Friday, September 22, 2017

Support your local bookseller

Support your local Book Seller
I  never run paid advertising but I am always pleased to promote book shows, Book Sales and  Booksellers .It is tough out there in the real world if you are running an independent bookstore.

Here are  two noteworthy announcements

I received this email from Curtis Kise the owner of Neighborhood Books after I visited his store and complimented him on the attractive and reasonably priced framed bookplates he had for sale.

We are selling the framed bookplates for $5.95 - $8,95
 Loose or unframed ones are $1 each or 3 for $2, .
The exceptional ones range from $2 - $5 each.

The store is open seven days a week, 11am to 6pm, closed major holidays (next is Thanksgiving). We are located at 1906 South St. Philadelphia, Pa. 19146, 

 Our phone number is 215-545-BOOK

 email is

Thanks for doing this for us! - Curtis

Support The Bookplate Society

A new collector asked me yesterday why he should join The Bookplate Society

My response was Trust Me. Do It.

Perhaps I was too brusque so I will elaborate.
The Bookplate Society publishes well researched and profusely illustrated books about bookplates.
I use them frequently.In addition , most members go out of their way to assist me when I have questions about heraldry.Beyond that the member's bookplate auctions provide an opportunity to buy  items for your collection.
This book is currently available to non-members.
Price is £24 which is $31  and for a 1kg parcel Royal Mail quote £13.50, in other words $17.25, which I find grim but ipost and MyHermes are still more expensive.  So a total of $48.25 to non-members living outside the EU.

Item Description: The Bookplate Society, London, 2016. Soft cover. 199p. Publishers stiff wrapper. A biographical descriptions of 22 families and their bookplates with 249 black & white illustrations and an Appendix.
 Send Orders to:

Monday, September 04, 2017

This Week in Bookplates 9/3/2017-Part Two

Yesterday I wrote about the Brooklyn Book Show.
This morning I received this Email from Cara Schlesinger  owner of the Faenwyl Bindery

"I hope to see you this weekend at the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair, at Brooklyn's Expo Center in Greenpoint!
Do you have a book in need of special care - - repair or a protective slipcase or clamshell box? I'd be glad to talk with you about it at the fair. If you'd like to bring the book with you, please call me from the door at (917) 414-4575 and I'll come to walk you in.
I have a few passes for complimentary entry available for people who'd like a consultation - - reply to this email to let me know you're interested! "

Cara Schlesinger, Faenwyl Bindery

Here are some Brooklyn bookplates  from my collection.

Kurt Zimmerman recently mentioned Dr Purple in his book collecting blog

I wrote about Emma Toedteberg in yesterday's blog posting.
This bookplate was engraved by E.D. French

The Pratt Institute has an excellent bookplate collection which can be viewed by following this link

Mystery Brooklyn Bookplate

The artist's initial's are FB.Does anyone out there know who that might be ?By the way , if you have any Brooklyn bookplates send a scan to and I will add them to my next blog posting.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

This Week in Bookplates 9/3/2017

I am going to attend the fourth annual Brooklyn book show.( Sept 8-10)
If you are in or near Brooklyn and have bookplates for sale or trade please send me an email.

This is an exceptionally well run show  and at least two dealers  Tom Boss and Richard Thorner will be bringing bookplates.
Here is their contact information.

Here is a link with detailed information about the show


Fellow Collector Anthony Pincott sent me this information about the Emma Toedteberg Collection at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

With a little advance planning you can go to the show and visit the  Historical Society also.
Call Number: 2012.004
Extent: 23.5 Linear feet, in 48 manuscript boxes.
The Emma Toedteberg Bookplate collection, spanning from 1701 to 1982, was the bookplate collection of long-time Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) librarian Emma Toedteberg (1856-1936). The collection was originally created by Miss Toedteberg’s father, Augustus Toedteberg (1824-1909), and later expanded by BHS librarians. The present collection numbers over 7,000 bookplates ranging from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, including armorial, heraldic and presentation bookplates of individuals and institutions. Works of numerous engravers are represented such as Edwin Davis French, Charles W. Sherborn and John W. Evans.

