From the category archives:


The Crimean War broke out on October 16, 1853 and lasted until early 1856, and was fought initially over the rights of Christian minorities in the Holy Land, which was under the domain of the Ottoman Empire. On one side was the Ottoman Empire allied with Britain, Sardinia, and France, who favored the rights of Roman Catholics. On the other (losing) side was Russia, which favored the Eastern Orthodox Church. While the churches worked out their differences and came to a mutually satisfying agreement, Nicholas I of Russia and Emperor Napoleon III of France both refused to budge. Nicholas issued an ultimatum that the Orthodox subjects of the Empire be placed under his protection. Britain attempted to mediate and managed to arrange a compromise that Nicholas agreed to. However, when the Empire demanded additional changes, Nicholas refused and prepared for war. With the support of France and Britain, the Ottomans declared war on Russia in October 1853.

The war began in the Balkans but battles were carried out at the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Caucasus, the White Sea, and in the North Pacific. Eventually neutral countries began to join the alliance. Isolated and facing invasion from the west if the war went on, Russia sued for peace in March 1856. The war ended with the Treaty of Paris, signed on March 30. As a result, the Black Sea became neutral territory with warships and fortifications completely prohibited, which was a major setback to Russian influence in the region. The Ottoman vassal states of Wallachia and Moldavia became largely independent with Christians granted official equality, and the Orthodox Church regained control of the Christian churches in dispute.

The Battle of Kil-Bouroun (Kinburn) was one of many battles fought during the three years of the Crimean War.  Staged at the tip of the peninsula of Kinburn on the south bank of the Dnieper River near the Crimea, it was the site of an attack by the French and British navies on the Russian outpost there during the final phase of the war. On October 17, 1855, France and Britain attacked the outpost with a fleet of ironclad ships, destroying the fortifications within mere hours and suffering almost no damage. This decisive battle helped to signify the decline of the traditional wooden warship.

F.A. Bernett Books currently has in its inventory a scarce and fascinating portfolio of lithographs commemorating this wintry naval battle, with large and detailed depictions of the ships and the ruined fortifications.

Paris, (François-Edmond). Nos Souvenirs de Kil-Bouroun Pendant l’Hiver Passé Dans le Liman du Dnieper, 1855-1856. A beautiful and rare album comprising title page, a map showing the location of the naval battle of Kil-Bouroun (Kinburn), and 15 chromolithographic plates depicting mostly maritime scenes after the battle along the ice-bound Dnieper River, including inside the fort, disembarking onto the ice, and ruined fortifications, lithographed and colored by Eugene Ciceri and Adolphe Bayot, the ships drawn by Antoine Léon Morel-Fatio, after drawings by Paris. Some details appear to be hand-colored. Some scattered foxing, small stain to inside front cover, a few small tears along binding, spine very slightly shaken. Folio. Full leather, raised spine. Paris (Arthus-Bertrand/Becquet Freres) n.d. (circa 1856). Very scarce; as of October 2017, WorldCat locates only two holdings in North America of this suite. 48752


The late 19th and early 20th centuries were periods of major change and important historical events throughout the United States, as well as key developments in photography technology. Life could be documented in a way that was never possible before, both physically and economically. Photography allowed for more precise archiving than either lithography or engraving. Roger Fenton and Philip Henry Delamotte were among the first photographers to demonstrate the immense potential photography carried for chronicling important events with their images of the Crimean War and the construction of the Crystal Palace in London for the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Daguerreotypes were introduced in 1839 as the first complete practical photographic process, and remained the most common commercial process until the late 1850s, when the collodion process took over in popularity. This new process produced glass negatives which could be replicated multiple times, unlike the daguerreotype which resulted in a single, unique image. It was also relatively inexpensive compared to daguerreotypes, as the daguerreotype process required expensive polishing equipment and costly silver-plated copper for producing the images. Often printed on albumen paper, the collodion print took two forms, wet and dry, the former which necessitated a darkroom and was more popular with portrait photographers, the latter which required much longer exposure time and therefore was more often limited to landscape photography. Ambrotypes and tintypes are examples of photographs produced via the collodion process.

