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Random thoughts from a passionate bookplate collector.

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    If you are a new bookplate collector the following article which I wrote for Collectors Weekly five years ago distills thirty plus years of experience into a few paragraphs.

    Bookplate (Exlibris) Collecting Basics

    — March 19th, 2008
    Lew Jaffe’s Bookplate Junkie blog is a member of our Collectors Weekly Hall of Fame. For more information on collecting bookplates and an incredible array of beautiful bookplates, visit Bookplate Junkie.
    Dragonfly bookplate ex librisBookplate mania in America and England peaked from 1890 to about 1920. That’s when the really great collections were formed. Most of them were either dispersed or absorbed into other collections. These collections are like old friends because they all came from the same gene pool. Perhaps there were 100 collectors who actively exchanged duplicates and many of the same core plates are to be found in all the collections. They were often mounted on 6 inch by 9 inch card stock.
    Today, if there are two hundred bookplate collectors in the United States I would be very surprised. What could be more boring then being subjected to watching a neighbor’s home video of a trip to Disneyland with their grandchildren? My assumption is that most people, after five minutes, have similar reactions listening to me go on about bookplates. That’s why it’s so pleasurable to meet with fellow collectors who share your enthusiasm.

    Finding Bookplates

    People often ask me where to find bookplates so I thought it might a good time to write about building a collection.
    eBay: When I started this adventure about 35 years ago there was no Ebay so I built a collection without it. Today Ebay is certainly an excellent way to find bookplates from around the world. It takes time and discipline because there is so much clutter but it is still worth the effort.
    Elbert Hubbard Roycroft bookplate ex librisBookplate Societies: When I first got interested in bookplates I joined both The American ( and English ( bookplate societies .That gave me an opportunity to meet with and obtain bookplates from other collectors. It still makes good sense to join these organizations. I am always interested in exchanging bookplates with other collectors and was very pleased to receive the January, 2008 Directory Of Members from the Bookplate Society. There are about 200+ individual members in the group and about 159 have indicated a willingness to trade. One of the easiest ways to build a collection is to exchange duplicates.
    Bookplate engravers and designers are often willing to send you a bookplate in exchange for one of yours. It’s a simple way for them to meet potential customers. Of course, you need a decent bookplate to begin with.
    Booksellers: Antiquarian and used booksellers will go out of their way to help you if you make your interest known to them. It gets harder each year as the number of open shops decreases, and the number of pre-1920′s books on the shelves is decreasing. Nevertheless, it is often productive. Start looking in either the poetry or foreign language sections as owners of such books seem to have used bookplates more frequently and there is often less turnover of inventory. Ask the bookseller if he keeps a box of detached boards. I have found some excellent 18th century plates in such boxes.

    Bookbinders: In most large communities there is at least one hand bookbinder. Check the Yellow Pages, Google, or ask a book dealer. More often than not they, being pack rats, hold onto old bookplates, and in some instances are more than willing to sell you a cigar box full.
    I also buy a number of bookplates from dealers.
    Book and Paper Shows: I have always enjoyed going to shows. After a while, dealers will save things for you. It pays to stop at every booth and ask. 
    Angel of Death letters: I am almost (not quite) embarrassed to admit to the fact that I used to look up the ages of bookplate collectors and wrote to all those over eighty to inquire if they knew of any collections for sale. The point is that it was very productive and I bought two major collections that way. For the record, I am 70, so do not bother me until 2018!
    Letters to Famous People: I’ve occasionally gotten some remarkable bookplates by writing to celebrities, but I have not had too much luck in recent years. Too much mail is filtered by clerks and more often than not you get a signed photo or an auto-pened label.

    Themes in Bookplate Collecting

    Teepee bookplate ex librisMany collectors have specialized topics and themes that they focus on. I tend to spend my time and energy searching for 18th century American exlibris, bookplates from the libraries of famous people from any country and bookplates with Jewish signs or symbols. The list keeps growing. Rabbits are a good case in point. I started with two Rabbit plates and in the dark of night between the covers of their snug album pages they reproduced so now I have a litter of eight. Five are domestic and three came from England.
    I know there are collectors out there who focus on dogs, cats, owls, stamps, chess and even chickens.
    Dated Bookplates: I have always been partial to dated bookplates. Somehow, knowing precisely when a bookplate was engraved is very orderly and comforting. A strange choice of words perhaps, but that is my gut feeling. Two excellent reference books about dated bookplates are:
    Dated Bookplates, A Treatise On Their Origin And Development by Walter Hamilton. There are three volumes. Volume two covers the eighteenth century.
    Early Printed Book Labels by Brian North Lee: Anything written by Brian North Lee is carefully and lovingly researched.

    How to Remove a Bookplate

    Let us assume you purchased a book with significant historical significance, an association copy from the library of a president. It would be a crime against future generations to remove the bookplate. On the other hand, if you went to a library book sale and got a Reader’s Digest Condensed Book with a bookplate you wanted, the removal would be completely acceptable.
    It’s all very subjective. Over the years I have in fact removed many bookplates. Sometimes the books are donated to a charity, sometimes they are resold on eBay. Here’s how I remove the bookplates without damaging the book. I would suggest that you start by practicing on distressed items. These instructions should not be used for leather bookplates and those with red dye should be tested first with a moistened Q-Tip, as red tends to bleed:
    1) Boil Water
    2) Fold a paper towel in quarters and cut it slightly larger than the bookplate
    3) Using tongs, immerse the folded towel into the boiling water.
    4) Place the steaming towel on top of the bookplate. If the bookplate is on the inside front
    cover be sure it is level. You may have to place a saucer under it to keep it level.
    5) Wait two minutes and place the point of a knife under a corner of the bookplate. Lift gently
    and try to pull off.If you encounter resistance continue to soak another minute.
    6) To avoid curling, after removal , place the bookplate betweeen some paper towels ,
    place a book on top and let it sit for a day.
    Let me know how well this worked for you. From time to time you may be surprised to find a second bookplate under the one you removed.
    Leather bookplates were used by many of the wealthiest American bibliophiles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They are without question elegant but as a practical matter the oils in the leather tend to damage the pages they touch. Removal of leather bookplates when required can be done by inserting the tip of an X-acto blade under a corner and gently prying the plate upward. Most glue did not bond well and the plates usually can be removed intact.
    For more information about bookplates (and more great bookplate images) visit Lew’s Bookplate Junkie blog.

