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Rare Books

Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
609-258-3184
Acting Associate University Librarian for Rare Books and Special Collections
609-258-3165

The Library has an extensive collection of early photography books including a copy of the Pencil of Nature [on which see Gillett G. Griffin, "The Pencil of Nature" in the Princeton University Library Chronicle XXIV, 3 (Spring, 1963) pp. 202-3 {full text}]. The collection is in the following locations: Graphic Arts, SAPH (photography books at Marquand Library) and SAPHX (rare photography books at Marquand Library). See: [O.J. Rothrock], "Nineteenth Century Photography in the [Princeton University] Library" in the Chronicle, XXXIX, 1 (Autumn, 1977) pp. 30-37 [full text].

Also see the description of the David H. McAlpin '20 gift of material on 19th and 20th-century photography in the Princeton University Library Chronicle XVIII, 3 (Spring, 1957) pp. 167-68 [full text] . There is it described as "an exceptional group of books and periodicals illustrative of the development of photography in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries." The major portion of the McAlpin gift was originally in the library of the Camera Club of New York. These volumes added substantially to books on photography already collected under Elmer Adler and then Gillett Griffin, curators of the graphic arts collection at that time. Highlights of McAlpin's gift include the complete runs of the periodicals Camera Notes and Camera Work, and partial runs of The Philadelphia Photographer, The American Journal of Photography, and Wilson's Photographic Magazine. Monographs include Charles H. Caffin's Photography as a Fine Art (presentation copy from Alfred Stieglitz to the Camera Club of New York), Heinrich Schwarz's David Octavius Hill, Master of Photography, and Julia Margaret Cameron's Victorian Photographs of Famous Men &Fair Women among many other titles. Original photography given by McAlpin included a portfolio by Ulli Steltzer of the native peoples of the Southwestern United States. In 1963, McAlpin made the remarkable donation of a complete set of William Henry Fox Talbot's Pencil of Nature issued in 6 parts from 1844 to 1846, also originally from the library of the Camera Club of New York.

See also the printed catalogue issued by the Princeton University Art Museum in 1983: Peter Bunnell (comp.) The Robert O. Dougan Collection of Historical Photographs and Photographic Literature at Princeton. The catalogue lists 118 separate photographs and photographically illustrated books as well as nine photographically illustrated works of literature (now in Graphic Arts) and about 82 treatises, manuals, catalogues of photographs, catalogues of equipment and apparatus, periodicals, and miscellaneous items (now in Marquand Library).

To get a sense of photography books in Graphic Arts, consult the database ADLER. Perform the following search: select the field 'Book Number' then in the neighboring box type *photo* and then click send. This search will return a result of about hundreds of books relating to photography. These books have been catalogued and are available in the Library's online catalogue.

Also for individual photographs, consult the catalogue based on the card index compiled by William F. Stapp. Catalogue of photographs chiefly by prominent photographers in the collections of the department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library and in the Princeton University Art Museum, available as a PDF file at this link.

See also an 1875 album of 100 cartes-de-visite of American literary figures issued by Warren's (Boston) and Sarony (New York) [(Ex) F73.25.A43.1875]. Also not to be overlooked are the photographs by Ulli Steltzer of numerous Princeton literary figures, such as Caroline Gordon, or John McPhee. These photographs were done in the 1960's and are stored with the materials for Alfred Bush's exhibition Literary Landmarks of Princeton. [Available in the Manuscript Division, collection C0939.]

Also see the brochure prepared by Martin Gasser for his 1990 exhibition in the Milberg Gallery entitled "From Invention to Art History: Photography 1829-1929." All items in that show came from University collections.

See as well the Todd collection of photographically extra-illustrated Tauchnitz editions, 1750-1985 [(Ex) TR652 .T62], a collection of 53 titles (109 volumes) acquired in 2001 and described in more detail here. Another album of 118 large photographs comparable to those in the Todd collection is one presented "To Miss Hulda Stallo from her friends in Rome" [(Ex) N6920.R66e]. Hulda Stallo was born in 1857, the daughter of John Bernhard Stallo (1823-1900), who served as U.S. Minister to the Court of Rome (1884-1889). Hulda Stallo's last known address was in Albany, NY in 1927.

The Library also has a number of books listed in Richard Yanul's draft checklist'Photographically Illustrated Books before 1860'. For example, of the ten American books listed by Yanul, the Library has six as of March, 2005. See the Collections Files under 'Photographically Illustrated Books' for details.

Special Collections is particularly strong in the area of portraits and pictures of or by English and American literary figures. As part of the Parrish Collection are four albums of Charles Dodgson's (Lewis Carroll) photographs, including some of the original Alice [(MSS) C0170]. Also acquired as of October 1996, an additional collection of photographs by Lewis Carroll and by Reginald Southey. The Carroll photographs are mounted in a series of albums put together by Reginald Southey and are the generous gift of Lloyd E. Cotsen '50. Consult staff in Special Collections for details. A listing of the photographs, together with interpretative text, is found in the following published by the Princeton University Press in 2002: Lewis Carroll, photographer : the Princeton University Library albums by Roger Taylor and Edward Wakeling. Click on image below for more information.