During the 1880s, gelatin dry plates largely replaced the collodion process. Utilizing glass plates with a dry emulsion of silver suspended in gelatin was more convenient and could also make more sensitive images. The first dry plate factory, the Eastman Film and Dry Plate Company, was established in 1879, a reflection of the popularity of the process. In 1884 Eastman developed dry gel on paper, or film, replacing the photographic plate and with it the necessity of carting around boxes of glass plates and chemicals. And in July 1888 Eastman’s first Kodak camera was put on the market, allowing anyone to take a photograph and let someone else do the processing. Photography went even more mass-market in 1901 with the introduction of the Kodak Brownie camera.

F.A. Bernett currently has for sale several collections of interesting and important early American photography which correspond to and reflect these important changes and developments in the photographic process and the increasing commercial availability of photography equipment.







Collection of 19 Vintage Cabinet Card Views of the 1889 Johnstown Flood. Group of 19 cabinet cards by a local photographer, R.Y. Nice of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, depicting the aftermath of the famous flood and subsequent damage in the town of Williamsport, including Nice’s studio and other local commercial buildings partially underwater, townspeople navigating the streets in rowboats, birds-eye views, and scenes of destruction and debris, some with captions incised into the negatives. Cabinet cards with mounted albumen prints measuring 4″ x 6 1/4″, numbered 2 through 20 in the lower left corners, some with Nice’s name printed on the mount. Williamsport, Pennsylvania 1889.

The Johnstown Flood was the worst flood to hit the United States in the 19th century, causing the deaths of 2,209 people and the destruction of 1,600 homes. It was the largest loss of civilian life the United States had seen up to that point. The flood was one of the first major disaster relief efforts to be handled by the newly-founded American Red Cross, under the leadership of Clara Barton. (48214)








Mather’s Historical Oil Region Views of Western Pennsylvania. Part I. Mather’s Historical Photographs. Mather, John A. 14 leaves, 2 pages of text, 1 engraving, and 11 original gelatin linen-backed photographs regarding the drilling of the Drake Well by Col. Edwin L. Drake in 1859, the first oil well ever drilled in the United States, scenes and figures depicted in the photographs include a portrait of Edwin Drake, Drake at the well, oil traders, and the surrounding areas of “Oil Creek” including Foster Farm, Funkville, John Wait Farm, and John Benninghoff Run. Spine slightly shaken. Oblong 4to. Black cloth boards. Titusville, Pennsylvania (John A. Mather) 1895. Ink inscription on front endpaper “Miss Margaret Bond from Mrs E. Mather, Christmas 1905”

Edwin Drake was hired by the Seneca Oil Company in 1858 to investigate suspected oil deposits in the Titusville region of Pennsylvania. Prior to this, petroleum oil was known of, but there was not yet a market for it. Drake began drilling, with pipe and steam, but progress was slow and the Seneca Oil Company had pulled their backing. Using his own money and that of friends, Drake persevered and on the morning of August 28th, after months of drilling at the rate of approximately three feet per day, Drake’s driller looked into the hole and saw crude oil. The Drake Well prompted the first big investments in the petroleum industry and additional drilling in the area that became known as Oil Creek, ushering in the Pennsylvania oil rush.

John A. Mather was the pioneer photographer of Pennsylvania’s Oil Region. Hearing of the exploding activity in the Oil Creek Valley, Mather and his wife moved to Titusville in 1860 where he began working with a series of makeshift traveling darkrooms/studios. He transported his equipment through the oil fields by ox-pulled wagon or flatboat, and sold his photographs to a local audience. During his years photographing the Pennsylvania oil rush, he amassed a collection of over 20,000 glass plate negatives. However, due to damage from floods and fires, only 5,000 have survived to this day, preserved in the collections of the Drake Well Museum. Scarce; as of February 2017, WorldCat locates only three holdings in North America. (48619)