    Note from Lew 3/25/2013  After rereading the article I realized that one very productive resource for acquiring bookplates is worth restating and that library book sales were never mentioned.
    Library Book Sales
    This link below is a must  if you want to find library booksales in America
    If you know of  comparable sites for other countries please contact me and it will be added to this posting.

    BookFairs in the U.K.

      Hand Bookbinders.-Find one in or near your community. They are often pacrats and hold onto bookplates  which they might sell or give to an enthusiastic new collector. Make the effort and you may be rewarded. Good Luck in your quest.

    See you next Sunday.

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  • 03/30/13--15:37: Bookplate Odds And Ends
  • I  am interested in all sorts of ephemera and was delighted to find  Princeton's graphic arts blog . There are many visual delights  I selected just one of them (English tobacco wrapping paper) to whet your appetite

    I have  several tobacco related bookplates in my own collection. Here are two examples:

    The Bookplate of John Butler by Paul Revere was unrecorded in Clarence Brigham's Paul Revere's Engravings. It is in the collection of The American Antiquarian Society( the gift of George T. Goodspeed.) If you are wondering about the value of this plate should another one become available my  guess is that at auction the starting bid would be around $10,000.00

    East Coast Book & Paper Shows - April 2013

    John Renjilian Sent me the Email shown below. 

    Thank you John.

    The month will be welcomed by the LI Vintage Book and Ephemera Fair, 6-7 April, bouncing back to its location at the Garden City Field House, 295 Stewart Ave, 11530. Saturday 11-6, Sunday 11-4, $6 admission. I haven't been in some years, but my guess would be perhaps around 40 dealers. When at this venue earlier, the fair was held in conjunction with an antiques show, but no mention of that is made so I presume this will be all books/paper. It has often been a strong fair.,, or 603-509-2639 will get you more information.

    The next week will see a doubleheader in NYC. Starting first will be the ABAA show at the Park Ave Armory, 643 Park Ave at 67th St, opening with a preview Thursday evening, 5-9, and continuing Friday, 12-8, Saturday 12-7, and Sunday 12-5. Admission to the preview is $40, $35 for the next three days, or $20 per day. There will be about 200 dealers from 11 countries to browse among, bringing many treasures with them; as your eyes get bigger, so will your pocketbook need to. Free approximate valuations will be offered Sunday, up to three items; bring something good, by Sunday the dealers will need a boost. Additional information is at, or 212-777-5218.

    The Manhattan Vintage Book and Ephemera Fair, the Shadow Show, will take place the same weekend at the Altman Building, 135 West 18th St, 10011, 12-13 April. Two days only, Friday 5-9, Saturday 8-4, admission $12. Smaller in size, and no doubt a tad less on the price tags, this is still the place where the ABAA dealers will come to replenish they're stocks; you can beat them to it and find the bargains first. Flamingo runs the show,, or 603-509-2639.

    The Allentown Paper Show will take over the last weekend of the month, at the Agriculture Hall in the Fair Grounds, 1929 Chew St, in Allentown, PA, 27-28 April. Saturday 9-5, Sunday 9-3, admission $7 ($6 with card at the website), 170 dealers. This one is well worth your effort, lots of books, paper, just about anything imaginable. Scott Klutinoty, Allentown Paper Show, is in charge,,, or, 610-573-4969 for more information.

    I have a clipping announcing the second annual Antiquarian Book, Ephemera and Postcard Show to be held 28 April, at the Brookline Event Center, 32 Proctor Hill Rd (rt 130), Brookline, NH 03033. 9-2, about 25 dealers; however, there is nothing on the website calendar for that date, and I would definitely contact the organizers, Ron or Kathy Pelletier, before traveling.,, or 603-673-4474.

    See You next Sunday

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    Charles Elwood Jones is the Head Librarian at the Institute For The Study Of The Ancient World.

    I was so impressed with his April 4th blog about the bookplates  of Ancient Studies Scholars that I asked his permission to cut and paste the entire blog  .He most graciously consented. The devil is in the details
    .I was unable to properly  paste the contents of his blog so I will revert to plan B

    Here is a link to his blog:

    If you want to send scans of  bookplates Mr Jones can add to his blog here is his address:

    I will be back with a regular blog posting on Tuesday or Wednesday.
     See you soon.

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    This weekend there will be two excellent book shows in New York City.

    The ABAA Show

    The Shadow Show

    If you are planning to be at either show and have some bookplates for sale or trade please let me know

    Watchpapers  ( they are circular jewelers advertisements, dust protectors, and written records of when a pocket watch was last oiled and cleaned )

    Here is a link  from Bibliodyssey about watch papers in England.

     This is an atypical English watch paper

    Richard Newman focuses on 18th century American pocket watches and watch papers.
    Here is a link to his new website

    Richard also sent me the following information:

    "Lew, three of my favorites, all right around the turn of the century.

    Perhaps the most sought after American paper is for the eminent maker Aaron Willard who worked in Boston in 1792 and his watch paper is purported to have been engraved & printed by Paul Revere. It features intricate engravings around the circumference.

    Aime Brandt emigrated from Switzerland to Philadelphia in about 1795. Seafaring themes were popular on early papers. The anchor is a symbol of hope and together with a goddess holding a watch is perhaps an appeal for sailors to return safely and quickly.

    Joshua Wilder from Hingham, Massachusetts is another eminent clock maker from the turn of the century and his paper pictures a wide selection of watches that one could see in his shop, along with a new and popular shelf clock design that was providing an alternative to expensive and cumbersome grandfather clocks. This example is a wonderful reminder to readers that the primary purpose of watch papers was for advertising."

    I collect watch papers also, but there are not enough dollars or hours to pursue the hobby aggressively.
    . Here are three examples  of folk art , homemade watch papers from my collection::

    Fragile Paper cut on felt

    Bookish Ephemera
    Bookseller's labels are usually discrete and small. John Lindmark was an antiquarian bookseller in Poughkeepsie, New York . He was a gifted self promoter and his book label  which is six inches wide by 5 inches high is the largest one I have ever seen.
    It was pasted on the inside front cover of a 1930's Bookman's Yearbook. .At first I thought it was a shipping label.but there is no return address and the blank space is very small..

