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Winfred Porter Truesdell's
"The Print Connoisseur"

by David Patick


the print connoisseur

the print connoisseur


           The Print Connoisseur was a periodical magazine published from 1920 to 1932 by Winfred Porter Truesdell (1880-1939).  The periodical’s title page stated that it was “a quarterly magazine for the print collector.”  The periodical was dedicated to printing historical articles about engravers, printers and artists from America and Europe and included a number of printed engravings and color prints.  The periodical ran from volume 1, number 1 in October of 1920 to volume 12, number 2 in 1932.  The magazine was first published in New York City and later in Champlain, New York.

             The first periodical was printed in October 1920 by Truesdell whose office was at 154 E. 38th St. in New York City.  A short article in the “American Art News” newspaper published by the American Art News Company Publishers of New York City described Truesdell’s magazine.  The article was published on November 6, 1920, at the time of his first publication:

The Print Connoisseur
             The "Print Connoisseur," edited and published by Winfred Porter Truesdell at 154 East 38th St., N.Y., a quarterly magazine for the print collector, and a successor to the "Print Collector," of happy memory, discontinued in the early years of the war, makes its initial bow with an October number.  The new magazine is beautifully printed and is most attractive in every way, while its contents bespeak for its editor and publisher the interest and support of collectors and the trade.

             The late W. H. de B. Nelson has written of "Frederick Reynolds—An American Maker of Mezzotint," Mr. George S. Hellman describes "Some Italian Drawings from the Mortimer Schiff Collection," Mr. Walter Pach discusses "The Etchings and Lithographs of Odilon Redon," and Mr. Frank Weitenkampf tells of "New York in Recent Graphic Art." There are book reviews and the illustrations are numerous and excellent.

            Even though Truesdell lived in New York City he had connections to Plattsburgh and Champlain, New York.  By 1922, the Clinton Press of Plattsburgh was printing his periodical and he mailed them from Champlain where he now lived.  Between 1924 and 1926 Truesdell had his friend Hugh McLellan, owner of the Moorsfield Press in Champlain, print his periodical.  Hugh had been in the printing business since 1919 and owned a letterpress that used the old-style Caslon typeface.  The periodicals printed with the Moorsfield Press stand out over the periodicals printed by the Clinton Press due to the unique style of the Caslon typeface.  It is the same typeface that Hugh would use when he issued his own periodical called the “Moorsfield Antiquarian” in 1937 and 1938.  A handwritten note by Hugh in the January 1927 edition noted that Percy Grasby printed this particular edition using Hugh’s Caslon typeface. 

            The Print Connoisseur periodical was issued quarterly and the covers and had paper wraps on them.  Most of the covers were printed in black and white but some were printed in colors such as the April 1924 edition which was printed on red paper with gold lettering and a black background (shown here).  The periodicals were Perfect Bound, but unfortunately, the binding has not held up after 100 years of aging.  Subscribers could also buy a bound version of the entire years’ periodical at the end of the year.  The June 1921 edition had a very good engraving of Truesdell by a well-known artist, a copy of which was given to Hugh McLellan and framed.  The January 1926 edition had an article about Rockwell Kent.

              Truesdell’s office was originally in New York City in 1920 when he started printing the Print Connoisseur.  By 1922, he mailed his magazine from Champlain.  Truesdell had married Edythe Gettys whose family was from Champlain.  They lived on upper Oak Street just a short walking distance from the home of Hugh McLellan and the Moorsfield Press.  In 1919, Hugh had semi-retired from his architectural business and moved from New York City to Champlain to live in his family’s residence.  He established the Moorsfield Press in the back cottage.  Hugh printed a number of pamphlets between 1919 and 1924 before Truesdell hired him to print his periodical.  Hugh acknowledged Truesdell in his first publication in 1919:  “The kindly advice of Mr. Winfred Porter Truesdell in the typography of this brochure, and his assistance and encouragement, are gratefully acknowledged.”

             Truesdell was a Mason in Champlain Lodge #237 along with Hugh McLellan.  The published minutes of the Lodge show that Truesdell gave an illustrated talk on George Washington in 1932.  The minutes also describe the following event:

             “Other banquets featured unrehearsed speeches on impossible subjects and presentations intended rather to embarrass than to flatter the recipient; the old-timers will recall with glee the apron presentation to Bro. Truesdell and the "address" entirely in French by Bro. Hugh McLellan. The printed programs and the notices for the meetings are still remembered as minor works of editorial and typographical art.  An unrehearsed mock-trial which aroused much interest was "Foster Strickland vs. Oscar Bredenberg, the Champlain Masonic Club, et al." The opposing attorneys were A. T. Phillips for the defense and Arthur Atwood for the plaintiff.  Porter Truesdell acted as court stenographer. William Hogge and George Allen, as experts, testified on the medical aspects of the case, which was based on the alleged injury to the plaintiff when struck on the head by a large pitcher in the hands of a waiter (Oscar Bredenberg) employed by the Club. The jury, after deliberation, re quested Judge Warren Smith's permission to examine the elabor ately bandaged scalp of the plaintiff; no evidence of injury being found, the jury brought in a verdict for the defendant.”

            Truesdell’s Print Connoisseur was devoted to publishing articles related to printing, engraving and history.  The April 1924 edition (partially shown below) had six sections and was bound in a bright red cover with gold lettering.  The contents included a story by Warren Wilmer Brown entitled “J.L.G. Ferris, America’s Painter-Historian”; a second article contained a list of the American historical paintings by J.L.G. Ferris; a third article by Thomas H. Thomas was about Charles Bert who was a bank-note engraver; a check list was included for the etchings of Gerard de Latenay; an article by Frank Weitenkampf was about the portraits of printmakers.  The periodical also contained a number of four color images as well as engravings by the artists described in the periodical.

            The April 1926 edition of the print connoisseur was divided into four parts.  Part one included a story called “The Etchings and Lithographs of the Samuel Chamberlain” and included 11 images.  Part two was called “City Types in American Prints” written by Frank Weitenkampf (1866-1962) who was an expert on engraving and head of the art and print departments at the New York Public Library.  Part three was called “Artistic Maps of Early Days” and was written by Lewis C. Karpinski.  The story was was about a history of early mapmaking; a number of maps were included in the article.  Part four was entitled “Col. Elmer E Ellsworth; First Hero of the Civil War”and was written by Charles A. Ingraham.  The article gave a history of Ellsworth who was the first American casualty of the Civil War.  Ellsworth was from Malta, New York, and had a farm and homestead near exit 12 of today’s Interstate 87.  A number of engravings about Ellsworth were included in the periodical.

              Truesdell died in 1939 and was buried in Glenwood Cemetery on Oak Street in Champlain in lot B-16.  His stone states: “W. Porter TRUESDELL / 1880 – 1939.”  His papers and engravings are now stored in the collections of the Special Collections of Feinberg Library at SUNY-Plattsburgh in New York State.


Below are samples of "The Print Connoisseur" that were printed in 1924 and 1926
by the Moorsfield Press using Caslon typeface.  The copies are owned by the website author.

 

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"The Print Connoisseur" on the Internet

https://archive.org/details/printconnoisseu00truegoog

https://archive.org/details/printconnoisseu00unkngoog

https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/007119342

https://books.google.com/books?id=KJsaAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=%22the+print+connoisseur%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiNgsvf2M7NAhVEQCYKHSwpCQ4Q6AEIHjAA#v=onepage&q=%22the%20print%20connoisseur%22&f=false

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