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Random thoughts from a passionate bookplate collector.

(Page 1) | 2 | 3 | .... | 15 | newer

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     I am somewhat overwhelmed by this project because I never fully realized how many of these 18th and early 19th century labels I had accumulated . When completed this will be a good resource for further study and expansion.If you have information about any of the owners of these name labels or the printers who made them please send your input to

    Rebecca Berry, Portland

    Teiley Blaksslee

    This Label is one of my favorites.It is quite large measuring 80 X by 178 mm.border to border.
    It undoubtedly came from a large quarto or folio volume.
    The owner was probably from Connecticut

    Robert Brough,Norfolk , Virginia

    There are a number of internet references to Mr. Brough. He was very active in The Masons in the early 19th century

    James Byrne

    Samuel Jordan Cabell

    Samuel Chase

    Signer of The declaration of Independence from Maryland.

    Henry Conwell

    Second bishop of Philadelphia

    SamuelDexter ( Allen # 222) 

    Secretary of war in 1800 and Secretary of the treasury in1801

    Samuel Dexter was an early American statesman who served both in Congress and in the Presidential Cabinet. Wikipedia
    BornMay 14, 1761, Boston
    DiedMay 4, 1816, Boston
    PartyFederalist Party

    James Edmondson, Essex, 1772

    David Fonda, Albany

    I have family in upstate New York so I know a little about this owner. The town of Fonda New York was named after him.and his descendants include Henry , Jane and Peter.

    Ann Franklin

    The owner Ann Franklin was the first woman to be a printer by trade in Rhode Island .

    Stay Tuned for Part Four- To be Continued 

    UPDATE 8 /31/2012

    I found two more examples  similar to the Ann Franklin label. My assumption about the printer of the Ann Franklin plate may have been clouded by wishful thinking.Perhaps the plate was used by a different Ann Franklin.The last thing I want to do is spread misinformation so I will back away from my from my assumption  until more research is completed..

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    Benjamin Vinton French (1791-1860)

    Alexander Fridge (1765-1839) ?

    Founder of B&O Railroad ?
    I made pencil notations without a source on the back of the Alexander Fridge label many years ago but I am not confident the information is correct.

     House Of Representatives.T.Barnard ,. Printer

    This is a large label ,6 1/4inches wide by  3 1/4 inches high. More often than not it was pasted to the outside front cover of books.  
    "Theodore Barnard was on the southwest corner of 11th street and the Avenue, the site afterward occupied by The Star; Blair & Reeves, publishers of the Congressional Globe, on the north side of the Avenue, between 3d and 4 ½ streets, in the building known as Jackson Hall. M. Buel was on the south side of the Avenue between 12th and 13th streets, and afterward was of the firm of Buel & Blanchard, publishers of the National Era, on 6th street below the Avenue. Gales & Seaton were at 7th and D streets, publishing the Intelligencer, and the Gideons were on 9th street."

        Caleb Huntington

    I suspect this is American but I can't say it with absolute certainty.The fact that his daughter's name is Rebecca will be most helpful when someone does some further research.

        John R. Livingston (Allen # 494)

     William Lord, East Haddam

    The identification of owner's is not an exact science.This gentlemen mentioned in the link below may have been the owner of the name label

         Stay tuned for part five.See you soon.


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    I found two more examples which are   similar to the Ann Franklin label mentioned in part three. My assumption about the printer of the Ann Franklin plate may have been clouded by wishful thinking.Perhaps the plate was used by a different Ann Franklin.The last thing I want to do is spread misinformation so I will back away from my from my previous assumption  until more research is completed..

    John Campbell, Charles County

    James B. Wilkinson, St John's College Annapolis

    I have not found any references about this owner.It is interesting to note that the college is still in existence

    James Monroe, President of the United States
    Portrait of James Monroe

    Facts at a Glance

    5th President of the United States (1817–1825)
    April 28, 1758, Westmoreland County, Virginia
    “The Last Cocked Hat,” “Era-of-Good-Feelings President”
    College of William and Mary (graduated 1776)
    February 16, 1786, to Elizabeth Kortright (1768–1830)
    Eliza Kortright (1786–1835), James Spence (1799–1800), Maria Hester (1803–1850)
    Political Party
    Writings (7 vols., 1898–1903), ed. by S. M. Hamilton; Autobiography (1959), ed. by Stuart G. Brown and Donald G. Baker
    July 4, 1831, New York City, New York
    Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia
    A Life in Brief
    James Monroe was the last American President of the “Virginia Dynasty”—of the first five men who held the position of President, four hailed from Virginia. Monroe also had a long and distinguished public career as a soldier, diplomat, governor, senator, and cabinet official. More »

    Benjamini Morris, 1744

    This is another plate for which more research is required.I had always assumed it belonged to one of the early settlers of Bucks County, Pennsylvania but I have yet to find hard evidence to support my assumption..

    William Morris (Allen # 596) Engraved by Francis Shallus

    Germantown Library Engraved by Francis Shallus

    James P. Parke

    It's nice to include a label where the research should be fairly simple.

    William Peachey Of Richmond

    After seventy five years on earth I have a fairly good understanding of my strengths and weaknesses.
    To be perfectly candid I don't usually have the patience to do detailed I am going to cite only one reference about a possible owner of this plate , hopefully I have chosen correctly.

    I will be back again on Sunday to complete this series about name labels.

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    It is my hope that someone will eventually use the information from this six part series , do more thorough research and  write a book about American Name Labels. If you want to send me additional scans for inclusion they would be most welcome.

    I recommend A Dictionary of Colonial American Printers' Ornaments & Illustrations
    By Elizabeth Carroll Reilly for help in identifying 18th century American printers.I will be studying it for clues about some of the puzzling name labels in this series and will keep you updated.