    More Lindmark ephemera

    Mystery Bookplate
    I believe this bookplate is from France. Does anyone out there know who GB was ?
    It was originally in an 1847  copy of Revue Archéologique

    See You Again on Sunday.

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    There are many competent bookplate designers about whom little or no published material is available.
    James Doyle Jr. is such an artist . His daughter Sister Madeleine Doyle wrote about her father in the fall 1990 issue of Maryland Historical Magazine .Beyond that I have found  very little. He worked at
    The Baltimore Morning Herald in the early 1900's and in 1908 he became a member of the Baltimore News art staff where he learned about etching. Many of his bookplates were designed for friends family and newspaper colleagues.

    His most famous bookplate was designed for H. L. Mencken.
     It is printed in three sizes.

    Warren Wilmer Brown (1884-1946) was on the staff of The Baltimore News

    George A. Colston (1876-1935) was a Baltimore banker and investment broker

    W.S. G. Galloway(N.D.-1948) was a purchasing agent for The B& O Railroad and an ardent yachtsman.

    John Martin Hammond(1886-1935) was the author of Colonial Mansions of Maryland and Delaware.

    No Biographical information has been found.

    No Biographical information has been found . 
    In his book he was cited as a friend and contributor by John Martin Hammond

    "Richard D. Steuart (1880–1951) was a journalist in Baltimore, Maryland known as Carroll Dulaney, the name he used for his Day by Day column in the Baltimore News-Post. Steuart was also an historian focusing mainly on Maryland history and the role that Maryland played during the American Civil War. He maintained a vast collection of Civil war era firearms and assorted artifacts, many collected personally from the battlefields he visited. Most of his collection was donated to the Virginia Historical Society. His donation earned him and honorary membership in the society. His is the only non-Virginian to earn such a distinction"

    If anyone reading this blog has bookplates by James Doyle Jr. which are not shown  please send scans to

    With your help a comprehensive checklist can be developed.

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    One of the things I enjoy about this hobby is exchanging duplicates with other collectors.

    From time to time I  list duplicates on Ebay but this time around  I thought the blog might be a good platform for possible exchanges. All the images have been enlarged for clarity.

    .If you have any comparable duplicates  for exchange please send me a scan or a description.

    See you next week

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  • 04/28/13--05:39: Bookplate Bonanza
  • There are quite a few bookplate buying opportunities occurring simultaneously so I will list them all for you.

    Anthony Tufts over at Exeter Rare Books is having a 60% off sale at his Ebay store.

    Here is a link:
    Dr Wolfgang Reiger  has an impressive assortment of German bookplates for sale.

    Antiquariat Dr. Wolfgang Rieger
    Gruberhof 8 * 79110 Freiburg
    tel: 0761 - 892350 * fax: 807496
    mobil: 0173 3078983

    UID: DE 222545656
    Tom Boss 

    Tel 617 3085062
    New Address   129 Braintree St. #317  Boston Ma. 02134

     Tom purchased the Stephen Caplin collection .. It was one of the last of the early 20th century collections still in private hands.
    It is rich in many areas including E.D. French and 18th century American exlibris.
    For established customers Tom will send bookplates  on approval.
    These are four of the items I purchased from him.earlier in the week.

    The plate shown below was printed in Italy for the Newark New Jersey Free Public Library.

    I call it my fire the typesetter bookplate.

    This plate for Stewart Henry Hartshorn is illustrated on page 83 in The Art Of The Bookplate by James Keenan..Does anyone out there know who the artist is?
     His (Her) initials are CLH

    I already have a copy of the plate for the American publisher Ralph Pulitzer and his first wife Frederica
      It is so finely engraved I purchased this copy for possible exchange.

    Last but not least Jacques Laget  has an fine selection of bookplates in his Ebay store.and on his website

    Here are the links:

    If you still have any money left after going through all the dealer sites you can always contact me to see what bookplates I have for sale or trade.

    See you next Sunday.

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    I did not want to clutter this posting with anything else. This is The Last Bookshop

    Follow the link below the picture

    click here

    See you again on Sunday

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    This link has nothing to do with books or bookplates apart from the fact that it came from Lee Kirk , a very competent book and ephemera dealer in Eugene Oregon.

     I think you will be be amazed .

    Here is a link to Lee Kirk's website:

    J J Lankes Bookplates , Prints and Ephemera

    This link was sent to me by  Mary Helen Miskuly

    Robert Day, Cartoonist

    This four page theatre program appealed to me because of the cover illustration.

    The artist Robert Day (1900-1985) was on the New Yorker  staff and contributed cartoons to that magazine for over 40 years


    The $80.35 Funeral


    I grew up in Brooklyn.

    How could I not purchase these calling cards?


    World War Two Ephemera

                                                                                                             Matchbook Cover

    Mystery Ephemera Artist

    Does anyone out there recognize the artist's cypher ? It appears to be FK .

    See you again Next Week.

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    Under normal circumstances the Lloyd Osbourne bookplate  would not merit very much attention.
    It is unique because of a collaboration between Robert Louis Stevenson and his stepson Lloyd Osbourne
    As adults they collaborated on three novels.Their collaboration really started when RLS purchased a do it yourself  printing press for Lloyd when he was about thirteen years old. .RLS wrote poems and did wood cuts for Lloyd's Davos Press.The woodcut in Lloyd's bookplate was done by R.L.S.

    Robert Louis Stevenson

    Lloyd Osbourne and Robert Louis Stevenson

     Do it yourself printing presses were very popular boy's toys in the mid 19th and early 20th centuries.
     President Grant purchased one for his son Jessie, H. L. Mencken was given one at age eight in 1888 and
     Lloyd Osbourne was given one at age thirteen,.
    A picture of the Davos press can be seen by following this   link to Textualities by Elaine Greig


    I received the following inquiry from David Kesterson this week.

    A friend sent photos of a book, "Crown of Wild Olive" by John Ruskin that was owned by his father. It is probably from a set published by Merriam, but what interests us is the metal cover. The design is quite precise, making me think it was stamped. But why? Was this a short-lived fad? Or some devoted arts & crafts artisan. Please feel free to publish if you find it interesting. I would really like to know more.

    David Kesterson
    Cameron Park Books
    Raleigh, NC



    Not in harmony or keeping with the surroundings or other aspects of something; not in place.

    This one  puzzles me. Perhaps a bookseller had some very fine reference books which customers kept trying to buy so he inserted this label in them..What do you think?
    See you next week.

