Recent Acquisitions - March 2013
"Not at AAS" No Longer: A Sammelband Of Revolutionary-Era Pamphlets
- Lewis, Eli. St. Clair's Defeat. A Poem. Harrisburgh [Pa.]: Printed [by John W. Allen and John Wyeth], M,DCC,XCII.  , 14 p. (Evans 24474, 1 copy only)
- Brackenridge, Hugh Montgomery. Six Political Discourses Founded on the Scripture. Lancaster [Pa.]: Printed by Francis Bailey.,  88 p. (Evans 15748, 3 copies)
- Nisbet, Rev. Charles. An Address to the Students of Dickinson College. Carlisle [Pa.]: Printed by Kline & Reynolds.,  16 p. [missing last two pages] (Evans 19865, 2 copies)
- Beveridge, Thomas. The Servants of the Lord, Sustained by His Mercy, in the Work of the Gospel. Philadelphia: Printed by W. Young, bookseller and stationer, the corner of Second and Chesnut-Street., M,DCC,LXXXIX.  35,  p. (S&M 45438, 4 copies)
Two additional titles already at AAS:
- Layman. Spiritual Food: or, Truth Displayed, in a Letter Addressed to Young Persons, wherein Many of the Principles of the Christian Religion are Briefly Explained. Philadelphia: Printed by Zachariah Poulson, Junior, MDCCXCII.  72 p. (Evans 24807, 3 copies)
- Ward, Thomas. A Demonstration of the Uninterrupted Succession and Holy Consecration of the First English Bishops. [Philadelphia : s.n.], Printed in the year M,DCC,LXVI.  47,  p. [missing last eight pages] (Evans 10518, 2 copies)
Acquiring this one sturdy half-leather volume enabled the Society to fill almost a half dozen gaps in our holdings of early American imprints. This sammelband contains six early American pamphlets printed in Pennsylvania between 1766 and 1792 and later bound together (see the list of titles below). Remarkably, five of the six were listed as "Not at AAS" in our online catalog. Given that this year marks the start of the American Antiquarian Society’s third century of collecting pre-1801 U.S. imprints, it is not often we come across such titles that escaped our predecessors’ grasp. And when we do, you can just imagine how much they cost! Finding this many "Not at AAS" Evans-era (i.e., pre-1801) early American imprints all trussed up and waiting for us is impressive in itself, but the value of these imprints goes far beyond just the satisfaction of checking items off a shopping list.
- Each title in the sammelband is extremely rare. Less than a handful of institutional copies are recorded for any of them and for the first title only one other copy is recorded.
- Among them are the first books or pamphlets known to be printed in Harrisburg, PA as well as the first for Carlisle, PA. (Another imprint is from Lancaster and the last three were published in Philadelphia.)
- There are ownership inscriptions in several places for "James Ross, Harrisburg, Penna.," as well as other annotations.
- Half of the pamphlets focus on secular subjects – namely battles, politics, and education – as opposed to the religious discourses so prevalent in early American imprints.
The first title is an epic battle poem later adapted into ballad form. St. Clair's Defeat commemorated a major confrontation between the armed forces of the United States under St. Clair and the Western Confederacy of Native Americans in the Northwest Territory. It was fought on November 4, 1791 and is also known as the Battle of the Wabash, the Battle of Wabash River, or the Battle of a Thousand Slain. In proportional terms of losses to strength, it was the worst defeat that United States forces have ever suffered in battle—of the 1,000 officers and men that St. Clair led into battle, only 48 escaped unharmed. As a result, President George Washington forced St. Clair to resign his post and the president’s refusal to provide Congress access to information resulted in the first assertion of the doctrine of executive privilege and Congress’s first investigation of the executive branch.
Perhaps the most rare is the second title: H.H. Brackenridge's Six Political Discourses Founded on the Scripture (Lancaster 1778). Brackenridge was a chaplain with Washington's army at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-78. This book is what he called in the Preface, "Discourses of a nature chiefly political" delivered to the soldiers at that encampment, on subjects including Tyranny, Toryism, The Cause of Liberty, General Burgoyne. Its secular subject is emphasized by the author: "Let not the word Scripture, in the title page, prevent that general attention to these discourses which they might otherwise receive. ... I am careful to assure my countrymen, that these discourses are what they pretend to be, of a nature chiefly political." Purchased from Gordon Hopkins with a grant from the Breslauer Foundation.