    I have already received several emails about this series from fellow collectors.This one in particular may be correct:

    "I suspect that Ann Franklin, Benjamin Morris and William Peachey may be from UK, but we must see,
    A great series,"

    John R.Plater (woodblock by  Thomas Sparrow)

    Initials F.G. above the Sparrow signature are for the printer Frederick Green.
    The link below is about Maryland currency engraved by Sparrow,

    Norton Porter ,Westmoreland, 1797

    One of the first physiciams in Oneida County , New York

    George Shaw,Cabinet Maker Philadelphia 1780

    18th century furniture labels are quite scarce. In this instance the owner had a dual purpose label.
    He used it on the furniture he made and in his books.
    An excellent reference book with many furniture labels illustrated is American Cabinet Makers  by William C. Ketchum Jr.

    Alexander Smyth, Attorney at Law, Virginia

    In this instance biographical information was easily obtained. Here is a link:

    Charles Stockbridge (Allen#829)

    Joseph Teel, Newbury Port July 97

    Gulielmi Thompson , Philadelphia ,1801

    Martin Van Buren (Allen # 87

    Martin Van Buren
    Martin Van Buren was the eighth President of the United States. Before his presidency, he was the eighth Vice President and the tenth Secretary of State, under Andrew Jackson. Wikipedia
    BornDecember 5, 1782, Kinderhook
    DiedJuly 24, 1862, Kinderhook
    Presidential termMarch 4, 1837 – March 4, 1841

    That's the end of the series. See you next Sunday.

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  • 09/09/12--10:20: Bookplate Odds and Ends
  • From time to time I like to look at Google's stats for  my blog viewers , sorted by country.These were compiled for this month as of September 8th.  China is always under reported in the stats but it is increasing rapidly. As I have probably mentioned in the past  high bidders on my   EBay bookplate sales are often from China.

    Pageviews by Countries
    Graph of most popular countries among blog viewers
    Entry Pageviews
    United States
    United Kingdom

    Here are a few recently purchased bookplates:

    Robert Francis Coyle by Ray F.Coyle

    Ray F.Coyle( 1885-1924) was a California artist .The bookplate shown above was designed for his father Robert Francis Coyle,Two additional bookplates he created are mentioned in Historic California in Bookplates by Clare Ryan Talbot.
    . Although there are some similarities in design and gold overlay his artwork is quite different from the bookplates I have seen. Here is an example:

    More of his illustration can be seen here:


    "It remains unclear whether Laura Ingalls Wilder was a naturally skilled novelist who never discovered her talents until her sixties, with Lane's only contribution to her mother's success her encouragement and her established connections in the publishing world, or if Lane essentially took her mother's unpublishable raw manuscripts for Little House On The Prairie in hand and completely (and silently) ghostwrote the series of books we know today. The truth appears to lie somewhere between these two positions — Wilder's writing career as a rural journalist and a credible essayist began more than two decades before theLittle Houseseries, and Lane's formidable editing and ghostwriting skills are well-documented. The existing written evidence (including ongoing correspondence between the women concerning the development of the multi-volume series, Lane's extensive personal diaries detailing the time she spent working on the manuscripts, and Wilder's own initial draft manuscripts) tends to reveal an ongoing mutual collaboration that involved Lane more extensively in the earlier books, and to a much lesser extent by the time the series ended, as Wilder's confidence in her own writing ability increased, and Lane was no longer living at Rocky Ridge Farm. Lane insisted to the end that she considered her role to be little more than that of an adviser to her mother, despite much documentation to the contrary.
    Whatever the extent of Lane's help to her mother in writing the books, it certainly played some role. Wilder did not keep copies of her correspondence with Lane, but Lane kept carbon copies of virtually everything she ever wrote—including the correspondence with her mother concerning the Little House Books. The correspondence shows that Wilder sometimes adamantly refused to accept some of her daughter's suggestions, and at other times gratefully accepted them."

    Here are a few Interesting Links:

    Fellow collector Anthony Pincott told me about this site from The Consortium of European Research Libraries which is devoted to provenance.

    Willis (a second son)
    Arms with chevron, estoiles, cross, crescent
    Identification sought.
    2010-12-22 (last changed: 2012-06-29 ) by John Lancaster
    Rococo style shield (please forgive any errors in my amateur attempt at blazon): Or on a chevron gules between three estoiles gules, a cross patty argent; with a crescent for difference. Crest: a hind trippant, in the mouth an oak sprig.
    Bibliographic Details:
    Edward, Earl of Clarendon. The life ... written by himself. (Oxford: At the Clarendon Printing-House, 1759).
    Holding Institution:
    Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College Library, Northampton, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
    Identified as:
    Willis (a second son)
    Identified by: The Bookplate Society
    Alastair Johnston at Booktryst wrote about some bookplates randomly selected from books in her own library.

    Lincoln Cushing has an interesting article about:


     Fellow collector Jacques Laget sent this information about the owner of this bookplate

    Son of PierreNicolas, Consul ofFrancein Cadiz,he succeeded himinthat office.Commissioner Generalof the Navyin Madrid1749.Intendantdes Invalides.He had toappoint Jean-BaptisteMartin,DidierOzanamcite onlyJean Baptiste(InlangesPonsot,casa deVelasquez28),but saidhe had been appointedIntendantdes Invalides,and in theStateArchivesofBretagneSeriesC, we findJeanMartinasIntendantdes Invalides.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------That's  all for now.-See you next Sunday.

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  • 09/16/12--09:57: Cowboys On Bookplates.
  • Ken Maynard, American Film Actor and Stuntman

    BornJuly 21, 1895, Vevay
    DiedMarch 23, 1973, Woodland Hills
    Ken Maynatd's bookplate was printed on a silk thread paper and Tom Mix's bookplate was printed on simulated raw hide.

