# 21: Ettore Sottsass, mourning papers, and heroic dentistry.
Highlights from Booth 120 at ESA 39: Coming
to America (Old Greenwich, CT, March 16-17).
THIS LISTis composed of highlights from our booth (#120) at the 39th annual conference/fair of the Ephemera Society of America: "Coming to America" (Old Greenwich, CT; March 16-17). With three themes: the avant-garde design of Ettore Sottsass, the ephemeral genre of mourning stationery, and heroic figures from the early age of dentistry.
ALSO: we'll debut another list at ESA39, concerning the ways in which insurance companies have convinced people to give them money, rather than suffer the anxieties of Fate: "On the psychology of insurance company literature."
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LOT 01 / AVANT GARDE / ETTORE SOTTSASS
With Fernanda PIVANO
Auguri per sempre. Milan: Edizioni East 128, 1963. 875 USD Illustrated blue wrappers (28 x 23cm.), with wide French flaps, printed with calendar theme in navy-blue. String-bound, with some fading to wrappers and rubbing to spine. Contents fresh: 19 leaves, featuring 11 serigraphs from Sottsass; the final being a multi-page fold-out. From a print run of 309 copies (Maffei and Tonini pp. 62-5); this one not numbered.
Ettore Sottsass is most often remembered as either architect or designer. However, with recent bibliography, he's also gained recognition for his work in book and graphic design. His first publications (1963-1970) were with his partner Fernanda Pivano in Milan, under the name East 128. He and Pivano carried that name with them from California, where Sottsass had been flown by Olivetti, in 1962, to receive experimental medical treatments at Stanford. It was thus in Room East 128 that he recovered from the near-fatal bout of nephritis that he acquired during his travels in India. And it was under that name that the couple would publish illustrated poetic editions for the next seven years.
As the fourth publication in this series, Auguri per sempre is one of their most personal, consisting of short texts from Pivano (e.g. "I mass media," "Il juke box," "La mafia incruenta," and "Marilyn Monroe"), cut together with excerpts from mystical Indian texts. All illustrated by 11 full-page serigraphs from Sottsass, the last one folding; with echoes of his ceramic work from the period. With 9 OCLC records discovered in North America; none in Canada.
Pianeta fresco 2-3. Equinozio invernale, 1968. Tecnologia del decondizionamento. Milan: [Edizioni East 128 / Underground Press Syndicate], 1968. Association copy. 650 USD Illustrated wrappers (28 cm.); with some wear to spine and from general handling. Contents of 83 leaves; illustrated throughout, with drawings, photographs, and photomontages, printed in the "lysergic" style of the period (as per the bibliography of Emanuela Biliotti). With numerous pages bound upside-down. Maffei and Tonini, pp. 106-11.
From the same Milan address, Sottsass and Pivano would dream-up the serial Pianeta fresco, as a "technology for deconstruction," with Pivano as Direttore responsabile and Allen Ginsberg recruited as Direttore irresponsabile. For this second and final issue, cast as "Capo dei Giardini" (i.e. Head Landscaper), Sottsass requested a visual palette of gold, magenta, and turquoise; executing a psychedelic swirl of counter-cultural design. Featuring imagery and/or text from Archizoom, William Burroughs, Mircea Eliade, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Paul McCartney, Jonas Mekas, Ralph Metzner, Sri Brahmarishi Narad, Fernanda Pivano, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Gary Snyder, and Alan Watts. This association copy bears a tear to one of the pink pages of nudes, to signal the former owner as one of the 27 models. Of note: this copy bears 83 leaves. The copy consulted at Fisher has 82 leaves, with Maffei and Tonini identifying only  pages for the edition, save for 15 "flawed" copies.
This association copy bears a tear to one of the pink pages of nudes, to signal the former owner as one of the 27 models printed. Of note: this copy bears 83 leaves. The copy consulted at Fisher has 82 leaves, with Maffei and Tonini identifying only  pages for the edition, save for 15 "flawed" copies.
Miljö för en ny planet. Stockholm: Nationalmuseum, 1969. 500 USD Illustrated yellow wrappers (30 cm.); staple-bound. General wear to copy, with abrasion to front cover and creasing to a handful of page corners. Contents: 40 pages, fully-illustrated, both in colour and black-and-white. Text composed from facsimiles of Sottsass' handwriting (in Italian), with translations into Swedish. Maffei and Tonini, pp. 146-9.