~Elizabeth Watts Pope
Archive of American Publishers’ Ephemera, 1840-1900, 216 pieces.
The American Antiquarian Society’s collection of American ephemera includes much material related to the book and printing trades, including bookplates, binders’ tickets, and trade cards for printers and publishers. A recent donation in honor of long time ephemera dealer and collector Joseph Freedman (who passed away in January of 2013), expanded the collection greatly. The new material includes over two hundred examples of printer’s bill heads, trade cards, and advertising handbills from large urban centers like Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, as well as smaller towns like New Bedford, Massachusetts, York, Pennsylvania, and Cincinnati, Ohio. These receipts for orders, detailed bills for printing jobs, and lists of supplies all help to reconstruct the vibrant printing history of the United States in the last half of the nineteenth century. Some highlights include an 1841 letter from lithographer George Endicott complaining to his landlord about a leaky roof, a bill from printer Augustus Kollner for book illustrations for a genealogy, an elegant engraved trade card for printmaker J. B Longacre, and an invitation to a typographer’s ball in Philadelphia. Gift of an Anonymous Donor in Honor of Joseph Freedman.
Aristotle’s Master-piece, Completed. In Two Parts. The First Containing the Secrets of Generation… The Second Part being a Private Looking-Glass for the Female Sex. New-York: Printed for the Company of Flying Stationers, 1812.
Aristotle’s Masterpiece is a fascinating hybrid text. It used the veneer of a supposed classical author (Aristotle really had about as much to do with this work as the Pope did) in order to give legitimacy to its discussion of the culturally sensitive subject of sex. Printed under various titles for over a century in America (from the 1740s-1840s), sections were added, dropped, and changed at will, including a midwifery manual. Most notable in almost all editions are the illustrations of monstrous births, hairy women, conjoined twins, etc.
This 1812 edition is unrecorded, but about a dozen among the more than fifty editions of Aristotle’s Masterpiece at AAS bear the imprint “for the company of flying stationers.” Flying stationers were book chapmen who, alongside broadside and ballad pedlars, hawked their wares on the street. Elsewhere in AAS’s collections, an almanac for 1761 was described as “sold also by the country storekeepers, moving-merchants, flying stationers and old ballad-women.” This early sex manual would have had a similar street-level distribution system, although perhaps it was advertised more through tantalizing whispers than the usual street cries? Purchased from Webb Dordick Rare Books. Harry G. Stoddard Memorial Fund. Subsequently adopted anonymously as part of AAS’s Adopt-a-Book 2013 “in honor of Marcus Allen McCorison, bibliographer of Risqué Literature Published in America Before 1877.”
~Elizabeth Watts Pope
“Aunt Abbie.” The Fairy Grotto. [Green Bay, Wisconsin: Advocate Press. Robinson Brothers & Clark,1877]
This charming volume is a true orphan, apparently the sole survivor of its kind. Printed by the local newspaper in Green Bay, Wisconsin, it presumably was meant to be decorated by the purchaser. The hand-done illuminations in this copy are only partially completed, and it contains the dedication: “This little story is affectionately dedicated to all of my dear nieces and nephews, East and West, by their loving Aunt Abbie.” Purchased from Willis Monie. Henry Bowen and Jane Kenah Dewey Fund.
~Elizabeth Watts Pope
Beal, Thomas. Account Book, 1809-1810.
Thomas Prince Beal (1785-1852), son of David Beal and Lydia Prince, was a lawyer in the coastal town of Kingston, Massachusetts. He married Betsy Sampson, and the couple had seven children. His account book, although short, reflects his professional life from 1809 through 1810. Arranged by customer and listing debts and credits, the volume shows Beal’s activity with insurance on ships. Entries include “To premium for insuring 400 dollars on the Minerva” and “Insured one thousand Dollars on the Sch. Jefferson from Kingston…” Beal also collected mortgages on homes and land. It wasn’t all business, however. Beal was also sure to make a note of books he lent out to Dr. Bartlett – Johnson’s Lives of the Poets and Savage’s Poems. Purchased from Cheryl Needle. Harriette M. Forbes Fund.
~Thomas Knoles and Tracey Kry
Bible Characters, Instructive and Entertaining Compiled for the use of Young Children (3rd ed) on a sheet with History of Haman and Mordecai compiled by a Friend to Youth. New York: Mahlon Day, 1837.