    Tom Mix
    Thomas Edwin "Tom" Mix was an American film actor and the star of many early Western movies. Between 1909 and 1935, Mix appeared in 291 films, all but nine of which were silent movies. Wikipedia

    BornJanuary 6, 1880, Mix Run
    DiedOctober 12, 1940, Florence
    SpouseMabel Ward (m. 1932–1940),Victoria Forde (m. 1918–1931), More

    R.F. McGraw's bookplate  depicts a Maynard Dixon painting from 1940.
    The printing technique used puzzles me. Under magnification the ink has a 
    texture similar to crinoline .Perhaps it was silk screened..I would be delighted
     to purchase  other Maynard Dixon bookplates . If you would like to learn more 
    about his bookplates you might want to obtain a copy of California Bookplates
    from the Book Club of California .They may still have a few copies left for sale.

    I have not been able to find any biographical information about Philip Azarie Poirier..The artist's initial is N .Does anyone out there know anything about the owner of the plate or the artist ?

    11/12/2012 Fellow collector Jerry Morris was kind enough to send the following information:

    Dear Lew,

    If you haven't found it already, here is some info on Philip Azarus Poirier, whose bookplate you displayed in your Sept 2012 post: Cowboys on Bookplates.

    Philip's sister, Lydia M. Poirier was a bookplate collector. She was the librarian at the Duluth Public Library in the early 1900s

    The artist who designed the bookplate for Lewis Winchester Jones is Bodrero (signature in lower right corner of image), I did find a James Bodrero who is best known for his work at Disney Studios but I do not know if it was he who designed the bookplate.Here is some biographical information about the Disney artist:

    Born in Belgium on July 6, 1900. Bodrero was named for his uncle, artist James M. Spalding. He began drawing and painting as a child and remained self-taught. As a teenager he was working as a freelance artist in NYC, submitting work to national magazines and illustrating for authors. In 1925 he settled in Pasadena and in 1938 went to work in the art department at Disney Studios as a story director and character designer. There he created Dumbo the elephant, the ostrich who danced in "Fanta (showing 500 of 1029 characters).

    Alfred Henry Lewis  

    American journalist and author. His bookplate was designed by Frederick Remington

    Don Louis Perceval

    This is a working proof by Anthony Kroll.. A cattle brand has been embossed at the bottom and the owner's name has yet to be added.
     Ref Page 12 Bookplates In The News 1970-1985 by Audrey Arellanes

    Elizabeth Phillipps Dowling

    I know technically Mrs. Dowling  isn't a cowboy.
     .I guess that's what you call poetic license.

    See You Next Sunday.

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    I have used the phrase "the wonders of the internet" several times this year. In each case a relative of a bookplate designer has come forth with new information about the artist . Barbara Coyle, grand daughter of
    Ray F. Coyle sent me the following information along with images of two bookplates her grand father designed.

    " Thanks for your interest in my grandfather’s art work. He was professionally an interior designer and on the “side” illustrated books for members of the Bohemian Club; for which he seems to get more recognition.

    I found what I was looking for, the bookplate  for Dorothy Wood Simpson illustrated in 1921. The signature is on the right hand side above the “s & o” of Simpson. I’m clueless as to who she was. Ray F. Coyle died at the age of 32. My father being the oldest was only 10 years old at the time.  As far as I know he didn’t do any other bookplates for family.

       He painted the murals in the John Muir High School in Berkely CA. You should be able to pull them up. They’re not bookplates; yet one can see the whimsical side of Ray F. Coyle.
    Some names of his dear friends might bring you to some of Ray’s work. John Henry Nash and George Sterling; both living during the 1920’s. Ray also illustrated a book by Jurgen ( I don’t know the first name)"

    Thank you Barbara for sharing this information with us.

    UPDATE 9/27/2012
    Thank you Lee
    Hello – In respect to Barbara Coyle’s comment about Ray Coyle having “illustrated a book by Jurgen....”, I first thought of “Jurgen” by James Branch Cabell but could find no illustrated copies in Via Libri or ABE. Last night I was looking through auction results ( and noted the sale last March of that title, with 12 illustrations by Ray Coyle, being published by McBride in 1923 as the first illustrated edition of that popular and controversial novel. That particular book had a TLS from Cabell tipped in and was estimated at $100-150. It brought only $25 before the buyer’s penalty was added – a very good buy for the auction winner. I have enjoyed your “Confessions...” and commend you for maintaining the weekly schedule. Cordially, Lee Harrer

    Rebecca Eschliman of the Yellow Springs Historical Society
     sent me three scans of bookplate artists listed in the 1938 and;;1941 Antioch Bookplate Co.Catalogs, - They are very useful references

    Thank You Rebecca.

    Click On Antioch Directory Images To Enlarge

    Henry Scott Miller Bookplate At The City Dump

    This is a blog posting  that appeared in 2009. I copied it in it's entirety below because I was impressed with something other than the bookplate.The town of  Scaneateles, New York   has a village dump in which there is a swap shop where people drop off things that still have some utility left in them. What a simple and clever idea,
    Perhaps it is done elsewhere but the concept is new to me.

