Now a French citizen, van Dongen was selected to put together a brochure to publicize Deauville. His good friend, fashion designer Paul Poiret (1879-1944) wrote a text and van Dongen painted a series of watercolors that were translated into five full-page engravings and six colored pochoir vignettes. A limited edition portfolio was published May 30, 1931. The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to hold copy no. 15 of 280.


Nouvelles heures

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Nicolas Duval (born 1634 or 5), Nouvelles heures: gravées au burin: dediées au Roy ([Paris]: … se vendent à Paris chez J. Mariette, 1670). Engraved throughout by Louis Senault (1630-ca.1680) with fine calligraphic sectional title-pages, decorated initials, head- and tail-pieces, ornaments and title-frames. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2012- in process

This all-engraved book of hours is dedicated to Louis XIV. The French writing master Duval and his brother, calligrapher Senault, created a number of calligraphic books of hours dedicated to various French dignitaries. Senault’s daughter Elizabeth assisted and continued in the profession after their death.

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Our collection includes several other French engraved books of hours:
Heures nouvelles tirées de la Sainte Ecriture écrites et grauées par L. Senault (Paris: Chez l’autheur rüe du Petie Lion au Fauxbourg St Germain en la maison de Mr Frontié, et chez Claude de Hansy sur le Pont au Change a l’Image St Nicolas, [not before 1680]). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2004-3308N

Heures nouuelles dédiées à Monseigneur Dauphin écrites et grauées par Elisabeth Senault (Paris: Chez de Hansy, libraire sur le Pont au Change à St. Nicolas, [ca. 1690]). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2004-3388N

Month by Month

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This unidentified Japanese artist recorded his/her year in watercolors, creating a different scene for each month.

Japanese sketchbook, 1900s. Watercolor. Graphic Arts Collection GA2013- in process

le mot

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In August 1914, when war was declared with Germany, Jean Cocteau was twenty-five years old. Like many patriotic young Frenchmen, Cocteau tried to enlist but was turned down because of his health. Looking for other ways to serve his country and the war effort, he joined with the illustrator Paul Iribe (1883-1935) to publish a fortnightly journal, called Le Mot (The Word).

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As a teenager, Iribe drew illustrations for the popular caricature journal L’Assiette au Beurre (The Butter Plate), which ran from 1902 to 1912 (Ex Oversize 0904.133q). He also freelanced for Rire, Sourire and other periodicals, so Iribe was enthusiastic about starting a journal of his own.

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Cocteau contributed both image and text, signing his drawings with the pseudonym Jim (the name of his dog). The first issue was released on November 28, 1914 and by January, the magazine had gone weekly. Other contributors included Léon Bakst (1866-1924); Raoul.Dufy (1877-1953); Albert Gleizes (1881-1953); André Lhote (1885-1962); and SEM (Georges Goursat 1863-1934).

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Unfortunately, both Iribe and Cocteau were involved with too many projects to keep Le Mot flourishing for long and after only 20 issues it ended on July 1, 1915.

Paul Iribe (1883-1935) and Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), Le Mot (Paris: Société Générale d’Impression, 1914-1915). Gift of John W. Garrett, Class of 1895. Graphic Arts Collection GAX Oversize 14094.00.647f

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"The Practice of Piety" illustrated by James Franklin

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Lewis Bayly (1565-1631), The Practice of Piety: Directing a Christian How to Walk, That He May Please God (Boston in New-England: Reprinted by B. Green, for Benj. Eliot, and Daniel Henchman, sold at their shops, 1718). Graphic Arts Collection, Hamilton 11. Gift of Sinclair Hamilton.

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Sinclair Hamilton was one of the first to attribute the allegorical title page woodcut to James Franklin (1697-1735), Benjamin Franklin’s older half-brother. Twenty-one year old James returned to Boston after an apprenticeship with a London printer and opened his own printing shop at the corner of Queen (now Court) Street and Dassett Alley (now Franklin Avenue). Twelve-year-old Benjamin became his apprentice and his wife managed the office.