This single sheet printing shows the way in which multiple-page books were laid out (or composed) during the nineteenth century. Such sheets are rare survivors as they mostly were either made into saleable books or pulped if unused. In this case, two titles were laid out together by the printer to make the best use of the sheet. Both titles are illustrated with woodcuts of Bible figures including Adam and Eve, and Esther. Curiously, the tail piece to Bible Characters, which is illustrated throughout with toga-wearing figures in foreign climates, is a small cut of a very 1830's steamboat at a riverside dock.
AAS has an edition of Bible Characters originally issued by New York Quaker publisher Mahlon Day and reissued with a new cover by New Bedford, Mass. publisher Charles and Augustus Taber. The Tabers also reissued both Bible Characters and History of Haman and Mordecai under one cover, and since this combined sheet was found in a New Bedford warehouse, it points to a definite connection between Mahlon Day and the Taber firm, a business relationship perhaps undergirded by their shared Quaker faith . Purchased from James Arsenault & Co. with Adopt-a-Book funds.
~Laura Wasowicz and Lauren Hewes
Blossom and Fruit. A Choice Collection of Hebrew Texts for Jewish Public and Private Instruction=Tsits u-Feri. Compiled and published by Julius Katzenberg. New York: Industrial School, Hebrew Orphan Asylum, 1882.
AAS certainly has Hebrew texts geared to Christian divinity students, but this text is geared to the needs of Jewish children and youth. AAS has just one other children’s book printed by the Hebrew Orphan Asylum Industrial School, which was a gift book printed as a fundraiser for Mount Sinai Hospital. Books like Blossom and Fruit reflect the emergence of a vibrant middle class Jewish community in nineteenth-century New York. Purchased from Dan Wyman. Linda F. & Julian L. Lapides Fund.
Booth, T.D. after William T. Ranney. Trapper’s Last Shot. Cincinnati, Ohio: T. D. Booth, for the Western Art Union, 1850.
Based on a painting by the American artist William T. Ranney, who was well-known for his images of Texas pioneers, woodland trappers and rugged landscapes, this engraving was originally offered as a members’ premium by the Western Art Union in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1850. This organization was founded in 1847 to promote and cultivate the arts in the Midwest. The engraving was the last to be issued by the group, which published a total of three large framing prints between 1847 and 1850. It is also the last in the set to be acquired by the American Antiquarian Society. Discussions with AAS member James N. Heald last year resulted in a generous contribution from the Richard A. Heald Foundation to assist the Society in acquiring impressions of all known prints published by the various American art unions, with acquisitions to be made in honor of Georgia B. Barnhill. We already hold a complete set of prints issued by the American Art Union (New York), the Cosmopolitan Art Union (New York) and now, the Western Art Union (Cincinnati). Ranney’s image proved to be very popular with the American market. It was reissued as a lithograph by Currier & Ives in the 1850s, and as a wood engraving in Harper’s Weekly in 1867. Purchased from the Old Print Shop with funds from the Richard A. Heald Foundation in honor of Georgia B. Barnhill.
Brown, Frances. Sketches from Nature, for My Juvenile Friends. Cleveland: Mrs. H.F.M. Brown; Cincinnati: Longley Brothers; Boston: Bela Marsh, 1858.
This is a remarkable collection of short stories that were clearly the product of the reformist press that flourished in Boston, Cincinnati, and Cleveland shortly before the Civil War. Although the wood-engraved illustrations look quite conventional--here is a picture of a May Queen being “crowned”--the text is anything but conventional. In the short essay on “Girls’ rights,” Mrs. Brown exhorts her young readers, “You have rights, and it is time you were looking them up. … You have a right to learn, to cook, to wash, to make shirts, to skate, to swim, to roll the hoop, to fly the kite, to laugh till your soul is brimful of mirth, and your lungs full of air.” Purchased from the Old Bookstore via Ebay. Linda F. & Julian L. Lapides Fund.
Buell, Jonathan S. The Cider Makers’ Manual: a Practical Hand-Book, Which Embodies Treatises on the Apple; Construction of Cider Mills, Cider-Presses, Seed-Washers, and Cider Mill Machinery in General; Cider Making; Fermentation; Improved Processes in Refining Cider, and its Conversion into Wine & Champagne. Revised edition with additions. Buffalo: Published by Haas, Nauert & Co., 1874.