In the Winter of 1969, Sottsass was the subject of an exhibition in Stockholm. Loosely translated as "Landscape for a fresh planet, doubtful suggestions." Architecture had thus begun in earnest. It was from this exhibition that the present publication issued; more of an expressive autobiography than a catalogue, repeating the manuscript/facsimile "journal" style that was so common with Sottsass' East 128 publications. "The things displayed in this exhibition represent the thoughts of one who goes in search of a mode of being that is other than normal. That is: of one who is paranoid."
Uffici: dall' ufficio tradizionale all' ufficio a pianta aperta. Milan: Synthesis 45. Olivetti. Direzione Relazioni Culturali Disegno Industriale Pubblicità, . 1200 USD Illustrated yellow wrappers (30 cm.), vibrantly-printed in orange, black, and cream, with the Olivetti brand blind-stamped to rear cover. Some scuffing to wrappers, with small abrasion to lower margin of front cover; otherwise a well-preserved rarity. Staple-bound contents of 42,  pages; well-illustrated throughout, with splashes of colour, on glossy yellow paper stock. With a series of layout-related annotations to margins; this copy descending from the estate of one of Sottsass' associates. Maffei and Tonini, p. 154.
If, in the late 1950s, he designed "the feel" for the first mainframe computers designed at Olivetti, it was by the end of the sixties, with the miniaturization of computing power, that the Company would task Sottsass with rethinking the office space itself. It was thus with his work at the Company's Synthesis 45 department that Sottsass would craft some of his most critical designs. The predominant focus was on office furniture as hardware, but as part of a larger techno-cultural synthesis. "Progettare un ufficio è progettare i suoi strumenti. Gli strumenti di un ufficio non solo le sue macchine. Sono i mobili, le lampade, i suoni, i riflessi, i colori, le distanze tra la mano e il ricevitore, il classificatore e l'armadio, l'elenco del telefono e il tavolo da disegno. L'interior designer continue l'opera del produttore di mobili e la correge. E chi, negli uffici, ci lavora, continua l'opera del designer e la correge. Un ufficio vero, ossia abitabile ed efficiente, non finisce mai."
As a summation of his first full year of research, biased heavily towards the plug-and-play aesthetics of modularity, Sottsass co-designed the publication Uffici; subtitled in its English variant: From the traditional office to the open plan office. A kind of hyper-pragmatic artist book, with conceptual diagrams blended together with literary texts from Honoré de Balzac, Mario Puzo, Nikolai Gogol, and Franz Kafka (from The trial), and further interventions from urban planners and interior designers (from organizations such as Herman Miller and the Pratt Institute).
This Italian variant is rare, with only one other copy identified via the record at the Olivetti archives. Even the standard bibliographies (Maffei/Tonini and Morteo 2016) illustrate the edition exclusively through images of its English printing (for which only one OCLC record is showing, at Ball State). The contemporary annotations suggest that the present copy might have been involved in production.
Memphis. Padova: Galleria ToT, 1983. 500 USD Exhibition catalogue in 100 copies. Bright yellow card-stock wrappers (30 cm.); coil-bound. Minor creasing to upper corner; else Near Fine. Contents: 20 leaves, richly-illustrated in punchy colours, with a black-and-white section featuring reproductions of newspaper and magazine articles. Contents separated via three illustrated dividers: "Memphis," "Tipologie Memphis," and "Documenti Memphis," printed on thicker stock. This copy appears to lack a black-and-white fold-out sheet that reproduces a Memphis catalogue spread, i.e. as identified in the  pp. collation of Maffei and Tonini (p. 244) and in one (of the two) OCLC records.
"Like all new forms of expression, Memphis is mainly based on associations, innuendos, metaphors, deformations and intentions. The more sophisticated the langauge, the greater the expressive possibilities and not vice-versa."
It was arguably with his work with the Memphis collective (est. 1980) that Sottsass would strike his most monumental pose. A kind of Pop qua industrial design, as captured by this scarce 1983 publication, issued from a timely exhibition on Memphis' furniture design at Padova's Galleria ToT. In addition to an illustrated catalogue of selected furniture works (11 pp.), this publication features a group of design/theory texts in Italian and French (Ennio Chiggio, Ernesto Francalanci, and Martine Bedin), along with a reproduction of reviews from newspapers and magazines of the period. With all three OCLC records discovered in Germany; none in SBN.
Leitner: furniture collection "Donau." Milan: Printed by Nava Milano, 1986. 750 USD Tall colour wrappers (42 x 30 cm.), illustrated after photos of the Donau furniture series. Some creasing to wrappers, with ink annotation to front panel. Contents:  pages, featuring 6 colourful double-paged illustrations by Daniele Scandola and  pages of furniture specs. All text translated into German, English, French, and Italian. Accompanied by loose invitation (see below) to the vernissage on April 22 at the Memphis showroom in Milan; fully-illustrated sheet (42 x 59 cm.) printed on India paper, twice folded.