One of James’s first jobs, in the spring of 1718, was to draw and print the allegorical woodcut for the title page of Lewis Bayly’s The Practice of Piety. Written originally in 1611, the devotional manual was now in its fifty-third edition when Franklin cut the illustration. By 1842, the book had gone through eighty English editions and had been translated into several other languages.

Born in Wales, Bayley became Treasurer of Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London and Chaplain to King James the First. In 1616, he was appointed Bishop of Bangor, remaining there until his death in 1631. “Deeply influential on the Puritan movement, The Practice of Piety systematically investigates piety, beginning with a detailed account of God and Christ. In it, Bayly contrasts the ‘misery’ of someone not reconciled to Christ with the happiness of the ‘godly man’ who is reconciled to God.” —Tim Perrine.

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Honesty is the Best Policy

hamilton 64c.jpgThomas Dilworth (died 1780), A New Guide to the English Tongue (Boston: Printed by J. Kneeland, in Milk-street, for A. Ellison, MDCCLXXIII, [1773]). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Hamilton 64. Gift of Sinclair Hamilton.
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Charles Dickens remembered his copy of A New Guide and mentioned Dilworth’s frontispiece portrait in his Sketches:
“But the party arrives, and Dando, relieved from his state of uncertainty, starts up into activity. They approach in full aquatic costume, with round blue jackets, striped shirts, and caps of all sizes and patterns, from the velvet skull-cap of French manufacture, to the easy head-dress familiar to the students of the old spelling-books, as having, on the authority of the portrait, formed part of the costume of the Reverend Mr. Dilworth.”

—from Charles Dickens (1812-1870), Sketches by “Boz,” [pseud.] illustrative of every-day life, and every-day people … Illustrations by George Cruikshank (London: J. Macrone, 1836). Graphic Arts Collection (GA) Cruik 1836

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“Perhaps the most successful of the spellers of this period was Thomas Dilworth’s A New Guide to the English Tongue. The first edition of this book was issued in England in 1740. The first American reprint was made by Benjamin Franklin in 1747. Fourteen additional reprints were made in America between this date and 1778. The 1770 edition was 4 by 6 inches in size and was bound in leather. The typographical features were the same as in all other books of the period. This speller, however, had one feature which none of the contemporary spellers displayed—a series of 12 crude little woodcuts, 2 ¾ by 3 inches.” —Nila Banton Smith (1889-1976), American Reading Instruction (2002)

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View an animation of early relief printing:

Jules Chéret's design for Scaramouche

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Maurice Lefèvre (1863-1917), Scaramouche. Conte suivi de l’argument du ballet (Paris: P. Ollendorff, 1891). Libretto for Scaramouche with lithographic title page by Jules Chéret. Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process

Jules Chéret (1836-1932), Nouveau théâtre, 15 rue Blanche, Scaramouche, 1891. Lithographic poster.

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The Parisian ballet/pantomime Scaramouche had a story written by Maurice Lefèvre and Henri Vuagneux together with music composed by André Messager (1853-1929). For the show’s opening on October 17, 1891 at the Nouveau-Théâtre 15, rue Blanche, the celebrated artist Jules Chéret (1836-1932) was commissioned to design a poster.

Within the same year, publisher Paul Ollendorff simplified Chéret’s design and used it as a frontispiece for the publication of the libretto. There was a vogue for the artist’s brightly colored designs and Ollendorff knew the image would sell the book.

“The man who places something good where before was nothing but bad, something beautiful where before was ugliness, is a veritable missionary. Jules Chéret went out into the desert and produced an oasis—beauty where none was expected. Reds, yellows and blues are not tractable; yet they are a part of the language of the advertiser. He sounds a trumpet in prismatic colors; he announces a bargain sale, a cure-all, a new book, a play, a singer.”
—Louis H. Gibson, “Jules Chéret,” Modern Art 1, no. 1 (Winter 1893).

