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J.J. Augustin Incorporated Publisher

  • J.J. Augustin was a German publishing house in Glückstadt with a long history, going back to 1632. In 1936 the American branch opened in New York with a large artistic and cultural focus.
  • J.J. Augustin Incorporated Publisher
  • Publishing House
  • J.J. Augustin was a German publishing house in Glückstadt with a long history, going back to 1632. In 1936 the American branch opened in New York with a large artistic and cultural focus.

    Word Count: 33

  • At the beginning of 1936, Johannes Jakob Augustin, son of the Heinrich-Wilhelm Augustin (1878–1938), went to New York to expand the company's publishing operations. J.J. Augustin was a German publishing house in Glückstadt with a long history, going back to 1632. The newly-established American company was to publish technical books in English independently of the parent company. If there were also political reasons for the move, these can only be guessed at. However, the printing orders continued to go to Glückstadt, where, since 1905, the publishing house had operated a private print shop famous for specialising in printing different foreign languages. In order to do this, foreign characters were brought in from around the world thanks to a well-run network system. Numerous orders followed in foreign languages and scripts, including Arabic, Syriac, Persian, Malay and Tibetan. Over 100 written language systems were on offer.

    The technical books programme published by the New York branch varied according to the different fields and the main aim was to propagate a serious cultural interest in the American book market while supporting the émigré cultural scene. This cultural programme can also be seen in the number of photobooks published by émigré photographers. As the photobook can be seen as a "publishing medium" (Ziehe 2015, 9) which is at the same time an autonomous object from the standpoint of the photographer and independent of the art and museums market, especially in exile it offered an appropriate medium of self-representation (Grebe 2015, 171; Parr 2004, 9–11). Through the medium of the photobook, it was possible to promote one's own photographs as well as to secure financial conditions that enabled the emigrated photographers to rebuild their professional reputations in exile. (Seeber 2015, 10-13) Since the Presidential Proclamation of 1941 (Proclamation 2525 of 7, December 1941), emigrated photographers who had not obtained American citizenship were classified as ‘enemy aliens’. They were not allowed to photograph in the public urban space as the images “might reveal information about United States defenses“ (Schenderlein 2017, 109). During this time and in exile, the photobook was also a medium for publishing photographs taken before emigration to New York and the following photographers, who did just that, publishing their photobooks with J.J. Augustin, reveal the network that existed between photographers, art directors and the publishing house.

    In 1944, the photo- and technical book Roman Towns. Photographs and Text by Ernest Nash was published. Based on his archive of images and research created during his Roman exile, the German émigré photographer Ernest Nash attempted to present the ancient buildings to an American readership in a systematic fashion. His contrasting of New York buildings with Roman ones in the introduction created interest. Paul Zucker, an architectural historian and émigré friend of Nash, reviewed the book: ”This new publication contains the work of a gifted photographer who proves clearly that he has gone through the visual experiences of the last twenty years. Fortunately, Ernest Nash did not succumb to the fashionable snobbism of taking each picture from the perspective of a prostrate frog, a cliché much abused by some modern photographers.“ (Zucker 1944, 52) Another review appeared in The New Yorker: “A book of pictures, some of which are superb, taken in such places as Pompeii, Herculaneum, Paestum, Pozzuoli, and Rome. Mr. Nash’s text is almost as good as his pictures, and the publisher, for lagniappe, has turned out an unusually fine job of bookmaking.” (Anonymous 1944, 78) The first edition of 2000 copies was already sold out by January 1947.
    In the same year, 1944, other books by émigré photographers appeared. These included Hellas as well Egypt by George Hoyningen-Huene, who, in 1947, went on to publish Balbek. Pamyra. Like the images of Ernerst Nash, those of George Hoyningen-Huene also dated from a time before his emigration to New York and showcased his cultural interest in ancient ruins. The Photographs of a Decade photobook by Horst P. Horst showed a variety of his fashion and portrait shoots since 1931.

