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Recently Discovered Edition of the Bay Psalm Book Brings $221,000

Photograph Courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries

The book may be small, but its dual historical importance loomed large at our February 4 auction of Printed & Manuscript Americana. The previously unknown seventh edition with ties to the Salem Witch Trials brought an impressive price [$221,000.00], eclipsing its pre-sale estimate and leading the department to a sale total of just over $1 million. For more information about this Bay Psalm Book, watch this video.

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The Rich Mouse by J.J. Lankes: A Printing Project in Development Updated

Julius John Lankes (1884–1960) was an American woodcut artist famous for his illustrations for books by Robert Frost, Sherwood Anderson, and other important twentieth-century writers. The discovery in 2006 of the manuscript of an original unpublished Lankes story—together with the woodcuts he made to accompany it—triggered our hope to bring into print his fully realized book, letterpress printed on his own Hoe Washington press. We are seeking support to underwrite the direct costs of creating a special limited edition handset in a recasting of a rare American metal type—the Village type that Frederic W. Goudy designed for his own private press, the Village Press.

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An American New Jerusalem Broadside and a Pellerin Woodcut

peters new jerusalem with headlinew*The following article about the "New Jerusalem" broadside is part of an excerpt written by Corinne Earnest in 2014 for the Earnest Archives and Library. She has graciously allowed Passed Time to use it. Image Courtesy of EAL. 
 This is a popular Pennsylvania German broadside (paper printed on one side) called by various names such as "New Jerusalem," "The Three Paths," "Paths to Heaven and Hell," and "The Broad and Narrow Way." The theme and visual appearance of this broadside came directly from Europe. According to the late Christa Pieske of Luebeck in her article, "The European Origins of Four Pennsylvania German Broadsheet Themes," broadsides such as the New Jerusalem had wide circulation.* Pieske was unable to determine when New Jerusalem broadsidesbecame popular in Europe, but she believed the first known example appeared in Switzerland by the end of the eighteenth century.
In America, all known copies of the New Jerusalem were printed in southeastern Pennsylvania. Gustav S. Peters (1793-1847) published numerous German- and English-language editions while in Harrisburg from 1827-1847. Other Pennsylvania printers who published the New Jerusalem included Herman William DeVille, better known as Herman Ville (1789-1842) of Lancaster. J.G. Struphar of Annville in Lebanon County, and an anonymous printer.
However, the number of printers who attempted such a complex scene were few. Editions printed by Peters stand out for two reasons. Peters shows a black man among the pilgrims who will reach Heaven. African Americans are exceedingly rare in eighteenth and nineteenth century art produced by Pennsylvania Germans. Also, Peters printed his New Jerusalem broadsides in color, whereas Villee hand-colored his sheets. Peters is known for being the first printer in America to become successful with color printing for a commercial market. Copying Peters, Struphar also printed in color, but his New Jerusalem broadsides were copyrighted in 1923, and by then, color printing had become common. Many Pennsylvania German broadsides include hand-decoration and color. Consequently, they are frequently lumped with the genre of fraktur (18th and 19th century Pennsylvania German illuminated manuscripts and printed forms). The New Jerusalem is a broadside, not a fraktur, but most people shrug off this technicality and accept the imaagery as part of the fraktur culture. Corinne Earnest, Earnest Archives and Library, 2014
*Christa Pieska, "The European Origins of Four Pennsylvania German Broadsheet Themes: Adam and Eve; the New Jerusaslem - The Broad and Narrow way; the Unjust Judgment; the Stages of Life." Der Reggeboge 23 (1989) 1, pp 13-22
  To continue the New Jerusalem broadside story, and shed light on how they were created,  a friend recently sent me the following article and photograph, about one of the French versions of the New Jerusalem, created by Pellerin. The following information about Pellerin was found at The Philadelphia Print Shop, LTD.*
     Jean-Charles Pellerin (1756-1836) was a clock maker in Épinal. He had the idea to expand production of wood engraved religious images to secular ones also, all for popular consumption. Pellerin's studio originated the print industry in Épinal. Pellerin taught his trade to Réveillé, an imperial soldier, who recorded his memories of the campaigns. Réveillé then taught François Georgin (1801-1863), who continued the firm. Later the firm moved to Paris. *
     This is a rough translation of the specifics in the original article ( provided below), as they pertain to Pellerin's woodcut. "New Jerusalem imagery Pellerin (1824).... Pellerin is a masterpiece in this case: the writer of this image had knowledge and skill to dig [gouge] the ... plate .... The gesture was final, no repentance is possible. Patience was essential. It was also necessary to imagine his drawing in reverse, [to know how to] create those travelers heading for Paradise: violinist, companion, soldier, children, women in their Sunday best ... heaven or hell. The color would then give life to the image, in some places, but the line was the drawing of the structure...."

Martine Sadion, conservateur en chef du Musée de l’image d’Epinal, aurait bien choisi le tableau du Caravage, peintre italien, exposé au musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy. Mais elle a privilégié la fibre régionale en optant pour un bois de La Nouvelle Jérusalem, imagerie Pellerin (1824), de son musée : «  Le chef-d’œuvre est aussi un mot de compagnon, d’ouvrier. Ce bois du tout début du 19 e siècle de l’imagerie Pellerin est bien un chef-d’œuvre dans ce cas : le graveur de cette image avait savoir-faire et habileté pour creuser à la gouge la planche de fruitier qui était sa matière première. Le geste était définitif, aucun repentir n’était possible. La patience était essentielle. Il fallait aussi savoir imaginer son dessin à l’envers, créer ces voyageurs en route pour le Paradis : violoniste, compagnon, soldat, enfants, femmes endimanchées… paradis ou enfer. La couleur allait ensuite donner vie à l’image, à certains endroits, mais le trait était la structure du dessin : sans lui, l’image perdait sa lisibilité et son sens. Le bois, désormais objet de collection, est imprégné d’encre. La patine noire transforme le bois en bloc de graphite, le noir est brillant ou mat, velouté ou abrupt… On pourrait presque y voir les noirs de Soulages. L’objet pourrait être autre. Link to Original Article 

*The Philadelphia Print Shop, LTD. has some Napoleanic prints that Pellerin produced, which are amazing. I highly recommend taking a look.