    At the Village dump, in the Swap Shop where people drop off things that still have some utility left in them, a copy of Willa Cather’s Sapphira and the Slave Girl sat on a shelf. It was a first edition, the binding somewhat faded by sunlight, and inside was the bookplate of Henry Scott Miller. The name was familiar to me because I see it every Sunday, on the floor at St. James’ Episcopal Church, on a brass plaque surrounded by tiles. The Rev. Henry Scott Miller was the thirteenth rector of St. James’, serving from 1931 to 1956.
    Henry Scott Miller was born in Richmond, Indiana, in 1886, and graduated from that city’s Earlham College in 1915. While at Earlham, he was active in the Classical Club, in school plays and the Y.M.C.A., was on the staff of the yearbook and served as editor of the Earlhamite, the college literary magazine. One of his poems was chosen as the Prize Poem of 1913-1914 and included in an anthology entitled Earlham Verse, published in a limited edition of 250 copies in 1914. Miller was proud of his work; he inscribed and sent a copy ofEarlham Verse to Indiana’s famed poet James Whitcomb Riley.
    In the Earlham yearbook, Henry Scott Miller was described in these words:
    “Poor Harry! He has such a hard time remaining popular, ’specially with the Dean, because he insists on telling folks about themselves — and it’s generally true. Then, too, many people think that he is married and that his wife’s name is Bertha and that she keeps him at the library, which is enough to make any man tear his hair, even though he is a poet and a philosopher.”
    After graduation, Miller left Indiana and studied at the General Theological Seminary in New York City, graduating in 1918. He returned to Indiana to serve in his first parish, and afterward served in New York City and Washington D.C. In late 1930, he received a call to serve at St. James’ in Skaneateles.
    Over the next 26 years, he baptized, married and buried many parishioners. He was never married himself, but parishioner Virginia Thorne recalls that he was “surrounded by spinsters.” Spinsters and books. Henry Scott Miller never lost his love of poetry and literature, and he has an appropriate legacy today, as books from his personal library, bearing his bookplate, are in collections all over the world. His eight-volume set of The Works of George Fox (1859) was auctioned off in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2007. The books bore the marks of the Skaneateles Library Association; one can easily see the Rev. Miller returning home with his arms full from the library’s annual book sale. The Rev. Miller’s copy of The Country of Pointed Firs (1896) by Sarah Orne Jewett is today in the University of California’s library at Berkeley, and his copy of Unbeaten Tracks of Japan (1881) by Isabella L. Bird has made its way to a library in Japan.
    The Rev. Miller retired from St. James’ and his profession in 1956. In 1966, he died in Elmira, N.Y., where he had resided since leaving Skaneateles. He was buried in Fort Hill Cemetery, Auburn.
    In his portrait, published in a history of St. James’, the Rev. Miller seems to be looking around the corner into the frame, not quite committed to having his picture taken, perhaps wishing he was home with a good book.

    Here is another link with information about other thrift shops at garbage dumps.

    My next blog posting will be on Sunday September 30th. 


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  • 09/26/12--15:21: Jessie M.King Bookplates

  • The Art Nouveau style characteristic of renowned Scottish artist Jessie Marion King (1875-1949) is instantly recognizable and will be familiar to anyone interested in the illustration of children's books and the design of jewelry, fabrics and painted pottery in the first decades of the 20th century. A leading enthusiast for her work is Colin White, author of The Enchanted World of Jessie M. King (1989). His later book A Guide to the Printed Work of Jessie M. King (2007) includes images of her work on an accompanying CD-ROM. Unlike the majority of ex-libris, King’s bookplates can be classed as fine art, and they command a corresponding price, especially those printed in color, some of them using gold to magical effect.

    Forming a major part of the forthcoming Autumn 2012 issue of The Bookplate Journal is Colin White’s updated and expanded edition of the descriptive text he wrote for The Bookplate Society in 1995. The 32-page article comprises an essay on King’s work, followed by a checklist of her bookplates, both the ones she completed and her unfinished designs. Not only are all the colored bookplates reproduced here in color, but two or three additions have come to light in recent years, and there is more information about these bookplates than appeared in White’s books.

    Let me again encourage readers to join The Bookplate Society and to receive this high quality journal as part of their good-value subscription. Non-members who wish to obtain just this issue should act quickly (the deadline is October 14, 2012) to take advantage of a pre-publication offer.

    See and follow the link to fuller details on the News and Events page.

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                     A Curse On Bookplate Thieves

    ( Copied From )
    "It was traditional, particularly before the invention of the printing press when books were all hand written manuscripts, to letter a curse into the book to prevent theft. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have worked very well, as the books also had to be chained into place. Even chains had limited effect. Witness the many ancient libraries where there are still chains in place -- but no books.
    Here are a few examples...
    Thys boke is one
    And God's curse another;
    They that take the one
    God geve them the other.
    He who steals this book
    may he die the death
    may he be frizzled in a pan...
    This present book legible in scripture
    Here in this place thus tacched with a cheyn
    Purposed of entent for to endure
    And here perpetuelli stylle to remeyne
    Fro eyre to eyre wherfore appone peyn
    Of cryst is curs of faders and of moderes
    Non of hem hens atempt it to dereyne
    Whille ani leef may goodeli hange with oder.
    Steal not this Book my honest Friend
    For fear the Galows should be your hend,
    And when you die the Lord will say
    And wares the Book you stole away?
    A variation on the same theme...
    Steal not this book, my worthy friend
    For fear the gallows will be your end;
    Up the ladder, and down the rope,
    There you'll hang until you choke;
    Then I'll come along and say -
    "Where's that book you stole away?"
    From the Monastery of San Pedro, Barcelona, a blanket curse for the entire library...(I really wish this one existed, but unfortunately, it appears that it is apocryphal -- there is no monastery in San Pedro. It's so nasty though that I include it anyway.)
    For him that Stealeth a Book from this Library,
    Let it change into a Serpent in his hand & rend him.
    Let him be struck with Palsy, & all his Members blasted.
    Let him languish in Pain crying aloud for Mercy,
    Let there be no Surcease to his Agony till he sink to Dissolution.
    Let Bookworms gnaw his Entrails in token of the Worm that dieth not,
    When at last he goeth to his final Punishment,
    Let the flames of hell consume him for ever & aye."