Perhaps the best of 19th-century American cider manuals, Buell’s is an important reference for all interested in reviving this most American of thirst quenchers. Coming home dragging at the end of a hard workday? Buell has the solution: “Cider is exactly the food suited to a tired condition” as “it satisfies the more interior parts of the system.” But beware misnomers: Buell very carefully distinguishes between the various liquid products that can be derived from apples, including cider, cider vinegar, apple wine, apple Champaign, and apple juice. Makes you thirsty, doesn’t it? Fortunately, Buell includes practical discussion and diagrams for “The Grater Mill,” “Portable Mill,” “Buell’s Improved Screw-press” and finally “The Model Cider Mill, and how it should be constructed.” Purchased from Rabelais Inc. Isaac Davis Fund.
~Elizabeth Watts Pope
Bullard, Asa. Children’s Book for Sabbath Hours. Springfield, Mass. & Chicago: W.J. Holland & Co., 1873.
With the secularization of American society after the Civil War, this book by minister Asa Bullard answered a need to give children something wholesome yet entertaining to read while keeping the Sabbath free from raucous play. This is a selection of short stories and poems, issued with luxurious full page photo-engravings, like this one of children playing with their large (but gentle) dog. Purchased from Michael Burstein. Linda F. & Julian L. Lapides Fund.
Chandler, John Greene. American National Circus. Boston: Brown, Taggard & Chase, ca. 1858.
John Greene Chandler was a Boston engraver, lithographer, and designer of picture books and paper toys. He is best known as the author and illustrator of The Remarkable Story of Chicken Little, which has become a classic of American children’s literature. This copy of American National Circus is an incredibly pristine example of a printed paper toy for children and will join the other paper dolls, card games, puzzles and board games in the Society’s printed toy and game collection. The pieces are luxuriously colored using the emerging process of color lithography. Not only are the circus figures exotic, they are definitely American; note the flag in the stunt rider’s hand, and the American shield worn by the elephant. This copy comes with instructions to children on how to play with the pieces, using wooden or metal pins to attach the human figures to the animals. Advertised as a “New divertissement for Children” by the publisher in the Boston Courier for December 13, 1858, the set originally sold for 38 cents and was intended for the Christmas and New Year’s market.
Printed paper toys are rare survivors of the printing trade, and were issued mainly by publishers who were also selling children’s books. Although hundreds were advertised, few survived their owners’ enthusiastic play. This copy was kept carefully in the Chandler family until the late twentieth century. The last Chandler family owner was famed children’s book collector and puppeteer Herbert H. Hosmer (1913-1995), who in 1978 gave the Society an important collection of over 1,000 books, watercolors and designs associated with McLoughlin Bros. publishing house. Purchased from Sheryl Jaeger. Breslauer Foundation.
Fitch's Geography for Beginners, [1850-1858].
This handwritten textbook of geography is something of a mystery. Heavily illustrated with original drawings and images clipped from publications, the text is divided into lessons with topics such as “About Travelling,” “About the Surface of the Earth,” “About Animals,” and “About Trees and Plants.” The title, Fitch’s Geography… suggests that the text may have been written by George W. Fitch, author of several geography texts in the 1840s and 1850s. Is this a mockup made by Fitch? Or a work created by a teacher or student? It can be roughly dated by a map showing California (admitted 1850) as a state but Minnesota (admitted 1858) as a territory. Purchased on eBay. John T. Lee Fund.
~Thomas Knoles and Tracey Kry
Gardner Monumental Works. J.C. Sargent, Proprietor. Photographer unknown, c. 1875 and Design for the Jaffery N.H. Civil War Monument, watercolor on paper, c. 1870.
These two items relating to the masonry business of J.C. Sargent Co. in Gardner, Massachusetts, were included in a purchase made by the AAS of a portion of the firm’s archives. The acquisition included account books and letters but also numerous photographs of the work completed by the firm, including cemetery monuments and statuary, as well as prints and watercolors from the archive. The company specialized in cemetery monuments but also did pedestals and curb work. An advertisement confidently stated: “Every piece of work warranted, and disappointment will not be possible.” Looking at the determined faces and capable hands of the carvers and cutters holding their tools in the photographic portrait, the claim is quite believable. The Jaffrey, N.H., marble and granite base holding aloft the town’s Civil War soldier monument still stands today. Purchased from Harold Gordon with funds from the Ahmanson Foundation Fund.