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    I am always pleased to promote young artists .Joe  Dragunas sent me some information about  his bookplate designs. I sent him a few questions  which he promptly answered.

    "Hello Lew!
     Thank you so much for doing this. I love bookplates, and am on a fierce campaign to bring them back into the mainstream. "

    Joe Dragunas in his studio

    At what age did you decide to become an illustrator ?

     I have been drawing since I was able to hold a crayon, and have illustrated my entire life, but it wasn't until my early thirty's until I decided to do it professionally.

    Do you have any formal art training ?

    I have no art training whatsoever, I am a firm believer in self teaching. As an artist you should explore every technique and style before you choose a medium you want to dedicate yourself to. I believe you should observe and learn, make the mistakes on your own, and emerge on the other side with your own personal style.

    What technique do you use for bookplates ?

     All the illustrations and bookplates on my website are all done with a brush and ink. I use a very fine, size 00 brush, and speedball ink. Unless there is a straight border, then I use a rapidograph technical pen, but as I said that's only for the borders.

    Can you send me some jpeg examples of your favorites ?

    As requested , here are some of my favorites. Many more examples can be seen at my website.
    The website is set up so that you can actually order samples to touch feel and evaluate.

      The samples are all printed on high quality  acid free card stock, . I use a creamy color, to give an aged illusion.
    .Here are some of my favorites:

                                                         Click on Images to Enlarge

    The website has prices for individual bookplates .Do you have pricing for larger quantities ?

     Unfortunately, the website does not allow for ordering multiple copies,   My email address is on the site and I would be pleased to discuss pricing for multiple copies with anyone who contacts me.

    Have you designed any custom bookplates?

     I would be absolutely ecstatic to design  a custom bookplate. All my current designs are for my own amusement. 

    Have you designed any bookplates for yourself , friends or family?

     I just finished one for My sisters wedding. She and her husband wanted an image with both a dragon, and a goat. to represent their last names. . They are both architects, so I worked a few appropriate tools into the design as well.
    Heraldic designs are my all time favorite, so I decided to do a knight's crest with a goat head as the crest, and a dragon sprawled through the mantling. On the shield, I included the words "from the library of the Kosikowski's, est 2013" . 
    The whole image is 2.75 inches by 3.75 inches. 

    See you again on Sunday.

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    I am very pleased to announce a special event from The Bookplate Society.

    Send Bids or Questions to

    Good luck with your bidding.


    The Bookplate Society’s members’ auctions, three each year, offer a wide range of material, mostly British 18th and 19th century exlibris, but there are also Continental European and North American items. These sales are not open to non-members. Members either attend in person or bid in advance by email or post.However, the Society is doing something different this summer by holding an entirely web- and email-based auction, which on this occasion is open to non-members.

    Given that this is a manual system, lacking the software resources of eBay, the auction is being drawn out over ten weekly cycles of bidding, and participants can only submit one set of bids per week. Bidders are encouraged to bid for as many items as possible on the first occasion, because in subsequent weeks there is a restriction on the number of additional bids that can be placed. There is a further bias helping people who bid early, because in the event of equal bids the earlier bidder wins the day. The deadline for the first round of bids is Sunday, 2 June (6pm BST) and this auction ends on Sunday 4 August 2013 (6pm BST).

    To view the listings, go to , and if you wish to join in the auction you will need to read the notes and write to the auction address. Non-members of the Society must register their details prior to emailing bids.

    This is an auction in slow-motion (!), but it will nevertheless be interesting to see how it works out. As the notes point out, this is not a commercial venture, but designed to offer bookplate collectors some summertime fun.


    This bookplate of Morton and Helena Stephenson probably dates from about 1920. It is the work of Henry Justice Ford (1860–1941), portrait and landscape painter, also book illustrator. He has a short write-up in Wikipedia. Recourse to soon established that the owners of this bookplate were Morton F G Stephenson (born Kensington, London, 1884) and Marion Helena née Deverell (born in 1885, also in Kensington), and they were married in 1916 in Central London.

                                                                                 Lot # 59

    Matilda Constance Ismay (1877, New York -1963, England) was the sister-in-law of Bruce Ismay (1862-1939), chairman and managing director of the White Star Line. He attracted severe moral opprobrium and was ostracised after the Titanic disaster. Not only was he in no small part responsible for the lack of provision of lifeboats, but he was among the survivors, notwithstanding the loss of many women and children. Daughters of George Richard Schieffelin and Julia Matilda née Delaplaine, the two Schieffelin sisters, Matilda Constance Schieffelin and Julia Florence Schieffelin, married two Ismay brothers, Charles Bower Ismay(1874 - 1924) and Joseph Bruce Ismay. Matilda married Charles in New York in 1900. She is buried at Haselbech, near Kettering, Northamptonshire

                                                                                         Lot 44
    Signed PB, the bookplate of Margaret Brudenell Bruce is the work of Pleasance Bruce, depicting St Margaret Virgin & Martyr, whose feast day is July 20. Margaret Renshaw m.1873 Lord Charles Frederick Brudenell-Bruce (1849-1936), brother to the Marquess of Ailesbury. Daughter of James Renshaw of Broughton, Lancashire, she d.1913.

    Send Bids or Questions to

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         This very unusual bit of bookplate ephemera arrived recently and I am just starting to do some research.

    The framed group of five leather bookplates was used by Charles J. Sawyer Ltd , booksellers and fine art dealers.

    The Red bookplate is for R.Esmerian who I suspect might be the collector Raphael Esmerian,

    The next bookplate is nameless.

    The small brown bookplate in the center is for Marten

    The blue bookplate is nameless.

    The larger brown bookplate is for Alfred B. Koch

    The prices on the back are difficult to read from the scan.

    “Cost of blocks from £20 to£40 according to design

    Bookplates 1 S/6 d each for quantities”of not less than 50”*
    *Note received from Anthony Pincott about this pricing-
    “in other words at a pre-decimalisation (pre-1971) price of 1 shilling and sixpence each "

    One Thing Leads To Another #1

    While I was trying to find out if the names on the leather bookplates were for actual  owners I started to search the name R.Esmerian and stumbled upon a 2009 interview  with the noted bookseller John Windle.
    Here is a link to the article .It is well written and fascinating. . I wish I had the movie rights to his  life story.

