Top: A little journey to the home of Jac Auer. Bottom: papers of retired NYPD Assistant Commissioner Philip McGuire.
We recently came across two beautifully illustrated works which came to us with the Helpern Library, a large collection of books that was de-acquisitioned by the NYC Health Department.
In the last decade of the 19th century, a successful industrialist, Elbert Hubbard, inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement, founded a community of artisans in upstate New York, the Roycrofters. These woodworkers, artists, printers and bookbinders explored organic, naturalistic visions of the world. Hubbard’s 1915 account of a celebrity physical fitness promoter, A little journey to the home of Jac Auer, was one of a series of Little journeys published by their small print press. Hubbard himself died later that year in the sinking of the Lusitania. A digitized copy of a variant edition can be read on HathiTrust. Our copy is printed on watermarked paper, bound in suede, illustrated with graphics in red and black inks, with black and white photographs.
On the other side of the Atlantic, after the Great War, Dr. Fritz Kahn was accompanying his popular science works with extraordinary machine-inspired biomedical illustrations. Best known perhaps is his 1926 poster of the human body as a chemical plant, Der Mensch als Industriepalast (Man as Industrial Palace). While we do not have the good fortune of owning that wonderful item, we do now have some of his illustrations in a 1926 English translation of his popular science booklet, The Cell. Kahn originally published the booklet in Stuttgart in 1919, as part of the Cosmos series. The paper of our copy is quite brittle and can be handled only with great care. Happily the same illustrations can be seen risk-free in a digitized copy of the original German print on Project Gutenberg.
Just arrived in the archives are the papers of retired NYPD Assistant Commissioner Philip McGuire. McGuire’s professional interests at the NYPD included the use of information systems for crime analysis. The collection has not yet been processed, but we believe his records are likely to provide a unique look at the development of computerized crime mapping. We hope to make the collection available to researchers this summer. Shown here is a 1970s dot-matrix print-out showing a crime map of the area around City College.
We have also acquired an early American edition of Beccaria’s Essay on Crimes and Punishments, published by R. Bell in Philadelphia in 1778, bound in its original sheepskin.
Ellen Sexton is the Interim Special Collections Librarian.