Photograph Album Documenting the Aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. Collection of approximately 99 original black-and-white photographs showing the destruction caused by the earthquake and resulting fires, and the subsequent clean-up and reconstruction efforts, most pages with hand-written captions, with specific sites depicted including the Ferry Building, Market Street, burning buildings, refugee camps, City Hall, the Hearst Building, the Palace Hotel, gutted churches, rubble, and relocated shops, some photos with signature for R.J. Waters & Co. and caption within the plate, label affixed to inside front cover for Waters Company, San Francisco. Photos overall in very good condition. Various sizes to 8″ x 10″. Photos affixed to album leaves with photo corners and small dots of glue, many photos already loose, all pages detached from album. Oblong 4to. Cloth album. San Francisco (R.J. Waters & Co.) circa 1906.

The 1906 earthquake struck the coast of Northern California at 5:12 am on April 18th, with a magnitude of 7.8. Over 80% of the city of San Francisco was destroyed as a result of the quake and the subsequent fires, with 30 different fires destroying 25,000 buildings across 490 city blocks within three days. An estimated 3,000 people died. Initially only 375 deaths were reported, due in part to hundreds of ignored and unreported fatalities in Chinatown. To this day, it is still the deadliest natural disaster in California’s history. Up to 300,000 people were also left homeless out of a total population of 410,000, with some refugee camps remaining open for over two years. (48636)







Collection of Original Photographs of Alaska. Album comprising approximately 500 original photographs of various formats, the majority taken in and around the copper mining town of Kennecott, Alaska, during its heyday in the 1920s, including the Bonanza, Jumbo, and Erie mines, nearby towns such as Cordova, McCarthy, and Ruby, hunting and skiing trips, dogsledding, Eskimos, railroads, the Childs, Columbia, and Kennicott glaciers, and steamships, with 21 most likely unpublished photographs captioned “Mt Logan Alaska 1925 – June / Guided by Andy Taylor, Famous Alaskan Guide” being of particular interest, depicting the first successful expedition to the summit of Mt. Logan in the Yukon Territory, Canada’s highest peak, with photographs showing the team setting up camp, loading their sleds, and trekking, together with several pieces of ephemera including a telegram, a Pacific Line steamship catalog, and a newspaper clipping. Original album disbound and trimmed to fit, with original album pages and hand-written captions intact, some original photo corners replaced. Small folio. Housed in two contemporary albums. N.p. (Kennecott, Alaska), circa 1920s.

A geologist first approached the Alpine Club of Canada in 1922 with the idea of sending a team to summit Mt. Logan. A team of Canadian, British, and American climbers was assembled, and their trip was delayed from 1924 to 1925 due to delays in funding and preparation. They began their trip in early May, journeying from the Pacific coast by train, and then traversed the remaining 120 miles on foot to the Logan Glacier, where they established base camp. On June 23, 1925, the team of Albert H. MacCarthy, H.F. Lambart, Allen Carpé, W.W. Foster, Norman H. Read, and Andy Taylor became the first people to stand atop the summit of Mt. Logan.

The Kennecott Mines were discovered around the turn of the century, and confirmed as the richest known concentration of copper in the world at the time in 1901. Five different mines turned out incredible amounts of copper, at their peak generating $32.4 million worth of ore in a single year. The highest grades of ore were largely depleted by the early 1930s, with the mines closing gradually. The last train left Kennecott on November 10, 1938, leaving it a ghost town. In the 1980’s, the town became a tourist destination, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986.  (48621)











A Picture Journey to Farms in Idaho, Washington, Oregon. Spokane, Washington.- Pacific Northwest Farm Trio. 62 pp. promotional photo album containing 72 mounted silver gelatin photographs of farms, orchards, crops, and related agricultural activities from farms throughout the Pacific Northwest, each page with a typed descriptive caption below the photo, some of the photographs signed within the negative, known photographers include Asahel Curtis, Bradbury Williams, and Arthur Prentiss. One of the photographs coming loose, several pages with small tears to margins, some minor warping and toning of pages. Oblong 8vo. Leather. Some bowing to covers, rubbing and small losses along extremities, small splits at spine. Spokane, Washington (Pacific Northwest Farm Trio General Offices) n.d. (circa 1930).