    One Thing Leads To Another#2

    Several weeks ago I posted the Gandy image shown above. It was and still is a mystery bookplate about which I would like to learn more.The image inspired Shaun in England and he sent me the following Email

    I started to learn hand engraving within the last year,and am always looking for suitable images to engrave. Bookplates are ideal as a reference to learn how to achieve an effect,and came across your site.

    There is an art from called a 'Love Token'. A coin is filed flat on one side,and an image engraved. The link is a pic of a Silver 1944 Walking Liberty silver 1/2 dollar. I used a bookplate image that had the Eagle and the words 'Gandy' from your site.

    It's not exactly how I would have liked it to come out,but my ability improves with each coin I engrave and it went for $62 dollars on Ebay,but probably took 10 hours to engrave :) If  I ever do something similar,it might take just as long,but look much better.

    The pics on your site are really good quality,thanks for taking the time and effort.
    Cheers Shaun "


    New Book about Paul Revere Written by Fellow Collector/Dealer Tom Boss

    Paul Revere's Bookplate for John Gardiner of Gardiner's Island
    By Thomas G. Boss

    Printed letterpress in an edition of 50 copies by John Kristensen of
    the Firefly Press in Boston. All copies have tipped in reproductions
    of the John Gardiner bookplate and other Revere plates, including the
    John Butler plate which is only known in two copies and which has
    hitherto not been reproduced in print. The first fifteen deluxe copies
    are printed on Zerkall handmade paper and are accompanied by an
    original print of the Gardiner Revere plate, mounted in a gilt frame
    but easily removable for placement elsewhere in a collection. All
    copies of the work are hand bound in red wrappers. The thirty-five
    regular copies are printed on Neenah Laid paper.

    The text of the book comprises a short history of the Gardiner's and
    Revere bookplates followed by a list of holdings of Revere plates and
    a ranking of rarity of each one, ranging from no known copies to
    thousands of examples!

    Regular edition......$150
    Deluxe Edition.......$3,500

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  • 05/26/13--03:17: Memorial Day Wekend 2013
  • I was thinking about writing something for Memorial Day when this touching story was forwarded to me by my brother.

    The 21-year old American B-17 pilot glanced outside his cockpit and froze. He blinked hard and looked again, hoping it was just a mirage. But his co-pilot stared at the same horrible vision. "My God, this is a nightmare," the co-pilot said. "He's going to destroy us," the pilot agreed.
    The men were looking at a gray German Messerschmitt fighter hovering just three feet off their wingtip. It was five days before Christmas 1943, and the fighter had closed in on their crippled American B-17 bomber for the kill.

    Watch                                                           this video
    Brown's Crippled B-17 Stalked by Stigler's ME-109
    The B-17 pilot, Charles Brown, was a 21-year-old West Virginia farm boy on his first combat mission. His bomber had been shot to pieces by swarming fighters, and his plane was alone, struggling to stay in the skies above Germany . Half his crew was wounded, and the tail gunner was dead, his blood frozen in icicles over the machine guns.
    But when Brown and his co-pilot, Spencer "Pinky" Luke, looked at the fighter pilot again, something odd happened. The German didn't pull the trigger. He stared back at the bomber in amazement and respect. Instead of pressing the attack, he nodded at Brown and saluted. What happened next was one of the most remarkable acts of chivalry recorded during World War II.

    Charles                                                           Brown was on                                                           his first                                                           combat mission                                                           during World                                                           War II when he                                                           met an enemy                                                           unlike any                                                           other.
    USAAF Lt. Charles Brown
    Charles Brown was on his first combat mission during World War II when he met an enemy unlike any other.
    Revenge, not honor, is what drove 2nd Lt. Franz Stigler to jump into his fighter that chilly December day in 1943. Stigler wasn't just any fighter pilot. He was an ace. One more kill and he would win The Knight's Cross, German's highest award for valor.
    Yet Stigler was driven by something deeper than glory. His older brother, August, was a fellow Luftwaffe pilot who had been killed earlier in the war. American pilots had killed Stigler's comrades and were bombing his country's cities.Stigler was standing near his fighter on a German airbase when he heard a bomber's engine. Looking up, he saw a B-17 flying so low it looked like it was going to land. As the bomber disappeared behind some trees, Stigler tossed his cigarette aside, saluted a ground crewman and took off in pursuit.
    As Stigler's fighter rose to meet the bomber, he decided to attack it from behind. He climbed behind the sputtering bomber, squinted into his gun sight and placed his hand on the trigger. He was about to fire when he hesitated. Stigler was baffled. No one in the bomber fired at him.
    He looked closer at the tail gunner. He was still, his white fleece collar soaked with blood. Stigler craned his neck to examine the rest of the bomber. Its skin had been peeled away by shells, its guns knocked out. One propeller wasn' turning. Smoke trailed from another engine. He could see men huddled inside the shattered plane tending the wounds of other crewmen.
    Then he nudged his plane alongside the bomber's wings and locked eyes with the pilot whose eyes were wide with shock and horror.

    Franz                                                           Stigler                                                           wondered for                                                           years what                                                           happened to                                                           the American                                                           pilot he                                                           encountered in                                                           combat.
    Luftwaffe Major Franz Stigler
    Stigler pressed his hand over the rosary he kept in his flight jacket. He eased his index finger off the trigger. He couldn't shoot. It would be murder.
    Stigler wasn't just motivated by vengeance that day. He also lived by a code. He could trace his family's ancestry to knights in 16th century Europe . He had once studied to be a priest. A German pilot who spared the enemy, though, risked death in Nazi Germany. If someone reported him, he would be executed.
    Yet Stigler could also hear the voice of his commanding officer, who once told him: "You follow the rules of war for you -- not your enemy. You fight by rules to keep your humanity."
    Alone with the crippled bomber, Stigler changed his mission. He nodded at the American pilot and began flying in formation so German anti-aircraft gunners on the ground wouldn't shoot down the slow-moving bomber. (The Luftwaffe had B-17s of its own, shot down and rebuilt for secret missions and training.) Stigler escorted the bomber over the North Sea and took one last look at the American pilot. Then he saluted him, peeled his fighter away and returned to Germany .
    "Good luck," Stigler said to himself. "You're in God's hands now..." Franz Stigler didn't think the big B-17 could make it back to England and wondered for years what happened to the American pilot and crew he encountered in combat.