     Recently I began to organize my own collection with  loose leaf page dividers labelled by themes and or artists.,
    One of the themes I chose was threats and warnings. Here is part of what I included .

    Philip Reed

    Philip Reed was an illustrator and book designer who lived in St Joseph Michigan .He and his wife Nancy operated a woodcut stationery and bookplate business.Shown above are two of the nineteen universal bookplates he designed.
    Ref . P.57 Bookplates in the News 1970-1985  by Audrey Spencer Arellanes

    Lloyd Douglas

    The artist's initial's look like UD.I do not recognize them.

    Roger Place Butterfield    

     Mr. Butterfield, a former national affairs editor for Life magazine, was the author of ''The American Past: History of the United States from Concord to Hiroshima, 1775-1945.'' The book presented 1,000 drawings, political cartoons, pictures and photographs with connecting text by Mr. Butterfield.

     Stanley Dressler Lovegrove was an artist who lived in Pennsylvania

    Marion Nutt  

    A pencil notation on the reverse side indicates she designed her own bookplate,

    Malcolm M. Ferguson (1920-2011)

    The late Mr. Ferguson was a bookseller in Concord Massachusetts. His bookplate was designed by a German prisoner of war after WWII based on "two or more Weird Tales -one being William Fryer Harvey's 
    The Beast With Five Fingers plus another by my late friend,August Derleth"
    Ref letter letter from Mr. Ferguson dated Oct 2nd, 2006

    I saved my favorite for last.Perhaps it's the touch of red but I would not borrow a book from this owner whoever he is.
    Stay Tuned for Part Two

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    If you have additional bookplates with threats and warnings please send me scans and they will be added to this posting.

    Pierre Paul Plane (1870-1951)

    Tiffany Thayer (1902-1959)

    John Simpson- an English bookplate collector whose collection

    was sold at Bonhams in 2005


     A dramatic black-and-white woodcut engraving, within a 1-inch margin, of a man hanging on a gibbet with a towering cloud over sharply peaked roofs in the background & an upturned face in the foreground. The image is headed "Borrower Beware" with "From the Crime Library of John Kobler" printed below. The signature "CS" appears in the plate. The margins of the bookplate are somewhat soiled, else very good. John Kobler worked for various news organizations as a reporter before editing the crime reportage of PM, a 1940s New York tabloid. In World War II he was a civilian intelligence officer posted to North Africa, Italy and France. He returned to freelance for The New Yorker, Colliers, Vanity Fair and The Saturday Evening Post. His first book, published in 1938, was "The Trial of Ruth Snyder and Judd Gray" about a notorious 1927 murder case. "Some Like It Gory" [1940] and "Afternoon in the Attic" [1950] were collections of essays about bizarre crimes and creepy characters. His best-known book was "Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone", a biography published in 1971 and reissued in 1992

    Rockwell Kent- designed this plate for The Antioch Bookplate Co. (style 7Y52)

    New York State

    This label  below was pasted in a book I purchased on Ebay.
     I wonder if this law is still on the books ?


    G.H. Newton of Uxbridge Road , beware.

    A  customer who does not forgive nor forget

    Richard G. Wilson-

    Is a renaissance man with many talents and interests. I hope to write more about him in a future blog posting. The three computer assisted designs shown below were crafted with public domain illustrations

    Image shown above was originally designed by Alexander Anderson


    See you next Sunday.

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  • 10/14/12--14:45: Some Interesting Bookplates
  • Fellow Collector Yosef  Halper visited Philadelphia last week and we exchanged duplicates.
    One of the items I got was a bookplate for Simcha Ambache.
    He was a Palestinian born consulting engineer with the Suez Canal Co. who raised his family in colonial Egypt.
    Mr. Ambache is linked to the creation of modern Israel through the marriage of his two daughters (Suzy and Aura) to Abba Eban & Chaim Herzog.

     I have a duplicate copy of this bookplate for possible exchange .

    One of the mystery bookplates I got in the exchange is shown below.
    Does anyone out there know anything about the owner or the artist?

    Robert Gilmore, sent the following information:

    I am not an expert in languages, but I believe that the name is in Cyrillic script.

    I also believe that it translates as M. Shostakovich.

    Maxim Dmitrievich Shostakovich is a Russian conductor and pianist.

    He is a child of Dmitri Shostakovich.

    He is living and is 74 years of age.

    Paul Scheltens, sent the following information:

    The bookplate for M.Shostakovich is designed by Vladimir Mitsoek (born 1949) who has been making exlibris since 1975.
    In 1982 he had already a work list of 160 bookplates in wood engraving, plastic engraving, linocut and etching.

    The bookplate shown below was used by Pierre Clément Laussat , the last colonial Commissioner
    of The Louisiana Territory.

    Pierre Clément Laussat (1756-1835) was the prefect sent by Napoleon Bonaparte
    to New Orleans in 1803 to oversee the transfer of Louisiana from France to the U.S.
     His bookplate is Engraved on laid paper. The outside dimensions are 7 x 5 inches.

    Laussatt found it necessary to modify his bookplate after the French Revolution,
    eliminating symbols associated with his nobility.
    He substituted his monogram for the family coat of arms
    This bookplate bears his monogram.This also is a duplicate available for possible exchange or sale.

    Crawford Burton was a wealthy stock broker and sportsman whose dubious claim to fame was a Camel Cigarette Endorsement ad  .This is his beautifully engraved bookplate.

    If you are one of those very foolish people who look at electronic devices while driving please pull over to the side of the road before clicking on this link.I don't want to cause an accident because you started to laugh
    instead of concentrating on the car in front of you.

    See You Next Sunday.