Fellow collector Luigi Bergomi  has listed over two hundred bookplates on Ebay this week.. His seller name is Olindo.

To be continued on Monday 9/4

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Twenty Five Judaica Bookplates for Possible Exchange

Two Mystery  Bookplates

Fellow Collector Tom Boss Has sent two bookplates engraved  by F.B. 
Does anyone out there recognize this artist ? 
Send your response to

Judaica Bookplates for possible Exchange

I've been trying to get my duplicates organized but it is challenging because I've got the clutter gene.
If you have any Judaica bookplates for possible exchange send jpeg scans to

I'll be back in several days with bookplates of notable people for possible exchange.


Tuesday, August 01, 2017

The Wonders of the Internet

Shortly after I wrote about Charles Frederick Blank I received this email.


Hello.... enjoyed your blog on particular the obit. for Charles Blank and the Blank signed Bookplate proof....

I am a barbershop collector and have in my collection the original art work grouping leading to the bookplate.
However I still have yet to find an actual bookplate... 

So in the event you ever run across another of these plates I would be interested in acquiring it... I even talked with Charles Blanks grandson in hopes of getting one from him..but he would not sell his extra plate.

Chief Mike

a little about me..

Shaving Kit engraved by Charles F. Blank
Note from Lew
 I contacted Spencer Frazee Charles Blank's great grandson and he was very helpful in sharing information with me.
He has  an excellent Face Book page with many images of bookplates.

He also sent this scanned photo of his great grand father.
Charles Blank

An email from Spencer Frazee


This may be interesting to you.   
Frederick C. Blank is buried less than 2 miles from my house in 
Rockville, CT.  I actually live in Tolland, CT, but it's still less than
 2 miles away.  I've since bleached his stone and tidied up the 
grave site.  Link below includes photos and a little background.

Mystery Bookplate

If you recognize this bookplate please contact me.


I saw your awesome blog and thought you might like to see this do you know anything about Shoji?

.PS. it is in a 1936 book on Japanese woodblock prints by P. Neville Barnett which is also cool.

Sean Blanchet


The Smithsonian has a very impressive digitized research tool.
Here is the link for bookplates.  This site should be bookmarked.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Two Dumpster Tales

New York Times Obituary for Frederick C. Blank -1942

Mr. Blank's bookplate from The Richard Schimmelpfeng Collection

The One That Got Away

I am not exactly sure exactly what year I became infected with bookplaticitis. I assume it was in the early 1980's. 
By then Frederick Charles Blank had been dead around forty years.
At the time I was selling advertising space for a trade publication so I was a firm believer in the power of advertising. I placed an ad  in The Antique Trader  and was quickly contacted by a dealer who had about six hundred items relating to Mr. Blank . They included correspondence between him and King Gillette about a proposed bookplate. along with sketches.
The dealer explained that a picker found the items in a dumpster and the asking price was $125.00. Unfortunately, I had no idea who Charles F. Blank was and I declined the offer. Several days later I found out that I made a big mistake and contacted the dealer. You guessed it. By then the lot had been sold.

The One That Didn't Get Away

In 2010 a real estate broker called to tell me that he sold a house in which a bookplate collection had been stored in the attic.The new owner threw everything into a dumpster and the broker contacted me.
I bought the collection from him  without hesitation. The most significant item in the collection was this Charlie Chaplin bookplate.

Here is a detailed inventory of the collection. The original owner was Katherine C. Bartholomew.

Mystery Bookplates

Dear Mr. Jaffe,

I received an inquiry regarding the bookplate of Robert Hoe, and your name was referred to me as someone who might be able to proffer some assistance or opinions. 
One of our members recently acquired a book bearing the blue bookplate of Robert Hoe, which differs from (but is quite similar to) his red bookplate.  The red bookplate I am familiar with, but the blue one I have never seen before.  The question is, do you know if the blue bookplate is a variant of the red, or if it could be the bookplate of his son, Robert Hoe III?
I have attached photographs of both bookplates herewith.  Any thoughts you might have on the matter would be greatly appreciated.

With my best regards,


Sophia Dahab, MLIS
Assistant Librarian
The Grolier Club
47 East 60th Street
New York, NY 10022
Phone: 212-838-6690

This title page was sent by Tom Boss .