    Charles                                                           Brown, with                                                           his wife,                                                           Jackie (left),                                                           found peace                                                           after his                                                           reunion with                                                           Franz Stigler,                                                           with his wife,                                                           Hiya.
    Charles Brown, with his wife, Jackie (left), with Franz Stigler, with his wife, Hiya.
    As he watched the German fighter peel away that December day, 2nd Lt. Charles Brown wasn't thinking of the philosophical connection between enemies. He was thinking of survival. He flew his crippled plane, filled with wounded, back to his base in England and landed with one of four engines knocked out, one failing and barely any fuel left. After his bomber came to a stop, he leaned back in his chair and put a hand over a pocket Bible he kept in his flight jacket. Then he sat in silence.
    Brown flew more missions before the war ended. Life moved on. He got married, had two daughters, supervised foreign aid for the U.S. State Department during the Vietnam War and eventually retired to Florida .
    Late in life, though, the encounter with the German pilot began to gnaw at him. He started having nightmares, but in his dream there would be no act of mercy. He would awaken just before his bomber crashed.
    Brown took on a new mission. He had to find that German pilot. Who was he? Why did he save my life? He scoured military archives in the U.S. and England . He attended a pilots' reunion and shared his story. He finally placed an ad in a German newsletter for former Luftwaffe pilots, retelling the story and asking if anyone knew the pilot.
    On January 18, 1990, Brown received a letter. He opened it and read: "Dear Charles, All these years I wondered what happened to that B-17, did she make it home? Did her crew survive their wounds? To hear of your survival has filled me with indescribable joy..."
    It was Stigler.
    He had left Germany after the war and moved to Vancouver , British Columbia , in 1953. He became a prosperous businessman. Now retired, Stigler told Brown that he would be in Florida come summer and "it sure would be nice to talk about our encounter." Brown was so excited, though, that he couldn't wait to see Stigler. He called directory assistance for Vancouver and asked whether there was a number for a Franz Stigler. He dialed the number, and Stigler picked up.
    "My God, it's you!" Brown shouted as tears ran down his cheeks. Brown had to do more. He wrote a letter to Stigler in which he said: "To say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU on behalf of my surviving crew members and their families appears totally inadequate."
    One of Brown's friends was there to record the summer reunion. Both men looked like retired businessmen: they were plump, sporting neat ties and formal shirts. They fell into each other' arms and wept and laughed. They talked about their encounter in a light, jovial tone.
    The mood then changed. Someone asked Stigler what he thought about Brown. Stigler sighed and his square jaw tightened. He began to fight back tears before he said in heavily accented English: "I love you, Charlie."
    Stigler had lost his brother, his friends and his country. He was virtually exiled by his countrymen after the war. There were 28,000 pilots who fought for the German air force. Only 1,200 survived.

    The war cost him everything. Charlie Brown was the only good thing that came out of World War II for Franz. It was the one thing he could be proud of. The meeting helped Brown as well, says his oldest daughter, Dawn Warner.

    They met                                                           as enemies but                                                           Franz Stigler,                                                           on left, and                                                           Charles Brown,                                                           ended up as                                                           fishing                                                           buddies.
    They met as enemies but Franz Stigler, on left, and Charles Brown, ended up as fishing buddies.
    Brown and Stigler became pals. They would take fishing trips together. They would fly cross-country to each other homes and take road trips together to share their story at schools and veterans' reunions. Their wives, Jackie Brown and Hiya Stigler, became friends.
    Brown's daughter says her father would worry about Stigler's health and constantly check in on him.
    "It wasn't just for show," she says. "They really did feel for each other. They talked about once a week." As his friendship with Stigler deepened, something else happened to her father, Warner says "The nightmares went away."
    Brown had written a letter of thanks to Stigler, but one day, he showed the extent of his gratitude. He organized a reunion of his surviving crew members, along with their extended families. He invited Stigler as a guest of honor.
    During the reunion, a video was played showing all the faces of the people that now lived -- children, grandchildren, relatives -- because of Stigler's act of chivalry. Stigler watched the film from his seat of honor.
    "Everybody was crying, not just him," Warner says.
    Stigler and Brown died within months of each other in 2008. Stigler was 92, and Brown was 87. They had started off as enemies, became friends, and then something more.
    After he died, Warner was searching through Brown's library when she came across a book on German fighter jets. Stigler had given the book to Brown. Both were country boys who loved to read about planes.
    Warner opened the book and saw an inscription Stigler had written to Brown:
    In 1940, I lost my only brother as a night fighter. On the 20th of December, 4 days before Christmas, I had the chance to save a B-17 from her destruction,
    a plane so badly damaged it was a wonder that she was still flying.
    The pilot, Charlie Brown, is for me as precious as my brother was.

    Thanks Charlie.

    Your Brother, Franz

    See You Again Next Sunday

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  • 06/04/13--14:22: Bookplate Odds and Ends
  • Mystery Bookplate Sketch
         I was looking for something and opened one of  many boxes we put into a closet about forty years ago.
    It looks like something I might have purchased and just forgot about ..A quick Google search showed a Dr.
    Lynval E. Davidson whose collection of fine press books was sold at auction in 1969.Perhaps this sketch was done for him. Any information you have about the bookplate or the artist would be appreciated

    Larry Nix at the Library History  Buff has written about the bookplate of Hiram Deats

    Eleanor Sears, beautiful engraving by A,.J. Downey
    Lower right outside corner was torn and repaired
     One of the items I put on Ebay
    My seller name is bookplatemaven

    Walker, I don’t know anything about the owner.

    It looks like one arrow has already hit him in the back  (another of the items I listed  on Ebay).

    This is an interesting item I no longer have.
    Someone took a trade card from the 1890’s cut it down to about 3 in. square and pasted a pen and ink book drawing into the infants hand.
    Perhaps it was done by Mr. Bare or perhaps it was done by someone named Lang.

    Another unknown is whether this mock up was a proof or whether Mr. Bare created individual clever bookplates for his books.

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    Fellow collector Stephen Pochin has written a new  book  focusing on the art and bookplates of
     Osman Spare and other notable Edwardian artists.
    The book can be purchased at this site:


      Hardback, square format (8.5” x 8.5”), 220 pp. Produced using archival quality print upon a superb soft white, 110gsm acid-free archival art paper — profusely illustrated throughout together with an index of bookplates by artist. Bound in a black subtle weave linen finished paper and elegantly blocked in matt black and gold on the upper board. .