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    Tony and Anne Tufts

    I am a book dealer located in Exeter New Hampshire. Lately I find myself
    doing less with books and more with ephemera , prints and bookplates. Two
    years ago I bought my first collection without quite knowing what I was
    getting into. I, like so many before me, became fascinated by these
    miniature art works and by the stories they can tell. Since that first
    purchase I have been fortunate enough to have acquired several more
    collections. I have had bookplates by Hurd , French, Severin , Zetti,
    MacDonald, Smith, Spencely and many others pass through my hands.

    For the most part I buy in order to sell but I have also taken some baby
    steps towards becoming a collector as well. One of my customers in
    Washington D.C. sent me two of his bookplates and they were the beginning of
    my collection. A particular favorite is Italo Zetti's Ex Musicis of Chr.
    Van Der Straaten. I like the outdoors, hiking , gardening and music.
    Rather than collecting a particular artist or engraver I find myself drawn
    to bookplates with outdoor scenes, gardens, starry nights and musical
    connections. The Van Der Straaten bookplate has a lot of that.

    While I appreciate the work of the American Masters of the "Golden Age" I prefer Art Deco and
     Art Nouveau exlibris  and the artists of the Glasgow School

    Bookplates provide a way to collect and deal in works of art that are
    affordable and I enjoy researching owner's names to learn about their
    interests or occupations.

    I just sold this bookplate of William C. Gotshall. The design of the bookplate reflects Gotshall's broad ranging interest. When Gotshall died he left his rare book collection to the New York State Library.
    There were three provisions to his bequest and of course I find the number one condition to be both interesting and telling:
    (1) an appropriate bookplate bearing his name to be designed and inserted in each book; (2) the collection to be cataloged; and (3) "The choice books, rarities, first editions, those in exceptional bindings, etc. to be kept forever as a separate collection, shelved in specifically designed bookcases in a special room..."

    I have a confession to make. I have recently started to read about
    heraldry. Oh dear!

    Tony Tufts, Exeter Rare Books

    Selling on eBay as Exeter-rare-books

    Note From Lew Jaffe

    I like to publish collector profiles. If you want your profile to be included in a future posting just send me a paragraph or two about your collection, along with a few Jpeg scans.If English is not your primary language I can assist you with editing.  Collectors in Europe and Asia are encouraged to participate

    Who is A.C. Palmer?

    I found a bookplate etched   by A.C. Palmer earlier in the week and fellow collector Anthony Pincott  sent the following information about the owner H(Henry) Valentine Geere , a writer.

    "Geere was born in 1874. There are a lot of his archaeological notebooks, sketches etc dating from around 1900 listed at (University of Pennsylvania). Maybe the university holds biographical details? I cannot find a date of death for him in England, and he may perhaps have lived in the US. This said, his main book was published in Edinburgh. In any event, he must have worked with the University of Pennsylvania because of his article The American Excavations at Nippur.The work of the expedition from the University of Pennsylvania, published in The Monthly Review, 1903. There’s no obvious entry for him in the IGI.

    Of A.C. Palmer I find absolutely nothing – this is a common surname, and without full first names we are quite lost. He is not listed in the standard UK directories of book illustrators of the 19th and 20th century. I think that the only way forward will be to discover other copies of this bookplate with associated notes giving fuller info. Again, I suppose him to have been American."

    Does anyone out there have any information about A. C. Palmer?
    See you next Sunday

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    I  have accumulated some interesting Blog postings about bookplates and will post a few each day so as not to overwhelm you.

    James Spackman writes about  the way he designed this bookplate :

    LarryT. Nix Writes about The Tabard Inn Library

    One of the really nice things about writing a blog about library history and its artifacts is the contacts I get from people who share an interest in the things I write about. I was recently contacted by Chuck from Florida who shared an image of his restored Tabard Inn Library revolving bookcase (shown here). These bookcases are wonderful pieces of furniture as well as an integral part of the story of Seymour Eaton's two libraries - the Booklovers Library and the Tabard Inn Library.  Both were commercial lending libraries, and I have written previously about them on this blog and on my Library History Buff website. In an initial advertisement for the Tabard Inn Library, Eaton indicated that 10,000 of these bookcases would be manufactured at a rate of 25 and then 50 a day. The bookcases were placed in drug stores, hotels, and even public libraries. After paying an initial life membership fee of $3.00, members could exchange books on any revolving bookcase for an additional 5 cents. The bookcases have now become treasured antiques and have been sold for as much as nine thousand dollars. The Menasha Public Library in Menasha, WI is fortunate enough to have one of these bookcases, and I recently came across an online article about another restored Tabard Inn Library bookcase at the Oceanside Civic Center Library in California. I would love to have one of these bookcases but they are a little above my price range. However, I do have a fairly extensive collection of memorabilia related to both the Booklovers Library and the Tabard Inn Library including some of the books that were in their collections. Thanks Chuck for sharing the image of your Tabard Inn Library bookcase and for giving me an excuse for writing about these bookcases again".


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    I am always interested in adding bookplates by Robert Cairns Dobson to my collection.
    If you have any duplicates for sale or trade please contact me.

    Here is a link with many examples of his bookplates:

    See you on Sunday.

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  • 10/29/12--03:45: A Herd Of Rabbits, Part One
  • There is something magical about most Rabbit bookplates.

    Here are some of my favorites .

     More Rabbits will be coming soon.

     Stay Tuned.

     Elly De Koster etched the plate shown above in 1986 (opus 23)

    Nancy Hugo's father owned The Meridian Press and he printed her bookplate when she was a child

     Ernest A. Batchelder was a California Tile maker

     Olive Lathrop Grover of Winnetka Illinois designed her own bookplate

    Rebecca Eschilman sent the Antioch universal bookplate shown below.