    In 1945 three further books were published with the participation and support of German émigrés. One photobook was Orientals. People from India, Malaya, Bali, China (edited by Horst P. Horst) with photographs by Ernst Rathenau, who, in Germany during the 1920s and 1930s, had his own publishing house Euphorin Verlag. After his emigration in 1938 to New York, he worked as a photographer and in the 1940s opened a new publishing house under the name Ernest Rathenau Verlag. Return to Life Through Contrology was a practical guide and handbook on his new fitness method by Joseph Pilates (1883–1967) published by J.J. Augustin. The book was arranged with photographs by Hoyningen-Huene. Together with his wife Clara Pilates, Joseph Pilates opened his first fitness studio on the first floor at 939 8th Avenue in 1927. Both were emigrants from Germany and met during their ship passage to New York, where they arrived in April 1926.
    In May 1945, one month after the end of World War II, the Day of Paris photobook with photographs by the émigré photographer André Kertész was published. It is also in a spiral binding like the calendars by the émigré photographer Fred Stein. Besides the artistic-aesthetic dimension of the images, there was also an emotional dimension as the photographs of pre-war Paris contributed to the nostalgia of the post-war period. The photobook had apparently been planned as early as 1942 as a door opener for Kertész's career in New York, illustrating the difficulties he encountered in trying to restart his professional career there despite being a renowned photographer in Europe. The design and dust jacket were the work of the émigré art director Alexey Brodovitch, who the same year published his Ballet photobook with J.J. Augustin. The images in Ballet provide a great example of experimental and aesthetic photobooks in exile. Brodovitch used a Contax Camera, favouring the flexible, dynamic hand-holding method of photographing different ballet companies in New York during their world tours between 1935 and 1937. The results are blurred, high contrast black and white images of the ballet dancers, who appear like dancers in a movie. The use of overlapping pages and panoramic views gives the whole book the appearance of a movie strip and captures the vibrancy, fluidity and movement of the dance. Brodovitch was art director of Harper’s Bazaar (where Hermann Landshoff also worked) and a teacher at the New School for Social Research.

    J.J. Augustin was not the only publishing house to support the creation of photobooks by émigré photographers. Among the others who did so were: Pantheon Books (Fred Stein and Tim Gidal); Oceana Publications (Marion Palfi) and Schocken Books (Roman Vishniac). Other émigré photographers who published their work in book form were Ylla, Lilo Hess as well as Henry Rox.

    Beside photography, the publishing programme offered a variety of high culture. Other topics were music, art, folklore and anthropology, the focus being on human life and culture around the world. In 1938 three books on the Arizona Indians were published: Hopi Kachinas by Edwin Earle with colour plates of the masks and costumes worn by Indian dancers; Navajo Myths and Ceremonies of the Blessing Chant, Water Chant and Hall Chant with 30 sand paintings in multiple colours and Ceremonial Costumes of the Pueblo Indians (Cosulich 1938, 22). Further anthropological research studies were Race and Democratic Society by Franz Boas (1945), who had already published Kwakiutl Tales in 1935, and Navajo Shepherd & Weaver by the female anthropologist and student of Boas, Gladys H. Reichard (1936). In 1938, Woodcuts of New York was published by the German émigré artist and engraver Alexander Mueller (1888–1962), who was professor at the Academy of Graphic Arts in Leipzig before his emigration. His woodcuts, which were bound in linen and reproduced to a high quality, reflect his daily impressions of the New York metropolis. In the same year another visual portrait of New York was published, namely the Cartoon Map of New York Citywhich was designed by Henry E. Salloch. It features a map of New York City accompanied by humorous  comments and cartoons representing the various neighbourhoods of the city. New York City was part of a series of cartoon city and state guides that included New Mexico (1939), California (1939), Florida (1938), Arizona (1939) and Ohio (1939).

    The J.J. Augustin publishing house's support for émigré artists and intellectuals had already begun in Germany in 1935, when the company gave shelter to Jimmy Ernst, son of the painter Max Ernst, and the Jewish art historian Lou Straus, who were fleeing Nazism in Paris. Despite massive hostility, the company took in the 15-year-old Ernst and offered him a position as an apprentice typesetter. It was only thanks to their help that, in 1938, he was able to emigrate to the United States, where he began his career as an artist and co-founded the Norlyst Gallery.