The Pacific Northwest Farm Trio comprised the publications The Washington Farmer, The Idaho Farmer, and The Oregon Farmer. The views depicted in this album include apple farms in Washington, the Hood River Valley, the Willamette Valley, the Yakima Valley, tractors and farm machinery, harvesting and packing apples, planting wheat, cows on a dairy farm, sheep, chickens, turkeys, Arrowrock Dam, irrigation, vegetables, strawberry plants, and orchards. Very scarce; as of March 2017, this title is not listed through WorldCat. (48654)



Journalism in France has a rich tradition of political satire and caricature, dating back many hundreds of years and gaining footholds at many crucial moments in France’s history. Popular in the 17th century, Molière and Jean de la Fontaine earned their fame mocking the upper echelons of society through comic plays or fables, often accompanying their stories with caricatures mimicking the physical characteristics of the protagonists. A century later, around the time of the Revolution, particularly ubiquitous were scandal sheets targeting the royal family, especially Marie-Antoinette, with illustrated and sometimes even pornographic tales depicting the sexual antics and corruption taking place at the court in Versailles. And surrounding the July Revolution of 1830, satire was used to help create a middle-class political critique.

It was during the 19th century that political satire truly blossomed as a form of media, but this type of humor soon became threatening to the monarchy. In 1829, the French interior minister François-Régis de la Bourdonnaye, Comte de la Bretèche, complained, “Engravings or lithographs act immediately upon the imagination of the people, like a book which is read with the speed of light; if it wounds modesty or public decency, the damage is rapid and irremediable.”

While satire was at first severely cracked down upon, it eventually became banned all together. In 1830, a law was passed outlawing attacks on the “royal authority” or the “inviolability” of the King’s person. Under this law, both Honore Daumier and Charles Philipon were arrested in 1831 for drawing unflattering cartoons of King Louis Philippe. Between 1831 and 1835, twenty-eight issues of the weekly La Caricature, the best-known satiric newspaper of the time, were seized, and the paper’s founder was prosecuted in six different cases. And finally, under the September Laws of 1835, a law was passed restricting freedom of the press, specifically targeting and prohibiting political satire altogether, calling a caricature an “act of violence” and mandating that violators be tried by tribunal rather than by jury, and consequences for breaking the law became much harsher.

In 1881, an important law was passed which cut back on many of the policies regarding censorship. While certain types of libel were still outlawed, including some forms of defamation, the effect in the media and in journalistic output was immediate. The number of periodicals and newspapers published in France doubled over the course of a decade.

F.A. Bernett Books currently has in its holdings six important satirical publications which date to the time just before and after the passing of the freedom of the press law of 1881. These serials demonstrate how the thread of satire continued in France through the 19th and into the 20th century, leading to the creation decades later of periodicals like Hara-Kiri and Charlie Hebdo.




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L’Eclipse. Year 1, No. 1 (Jan. 26, 1868) through Year 9, No. 400 (June 25, 1876) (all published). 443 issues (incl. 37 bis, and 6 suppl.) in 3 vols., most 4 pp., numerous issues with caricatures on front and rear covers, this edition with title, half-title and table of contents preceding each year, the final volume bound together with the portfolio “Dessins de l’Eclipse: Interdits par la Censure”: 21 lithographs of alternate covers refused by the Parisian censors. Folio. Contemporary half-leather boards, raised spine, gilt-tooled title and ornament, marbled endpapers. Paris 1868-1876.

Comprising a complete run of the satirical weekly newspaper that succeeded publisher François Polo’s La Lune after it was banned by the authorities. L’Eclipse was one of the most important satirical papers of its time. The extraordinary and inflammatory caricatures primarily by André Gill, with examples from other artists including Paul Hadol, Alfred Le Petit, and Pépin [Claude Guillaumin], lampooned volatile French politics of the late Second Empire, the Franco-Prussian War (the paper was suspended from Sept. 1870-June 1871 following the collapse of the Empire and during the Paris Commune) and the Third Republic, with allegorical images and frequent depictions of Napoleon III, Bismarck, Léon Gambetta, Adolphe Thiers, and François-Vincent Raspail, alongside literary and artistic celebrities including Jules Verne, Gustave Courbet, Emile Zola, Richard Wagner, and Victor Hugo. During the time of its publication, it suffered twenty-two seizures by the law.