7/19/2017 Fellow collector  Richard Cady  sent the following message:

 I think both your plates are Robert Hoe's.

Grolier Club members at around the turn of the century often had their leather bookplates printed in varying colored leathers as well as on paper.  And there are some design variants.  I have three Hoe plates - one reddish, one brown, one blue. In my own collection Cortland Bishop had at least three - green, red and blue.  William L. Clements four, Barton Currie two, Ernest Gee two, Frank Hogan five, Pierpont Morgan two, W. Van R. Whitall two, John Camp Williams three (diamond shaped), and assume this is just the tip of the iceberg.  RHC

Hats off to Stephen Fowler, owner of The Monkey Paw Bookshop in Toronto
In this day of diminishing antiquarian book shops Mr. Fowler figured out a way to
get customers from all over the world .

Monday, July 10, 2017

More Recent Arrivals

Jeffrey Price has a new wood block bookplate engraved by Andy English.
I asked him to write something about his new plate and this is his response:

It started with the idea of  referencing M. C. Escher’s artwork and including my own Latin motto. I enjoy the phrase ‘Seek the Extraordinary,’  and the closest Latin translation of that is ‘Quaerite Singulari.’ I used ‘Ex Collectione’ rather than ‘Ex Libris’ for flexibility, thinking that I may put it on the back of a picture from my gallery, a book from my collection, or perhaps exchange it with other collectors..
     Both Andy and I are fans of Escher’s work, especially his 1931 series of  woodcuts titled ‘XXIV Emblemata.’ Emblemata prints have a history going back hundreds of years. Their function was to educate by illustrating a moral lesson or motto with a memorable picture, often created in woodcut. The design Andy created has its roots in an Emblemata print of a sundial, in which the transience of time is shown by a passing shadow. But a fortune-teller’s crystal ball sees the future, and I am indebted to good fortune. 

Andy even crafted a reflection of Artists’ Market in this sphere, and you can even make out the number 163 of our address in the image. The tiles are engraved like Escher’s, and the garden is 100% Andy English. Andy cut his initials into the block in Escher’s style, tying  everything together quite neatly.

Jeffrey Price                                     

Artists' Market Inc.
The Artists' Bookplate Museum
163 Main Street
Norwalk, CT 06851 USA                   

Here are a few recent additions to my collection

By way of explanation I purchase bookplates that fit into themes that have  some weird appeal to me.

                       Severed Heads

For quite some time I have been fascinated by bookplates with severed heads and exposed brain matter. I call it my Donovan's Brain collection.
If you are turned off by this topic do not click onto this memorable link from the movie
  Underwater awakening

If you want similar bookplates from your own collection added to this posting send jpeg scans to

This bookplate was designed by Roberto Buonacconsi
I see no artist's signature on this plate but the previous owner noted that it was done by Pavel Simon
This bookplate shown above is a gift from fellow collector James Keenan.
It was etched by Matthew Collins

Okay, this is not a bookplate. It is a magazine cover which reflects my own fears about our current president - his misguided , and very muddled mindset.
As a nation we survived the civil war , two world wars and the great depression
 Hopefully we will also survive this very sad turn of events .

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Bookplate Odds and Ends 6/29/2017

Links worth Perusing

The American Antiquarian Society has an Instagram site .
Lots of interesting bookplates I've never seen before.
You can view it on your computer.

The Luna Image Collection from Washington University in St. Louis should be bookmarked. It is an excellent digital bookplate resource.

Three Mystery Bookplates
Send your Mystery Bookplate scans and answers to inquiries to

Hi Lew -

Thanks for getting back to me and offering to help me sort this out -- I would be most grateful if you were to post something on your blog or otherwise point me in the right direction. (However limited your knowledge of Russian bookplates may be, I can assure you that mine is far more limited!)
This is what I have figured out so far...

The translation says:

"From the books of Б. М. Тенин." 

The foreground graphic is obviously Shakespeare's portrait with  a quote from Hamlet, Act 1 scene 5, lines 190-1: 
"The time is out of joint. O cursèd spite / That ever I was born to set it right!"

