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Rare Books

Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
Curator of Rare Books

There are several interesting small- to medium-sized collections of printed ephemera scattered among the various Divisions of the Department. For example, in the Manuscripts division, the papers of Samuel Lewis Southard (1787-1842), Secretary of the Navy during the administrations of Presidents Monroe and John Quincy Adams, contain "a wide variety of printed ephemera" [(MSS) C0250]. In the Graphic Arts Collection, the Elmer Adler Papers contain many printers' samples from the 1920's and 1930's, collected during Adler's days in New York, and kept as part of the archives of the Pynson Printers and of the Colophon, of which he was editor and publisher. Also in Graphic Arts are to be found small miscellaneous collections of ephemera covering such subjects as "English, 19th century."

In the Theatre Collection, the Scrapbook collection of playbills, 1832-1973 (bulk 1878-1940) [(at ReCAP for use in RBSC) TC055] is a major gathering of ephemera of historical importance. It focuses mainly on 19th-century London plays. In the General Rare Books Collection, there is a collection of about 300 slip-songs and ballads printed in England in the late 18th to early 19th century [(Ex) PR1181 .xC6]. The collection is indexed by song title and printers' name and has the call number [(Ex) PR1181 .xC61].

See also Dale Roylance's color-illustrated exhibition catalogue: Graphic Americana: The Art and Technique of Printed Ephemera (Princeton, 1992) and the review of this exhibition in The New York Times (August 9, 1992).

See the Duffield scrapbook of material relating to the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. Call number is Ex 9011.25.25q. See also three subscription sets from the Exposition, call numbers (Ex) 2003-0001E, (Ex) 2003-0002E, (Ex) 2003-0003E.

Added in 1993-94 is a collection of 536 mounted proof impressions of 18th century Dutch trade labels for the linen thread trade. Done in Haarlem, ca. 1707-1750. Some of the labels are the work of Isaac van der Vinne (1665-1740) and seem to relate to two other of his albums dated 31 Jan 1707. See F.W.H. Hollstein, Dutch & Flemish etchings, engravings, and woodcuts XXXVII, p. 5, 79, 143. Also to be noted is a comparable album in the Print Room of the British Museum [1976, U, 117-118] which may have come from the collection of the Enschede firm at Haarlem whose library was sold in 1867. Some of the other labels are considered to be the work of Dirk de Bray (1620-1678).

The woodcuts have captions in Dutch, Spanish, French, and English, and many bear the name of a merchant or a slogan or both. Pictured on the labels are items of contemporary life such as household objects, trades, pastimes, animals, flowers, views of towns. The scenes of lamp-lighters, firemen, and night watchmen do not appear to have been used as labels. Call number for the Issac van der Vinne albums is (Ex) NC1002.L3 V56f.