Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A Vinegar Valentine for a Mannish Female

I was recently at an antique store and leafing through some paper items when I spotted this colorful illustration and poem:

It depicts a caricature of a woman in tailored attire accessorized with walking stick, natty hat with hat pin and a pair of oversized ears. The cartoon is printed on tan paper, almost like a thin lunch sack and has red, blue and yellow overlays. It measures 27 x 16 cm. No printing on verso. "1899" penciled neatly at lower right corner.

There is a printed bit of doggerel beneath the image:

"A Mannish Female

Failing wholly to win a portion
Of admiration as a she,
You try to capture it by donning
The air and garments of a he.
But the scheme won't work; it only serves
Your lack of charm to advertise:
Folks once were willing to tolerate you,
But now you force them to despise."

What in the world was this thing, I wondered? Was it a critique of a woman's rights activist? A lesbian? An advocate for rational dress for women? (As an aside, I just finished reading an excellent book, Dr. Mutter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz, about the surgeon who pioneered many plastic surgery techniques. He treated many heavily disfigured women whose faces burned when they were quickly engulfed by flames from their layers of flammable and restrictive garments while cooking or working by lamplight).

A query at a rare book librarian's listserv unearthed the answer: this item is a Vinegar Valentine, a particularly misogynist example of an odious form of late 19th century/early 20th century "humor". It would have been sent anonymously to reinforce the social and gender mores of the sender. One can only imagine what the recipient thought of this particular bullying message, though this ephemeral item was preserved over the last century, so perhaps it was never sent. 

Women who didn't know their place were not the only targets of these sour communiques. Poets, "hen-pecked" husbands (who supported their suffragette wives), fashion dandies, "floozies", surly sales clerks, mean bosses, and others could receive these mean-spirited missives which rolled off the penny presses to serve an increasingly literate population in the UK and US. 

To see more examples of Vinegar Valentines and to learn more, here are some other informative articles to peruse:

Collector's Weekly - Happy Valentine's Day, I Hate You

Library Company of Philadelphia - Comic Valentines from the McAllister Collection

The "Mannish Female" vinegar valentine described above is available from Old Saratoga Books. Please inquire for details. 

Here's hoping you only receive the nicest kind of love notes this Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Photography Books and Photographic Items

Our E-list No. 4: Photography has just been issued and highlights some unique, signed and otherwise interesting books on photography, photographic ephemera and original photographs. Here is a sample for your delectation:

2) [Trade Catalog] Graflex and Graphic Focal Plane Shutter
Photography, Rochester, NY: Folmer Graflex Corporation, 1936, third edition. Pictorial stapled wraps. Many photographs. Good condition. Wraps foxed and rubbed at spine. 24 pp.

Provides general instructions for using the medium- and
large-format Graflex cameras and the mechanics of focal plane shutter photography, which allows for sharper images of fast motion subjects and sports photography. $40

7) Walker Evans at Fortune, 1945-1965, Wellesley, MA: Wellesley College, 1977. Pictorial softcover. Oblong 4to. Very Good.  Essay by Lesley Baier. Foreword by Ann Gabhart. Catalog notes, 53 plates. 64

Catalog for an exhibition at Wellesley College held 16 November 1977 -23 January 1978, the first showing of some of the photographs which
Evans took for Fortune during his long tenure with the magazine. They are quite different from his iconic Depression-era images of sharecroppers and Southern small towns, as published in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, though these urban street scenes, architectural details and common hand tools share the same quiet, austere beauty. $25

11) [Helen Levitt] [Photographic Ephemera] Card brochure listing lectures, gallery talks, films and other public programs and resources associated with an exhibition of the work of New York City photographer Helen Levitt. The exhibition was held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, April 1- June 28, 1992. The brochure measures 14 x 21 cm when folded
over. The front features Levitt's iconic 1940 photograph of four boys playing in the street with white handkerchiefs stuck into the back of
their caps so they look like mini-Foreign Legionnaires. Very Good. $15

15) Photograph Postcard Booklet] Etablissement des Soeurs de Notre-Dame, Bastogne. Detachable photograph postcard book showing the Sisters of Notre-Dame school in Bastogne, Brussels, circa 1910-1920s. Photos by Ern. Thill, Brussels. Captions in French. Printed blue card covers. Most all of these 27 postcards have their original tissue guard. No postcards appear to be missing. Measures 9 x 15 cm. Very

Good. First postcard is detached and has penciled nun's name on verso.

Photographs show various interior and exterior views of this school, including the library, chemistry lab, music room, home economics kitchen, chapels, classrooms, art rooms, etc.The Sisters of Notre-Dame ran this Catholic primary and secondary school in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in this small town in the mountainous Ardennes region of Belgium, near the Luxembourg border. The town was the scene of fierce fighting during the last year of World War II and it is possible that this school is the same educational facility as the present day Institut Nortre-Dame in Bastogne. Not found in WorldCat. $50

16) [Tintypes] A set of three tintypes, circa 1860s, each a portrait of a seated man and standing woman (the better to show off one's best dress and its underlying voluminous hoops and petticoats). Each measures 2 x 3 inches. Each tintype is backed with printed paper
label: "A.E. Alden's, Patent Premium Pictures, taken only at corner Grand Division and Fourth Streets, Troy, N.Y.". Each tintype has faint
rosy coloring added to subjects' cheeks. Scratch to woman's face in one tintype, some erosion to second image at left border, scratch across lower extremities in third image. $20 for the trio.

18) David Deal, Promotional brochure for photographer printed and bound by Anaconda Press, Forestville, MD, n.d. [circa 2010]. Black
card covers with title stamped in silver on front cover. Very Good. [32] pp.