See pp. 68-72 in Julies Chéret (1836-1932), La Belle Époque de Jules Chéret: de l’affiche au décor / sous la direction de Réjane Bargiel et Ségolène Le Men (Paris: Les Arts décoratifs/BNF, 2010). Marquand SA ND553.C582 B374 2010q

Pilgrim's Progress 1744

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John Bunyan (1628-1688). The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World to That which is to Come. The Second Part. Deliver’d under the Similitude of a DREAM: Wherein is Set Forth, The manner of the setting out of his Christian wife and children, His Dangerous Journey; And safe Arrival at the Desired Country. The Seventeenth Edition. Boston: Printed by John Draper for Charles Harrison, 1744.
Gift of Sinclair Hamilton. Hamilton 20.

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This is the first American edition of the Second Part of The Pilgrim’s Progress, originally published in London in 1684. The Boston edition is illustrated with four woodcuts, one of which was also used in the First Part published four yeas earlier in Boston by G. Rogers and D. Fowle.

“… I did not think / To shew to all the World my Pen and Ink / In such a mode; I only thought to make / I knew not what: nor did I undertake / Thereby to please my Neighbour; no not I; / I did it mine own self to gratifie.”

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The AUTHOR’S Apology For His BOOK

When at the first I took my Pen in hand,
Thus for to write; I did not understand
That I at all should make a little Book
In such a mode; Nay, I had undertook
To make another, which, when almost done,
Before I was aware, I this begun.

Au Sans Pareil

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Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918), Le poète assassiné (The Poet Assassinated), Lithographies de Raoul Dufy (Paris: Sans Pareil, 1926). Copy 136 of 380. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2011-0228Q

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René Hilsum (1895-1990) launched his first publication in 1912 while still a student at the Collège Chaptal in Paris. The magazine was called Vers l’Idéal: rêver le juste, aimer le beau et dire le vrai (Towards the Ideal: Dream of the Just, Love Beauty and Speak the Truth). Although it didn’t last long, it had the distinction of being the first to publish the poetry of a classmate, André Breton (1896-1966).

During the First World War, both Hilsum and Breton joined the medical auxiliary and when the war was over, Hilsum decided he wanted to continue publishing the work of his friends and acquaintances. He talked his godmother into giving him some money and opened a publishing house and gallery, Sans Pareil (Without Equal) in 1919.

Hilsum published the recently discovered Les mains de Jeanne-Marie by Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) together with illustrations by Jean-Louis Forain (1852-1931) and then, Breton’s Mont de Piété with plates by André Derain (1880-1954). Over the next 17 years, Hilsum published 170 books before he finally closed the doors in 1936.

The first years were the most daring. By the time he published Apollinaire’s novel Le poète assassiné (The Poet Assassinated) with illustrations by Raoul Dufy (1877-1953), most of the Surrealists had left his shop for that of Gaston Gallimard (1881-1975).

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See also Pascal Fouché, Au Sans Pareils (Paris: Bibliothèque de littérature française contemporaine de l’Université Paris 7, 1983). Recap Z305.A7 F68


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Utagawa Toyokuni III (Utagawa Kunisada 1786-1865), Koi No Yatsu Fuji (Edo, ca. 1870). Graphic Arts Collection 2012- in process

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Koi no Yatsu Fuji, published at the New Year in 1837, is a shunga version of Satomi Hakken-den, the most representative work of Kyokutei Bakin (also known as Kyokutei Shujin), originally published in 1814-42. Both its text and illustrations are clever parodies of the original work. The author’s name is given as Kyokudori Shujin, a perversion of and is the pseudonym of the gesaku writer Hanagasa Bunkyō. The illustrations are by Bukiyo Matahei, otherwise known as Kunisada. The title is a version of the ‘eight tufts of hair-amulets (yatsu-busa)’ of the dogs in the original work, which appear as such in the main text; but for some reason the term is Yatsu Fuji in the title. The inside title reads Nansō Satomi Hakken-den.” -Yoshikazu Hayashi, Kunisada’s Koi no Yatsu Fuji Shunga Book (1996)

Utagawa Kunisada (later Utagawa Toyokuni III, 1786-1864) was the Andy Warhol of his day. He was the most popular, most copied, and most financially successful artist of that period. As a young man, he apprenticed with Toyokuni, later having the honor of taking that master printer’s name. Experts estimate Kunisada’s total work to be over 20,000 prints.