Gill, Augustus. Penmanship Book [1830s].
A new addition to our ever growing Penmanship Book Collection is a volume kept by a student named Augustus Gill, who was probably born in Canton, Massachusetts around 1820. What is most striking about this particular item is its cover, which features an African leopard and the phrase “Be just and fear not.” The blank book was printed by “Condon & Marden,” printers, and sold by “John Marsh, at the Stationary Warehouse” in Boston, probably in the 1830s. Within the covers are the typical penmanship practice pages, with the author practicing words such as commandment, murmur, inconveniences, and termination. But what makes this volume even more special are the additional pages in the back where Augustus practiced letter writing (addressing multiple letters to “Dear Uncle Asa”), and tried his hand at poetry and mathematical word problems. His poems include versus on Death, Fidelity, Roses and Spring. And Augustus must have been a good math student, as his arithmetic all adds up! Purchased from Aiglatson. Gladys Brook Foundation Fund.
~Thomas Knoles and Tracey Kry
Howell & Rogers, Ledger [Leicester, Mass.?], 1848-1850.
This ledger records the monthly “invoice of goods taken” from a general store over the course of two years, 1848-1850. The entries are occasionally divided into dry goods and hardware, and show a variety of items being sold, including textiles (silk, cashmere, flannel), shoes, boots, candy, coffee, wallets, combs, knives, and even books (“Webster Dictionary,” “Smiths Grammar,” “Emersons Arithmetic”). Not much is known about the business, however the name of Howell and Rogers is inscribed on the front cover. Multiple pages of doodles and penmanship practice make up the end of the volume, with the town of Leicester being practiced frequently, so the business may have been located there. Purchased from R. & A. Petrilla. Nancy and Randall Burkett Fund.
~Thomas Knoles and Tracey Kry
Kilner, Dorothy. The History of a Great Many Little Boys and Girls. Keene, N.H.: John Prentiss, 1807.
English author Dorothy Kilner (1755-1836) targeted these stories specifically to young readers between the ages of four and five. Although her audience is young, Kilner’s subjects are very serious: one young boy who refuses to wear clothes is beaten by a neighbor until he consents to getting dressed; in another story, a mother calmly explains to her daughter the choice between eating inexpensive milk porridge and wearing a sturdy stuff gown, and drinking costly tea every day and wearing rags. This edition is not recorded in the Checklist of American Imprints or d’Alte Welch’s Bibliography of American Children’s Books Printed Prior to 1821, and we are delighted to have it. Purchased from Rob Rulon Miller. Ruth Adomeit Fund.
Kimball, Moses. Journal, 1850-1851.
Moses Kimball (1809-1895) was an active citizen of Boston throughout the 19th century. After failed attempts at the newspaper and printing business, Kimball succeeded in the museum business, purchasing and expanding the New England Museum (which had been established by Ethan Allen Greenwood) in 1838, and opening the Boston Museum in 1841. He was a close associate of P.T. Barnum, and was the founder and owner of the “Fejee Mermaid”, made famous and widely exhibited by Barnum. Kimball’s political life included three terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, as well as three unsuccessful runs for Mayor of Boston. This account book chronicles another side still to Kimball, his family life. Labeled “Family Expenses”, the book includes monthly lists of the various purchases Kimball made for his family (wife Frances Lavinia Hathaway and daughter Margaret Kimball). Pages show the purchase of items such as linen and other fabrics, meat and sundries, wine and coffee, and the occasional travel expenses. The front of the volume contains a pocket with receipts, including one for bleeding with leeches. Purchased from Cheryl Needle. Nancy and Randall Burkett Fund.
~Thomas Knoles and Tracey Kry
Mann, Mary Peabody. The Flower People. Boston: James R. Osgood & Co., 1875.
First published in the early 1840’s, Mary Peabody Mann’s The Flower People introduced the study of botany to children under the guise of conversations between a girl named Mary and various plants. In this case, Mary is speaking to a leaf that she picked on a fall day. The leaf patiently explains the life cycle of a tree, and its place in the ecosystem—a very early work of its kind written for children. This exquisite photo-mechanically printed plate was designed for this edition by the elusive woman artist Mrs. G.P. Lathrop. Purchased from Michael Burstein. Linda F. & Julian L. Lapides Fund.
Marshall, Emma. Consideration or How Can We Help One Another? New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1870.
