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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Joys of Smoking

Lets take a moment here to examine smoking in the Rosenbach collections! The inspiration for this course of study is greatly inspired by the recent publication of The Joys of Smoking by author James Fitzgerald (who is also my father).
The Rosenbach brothers were smokers, their generation was the "smoking generation" when cigarettes became king in America. The personal affects of the brothers are riddled with smoking paraphernalia: cigarette cases, pipe cleaners, cigar holders, ashtrays, all gold encrusted monogrammed and silver rimmed. Philip Rosenbach's personal grooming kit includes equipment for maintaining tobacco pipes and trimming cigars. Smoking was an extension of ones personality as much as a properly pressed suit or presentable business card. In this intimate photograph of Marlene Dietrich taken by Mercedes de Acosta it is hard to tell where the cigarette ends and the woman begins!

Among the cases, holders, trimmers and trays lays one outstanding object, the cigarette case of the Austrian-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Though the date of his birth1863 bears much less weight historically then the date of his death it is interesting to note that Philip Rosenbach was born the same year.
Franz Ferdinand's assassination on June 28, 1914 sparked the First World War. While riding in the motorcade through the streets of Sarajevo on Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were shot and killed by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian member of the Black Hand; earlier in the day Ferdinand's car had also been fired at by a hand grenade, causing him to complain angrily upon his arrival at the city hall.

"What is the good of your speeches? I come to Sarajevo on a visit, and I get bombs thrown at me. It is outrageous!" Archduke Franz Ferdinand interrupting the Mayor's welcome speech at Sarajevo's city hall, 28 June 1914.


The F.F.'s cigarette case details are:

A tan leather case with a silver crest on the front and an embossed gold signature on the reverse. The crest features a shield, parti per pale, with griffon sejant sinister and three eagles in bend dexter. The shield is surmounted by a coronet and surrounded by a chain. The signature on the reverse is very ornate and illegible; it may read, in part, ”Franz”. The interior of the case is divided into two pockets, one with a flap and one without. Both are lined with burgundy moire silk.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fine Press Americana - Wau Bun–“The Early Day” in the Northwest

The two shelves to the left of the Holford Defoe collection hold a selection of Fine Press books . This collection (approx. 600 volumes in the Rosenbach collections) provides an overview of the best of the 19th-20th century printing. These presses were interested in the production of the “book beautiful.” In addition to the publications of well-known private presses, the collection contains a small collection of gift books, and publications of such book clubs and societies as the Club of Odd Volumes (Boston), the Grolier Club (New York), and the Philobiblon Club (Philadelphia).

The title which recently caught my eye, Wau Bun– “The Early Day” in the Northwest by Mrs. Kinzie was published in fine press edition for members of the Caxton Club in 1901 and then by the Lakeside Press in 1932.

The book recounts the experiences of a young, genteel wife (Mrs. Kenzie) adjusting to the military life and frontier conditions of life at Fort Winnebago, Wisconsin, in the early 1830s. She describes her perilous journeys back and forth to the early settlement of Chicago, her complex cultural encounters with a diverse frontier society, and her determination to instill her own standards of civilized behavior and Christian observance. There is abundant information on the customs, folklore, economic practices, life-cycle events, medical treatments, diet, warfare, environmental responses, social hierarchies, and gender roles of the different groups of people that Kinzie comes to know best. For more information on pioneering women look here: http://www.library.wisc.edu/etext/wireader/WER0110.html


The Caxton Club (named after the printer William Caxton) of Chicago was founded in 1895 by fifteen Chicago bibliophiles who desired to support the publication of fine books in the spirit of the prevailing Arts and Crafts Movement. The club still meets to this day and has over 300 members (local and out-of-state). The Lakeside Press was established in 1908 by R.R Donnelly & Sons’ Co. It was a seven year apprenticeship school, training young men in both the theoretical and practical knowledge of the printing trade.

Being that both the Caxton Club and the Lakeside Press are located in Chicago and that Mrs. Kinzie’s book includes great detail on the early Chicago settlement it makes sense why both fine presses would choose to print this book.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

From the crypt

Pinouris, Son of Hor perches on top of a column in the east Library. Pa-iu-en-hor, known in Greek as Pinouris, was “God’s Father” and the “Prophet of Amun in Karnak.” Pinouris holds lettuce leaves in his hands, these are symbolic of fertility to the Egyptians. The three columns of text on the back pillar contain offering formulae and prayers. There are twelve lines on the front that contain prayers and autobiographical statements.

This statue was made during the Ptolemaic dynasty when a Hellenistic royal family ruled the Ptolemaic Empire in Egypt for nearly 300 years. Ptolemy, a Macedonian and one of Alexander the Great's generals, was appointed satrap (a Persian title for ruler) of Egypt after Alexander's death. In 305 BC, he declared himself King Ptolemy I. The Egyptians accepted the Ptolemies as the successors to the pharaohs of independent Egypt. Ptolemy's family ruled Egypt until the Roman conquest. The most notorious member of the line was the last queen, Cleopatra VII.

This particular sculpture was unearthed in 1903 by French Archeologist George Legrain in a courtyard of the Temple of Amun at Karnak. Karnak was the hiding-place of more than 800 statues from a variety of periods and which are considered among the most beautiful objects found in Egypt.

1903 was also the year in which Bram Stoker's other supernatural novel, The Jewel of Seven Stars, was published. It is generally considered his best effort after Dracula. The work concerns an ambitious Egyptologist who attempts to reanimate the mummified remains of an ancient Egyptian queen. During the course of the novel the scientist, Trelawney, discovers that this mummy has been exerting a mysterious influence over his daughter Margaret.
The Rosenbach does not own a copy of The Jewel of Seven Stars.