Consists of 26 high resolution reproductions of photograph portraits in black and white and color of various students, athletes and such clients as Elie Wiesel, Alan Greenspan, Christine Todd Whitman, Lance Armstrong and author Azar Nafisi. Post-it note on inside front cover
with handwritten instructions for reproducing these prints, possibly by Deal.

David Deal is the commercial photographer-turned-attorney who is currently at the midst of the imbroglio involving publication and ownership rights of the photographs of the late Vivian Maier. Maier is the nanny whose secretive street photographs of 1950s-90s New York were unearthed from a storage unit in 2007. Maier's work has been the subject of a film and several books and exhibitions. $40

20) [Cartes de Visite] Three related Civil War era cartes de visite, "Linked" by virtue of last name and geography. Each CdV measures 2.5 x 4 inches.

1) Man with beard, sepia tone photograph measuring 2 x 3.25 inches. Verso stamped "photographed by Charles Young, Sinclearville, NY" and "1504" handwritten there as well. Very Good. Image somewhat faded. Light soiling. Circa 1860s.

2) Seated woman with book and hoop skirt. Sepia tone photograph measuring 2 x 3.5 inches. "Charles Young, Photo, Sinclearville, NY"
stamped on front and handwritten note "Miss Lorinda Link, to here [sic] cousin" and tax stamp ghost on verso. Tax stamp dates this photo to 1864-66.  Very Good. Image sharp, but some light foxing and waterstain to lower margin of front mount. Light soiling to verso.

3) Standing woman in fancy gown, snood and cameo against tasseled drapery background. Velvety black tone photograph measuring 2 x 3.5 inches. Front mount edged with two red ruled borders and stamped at lower right "Photd. by Schoonmaker, 282 River St., Troy, N.Y." Penciled inscription on verso "Jane Link, pa sister". Very Good. Image sharp and dark, top left corner bent, rear cover soiled. Circa 1860s-70s based on her fashions.

Sinclearville is a small village in Chatauqua County, in far western New York State. It was known as Sinclearville from 1809 when it was founded by Revolutionary War Major Samuel Sinclear until 1887, when it was officially incorporated and "clarified" the spelling of its name to Sinclairville.

This trio of cartes de visites: $30

21) Busch, Glenn; Connew, Bruce; Bashford, Uiga; Muhrkuhl, Maria;Johnsen, Hanne; Kozanic, Dean; Veling, Tim, My Place, Christchurch, NZ: Canterbury University Press, 2005. Softcover. Very Good. Measures 23 x 20 cm. Foreword by Bruce Ansley. 145 pp.

A photoessay that is part of Canterbury University School of Fine Arts' The Place in Time Project, in which New Zealanders are interviewed and photographed in situ in their homes, shops and other favorite haunts. Many black and white photos. WorldCat records only three copies, all residing in New Zealand. No other copies listed for sale in the trade. $50

23) Hammer, Mina Fisher, History of the Kodak and its Continuations: The First Folding and Panoramic Cameras, Magic Lantern, Kodak, Movie, Closeup of the Inventor and the Kodak State, NY: The House of Little Books, 1940, first edition. Brown cloth with titles stamped in gilt on front boards and spine. Very Good. No jacket, boards rubbed, top corners heavily worn. Many photos and illustrations. xvi, 95 pp.

A look at the history of photography from the Magic Lantern era,
including daguerreotypes, collotypes, gelatin dry plates,
phantoscopes, celluloid film, kinetographs and various other
Eastman-Kodak inventions through to the printing date. $80

25) Vishniac, Roman, A Vanished World, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1984, second printing. Foreword by Elie Wiesel. Signed "Roman Edith
Vishniac" on front flyleaf. Edith was Vishniac's wife. Very Good in Very Good jacket. Jacket lightly wrinkled and rubbed. 179 photo reproductions. 179 pp.

This book represents but a fraction of the photographs of Jewish village life which Vishniac took on various trips to Ruthenia, Poland,
Czechoslovakia and other parts of Eastern Europe in the 1930s. Vishniac sewed many of the negatives in the lining of his clothes when he came to the US in 1940, and others were safeguarded by his father
while in hiding in France during World War II. Vishniac died in 1990. $150

29) DeCarava, Roy, The Sound I Saw: The Jazz Photographs of Roy Decarava : January 20 to March 20, 1983, NY: Studio Museum in Harlem, 1983. Softcover. Very Good. Covers very lightly rubbed. Preface by Willard C. Butcher, foreword by Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell, introduction by A. D. Coleman and essay by C. Daniel Dawson. Footnotes. Chronology and bibliography by Sherry Turner DeCarava. Catalog of the full exhibition at rear. 84 pp.

60 black and white plates of such jazz greats as Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Milt Jackson, Billie Holliday, Count Basie, Zoot Sims,
Horace Silver, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins and many others. Other photos of jazz clubs, patrons, and
other musicians.  $75

32) Margolis, Richard; Peters, Susan Dodge, Photography, Art of the State: An Exhibition Featuring Work by the Photographers Teaching in the State University of New York, Brockport, NY: State University of New York, 1983. White pictorial stapled wraps. Very Good. Light foxing to front cover. 36 pp.

Includes the work of Francois Deschamps, Roger Freeman, Phyllis Galembo, Tyrone Georgiou, Bonnie Gordon, Charles Heasley, RobertKeough, Les Krims, Nathan Lyons, Mel Rosenthal, Jim Sylvia, Michael Teres and John Wood. $15