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La Lune Rousse. Year 1, no.1 (10 Dec. 1876) through year 4, no. 159 (21 Dec. 1879) (all published). 159 issues, 4 pp. each. Folio. Issues loose as issued in self-wrpps., housed in early boards portfoli. Paris, 1876-1879.

La Lune Rousse was launched by André Gill as a successor to L’Eclipse, and the weekly paper featured ironical and humorous texts about contemporary events and public figures accompanied by striking and dramatic full-page, front-cover and double-page, center-spread caricatures by Gill. It also attracted the attention of authorities, who seized and banned at least 10 issues of the weekly serial during its first year of publication. Despite its stated intentions to merely amuse its readers, Gill did not conceal his Republican, scientific and anti-clerical leanings in his caricatures. Among the figures his drawings either celebrated or lampooned were such notables as Sarah Bernhardt, Émile Zola, Victor Hugo, Charles Darwin, and Gill’s bitter rival, the conservative Catholic journalist Jules Veuillot.


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Gil Blas Illustré. Year I, no. 1 (28 June 1891) through Year XIII, no. 33 (14 August 1903) (plus supplements) (all published). 1891. Bound in 13 volumes, with additional material. Uniformly bound in cloth-backed boards with labels mounted on spines, all original illustrated covers bound in. Paris 1891-1903.

This complete run of the richly illustrated weekly supplement to the daily unillustrated Gil Blas included literary contributions by Verlaine, Courteline, Zola, Maupassant, Mallarmé, Paul Bourget, and other key figures in fin-de-siècle Paris, and featured illustrations, including caricatures and cartoons, by Steinlen, Chéret, Louis Legrand, Jacques Villon, and their contemporaries. Gil Blas Illustré reflects the life and humor of turn-of-the-century Paris, particularly through the great number of drawings of Parisian life that Theophile Alexandre Steinlen contributed, some of which provided harsh criticisms of societal ills, depicting some of the privileged and many of the poor people and children of the city.


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La Libre Parole Illustrée. Year 1, No. 1 (Jul. 17, 1893) through Year 4, No. 200 [i.e. 220] (Sept. 25, 1897) (all published). 220 issues bound in 3 vols.; nos. 1-55, 16 pp. each; nos. 56-220, 8 pp. each. Tall 4to. Half canvas, orig. self-wrpps. bound in. Paris 1893-1897.

This complete run of the illustrated weekly supplement to the French anti-Semitic newspaper La Libre Parole was published under the direction of the far-right journalist Édouard Drumont, with items related to politics, contemporary events, fashion, and sports. Above all, however, it served as a mouthpiece for Drumont and his virulent Ligue Nationale Antisémitique de France, and was mainly known for its denunciation of various scandals and its rampant anti-capitalism, due to the like perceived by Drumont between Jews and capitalism. The paper earned notoriety for its coverage of the Panama Scandal, which got its name from a story in La Libre Parole. It also became a leading anti-Dreyfusard forum and the principal organ of Parisian anti-Semitism during the Dreyfus Affair, and was notable for its dramatic caricatures by a number of well-known humorists and illustrators including Adolph Willette, Lucien Émery (a.k.a. Chanteclair), Émile Cohl, and Émile-Antoine Bayard.


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La Feuille. No. 1 (Oct. 6, 1897) through No. 25 (Mar. 28, 1899) (all published). 25 issues of the broadsheet. Newsprint leaves loose as issued. Folio. Orig. printed portfolio. Paris 1897-1899 (portfolio states 1900).