This is a collection of moral stories about how people can traverse the boundaries of social class and help each other. The hero of this picture is actually the coachman, who braves the cold and rain to take a young woman to hear a minister lecture on the physical and spiritual needs of the poor. Although the coachman gets seriously ill, his son is hired by the young woman to be her errand boy, a charitable act that is within her power. Purchased from Michael Burstein. Linda F. & Julian L. Lapides Fund.
New-York Clipper (New York, NY). Apr. 13, 1863 – Apr. 8, 1865.
At a recent book fair, AAS was offered two bound volumes of this extremely rare sporting and entertainment periodical. It began in 1853 as a periodical covering sporting events. By the time of the Civil War the New-York Clipper included coverage of the theatrical scene. Some issues contained literary pieces and short stories. While the circulation was fairly high, few files survive today due to its low-brow content. Some of the advertisements are for risqué books and photographs though they were not explicit (e.g. one ad for photographs described them as “Le petite figurante!”). Each issue also contains a woodcut on the front page, usually the portrait to accompany a biographical article. Purchased from Periodyssey. Harry G. Stoddard Memorial Fund.
Peabody, Selim Hobart. Cecil’s Book of Birds. Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger, 1871.
Natural histories for children, particularly those about birds, were extremely popular in nineteenth-century America. They ranged from humble pocket-sized chapbooks of 8 pages to this cloth-bound edition of 234 pages. It features wood-engraved plates depicting various species, as in this depiction of hummingbirds hovering together. The description emphasizes that hummingbirds are native to America, giving its young readers that these exotic little creatures await observation just outside one’s window. Purchased from Willis Monie. Linda F. & Julian L. Lapides Fund.
Sartain, Samuel after Christian Schussele. Clear the Track! Philadelphia: Samuel Sartain, for the Art Union of Philadelphia, 1854.
Founded in 1844, the Art Union of Philadelphia issued six engravings to its subscribing members between 1847 and 1854 in an attempt to promote and disseminate American art in the region. With generous support from the Richard A. Heald Foundation, the Society is attempting to build a complete set of all of the prints issued by art unions from across the country before 1876. This print of rambunctious children sledding down a snowy hill was based on a painting by Christian Schussele, who emigrated to the U.S. from Alsace in 1848 and worked in Philadelphia as a successful lithographer and artist. Samuel Sartain was paid $900 to engrave Clear the Track for the Art Union of Philadelphia and his work on the print won him a medal when the engraving was exhibited at the Franklin Institute. Reviews in the local press called the print “beautiful” and stated: “It is really a gem of art.” It was also the last print issued by the Art Union of Philadelphia, which was disbanded in 1855. Purchased from the Washington Print Gallery, with funds from the Richard A. Heald Foundation, in honor of Georgia B. Barnhill.
Schultz, Christian, after Richard Canton Woodville. Cornered! [Waiting for a Stage]. Lemercier lithographer. New York & Paris: Goupil & Co., 1851.
With the exhibition and publication of With a French Accent: American Lithography to 1860, (Davis Art Center, Wellesley College 2012 and Musée Goupil, Bordeaux, France 2013) the American Antiquarian Society has become a resource for the study of international production and distribution of lithographs in the pre-Civil War era. This beautiful print, which was published, produced and colored in France for the European and American consumer, completes the Society’s holdings of Goupil lithographs produced after works by the American painter Richard Canton Woodville. The Society already holds Woodville’s The Civil Marriage and Politics in an Oyster House. This image of three men waiting for a stage was originally sold via the Goupil catalog as a part of a trio of images by Americans -- grouped together with a print after William Sydney Mount and one after George Caleb Bingham. Goupil was well known for extremely fine lithographic impressions and for the skills of their colorists. The print was sold at Goupil’s New York show room, as well as in London, Paris and Berlin. This impression came from the Goupil archive and has contemporary marginal notations regarding the inventory status of the print. Purchased from the Old Print Shop. Breslauer Foudation.
Travelling Comedians and Stealing is a Sin. Two progressive lithographic proof books. Boston: Louis Prang & Co., 1870 and 1873.