        I purchased this trade label on Ebay recently.It probably was used in boxed instruments but this one was pasted on the inside front cover of   The Shipmaster's Assistant and Commercial Digest ,9th edition published in 1857. It is easy to date the label because the firm moved to 244 South Front Street around 1860. I already had two similar labels shown below. 

        The Frederick W. Lincoln Jr. label was also pasted in a book purchased on Ebay  several years ago. 

         My favorite is The W. Hooker label and I have no idea where I obtained it.The proprietor William Hooker engraved it. He worked in Philadelphia around 1805 and moved to New York City around 1840. "He engraved a few portraits in stipple ,and subject plates in line, but he seems to have been chiefly employed in map engraving" *

        *Ref.Page 174 Mantle Fielding's Dictionary of American Painters Sculptors and Engravers with an Addendum      James F. Carr publisher 1965

        Duplicate Pencil Signed European Bookplates for Possible Exchange 

        By Walter  Wuyts

        By Clemente Garcia Gil

        By Edmund Peter

        Modern Books and Manuscripts

        Houghton Library, Harvard University

           The Houghton Library   Blog has a very interesting article about the bookplates of Harvard graduates


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    A newly discovered Bartolozzi pictorial Submitted by John Blatchly

    "Jim Shurmer kindly sent me a scan of this fine design, its Latin inscription 'Ex-libris Elisabethae Lichtner' correctly declining the lady's first name into the genitive. I can as yet throw no light on her identity, but accept Anthony Pincott's suggestion that the design was borrowed as recently as 1900, and most Lichtners seem based in the United States.

                Bartolozzi almost always stipple-engraved bookplates after Cipriani but the designer of this Classical scene is E F Burney, Edward Francis, favourite nephew of Dr Charles Burney and cousin of Fanny. His father Richard Burney, Charles's brother, was a dancing master. Of the young Edward Francis, Sir Joshua Reynolds wrote 'His propensity to painting is so strong that I believe we must call it genius'. High praise from the master, with a recommendation that he should be hung at the Royal Academy which he was from 1780 to 1793. Read of him (as E B) in Charles Lamb's Essay Valentine's Day. He was a prolific illustrator, for example, for his uncle Charles's Handel Commemoration of 1784, the History of Music and his cousin James Burney's Discoveries in the Pacific. He played the violin at the Norbury home of his cousin Susan and her husband: 'We do not apply to Edward commonly till after supper – and then he is grown very good. Good food and good wine no doubt. EFB died unmarried at his house in Wimpole Street in 1848, aged 88."

    Note from Lew . I am always delighted to receive submissions for inclusion in the blog and am most appreciative  that John Blatchly took the time to send us this information.
    Here is John's collector profile.

    Two of the things I enjoy most about this strange hobby are bookplate exchanges, and researching topics  about which I know very little.This  three inch square bookplate from Newmarket Virginia was one of the items I recently got in an exchange with a fellow collector.My educated guess is that Rebecca Hentel * was a Mennonite and she lived in late 18th or early 19th century.
    . I just ordered a copy of  the book listed below to learn more about the subject and I will keep you updated

    History of Mennonites in Virginia 1727-1900 (vol 1) , by Harry Anthony Brunk

    *Fellow Collector Michael Kunze just sent me this information .

    Thank you Michael

    Hello Lewis,
    very interesting, your bookplate of Rebecca Henkel (not: Hentel) as you wrote.
    found some more stuff about her family I guess,, look for:

    Physicians in the Shenandoah Valley: Letters, 1860-1864;cc=henkel;rgn=main;view=text;idno=2934124R-4

    Mar 26, 2013 Henkel , Rebecca to Henkel , Caspar Coiner, March 1860. Broguerun. Va. by this time is John in NewmarketNew Market (Va.) 

    Note From Lew  Now that I have the correct spelling a Google search  led me to this site:

    I discovered that Rebecca Henkel's husband  Dr. Solomon Henkel owned a printing press..
    "According to his will and the settlement of his estate (9 Nov 1847), Dr. Solomon Henkel owned an Operating room, Laboratory, Medicine Rook, Brick storehouse with counting room, and a Bookbindery and Copperplate Press. Although Solomon‟s younger brother, Ambrose Henkel, was the first printer in New Market, Solomon is known to have co-owned the Henkel Printing Press, or at least had controlling interest in it, as of 1807, 1811, 1817, according to various sources. These buildings were grouped near each other , rather like a family compound"

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    On Monday June 17th Fellow collector Yosef Halper    came   to the states for his semi -annual  family visit.. He took a side trip to Philadelphia and we traded duplicates. Here is one of the items  I got from him.
    The link below is about his store in TelAviv

    Unless Inspector Porter received a multi volume set of books there are no other copies of this leather bookplate.
    Inspector Porter is mentioned in the link shown below.


    I remember a movie called The Yellow Rolls Royce in which the ownership of a car is traced from generation to generation. Inspector Porter's bookplate started its journey in Victorian England and somehow  got to Israel . Now it's here in Philadelphia..If only the book it was originally pasted in could talk I suspect it would tell a remarkable story.  Books with the bookplates used by successive owners do just that.
    They talk to those willing to listen, about a book's journey.

    Another thing I like is bookseller labels. Here is group of Israeli labels which  Yosef brought along for exchange
    Speaking of bookseller labels, I recently added Gabe Konrad's website to my blogroll.

    From Gabe Konrad's Website
    Pictured below is a beautiful label from Universitas Booksellers in Jerusalem.  This is a large label—truly bookplate size at 7 cm by 12 cm.  Until recently I would have sworn this was designed by Reynolds Stone, but in fact it was designed by Ismar David (1919-1996).  David was a German-born graphic artist who lived in Palestine from 1932 until 1952.  In ’52 David moved to New York where he remained until his death."

    This is one of my favorite bookplates. I think the artist was Mary Waterman Bonsall but I can't say that with certainty

    See You Next Sunday

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    In 2004 a very generous friend invested many hours making a detailed hard copy inventory of my 18th century American bookplate collection. Since then I have been keeping records of additional purchases on various scraps of paper . It is very disorganized so I have begun to sort about 130 bookplates purchased since 2004 and am attempting to put them into an Excel  database. In doing so I have found a  mystery bookplates along with one or two duplicates I didn't  know I had..