By 1986, Sottsass had largely moved-on from the heroic scale of Memphis, and become embedded in the specifics of consultancies, with his agency Sottsass Associati. The present catalogue being the impeccably-designed result of the agency's work with one client—the Austrian interior design firm Leitner—to create the "Donau" furniture series. With his opening text, Associate Marco Zanini announces Donau in opposition to the victorious functionalism of Le Corbusier and Bauhaus. "[We aim instead] to bring back the patrimony of Gemütlichkeit [i.e. friendliness], particularly in its Austrian, Biedermeier, and Viennese traditions."
The photo-realism of the catalogue is exploded by the colour illustrations of Daniele Scandola, as a kind of European Pop. The impressively-large invitation that's included loose in this copy draws the explicit connection between Memphis and Sottsass Associati; announcing the vernissage for an exhibition of the furniture series at Memphis' Milan showroom in late-April 1986. With only one OCLC/SBN copy discovered (Parma), which doesn't record the invitation.
[Vernacular stationery from the death of Agatha Meyer]. Piqua, Ohio, 1846. 250 USD Two specimens of mourning stationery. The first being (1) letterpress: a printed funeral invitation (5 x 15 cm.), with some creasing, and a (2) self-enveloped letter, with just over two pages of legible cursive, dated in Piqua on March 12, 1846. With deliberate black borders in ink to address panel, with postage stamp and remnants of Christian seal.
As a standardized genre, mourning stationery was defined by the melancholy of its black borders, which could be measured in millimetres. As sold in correspondence suites by local printers, the borders would recede in size over time, providing everyday visual cues for when mourning was to cease.
Here: two vernacular specimens from the genre; both traced from the 1846 death of Agatha Meyer from the community of Piqua, Ohio. With one—a self-enveloped letter—Valentin Butsch informs his brother (Herman) in Philadelphia that their mother Agatha has died. "The Intelligence I am about to record is indeed a very melancholy one. Our dear Mother is no more. She departed from this world of trouble Tuesday night at 12 o'clock and was buried Wednesday evening. It was our intention to keep her until today, but it was not possible." To the address panel, Butsch reproduces the customary mourning borders in wavy manuscript ink. The second specimen: a printed invitation to Agatha's funeral service (Wednesday, March 11th); presumably sent in the same brotherly envelope as a token. With simplicity, the local Ohio printer composed the columns of his border with a series of star-like devices.
[Embossed memorial card for twelve-year-old Maria Elizabeth Jones]. [London]: Dobbs, 1856. 100 USD Memorial card. Printed to thick embossed paper (74 x 112 mm.), with rich black field; minor scuffing. With the firm name of Dobbs printed to lower margin.
As one of London's first private group of cemeteries—i.e. "the Magnificent Seven"—Nunhead opened its gates in 1840, 16 years before Ms. Jones was there buried; three years before she was born. By the time of this memorial card, the Dobbs firm had become dominant in the commercial application of paper embossing techniques, with a specialty in funerals.
Lines written by W. Simpson, on the death of the late Charles Dickens ... [London?], circa 1870. 500 USD Mourning poem, printed to laid paper (180 x 115 mm.); minor creasing and two faint horizontal colds. Moderate-sized borders (6 mm). With pencil correction to final line of text, appearing to substitute "Fame Eternally" with "immortality."
A presumably contemporary mourning poem for Charles Dickens, with a special focus on his legacy for the working class. With no records discovered on either OCLC or COPAC.
[A literary memorial card for Clara S. Berg]. [Pennsylvania?], 1887. 50 USD Printed to thick black card stock (162 x 100 mm.), with rounded corners. Minor scuffing. Gilt interior borders, forming outer black borders of 5 mm. thickness. The Longfellow excerpt comes from his poem Resignation.
Trauer album dem Andenken meiner teueren mutter [Ida Stern] geborene [Wiener]... Vienna: Erwin Singer, 1907. 80 USD Black cloth boards (23 cm.), with elaborate silver-stamped design to front panel. With partially-printed title page accomplished in manuscript. Contents printed in German and Hebrew; 24 pages. With visitation page accomplished in manuscript for fifty consecutive years (1908-1957).
[Funeral souvenir for grenade victim Josef Müller]. Schwarzach, Germany: Jakob Stettmer, 1916. 50 USD Bifolium, since-flattened to single sheet (11 x 14 cm.). Illustrated after photograph of Müller in uniform, with Christian imagery and passage from Genesis to verso. Biographical text preceded by Iron Cross. With Stettmer apparently specializing in the printing of such memorial cards.