The firm Louis Prang & Co. in Boston was well known for its exceptional chromolithographs, mostly produced after the Civil War. They published portrait prints, genre scenes, floral compositions, and ephemera such as holiday cards using multiple stones and layers of ink to create a rich finish and elaborate coloration. In order to keep track of the order in which the stones and inks were printed, the firm often produced “progressive proof books” which served as a way to reconstruct the printing should the image need to be reprinted. The proof books laid out the order in which the stones were printed and the colors of the ink on each stone. The printing process required a large investment of time, skill, and staff and so the books were held by the firm in a library/archive where they could easily be consulted and the print could be reconstructed with minimal effort.
In 1924, AAS acquired six Prang proof books from member and lithograph collector Charles Henry Taylor. These included a proof book for a chromolithograph of Henry Ward Beecher, a pattern for a Christmas card, a floral image by Martin Johnson Heade, and landscapes and images of children. Recently, two more Prang proof books turned up on the market, both depicting humorous animal subjects. Two prints of monkeys dressed as jockeys riding large dogs were issued in 1870 and were based on paintings by the European animal painter Joos Vincent de Vos. The nursery print of an angry farmyard duck defending its dinner from a flock of sparrows was published in 1873. The existence of these proof books indicates that the firm valued its comedic subjects just as much as its portraits of clergymen and works after American painters, since they retained the proof book for possible future printing. Both volumes purchased from James Arsenault & Co. with funds from Anonymous #1 Fund.
Van Etten Bros., Manufacturers, Importers and Jobbers of Novelties, Notions, Books, Photographs, Chromos, Stereoscopic Views, and a Full Line of Goods Adapted Especially to the Wants of Canvassing Agents. Chicago: Birnery Hand & Co’s Steam Printing House, 1876.
The Van Etten Bros. catalog is like a nineteenth-century SkyMall catalog, only instead of reading it while on an airplane, items would be sold by canvassers, or door-to-door salesmen (or women, apparently, for Van Etten Bros. declare: “We want one live, energetic lady or gentleman agent to canvass and sell our goods in every town in the United States”). Items for sale include not only “Dogs Playing Poker”-type popular images like the one here, but also all those strange inventions that you never knew you needed. The Defiance Lock Protector “renders it simply impossible to turn any key while it is in the lock,” and is apparently especially useful to secure hotel rooms. Hartshorn’s Improved Patent Folding Lamp Shade had “more than 100,000 sold in sixty days,” although the necessity for folding one’s lamp shade is less clear. The importance of the Patent Duplex Ventilated Garter is more immediately clear, since “the garter should measure about three inches less than the circumference of the limb” it seems especially important that this one is unique in “insuring free circulation of the blood.” Purchased from James Arsenault. Edwin Wolf 2nd Fund.
~Elizabeth Watts Pope
Ward, Eliza Wetmore. Poetry Album, 1850-1867.
Eliza Wetmore Ward was born in Salem, Massachusetts in 1808. Although not much is known about Ward’s life, much can be revealed about her through her book of poetry. Ward filled her volume – which she purchased in Montreal in 1850 – with her own poetry and reflections, as well as others’ poems. Many of the verses she recorded are attributed to others, some of them well-known (she copied the entirety of Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride” in 1867), others not. Still others have no attribution, and these may very well be her own original poems. In a somber verse, “Words over a grave,” one of her unattributed poems, Ward writes “Did she sorrow to live? – When her husband was near / There lay ‘neath her eyelids an unshed tear; / But it trickled not til her boy drew nigh, / And asked his pale Mother never to die! Never to die -.” Purchased at Elizabeth’s Auctions. Harriette M. Forbes Fund.
~Thomas Knoles and Tracey Kry
Young Woman's Expenses, 1832.
This short but intriguing account book, covered in attractive, cascading leaf covered wallpaper wrappers contains records for the year 1832. The owner, apparently a woman, seems to travel frequently between Ipswich, Boston, Providence and New York, recording travel expenses, lodging and dinners. She was a well-educated woman, listing numerous book purchases such as Geography of Massachusetts, Lincoln’s Botany, The Girl’s Own Book, and Parley’s Tales of Europe. She also paid for the use of books, as well as for tuition for one quarter. She even enjoyed a few simple luxuries, such as fancy handkerchiefs, silk, and a quart of cherries on July 4th. Several pages in the same hand at the rear of the volume tell a different story, however. There are handwritten promissory notes and receipts for a variety of people in a variety of places, all with the same date—suggesting this volume was actually an exercise book for someone learning how to keep personal accounts. Purchased from Cheryl Needle. Nancy and Randall Burkett Fund.
~Thomas Knoles and Tracey Kry