Many of the Shunga (erotic) prints and books in this country are in the backrooms of art museums and library, carefully housed and controlled by shy librarians. This is only the second such volume to enter Princeton University Library but an important example of a significant genre. The date of this edition is only a guess, there is no date inside the volume.


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Walter Prichard Eaton (1878-1957), Newark: A Series of Engravings on Wood by Rudolph Ruzicka (Newark: Carteret Book Club; printed by D.B. Updike of the Merrymount Press, 1917). Copy 124 of 200. Graphic Arts Collection
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From 1908 to 1957, the Carteret Book Club brought together book lovers from New Jersey and New York at monthly meetings in the Newark Public Library. At its height, the club boasted 80 members, including Elmer Adler the first curator of graphic arts at Princeton University.

These men (no women) sought to promote the study of book production, to hold regular exhibitions, and to publish their own fine press, limited editions with original illustrations commissioned especially for each volume. Twenty-three volumes were published and one of the best was their 1917 Newark. The book combines an appreciation of the city by Walter Prichard Eaton, principal drama critic for the Sun and American Magazine, with color wood engravings by Rudolph Ruzicka (1883-1978).

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James Nasmyth and the Durable Image

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First edition, heliotype with thumb right

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Second edition, woodburytype with thumb left

In 1874, the Scottish engineer James Nasmyth and London publisher John Murray prepared and released two simultaneous editions of Nasmyth’s study of the moon. Although the text and pagination is the same, the illustrations are not. Why?

Nasmyth was an amateur astronomer who built his own 20-inch reflecting telescope and made detailed observations of the moon. He was also an amateur photographer and experimented with various ways of making images of the moon. He drew, creating the plaster models, and photographed both the moon itself and his own reproductions.

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It was a time when many men and women were attempting to find the perfect form of reproduction: the durable photograph. One that would not fade or change over time AND could be printed in ink (independent of the action of light), so it could be made on cloudy days.

Heliotypes, autotypes, and woodburytypes were only a few of the non-silver prints made from photographic negatives. Each had their own drawbacks, especially the beautiful woodburytype, which was the most time-consuming. Some publishers preferred the heliotype, which did not have the glossy surface of the woodburytype or the albumen photograph. The autotype was the quickest but didn’t have the detail of the others.

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Both woodburytypes, one with pigment?

Is it possible that Nasmyth and Murray were experimenting with book illustration, to see which edition would remain true longer? If so, the woodburytype won because the third edition of this book, published in 1885, is listed as having only woodburytypes (not held at Princeton).

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1st ed., front cover

James Nasmyth (1808-1890) and James Carpenter (1840-1899), The Moon: Considered as a Planet, a World, and a Satellite. 1st edition (London: John Murray 1874). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2012- in process. With 23 plates, including 6 photogravures, 4 heliotypes, 2 lithographs and 1 chromolithograph after drawings or photographs by Nasmyth, 12 mounted photographs on 11 leaves (10 autotypes by Brooks, Day & Son and 2 woodburytypes), and various wood engravings with text.

James Nasmyth (1808-1890) and James Carpenter (1840-1899), The Moon: Considered as a Planet, a World, and a Satellite. 2nd edition (London: John Murray 1874). Graphic Arts Collection GAX Oversize 2003-0202Q. Note, frontispiece and plates XII, XIII XVI, and XX are photogravures in the first edition, woodburytypes in second edition; plates II, XIX, XXI, XXIII in first edition are heliotypes, woodburytypes in second edition; plate XIX in first edition has one illustration (glass globe cracked) and two illustrations in second edition (add the full moon); plate III is woodburytype in both editions, but larger in first edition; plate XIV is woodburytype in both editions, but smaller in first edition.