    Here is a direct quote from Mitt Romney:

    "I've always been a rodent and rabbit hunter,Small varmints,if you will.

    I began when I was fifteen or so and I have hunted those kinds of varmints since


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  • 10/30/12--15:42: A Herd of Rabbits , Part 2
  • Judging by the number of  Emails I have received thus far Rabbits seem to be universally loved
    (.except for Mitt Romney.)

    So let's continue..

    Woodcut by Andy English

    Buchanin Winthrop's Bookplate depicts a Hare.

    A Bookplate From Mexico

     Richard Adams wrote Watership Down

    Alice in Wonderland

    Plate Below etched by Elly De Koster

    Bookplate for Mary Alice Ercolini

    Some Rabbit and Bunny Ephemera

    New Years Card from Frederick Starr to Bela Landauer 

    Easter Greetings From John Wanamaker dated 1918

     Bookmark ( circa 1980) and delightful book of Bunny cartoons by Charles Bordin, of Philadelphia.

    If you want to add your own rabbits, bunnies and hares to this posing send Jpegs to
    See you on Sunday.

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    Just  when I thought the series was completed I unearthed some rabbit bookplates for magicians and magic collectors plus the one shown above which  I had overlooked...

    That officially wraps up this series unless someone sends me rabbit bookplate scans which I will add to this posting.

    See You Next Sunday.

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  • 11/11/12--08:23: A Few Smiles From Bookplates

  • This  universal bookplate was done in the 1960s by Robert Williams .

    Here is another one that amuses me.

    The Nourmahal was a motor yacht ordered by William Vincent Astor from Friederich Krupp Germaniawerft, A.G., Kiel, Germany. It was delivered during 1928 presumably as a replacement for Astor's previous yacht Noma. Time magazine on February 6th 1928 featured a cover article on Astor and the Nourmahal which was described as the finest private yacht of its era.

    As long as I am on the subject of amusing bookplates how about this one for a collector of magic books .

    .If you have any bookplates that amuse you send me a Jpeg and I will add it to this posting.

    Thank you Rebecca Eschliman for sending the following:

    Lew, the attached universal bookplate was one of a series of 12 sold in the 1950s in the "Young Moderns" series. The designer was Benton Ferguson, and company founder Ernest Morgan was moved to hire him for the series because of his work for Saturday Review.

    Note from Lew- In today's world the image could be someone looking at a smart phone.while crossing a street when the light is red.or some other mental giant doing the same thing while riding a bike..

    Herman Wardwell ("Fritz") Liebert was a distinctive personality in Johnson and Boswell studies, 
    He was the first librarian of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale.
    This is the bookplate he used for the books in his bathroom.

    Mrs. McBurney had a book fetching pig. Her bookplate was engraved by William Fowler Hopson

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    The Boston shows were , as usual,  both productive and exhausting.
     I purchased several "mystery bookplates" and hope you recognize some of them.
    .The John Kobler bookplate shown below will go with my group about threats and warnings.
    Here is some biographical information about the owner:
    "  John Kobler worked for various news organizations as a reporter before editing the crime reportage of PM, a 1940s New York tabloid. In World War II he was a civilian intelligence officer posted to North Africa, Italy and France. He returned to freelance for The New Yorker, Colliers, Vanity Fair and The Saturday Evening Post. His first book, published in 1938, was "The Trial of Ruth Snyder and Judd Gray" about a notorious 1927 murder case. "Some Like It Gory" [1940] and "Afternoon in the Attic" [1950] were collections of essays about bizarre crimes and creepy characters. His best-known book was "Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone", a biography published in 1971 and reissued in 1992"

    Does anyone out there know who the woodcut artist  CS might be?

    This is mystery bookplate #1 . I suspect it is European  and I can't make out the owner's last name.

    This is Mystery Bookplate#2

    I think it might be from the library of John R. Bockstoce , an Arctic historian and archaeologist and I will  contact him to confirm my suspicions.

    11/19/2012 -Mystery #2 Solved

    Dear Mr. Jaffe:

    If I remember correctly, my bookplate was designed and manufactured by Leo Wyatt in the U.K. in the 1970s.

    Best wishes, John Bockstoce

    This is mystery bookplate #3

    This  one inch square bookplate was sent to me by fellow collector Edith A. Rights.. I've written to her to see if she has any information about the owner(s)  who I believe are Else and Edgar Hermann

     This is Mystery bookplate #4

       I purchased this  yesterday at the show.

    A previous collector made the following notation:

    Received from the artist Mr.James Guthrie, The Pear Tree Press. Flansham, near Bognor, Sussex ,England.
    The plate is dated 1919 and I do not see Guthrie’s cypher.
    In the 1936 American Society of Bookplate Collectors and Designner's Yearbook a Guthrie checklist (page 28) indicates that a 1929 color plate was designed for William Maurice.
    Do you know anything about this plate? Was it done by Guthrie ?

    Mystery #4 solved By Fellow Collector Anthony Pincott

    In your recent blog, Lew, you sought to name the artist of the William Maurice plate with its nude woman modestly draped in seaweed. There is what seems to be a two-letter signature (which defeats me) above the date 1919. Having some similarity of treatment with poet Walter de la Mare’s exlibris, it cries out JJ Guthrie, and in October 1919 issue of The Bookplate Magazine (edited by Guthrie) I find it illustrated with the caption “Bookplate adapted from D. Maclise, R.A., by James Guthrie” preceding a 3-page essay by Guthrie on the naked figure in bookplates. As the standard symbol of Ireland in the 18th century, and with the rise of Romantic nationalism, the harp was increasingly personified in its winged-maiden form as a female symbol of Erin (Ireland) and her struggle for political independence. The song ‘The Origin of the Harp’, written by Irish poet Thomas Moore (1779-1852) and first published in the third number of his Irish Melodies in 1810, described the harp as metamorphosed out of the body and long flowing hair draped over the arm of a bare-breasted nymph marooned in a sea-cave. Abandoned by her lover, she weeps. So in allegory, linked to the harp, she represents broken-hearted Eire whose land and freedom have been taken. Moore’s imagery inspired paintings and other illustrations by artists including Robert Fagan and Daniel Maclise (see Thus it is the latter’s supercharged kitsch-erotic painting bearing this same title ‘The Origin of the Harp’ (painted and first exhibited in 1842, and now in the collection of Manchester City Art Gallery) that is the acknowledged precursor of Guthrie’s William Maurice bookplate.

