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Jay T. Last Collection of Science Prints and Ephemera: Finding Aid
priJLC_SCI  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Administrative Information
  • Access
  • Scope and Content
  • Related materials in the Huntington Library
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Jay T. Last Collection of Science Prints and Ephemera
    Dates (inclusive): 1840-approximately 1921
    Bulk dates: 1880-1900
    Collection Number: priJLC_SCI
    Collector: Last, Jay T.
    Extent: approximately 40 items
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Prints and Ephemera
    Huntington Library
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: 626-405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: The Jay T. Last Collection of Science Prints and Ephemera contains approximately 40 printed items related to science and natural history in the United States from 1840 to approximately 1921, with the bulk of the content dating from 1880 to 1900. Most items are lithographs, but engravings and woodcuts are also included. The collection deals with products, services, activities, and imagery relating to the pursuit of knowledge by observation and/or experimentation in the fields of physical science: astronomy, chemistry, earth science, ecology, oceanography, and physics; life science: biology, botany, and zoology; and pseudoscience: astrology, alchemy, occult beliefs, and phrenology. Scientific illustrations, equipment, lectures, and expeditions of discovery can be found here.
    Language: English.
    Note:
    Finding aid last updated on March 13, 2018.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Item title, Call number]. Jay T. Last Collection of Science Prints and Ephemera, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Provenance

    This collection forms part of the Jay T. Last Collection of Graphic Arts and Social History, which was donated to the Huntington Library by Jay T. Last in 2005 as a gift in progress. The bulk of the Science prints and ephemera were transferred to the Library between 2010 and 2012.

    Background

    The Jay T. Last Collection is an unparalleled archive of printed paper artifacts that documents American lithographic, social, and business history. The collection began in the early 1970s when physicist and Silicon Valley pioneer Jay Last moved to Southern California and started collecting citrus box labels he found at local flea markets and rummage sales. As his collection grew, Last realized that these labels conveyed important information about commercial printing, graphic design, and social history, and he expanded his collection to include other forms of American visual culture. Today this collection contains more than 200,000 lithographic prints, posters, and ephemera of mostly nineteenth- and early twentieth- century American origin and represents works by more than five hundred lithographic companies.

    Access

    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Scope and Content

    The Jay T. Last Collection of Science Prints and Ephemera contains approximately 40 printed items related to science and natural history in the United States from 1840 to approximately 1921, with the bulk of the content dating from 1880 to 1900. Most items are lithographs, but engravings and woodcuts are also included. The collection deals with products, services, activities, and imagery relating to the pursuit of knowledge by observation and/or experimentation in the fields of physical science: astronomy, chemistry, earth science, ecology, oceanography, and physics; life science: biology, botany, and zoology; and pseudoscience: astrology, alchemy, occult beliefs, and phrenology. Scientific illustrations, equipment, lectures, and expeditions of discovery can be found here. As graphic materials, the collection highlights developing techniques and trends in printmaking while documenting the artists, engravers, lithographers, printers, and publishers involved in the creative process.
    Materials are arranged in two series: small-size items (11 x 14 inches or less) and large-size items (more than 11 x 14 inches). Small-size items are described broadly at the series level; large-size items and select small-size items are fully inventoried with printers, artists, and publishers indexed by name. The collection includes 26 large-size items comprised mainly of astronomy and natural history prints. Small-size items number approximately 15 and contain a variety of materials, including trade cards, leaflets, documentary prints, and printed billheads and letterheads (with manuscript text). Notable items include a complete set of 15 astronomical drawing prints by E. L. Trouvelot published by Charles Scribner’s Sons in 1882 (Series II).

    Alternative Form of Materials Available

    Visit the Huntington Digital Library: Jay T. Last Collection   to view digitized items from this collection.

    Related materials in the Huntington Library

    Arrangement

    The collection is arranged in the following two series:
    • Series I. Science Prints and Ephemera (small size)
    • Series II. Science Prints and Ephemera (large size)

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

    Genres

    Billheads.
    Business cards.
    Chromolithographs.
    Ephemera.
    Ephemera -- United States -- 19th century.
    Ephemera -- United States -- 20th century.
    Engravings.
    Handbills.
    Intaglio prints.
    Leaflets (printed works).
    Letterheads.
    Lithographs.
    Price lists.
    Printed ephemera.
    Promotional materials.
    Relief prints.
    Stationery.
    Trade cards.

    Subjects

    Animals -- Pictorial works.
    Astronomy -- Pictorial works.
    Auroras -- Pictorial works.
    Birds -- Pictorial works.
    Comets -- Pictorial works.
    Eclipses -- Pictorial works.
    Galaxies -- Pictorial works.
    Meteors -- Pictorial works.
    Microscopy -- Pictorial works.
    Moon -- Pictorial works.
    Nebulae -- Pictorial works.
    Observatories -- Pictorial works.
    Phrenology -- Pictorial works.
    Planets -- Pictorial works.
    Stars -- Pictorial works.
    Sun -- Pictorial works.

    Printer, Publisher, Artist Index

    The following is a complete list of printers, publishers, and artists represented in the fully-cataloged items in this collection.
    Armstrong & Co. (Boston, Mass.)
    Audubon, John James, 1785-1851
    Bien, Julius, 1826-1909
    Bowen, John T., approximately 1801-1856?
    Charles Scribner’s Sons
    Compton, Richard J.
    Fowler, L. N. (Lorenzo Niles), 1811-1896
    J.H. Bufford & Co.
    Johnston, David Claypoole, 1799-1865
    Kurz & Allison
    Munn & Co. (New York, N.Y.)
    Trouvelot, E. L.