Engraved on steel

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Views of London. 45 plates engraved by Charles Heath (1785-1848) (London: Hurst, Robinson & Co., & R. Jennings Year: 1825). Each plate accompanied by a leaf with descriptive letterpress. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2012- in process

Charles Heath made his first etching when he was six years old and in 1840, was responsible for engraving on steel the world’s first postage stamps. It is his skill engraving on steel rather than copper, for which he is best remembered today.

“Heath was also a pioneer in new printmaking techniques… . In 1820, for an edition of Thomas Campbell’s poem Pleasures of Hope, he engraved the first plates on mild steel rather than copper, giving much longer production runs from each plate. In larger commercial plates he was less successful. By contrast his View from Richmond Hill and his Gentlemen of the Time of Charles I, together with his Christ Healing the Sick, were masterpieces of their kind.

In 1821 and again in 1826, Charles Heath got into financial difficulties, but quickly recovered following an energetic diversion into the new fashion for illustrated annuals and giftbooks… . From 1825 onwards he was almost entirely occupied first in engraving for The Amulet, Literary Souvenir, and Landscape Annual, and then in promoting his own productions, notably The Keepsake, Picturesque Annual, the Book of Beauty, and similar publications such as J. M. W. Turner’s Picturesque Views in England and Wales.” Dictionary of National Biography

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Be Merry and Wise. He! He! He!

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Tommy Trapwit, Be Merry and [Wise], or, The Cream of the Jests, and the Marrow of Maxims, for the Conduct of Life: Published for the Use of All Good Little Boys and Girls. The first Worcester edition. (Worcester: Printed by Isaiah Thomas, 1786). Sinclair Hamilton Collection of American Illustrated Books (GAX) Hamilton 107s
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In 1770, the children’s book Be Merry and Wise was published by Carnan and Newbery at no. 65 in St. Paul’s Church-yard in the City of London. A copy sold for six-pence and the frontispiece showed a picture of a young boy reading a book. John Newbery (1713-1767) had begun publishing books in 1740 and moved it to central London around 1743. After Newbery’s death, his son Francis and his stepson Thomas Carnan continued the business.

The American printer Isaiah Thomas (1749 -1831) set up his press in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he published more than 900 books. Thomas decided to bring Newbery’s books to the United States and simply began printing copies. There was no payment to the London firm or mention of copyright. The same year he released Tom Thumb (1838-1883), A Bag of Nuts Ready Cracked, or, Instructive Fables, Ingenious Riddles, and Merry Conundrums; and the following year The History of Little Goody Twoshoes and The History of Master Jackey and Miss Harriot, among many others.

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See also Carnan and Newbery’s edition of Be Merry and Wise, (CTSN) Eng18 / Newbery 5359

Margaret Armstrong

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American publishers’ trade bindings are a popular topic in book collecting. One of the best designers of this genre was Margaret Neilson Armstrong (1867-1944). She worked primarily for Scribner’s, completing at least 270 books for the publisher. Henry Van Dyke (1852-1933) was one of the authors whose novels were all originally bound with Armstrong’s decorative gold stamping. Here are a few, but for a complete inventory see the database mounted in 2003 by The University of Alabama, University Libraries, in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries.

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See also: Charles B. Gullans, A Checklist of Trade Bindings Designed by Margaret Armstrong (Los Angeles: University of California Library, 1968). Graphic Arts Collection (GA) Oversize Z269.2.A75 G84 1968q

Max Weber, Cubist Poems


Known primarily as a painter and printmaker, the Russian-born Max Weber (1881-1961) was also a poet. His first book of poems, Cubist Poems (1914) was written while lecturing in art history at the Clarence H. White School for Photography. The book was dedicated to the pictorial photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn (1882-1966), who wrote a brief foreword and published in London by Elkin Mathews (1851-1921), where Coburn’s Moor Park was published the following year.


Twelve years later, Weber’s second book of poems, Primitives: Poems and Woodcuts, was published in an edition of 350 copies by Spiral Press. He not only illustrated the work with eleven woodcuts but also designed the binding.