[A doleful, diphtheria-themed sympathy card]. Paris, circa 1923. 75 USD Photographically-illustrated thank you / sympathy card (10 x 14 cm.), with thick black borders (7 mm.); printed recto only. Accompanied by original mourning envelope; un-addressed.
The Pasteur Institute's Gaston Ramon identified the basis for diphtheria treatment in 1923, with a vaccine being administered in French schools by 1927. Here, from the Parisian suburb of Palaiseau, the mourning Lemoine and Bierre families lament that the discovery was just-too-late for their child Claude.
British fairplay dead & buried. Leeds: Printed by Plowright & Co., circa 1937. 250 USD Leaflet (18 x 13 cm.), boldly-printed with mourning borders. General creasing, with faint horizontal fold; otherwise well-preserved.
The National Joint Committee for Spanish Relief was a British voluntary organization geared towards coordinating , and fundraising for, medical relief for the victims of the Spanish Civil War. Their further function as anti-Franco political lobbyist is here reflected in this moralizing leaflet. With no copies discovered via OCLC or COPAC.
[Parodic funeral invitation for Freedom and Peace]. [France], circa 1954. 250 USD Small broadside (27 x 21 cm.), printed to laid paper, with short tear to top corner. With exaggerated mourning border (of 25 mm. thickness).
Playing rhetorical with the conventions of the mourning stationery genre, this small broadside emphasizes the shamefulness of the French actions in Algeria (and the political and business interests that motivated them); signed-off by a federation of loosely anarchist organizations. With no records discovered in OCLC or at BnF.
[A collection of newspaper suicide reports]. Mostly New York, 1946-1964. 500 USD Housed within clamshell archival box: 10 letter-mail envelopes (some branded by the Toronto Psychiatric Hospital, with one from the American Journal of Psychiatry), each with manuscript titles: (1) Suicides 1946, sealed; (2) Suicides 1947, with over 30 suicide reports, clipped from newspapers (two of them with portraits); (3) Suicides 1952, sealed; (4) Suicides 1954, sealed; (5) N. Y. Times. Suicides 1955, sealed; (6) Suicides 1956, sealed; (7) Suicides 1958 from N. Y. Times only, sealed; (8) Suicides 1959. N. Y. Times, sealed; (9) Suicides 1960 as reported in N. Y. Times, with a dozen clippings; and (10) Suicides 1962, 1963, 1964, with over two dozen clippings. Accompanied by programme for a 1949 neuropsychiatric seminar at the Edgewood Sanitarium (Orangeburg, South Carolina), where the collector of these clippings was scheduled to deliver a talk on suicide; 8 pp., illustrated after photographs of the Sanitarium and seminar participants.
In the twenty-first century, suicide has been recognized as a growing epidemic. And yet, daily reports in the news media most often choose to illustrate the subject through statistics, not individual cases, with many organizations holding policies against such reporting (as potentially irresponsible). This wasn't always the standard. With this collection, the psychiatrist/book collector Clarence B. Farrar gathered newspaper suicide reports from the years 1946 through 1964, as published (mostly) in the New York Times, often with dramatic detail. The collection is particularly haunting inasmuch as seven of the ten envelopes remain sealed.
[Annual subscription for the dental services of Cavaliere Incognito, Chirurgo-Dentista]. Turin, 1799. 450 USD Partially-printed document (12 x 18.5 cm.), with letterpress borders; accomplished in manuscript. Printed on laid paper, with watermark partially-visible. Additional manuscript note to verso, signed Incognito.
A remarkable survival from the career of one of the more colourful characters of early/heroic dentistry. Before eventually becoming one of the most recognized dentists in Europe, and granted the rank of nobility, Vittorio Cornelio worked as an itinerant fencing master, comedian, preacher, hermit, and "tooth-puller," all before apprenticing with a surgeon-anatomist and eventually re-branding himself as "Incognito, Chirurgo Dentista." The present document from 1799 entitled the bearer—the noble-woman Madamigella di Virle—to a year's worth of dental services from Cornelio, for the price of 75 lire.