    Word Count: 1434

  • 30 Irving Place, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City (1936–1942); 125 East 23rd Street, Gramercy Park, Manhattan, New York City (1942–1948); 445 West 41st Street, Midtown West (1948–1951).

  • Logo and imprint of J.J. Augustin Publishing (Photo: Helene Roth).
  • Book cover of Hoyningen-Huene’s photobook Hellas (J.J. Augustin, 1944).
    Announcement of Roman Towns by Ernest Nash (J.J. Augustin, 1944).
    Cover of Ballet by Alexey Brodovitch (J.J. Augustin, 1945).
    Book cover Return to Life through Contrology by Joseph Pilates (J.J. Augustin, 1945).
    Cartoon Map of New York City. Designed by Henry E. Salloch. (J.J. Augustin, 1938).
    Book cover Woodcuts of New York by Hans Alexander Mueller (J.J. Augustin, 1938).
  • Alföldi, Maria R., and Margarita C. Lahusen, editors. Ernest Nash – Ernst Nathan: 1898–1974. Photographie Potsdam, Rom, New York, Rom. Nicolai, 2000.

    Anonymous. “Book review.” The New Yorker, 10 June 1944, p. 78.

    Bau, Christian, and Artur Dieckhoff, editors. Zwiebelfische. Jimmy Ernst, Glückstadt – New York. Schwarze Kunst, 2010.

    Bernsohn, Al. “Picture Books of the Months: ‘Hellas’ and ‘Egypt’ photographed by Hoyningen-Huene.” Popular Photography, April 1933, pp. 28–31; 85–88.

    Cosulich, Berenice. “The Literary Latern.” Arizona Daily Star, 6 November 1938, p. 22.

    Eyes on Paris. Paris im Fotobuch 1890 bis heute, edited by Hans-Michael Koetzle, exh. cat. Haus der Photographie in den Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, 2011.

    Fischer, Ernst. Verleger, Buchhändler und Antiquare aus Deutschland und Österreich in der Emigration nach 1933. De Gruyter, 2020.

    Glazer, Nathan. “The National Influence of Jewish New York.” Capital of the American Century. The National and International Influence of New York City, edited by Martin Shefter, Russell Sage Foundation, 1993, pp. 167–192.

    Grebe, Stefanie. “Vom Buch an die Wand – Ein Fotobuch als Ausgangsmaterial für eine Fotografieausstellung.” Gedruckte Fotografie. Abbildung, Objekt und mediales Format (Visuelle Kultur. Studien und Materialien, vol. 10), edited by Irene Ziehe and Ulrich Hägele, Waxmann, 2015, pp. 171–183.

    Nissen, Karl. 350 Jahre Buchdrucker in Glückstadt. Karl Nissen, 1982.

    Parr, Martin, and Gerry Badger. The Photobook: A History, vol. 1. Phaidon, 2004.

    Schenderlein, Anne. “German Jewish ‘Enemy Aliens’ in the United States during the Second World War.” Bulletin of the German Historical Institute, vol. 60, Spring 2017, pp. 101–116.

    Seeber, Ursula, et. al., editors. Exilforschung. Ein internationales Jahrbuch, vol. 33: “Kometen des Geldes” Ökonomie und Exil. edition text + kritik, 2015.

    Ziehe, Irene, and Ulrich Hägele, editors. Gedruckte Fotografie. Abbildung, Objekt und mediales Format (Visuelle Kultur. Studien und Materialien, vol. 10). Waxmann, 2015.

    Zucker, Paul. “Roman Towns by Ernest Nash.” Journal of the American Society of Architectural Historians, vol. 4, no. 3/4, 1944, p. 52.

    Word Count: 279

  • Helene Roth
  • 06-12-1936
  • 1950
  • New York
  • No
  • Helene Roth. "J.J. Augustin Incorporated Publisher." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 04-05-2021.
  • Hermann Landshoff
    New York

    Besides outdoor fashion shots, Hermann Landshoff was a portrait and street photographer. During his time in New York, he captured the cultural, artistic and intellectual émigré scene as well as his photographer colleagues.

    Word Count: 33

    Alexey Brodovitch
    PhotographerArt DirectorGraphic Designer
    New York

    Alexey Brodovitch was a Belarus-born émigré graphic artist, art director and photographer who, from 1933, worked in New York for Harper’s Bazaar magazine and at the New School for Social Research.