    Here is a mystery bookplate:
     Allen #980

    Allen describes it as follows:  Unidentified (name defaced)
        Pictorial .An Eagle holding a small United States shield in his beak, and a ribbon on which the United States motto is given E Pluribus Unum. In the oval beneath ,Use this carefully and return it immediately.
    A bible under all.
    Signed W.Barber, Sculpt.
    The only W.Barber listed in Mantle Fielding's Dictionary of American Painters , Sculptor's and Engravers  is William Barber
     " Engraver,.Born in London 1807 ;died in Philadelphia  1879 .He started as a silver plate engraver but soon entered the employ of the U.S. mint in Philadelphia where he remained until his death."
    My assumption is that the owner of the mystery plate was probably located in or near Philadelphia.
    If any of you have  information about this plate please contact me

    I received a call from Tom Boss about this mystery bookplate. He recalls seeing it some time ago and the name that he remembers is William Ballord. I found one reference to that name on p. 21 in A Classified List of Early American Bookplates with a Brief description of The Principal Styles  And A note As to The Prominent Engravers by Charles Dexter Allen .  This is a  booklet that was made to accompany an exhibition at the Grolier Club ,Oct.1894. More research needs to be done but this is a good start.

    Here are of the duplicates I unearthed for possible trade or sale.

    Allen #41 Harry Atwood

    Allen# 805 William Smith  A.M.

    Allen #467 Knight's of the Square Table

     This one is not a duplicate.
     It's interesting how the meaning of words changes over a period of time. Describing someone as cheap generally has a negative connotation nowadays but in the mid 19th century it was something to brag about.
    Pinterest , an Internet scrapbook has multiple pages with bookplate illustrations.
    Follow the link below to see Ingrid Sherwood's labor of love.

    Here is another interesting link with many Japanese woodblock prints including bookplates and matchbox covers
    from the  Collection of Gary and Janet Christenson

    Unknown artist. Woodblock printed matchbox cover. Image size 33 mm x 52 mm.
    Unknown artist. Woodblock printed matchbox cover. Image size 33 mm x 52 mm.
    Unknown artist. Woodblock printed matchbox cover. Image size 33 mm x 52 mm.
    Unknown artist. Woodblock printed matchbox cover. Image size 33 mm x 52 mm.
    Unknown artist. Woodblock printed matchbox cover. Image size 33 mm x 52 mm.
    Unknown artist. Woodblock printed matchbox cover. Image size 33 mm x 52 mm.
    Unknown artist. Woodblock printed matchbox cover. Image size 33 mm x 52 mm.
    Unknown artist. Woodblock printed matchbox cover. Image size 33 mm x 52 mm.
    Unknown artist. Woodblock printed matchbox cover. Image size 33 mm x 52 mm.
    Unknown artist. Woodblock printed matchbox cover. Image size 34 mm x 52 mm.
    Unknown artist. Woodblock printed matchbox cover. Image size 34 mm x 52 mm.
    Unknown artist. Woodblock printed matchbox cover. Image size 34 mm x 52 mm.
    I'm tempted to start collecting these but time and money slow me down.
    See you next Sunday.

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  • 07/07/13--11:38: Bookplates For Exchange
  • I have not received any collector profiles for a while and hope a few more of you will participate.
    The format is quite simple.Send me a few paragraphs about yourself and your collection along with some scans of your favorite bookplates.If English is not your first language I will assist you with the words and any suggested changes will be sent to you for approval before publishing.

    Here are a few randomly selected examples of collector profiles.

        I confess, I  am a lapsed Luddite.
    About three years ago my children purchased  a video camera for me and set up a Skype account.
    My first Skype conversation occurred on a Sunday morning when the kids and grand kids called while I was sitting in front of the camera in my pajamas  .working on the blog.
    My visceral reaction was that Skype is  very intrusive and an invasion of my privacy.
     I did what any devout Luddite would do, I pulled the plug.
    Lately, I have begun to experiment with Skype and have had pleasant video conversations with collectors in England and Germany. Skype has great potential for bookplate exchanges.

    Bookplates For Possible Exchange

     Exchanges are a simple way to add to your collection
    .I have scanned a number of duplicates for possible exchange.
    None of  them are larger than 2 1/2 inches wide by 3 1/2 inches high.
    Click On The Images  To Enlarge

    George W.Alexander was the mayor of Los Angeles in 1912.
    The artist's initials are H G B

    William Hensel's bookplate was designed by David McNeely Stauffer

    Elizabeth D. Pope was a science fiction collector in Utah

    Harold F. Pitcairn was an aviation pioneer

    Harold May Elwood's bookplate was designed by Harvey Ellis in 1898

    C.B. Farwell's plate was engraved by The Western Banknote and Engraving Co.
    C. B. Farwell was a New England-descendant Chicago family man, businessman, political leader, and philanthropist who helped to found the town of Lake Forest in 1856-57 and then to relaunch the Collegiate Department of Lake Forest University in the 1870s. He was the institution's largest benefactor in the 19th C., contributing ca. $300,000 (in the era when Rockefeller initially founded the University of Chicago with $1 million).

    Marguerite Hope Bennett's plate was designed by Dean Babcock of Denver Colorado

    Richard H. Lawrence was a member of the Grolier Club.His engraved and embossed bookplate
    did not scan well ..It is very delicate.and quite lovely.

    Henry Hutton  Landon's plate pretty much tells you everything you need to know about his background.and interests.
    Hugh and Margaret Eaton were bookplate designers .This was an early bookplate they used in their own books.The plate has a few repaired tears and a small part of the upper right corner is missing.

    George May Elwood's plate was designed by Harvey Ellis in 1898

    The plate for Mr and Mrs Stevens was engraved in 1929 by HF (The artist's initials are tiny and difficult to read even with magnifying glass)

    Hyder Edward Rollins plate was done by Rudolph Ruzicka

    Neil Elliott's plate was done by Leonard Baskin

    Florence Bronson Windom's plate was also done by Rudolph Ruzicka

    Harold Murdock's plate was done by Amy M Sackler and is illustrated on page 119 in
    American Bookplate  byWilliam E. Butler

    E.B.D. used a Roycrofrt bookplate

    De Robert Sonnenschein's plate was engraved by J.W.Jameson  in 1937

    That about wraps it up for today
    .See you next Sunday..

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