    That's about all for this posting.
     If you have any mystery bookplates and need assistance with identification send your scan to

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    You start with one bookplate depicting a fingerprint and then you find another and pretty soon you have five .
    It did not occur to me that this was worthy of a blog posting until I stumbled upon this link:

    "Inverse fingerprints on paper: Visualization of latent fingermarks by nanotechnology November 5, 2012 
    Paper is one of the surfaces most commonly tested for fingerprints in forensics. Unfortunately, it is particularly difficult to make fingerprints on paper visible. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Israeli scientists have now introduced a new method developed specifically for use on paper. It produces a "negative" of the fingerprint and is, in contrast to conventional methods, independent of the composition of the sweat residue left behind. In many criminal cases, paper evidence plays an important role and it would be useful to know through whose hands checks, documents, or paper currency have passed. Studies have shown that only about half of the fingerprints present on paper can be made sufficiently visible. The main reason that this does not work consistently seems to be the highly variable composition of the sweat left behind on the paper. A team led by Daniel Mandler and Joseph Almog at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has now developed a procedure that avoids these problems. It involves a sort of inversion of an established method in which gold nanoparticles are first deposited onto the invisible fingerprints, followed by elemental silver, similar to the development of a black and white photograph. In the conventional technique, the gold particles get stuck to components of the sweat in fingerprints. In contrast, the gold nanoparticles in the new method stick directly to the paper, not the sweat. This technique uses the sebum from the fingerprints, which effectively shields the paper beneath it from the gold nanoparticles. Treatment with a developer containing silver, which turns the areas with gold on them black, results in a negative image of the fingerprint. The secret to the success of these researchers is a special bifunctional reagent. The head of this molecule is an acylpyridazine group, which can bind to cellulose. The tail is made of hydrocarbon chains with a sulfur-containing group at the end, which binds to gold and attaches the molecule to the surface of the gold nanoparticles. When gold particles coated with these molecules are deposited onto paper with a fingerprint on it, the heads bind to the cellulose in the paper, avoiding the fat-containing lines. Because only the fatty components of the fingerprints are used, the possibly unfavorable composition of the sweat in the fingerprint plays no role in this method. This technique also promises to alleviate another problem: if paper has become wet, it has previously been nearly impossible to detect fingerprints because the amino acids in the sweat, which are the primary substrate for current chemical enhancement reactions, are dissolved and washed away by water. The fatty components are barely effected. More information: Joseph Almog, Visualization of Latent Fingermarks by Using Nanotechnology for Reversed Development on Paper: A Remedy to the Variation in Sweat Composition, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Journal reference: Angewandte Chemie Angewandte Chemie International Edition "

    Read more at:

    My overactive imagination went into high gear after reading the article posted above.Yes, hundreds of hands may have touched a bookplate in a book   from the library of a president or a signer of the Declaration of Independence.None the less,,emerging technology may enable researchers to find fingerprints of historical figures from the 17th and 18th centuries.
    But let me carry this one step further. The reverse side of a bookplate pasted in a book has been untouched since the owner handled it .Surely there must be hidden fingerprints under the bookplate along with DNA samples.
    If the technology for isolating such prints and DNA does not exist today it will in time and the bookplates will
    be like amber protecting insects and pollen .

     If anyone out there can add to this thread please let me hear from you.


    Received 11/26/2012

    Dear Bookplate Junkie

    On the subject of fingerprints, I hesitate to dampen your enthusiasm, but is it not the case that the majority of pre-1900 bookplates will have been soaked off book endpapers. Even assuming their one-time presence, any latent fingerprints (predominantly of printers and librarians) will doubtless have been washed or rubbed away long ago, leaving only confused traces of indigent booksellers, sequential collectors, anonymous auctioneers, and exorbitantly-pricing eBayers. In regard to exlibris post-1900, the satisfactory matching of fingerprint to owner would no doubt require recourse to well-attested fingerprint records – however, the best official records are those pertaining chiefly to the criminal classes, who are not generally famous for erudite literary study nor the possession of large, bookplated libraries.

    But why stop at fingerprints?

    Set the minimum standard at a full hand, then you can move into the topic of palmistry.

    Or maybe both hands and at least a few toes; yet surely a full footprint or whole body skin imprint would be preferable ?

    Furthermore, is it not time to research (for the benefit of posterity) the hitherto unexplored field of anthropodermic exlibripegy ? [See]

    We have bookplates on vellum, but are there no bookplates printed on the preserved skins of malefactors or of such household servants as had in all other respects outlived their usefulness ?

    Yours very truly

    A.W.F. Redivivus

    PS: Unlike Bilibald Pirckheimer’s Sibi et amicis - For him and his friends

    or Sir Wollaston Franks’s Nunc mihi mox aliis – Now mine soon to others

    Dr Cosgrave’s unconvivial tenet is In mea manu maneat - Let it remain in my hand.

    12/1/2012 Thumbprint Bookplate sent by Anthony Pincott

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