CORNELIO, Vittorio Statistica odontalgica per l'anno 1816 in serie colle pubblicate per gli anni 1814 e 1815 arricchita della descrizione di alcune dentizioni tardive: di altre osservazioni sulla nascita dei denti d'ogni età, e singolarmente di quelli cosi detti della sapienza, e sovra le malattie, che ne derivano al cerebro, e ad altre parti dell'umana organizzazione. Opera del cavaliere Vittorio Cornelio. Turin: Dalla Stamperia Barberis, 1817. 750 USD Octavo. Contemporary plain wrappers (22 cm.), with very minor loss to spine. Robust binding. With nineteenth century bookseller's ticket to verso of front cover. Illustrated with densely-symbolic frontispiece portrait of Cornelio, and a multi-figure engraving bound at rear, folding, preceded by 2 pp. of corresponding captions & short errata. With monogram blind-stamped to upper margin of title page. Minor foxing to some pages; otherwise remarkably well-preserved.
As Cornelio settled into Turin, he began to publish a series of observations from his practice; case studies which, not without literary flourish, were to contribute to the development of a nascent dental science (to which Cornelio would also contribute more general treatises). For the year 1816, Cornelio here offered observations on such subjects as wisdom teeth, tongue cancer, and relevant neurological diseases. All under the watchful eye of his hyper-symbolic frontispiece. With single OCLC record discovered (NYAM); 5 in SBN (all but one in Turin).
[A rich collection of materials documenting the heroic dentistry of Raffaele Faggioli]. Italy (various places), 1829-1843. 1500 USD Consists of: a prospectus, (1) Prefazione dell'Opera di Chirurgia Dentistica di Raffaele Faggioli. Plain wrappers (15 cm.), string-bound to contents of 6, [2 blank] pages. Printed without colophon; a "tribute" pamphlet, by Luigi Silvestri, (2) A Raffaele Faggioli, Professore di odontojatria per Europa celebratissimo. Tributo di ammirazione e di riconoscenza. Roma: Dalla Tipografia Olivieri, 1830. Plain wrappers (19 cm.) with ornamental borders; titles supplied in contemporary manuscript to front panel. Illustrated with lithographic frontispiece of Faggioli. String-bound contents of 4 leaves. As well as four pristine broadsides: (3) Accetta Raffaele Faggioli, da una donna che deve alle tue cure la riacquistata calma e salute, questa pubblica testimonianza di gratitudine e di stima. Sonetto. (Attributed to T. de A). Fermo: Dalla Tipografia Paccasassi, 1829 (42 x 27 cm.); (4) Traduzione d'un idillio latino a Lode del celebre chirurgo dentista Raffaele Faggioli. (Attributed to P. D. A. Sup. dei C.). Roma: Nella Tipografia Contedini, 1830 (39 x 27 cm.); (5) Egregio viro Raphaeli Faggiolio, jatraleptices peritissimo ac in pluribus Europae et Asiae urbibus celebratissimo. (Attributed to P. D. A. Prioris C.). Ancona: Apud Baluffium, 1832 (40 x 25 cm.); and (6) Parafrasi del nobil uomo Signore Raffaele Tomasini di Castelfidardo dell' idillio fatto in elogio del Signore Raffaele Faggioli, insigne e celebratissimo dentista. Loreto: Tip. dei Rossi, 1843 (41 x 25 cm.). With all the broadsides printed on watermarked paper and preserved in Near Fine condition, with faint folds.
Raffaele Faggioli is an obscure figure in the early history of dentistry, with most of what we know about him sourced from contemporary journals (1815-1830); e.g. that he was well-traveled and internationally-recognized as a modern dentist (vs. tooth-puller); that he served for a time at the Court of Constantinople and had an itinerant practice in the Ionian Islands. Thus making the present collection quite remarkable, as affording the means to further conjure his person; drawing together a lithographic portrait of Faggioli, along with five works-of-praise for his healing powers (as printed in four different cities), and a fiery prospectus for his unpublished Works (1830).
In addition to supplying facts about his life, the broadsides paint a saintly figure of Faggioli—"Medicinia del Ciel suona tuo nome, O Raffael"—emphasizing the singular manner in which he could offer relief from pain. With one of his female admirers recommending his practice to fellow women, who should approach without fear. In the prospectus for his apparently unpublished work (which we found promoted in an 1830 journal), Faggioli gives a nod to the cosmetic benefits of dentistry ("Chi puo risolveri a dare il bacio dell' amicizia ad uno, il cui alito ributta, come un vapore, che esce da un sepolcro?"), but largely attempts to lay the groundwork for dentistry as a medical science of the mouth: "Non è dunque della massima importanza il conservare un organo, che ha un influenza cosi diretta, e cosi decisiva sulla decenza, e sulla sanità, la quale è il primo dei beni, e senza di cui gli altri sono nulli, o si convertono in veri mali?"
With no records discovered for any of these works (via OCLC, COPAC, and SBN), save for one copy of Silvestri's tribute, which is preserved in a library in the Marche.