Author Pat Earnest, currently lives in Dover, Delaware, with family, both two- and four-footed. I am a published author and history enthusiast, who has great regard for the past and is especially proud of the Pennsylvania German culture. In addition to Passed Time, I am currently working on a project for the German Historical Institutes Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies ( I also contribute to various newsletters and I am working on another book...or two. Feel free to email me at with queries, comments, suggestions, etc. etc. . Please be aware, Files With Attachments will not be opened, but immediately deleted.



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Ashantilly Press, Darien, Georgia by Chris Fritton

The Itinerant Printer The Itinerant Printer
                   Ashantilly Press, Darien, GA
July 26, 2015
By Chris Fritton

“The Ashantilly Press.” It just sounds romantic, doesn’t it? And it sounds so quintessentially Southern. Well, it’s both. Nestled in the tiny town of Darien, GA,  The Ashantilly Center  (sometimes called “Old Tabby”) is a refurbishment of a former plantation originally owned by Georgia planter and legislator  Thomas Spalding . The current structure was built quite literally on the ashes of an original home that burned in 1937; what stands now, as well as the notion of The Ashantilly Center, were both ongoing projects of artist William Haynes Jr. and his family. It’s an enigmatic property, covered in live oaks and Spanish moss, and one has to wonder how a printshop got there in the first place. Primarily a painter, I was told that Haynes was a polymath of sorts; he took up letterpress printing and it became an obsession, so over the course of a few decades he culled equipment, printed books & broadsides, and laid the infrastructure for the  Ashantilly Press . I was lucky enough to visit at the behest of the passionate & tireless Harriet Langford, President of the Board of Directors, and I spent my time in the shop with Master Printer Nicholas Silberg.




The Press is now housed in an outbuilding on the same property, and it hosts a Vandercook Universal 1, a Chandler & Price 10 x 15, and a Chandler & Price 12 x 18. The studio is as clean as an operating room, and it features large work tables along with dozens of cabinets of type that have been impeccably sorted and organized by the press’ stewards, Silberg and board member (and all-around extraordinaire) Sara Blocker. Off-site there’s an even greater amount of type and equipment – most of it waiting for cleaning, sorting, and integration into the space. I was really astounded by the collection – as with all the shops on the trip, I had no idea what I’d find, but Ashantilly was just astonishing. I couldn’t wait to dig in – there was an abundance of metal ornaments, a unique collection of cuts, and best of all – 3 presses that worked perfectly – including the 12 x 18 that was Haynes’ primary press. Inside the home, they also have a Baltimorean #14 tabletop platen press that was Haynes original press. Sometimes working in a legacy shop with a legacy press really gives a deep sense of continuity to printing as a craft, and it also cultivates a sense of gratitude in me for the people that came before and had the prescience to preserve equipment and tradition.

While there I found two magnesium cuts of handwritten pre-Revolutionary War poems, along with a copper cut featuring a map of the region from the same era. I put them both to use on the postcards I produced during my three day stay in mid-February.

IMG_0375 The event at Ashantilly was one of the best-attended on the entire tour so far, and I was happy to be able to introduce so many people to letterpress and to what Ashantilly does – preserve the Haynes’ legacy, focus on local and regional education, and the slow, arduous task of rebuilding and maintaining the household. Under the directorship of Harriet, Ashantilly seems on the cusp of a great breakthrough, and I was glad my event could contribute in some small way by bringing people in and getting them engaged.

Harriet & Sara live in an amazing house on Black Island just a few miles away, and they were kind enough to invite me to stay with them during my time at the Press. They’re a fantastic team. As we drove through the Spanish moss hanging from the trees down a dirt road on an atypically rainy night, I couldn’t help thinking I was getting a very coastal Georgia experience: a complicated landscape & a temperamental climate that almost seems to embody the social & political history fraught with controversy. On the drive, I kept feeling like it was the dawn of something very new for the South in general, especially if the foundation is laid by institutions like The Ashantilly Center, helmed by some of the most generous, thoughtful, open-minded, and resilient people I’ve met on the trip so far.

I wish that I could tell the whole story here because it’s amazing, fascinating, and fueled by the love & passion of a few individuals, like all good stories are. In the meantime, here are the pictures. Take note of the fantastic little typographic figures in the margins of Hayne’s book,  The Field Diary of A Confederate Soldier !



The Itinerant Printer

July 26, 2015

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Museum says missing Nazi submarine mystery solved

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The Face of a Monster: America's Frankenstein

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York County History Center

Fastnacht Day will be celebrated at the York County History Center’s Historical Society Museum on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, from 9:30 a.m. – noon. The Friends of the History Center will serve fastnachts, coffee, tea and hot chocolate at the Museum, located at 250 E. Market Street, York.

This free event is held each year as the Friends’ “thank you” to the community for their support throughout the year. Fastnacht Day originated with Pennsylvania Germans on Shrove Tuesday, when all fat had to be removed from the home before Lent.

The Friends hold fundraising events all year to benefit the programs and exhibits of the History Center.


York County History Center Closed January 26-27, 2017



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