Weber and his family moved from Russia to New York City in 1891. He enrolled at Pratt Institute to study with Arthur Wesley Dow (1857-1922), who taught him to carve and print in wood. Weber became a public school teacher for several years but gave this up to study painting in Paris from 1905 to 1909. The artist was not only inspired by the cubist style of painting he saw there but also by the French appreciation for African or what he called the primitive arts.

Back in the United States, Weber frequented New York’s Museum of Natural History and, in 1910, published the essay, “The Fourth Dimension from a Plastic Point of View” in Alfred Stieglitz’s journal Camera Work. Barely three years later, Weber was given a one-man exhibition at the Newark Museum, arguably the first modernist exhibition in the United States.


Max Weber (1881-1961), Cubist Poems (London: E. Mathews, 1914). Rare Books (Ex) 3981.48.327
Max Weber (1881-1961), Primitives: Poems and Woodcuts (New York: Spiral Press, 1926). Copy 90 of 350. Gift of Elmer Adler. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) PS3545.E337 P75 1926

Marvels of the New West Identified

marvels3.jpg“A nineteenth-century illustration”


In a recent Times Literary Supplement (June 8, 2012), a review of three new books, each focused on the development of the American railroad, is illustrated with an image simply captioned “Railroad Kings: a nineteenth-century illustration.” Since there were more than a few illustrations in the nineteenth century, I thought a little more information might be helpful.

The plate (seven photographs translated to a wood engraving and electrotyped by J.S. Cushing & Company, Boston) is from the book Marvels of a New West by the Congregationalist minister William M. Thayer (1820-1898). Three similar plates are included in Thayer’s book, listed as Portraits and set apart from the illustrations. The sitters are identified as Railroad Kings, Mining Kings and Cattle Kings. While he used some existing photographs, Thayer tells us “others have been prepared from reliable data for this volume.”

In his introduction, Thayer spends considerable time discussing the portraits and illustrations prepared for this volume. “To make it ‘next to seeing,’ a large number of pictorial illustrations are introduced, without which it is quite impossible for this class to appreciate its marvels. No person can understand a cañon by merely looking at a stereopticon view, unless he has seen a cañon with his own eyes.”


“But transfer that view to a book, by the engraver’s art, accompanied by a careful description, and the reader can readily take it in. That is “next to seeing.” Therefore, the numerous illustrations in this volume occupy a prominent place in its plan. Indeed, in one sense, we may truly say that more dependence is placed upon the pictorial illustrations than the text, to convey the information intended. They are not designed merely for entertainment, but also for instruction. Through the objects illustrated, the character, thrift, and aims of the people appear… . “

“For this reason, we claim a special mission for the many illustrations in this volume. They are furnished at heavy expense; but are indispensable to the author’s purpose. It would be quite impossible to learn what the New West is without them.”

William Makepeace Thayer (1820-1898), Marvels of the New West. A Vivid Portrayal of the Stupendous Marvels in the Vast Wonderland West of the Missouri River … Six Books in One Volume, Graphically and Truthfully Described by William M. Thayer … Illustrated with over three hundred and fifty fine engravings and maps (Norwich, Conn.: Henry Bill Pub. Co., 1887). Rare Books: Western Americana Collection (WA) Rollins 2654

Old Tom and Blue Ruin

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George Cruikshank (1792-1878), “The Gin Shop” in Scraps and Sketches, 1829. Hand colored etching. Graphic Arts Oversize Kane Room Cruik 1827.81q

Long before George Cruikshank signed a temperance pledge, he was satirizing the gin palaces of St. James Place. This is his earliest.

Images of death and dying are everywhere. Customers are standing inside a giant bear trap, waited on by a skeleton in the costume of a pretty woman (we can see her skull and the bones of her ankle and foot).

A woman is feeding gin to her baby, with the figure of death close behind her holding an hourglass. Spirits are held in coffins rather than casks: Old Tom is good gin; Blue Ruin is bad gin; Kill Devil is strong rum; and so on.

The inscription reads:
Now Oh dear, how shocking the thought is
They makes the gin from aquafortis:
They do it on purpose folks lives to shorten
And tickets it up at two-pence a quarter

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