    Word Count: 31

    Rolf Tietgens
    New York

    Rolf Tietgens was a German émigré photographer who arrived in New York in 1938. Although, in the course of his photographic career, his artistic and surrealist images were published and shown at exhibitions, his work, today, is very little known.

    Word Count: 39

    Ernest Nash
    New York

    Ernest Nash was a German born photographer, who pursued his photographic as well as an archeologic interest in Roman architecture after his emigration to New York in 1939. Besides this research interest, he also worked as a portrait photographer and publisher.

    Word Count: 40

    Chinatown U.S.A.
    New York

    Chinatown U.S.A. is a photobook published by the German émigré photographer Elizabeth Coleman in 1946 focusing on American-Chinese communities in New York and San Francisco.

    Word Count: 26

    5th Avenue
    New York

    5th Avenue was the first photobook by Fred Stein and was created in 1947 with the publishing house Pantheon Books.

    Word Count: 19

    Schocken Books
    Publishing House
    New York

    Schocken Books was a publishing house established in 1945 in New York by the Russian émigré Salman Schocken (1898–1959). It specialised in books on Judaica and Hebrew topics.

    Word Count: 26

    Pantheon Books
    Publishing House
    New York

    Pantheon Books was a publishing house founded in 1942 by the German émigré Kurt Wolff (1887–1963) and aimed at the exiled European community in New York.

    Word Count: 24

    Querido Inc.
    Publishing House
    New York

    Fritz H. Landshoff’s Querido publishing house was originally an offshoot of Emanuel Querido's Querido Uitgeverij Dutch publishing house in Amsterdam. Querido Verlag was created in 1933 to publish work by German political exiles.

    Word Count: 33

    Fred Stein
    New York

    Always accompanied by his camera, the German émigré photographer Fred Stein discovered New York City during the 1940s and 1950s. His pictures provide an human and multifaceted view of the metropolis.

    Word Count: 31

    Marion Palfi
    New York

    Marion Palfi was a German émigré photographer who lived in New York from the 1940s to the 1960s. Her photographic engagement in social and political topics made her name for her use of the camera to draw attention to social injustices.

    Word Count: 41

    Tim Gidal
    PhotographerPublisherArt Historian
    New York

    Tim Gidal was a German-Jewish photographer, publisher and art historian emigrating in 1948 emigrated to New York. Besides his teaching career, he worked as a photojournalist and, along with his wife Sonia Gidal, published youth books.

    Word Count: 35

    Lilo Hess
    New York

    The German émigré Lilo Hess was an animal photographer working for the Museum for Natural History and the Bronx Zoo, as well being a freelance photographer and publisher of children's books.

    Word Count: 31

    New York

    Ylla was an Austrian-born photographer who emigrated to New York in 1941. Specialising in animal photography, she produced not only studio photographs, but also shot outside on urban locations in the metropolis.

    Word Count: 31

    Henry Rox
    New York

    Henry Rox was a German émigré sculptor and photographer who, in 1938, arrived in New York with his wife, the journalist and art historian Lotte Rox (née Charlotte Fleck), after an initial exile in London. Besides his work as a sculptor, he began creating humorous anthropomorphised fruit and vegetable photographs.

    Word Count: 50

    Oceana Publications
    Publishing House
    New York

    Oceana Publications Inc was a publishing house specialising in law and civil rights founded by the British émigré Philip F. Cohen (1911–1998) in 1945.

    Word Count: 22

    New School for Social Research
    Academy/Art SchoolPhoto SchoolUniversity / Higher Education Institute / Research Institute
    New York

    During the 1940s and 1950s emigrated graphic designers and photographers, along with artists and intellectuals, were given the opportunity to held lectures and workshops at the New School for Social Research.

    Word Count: 31

    Norlyst Gallery
    GalleryArt Gallery
    New York

    Founded in 1943 by the American painter and art collector Elenore Lust, the Norlyst Gallery represented a cross section of contemporary painting, photography and other media focusing on surrealist and abstract expressionist styles and promoting women artists and photographers.

    Word Count: 38