A complete run in 25 issues of the satirical broadsheet edited by Zo d’Axa (née Alphonse Gallaud de la Pérouse), the prominent and spirited French anarchist and Dreyfusard. Each issue contained a radical political text by d’Axa and a full-page lithographed caricature or illustration, most by the Swiss painter Théophile Steinlen, a regular contributor to Gil Blas et al. Zo d’Axa justified the use of violence as an anarchist, comparing it to works of art. He was exiled and imprisoned twice in relation to the unsparing political criticism of his earlier publication, the anarchist newspaper L’Endehors. La Feuille achieved special notoriety when d’Axa used its pages to endorse a donkey as a candidate for the Chamber of Deputies.


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Le Canard Sauvage. Tous les Samedis. 1903. Numbers 1-31 (all published). 31 issues, each approx. 16 pp. containing text and illustrations. Large 4to. 1/2 leather and boards, raised spine, orig. wrpps., bound in. Pairs 1903.

A complete run of all 31 issues of the short-lived turn-of-the-century politico-satirical periodical, Le Canard Sauvage was written in the style of the better-known and more widely distributed Assiette au Beurre, and with many of the same group of collaborators. The journal, edited by Edmond Chatenay, was anti-clerical, anti-militarist, and libertarian, and ran from 21 March 1903 until 26 September 1903. Textual contributors include Alfred Jarry, Octave Mirbeau, Jules Renard, Ch.-L. Philippe, et al., and illustrators include Steinlen, Valloton, Caran d’Ache, Pissaro, Bonnard, Kupka, Kees van Dongen, Iribe, Herman Paul, et al. Complete runs of this periodical have become quite rare.


Conjuring Pan: Julius Meier-Graefe’s darkly beautiful paean to the new currents of art in Europe, 1895-1899.

March 22, 2012

Pan.  Years I-V (all published). Edited by Julius Meier-Graefe and Otto Julius Bierbaum.  A complete run of all five years, bound in 21 parts as issued  (altogether 347, 351, 266, 267, 279 pp.)  Sm. folio.  Orig. wrpps., a few chips and tears at edges, some covers professionally repaired.  Berlin (Genossenschaft Pan) 1895-1899.  (45601) In the […]

Felix Vallotton’s Reinvention of the Woodcut

February 1, 2011

Meier-Graefe, Julius. Felix Vallotton, Biographie: Des Kuenstlers nebst dem Wichtigsten teil seines Bisher Publicierten Werkes & Einer Anzahl Unedierter Originalplatten; De Cet Artiste avec la Partie la Plus Importante de son Oeuvre Editee et Differentes Gravures Originales & Nouvelles. Berlin/Paris (J. A. Stargardt/Edmond Sagot) n.d. (ca. 1898).  Freitag 12821. [41835] Painter, playwright, critic and man […]

“In Consequence of the Demolition of Haggerston Castle…”

December 18, 2009

I. In Consequence of the Demolition of Haggerston Castle, Beal, Northumberland:  Illustrated Catalogue of the Most Expensive and Best Period Style Fixtures and Fittings, Metal, Materials and Fabric; Also Garden Ornaments, Balustrading, Paving, Sculptured Stone Figures, Fine Wrought Iron Gates, Etc. Etc.  II. Haggerston Castle, Beal, Northumberland: Catalogue of Four Days Sale.  III.  llustrated Particulars […]

George Barbier & the Great War

December 1, 2009

Barbier, George, & Jules Meynial.  La Guirlande des Mois.   Anées 1-5 (1917-1921) (all published).  Paris (Meynial) 1917-1921. [45546] Renowned illustrator, costume designer and Art Deco stylist George Barbier was 32 in 1914 when war broke out in Europe.  Although little is known about his personal biography, it stands to reason that he would have been […]

A 19th-Century Crayon and Watercolor Instruction Book

October 15, 2009

Couleru.  Nouveau Cours Élémentaire de Coloris et d’Aquarelle: Suivi de Considérations sur la Peinture Orientale. Paris (Monrocq Freres) n.d. (circa 1860).  [45699] These charming images come from Nouveau Cours Élémentaire de Coloris et d’Aquarelle, an illustrated course of instruction in watercolor and crayon techniques for children and young adults. After an eight-page introduction offering 12 […]