On Wednesday night the staff of Carrier Pigeon illustrated literary journal were lucky enough to be invited to the home of Stephen Fredericks, founder of The New York Society of Etchers and all-around printed matter scholar, for a viewing from his private collection. Though my camera was a sad, sad spare, I did what I could to capture a glimpse of the beauties he brought out. Journals from between 1850 and 1920 featuring the rock-star printmakers of the time were stitched together so that the prints contained inside could be torn out and appreciated separately. While one of these removed etchings, photogravures or engravings may cost more than $1,000 on eBay, an intact copy of the magazine can be found, if you're lucky, for under $100. But you have to be pretty dedicated to find these.
Item 1: Playboy, not the one you're familiar with, although typography did carry over. "A portfolio of art & satire." It's hard to see the date in the right-hand corner, but I think it says 1881.
Item 2: I think this is from Print, not the one you're familiar with.
Item 3: The Colophon, a Book Collectors' Quarterly. Sigh. This edition is filled with personal essays that could have been written yesterday and are accompanied, blog-style, by process sketches detailing, for example, the malaise of the book illustrator's life. Sigh. There's really nothing dated about it.
Item 4 (cue up the dirty brass band): a patching together of The Saga of Frankie and Johnny, "beautifully engraved by John Held Jr," an artist-originated book about a couple who "loved their life away," like a saloon, like Modigliani, like a broken Russian farce.
So many thanks go out to Stephen Fredericks for a great night. Learn more about his personal work, press work and the Art of Democracy here.
Carrier Pigeon will soon be up and running online.