From what I have gleaned, Boris Mihaylovich Tenin (Б. М. Тенин) was a famous Soviet actor born in 1905. In addition to his work on stage, film, and television, he was quite a bibliophile and collected bookplates. I found -- and have attached -- a picture of Tenin in his library, with what appear to be some bookplate designs, one of which also seems to have Shakespeare's portrait. I can't read Russian, so I have no idea what the text says. I've asked my daughter, who is more adept with computers and research, to try to figure it out.

As for this particular bookplate, I have no idea who the artist that designed (and signed) it is, nor where this particular bookplate came from. It was given to my daughter as a gift over a decade ago. Any help or advice you can give would be most appreciated.


Hi Lew,
          Any idea who this artist may be? LBM are the initials but I have no idea.



I suspect this was an honorarium plate for Fidel Castro. It may be a Russian Plate.  Your input would be appreciated. Thanks,

Recent Additions To My Collection

Send scans of  recent additions to your collection to

In 1945 Ernest Morgan , the president of Antioch Bookplate Co. sent this letter to
Louis Henry Cohn , the owner of House of Books Ltd. in New York City.

Here is one of the Lynd Ward Proofs

By way of comparison shown below is one of the printed bookplates.

Here is another proof

Lewis Henry Cohn's bookplate was designed by his friend Ernest Hemingway

"Ernest Hemingway,
autograph inscription and bookplate [n.d.]
Original autograph text by Ernest Hemingway used for design of a Cohn bookplate, includes autograph notes on scale and line cut for the printed bookplate. The Hemingway autograph was written on the verso of Hotel Brevoort (New York) stationery."

Email Received 8/31/2017

Hi Lew,

I was at your Blog looking around (talk about time bandits! :-))  and saw your entry for the Capt. Cohn Hemingway bookplate.  Bob suggested I send you this scan of our copy of Cohn's Hemingway bibliography inscribed by Margie Cohn and with the bookplate.

A little back story...Bob bought his first "collectible" book from Margie in 1959.  He purchased a Fitzgerald and, unknown to Margie, was only 14 years old at the time.  He mowed lawns and sent her money orders until it was paid off.  They became friends over the years and in addition we became close friends with the Faulkner collector, Carl Petersen.  Margie and Carl were very close and he thought of her as a second mother.  The four of us would go to dinner when in New York and when she was in Chicago visiting Carl.  This is getting wordy but I wanted to explain the import of the date of the inscription.  Bob and I were married May 4, 1974, we stayed that night in Chicago and went to New York the next day. May 6 we spent in New York with Margie. We went to dinner and then to her apartment where she showed us marvelous Hemingway books (what has always stuck in my mind was the large T. S. Eliot self-portrait framed above her sofa).  That evening she gave us this book with bookplate and inscribed it to us.  That is why she is wishing us "much happiness."

Sometimes a bookplate is more than a bookplate.

Best regards,


-- The Colophon Book Shop, ABAA, ILAB
Robert & Christine Liska
P O Box 1052
Exeter, NH  03833
Street: 101B Water St
Exeter, NH 03833
(603) 772-8443 
established 1971 
I got the Lockett plate on Ebay. It just strikes my fancy.

Friday, June 09, 2017

A Win-Win No Brainer for Amazon or Barnes and Noble

"Be on the lookout for a train with 10 subway cars that have been covered in bright blue, purple, green, orange and yellow.
The train — which is alternating between the E and F lines in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens — is decorated with the words “SUBWAY LIBRARY.”
Inside those 10 cars, the seats resemble books on a shelf.
Beginning today, the Subway Library will offer commuters six weeks of free downloadable books from the city’s public libraries.
But you don’t need to be in a library car to take advantage. When you enter a subway station, connect to the Transit Wireless WiFi network available at all underground stations. When you’ve logged on, you’ll see a prompt for, and — voilà — you can start browsing and downloading books, short stories, chapters and excerpts donated by publishers to the New York Public Library. The New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, Queens Library, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Transit Wireless created the project.
“It used to be that you were ‘unplugged’ on the subway, and even though you’re connecting to the wireless now, you’ll still have the sense of being unplugged when reading books,” said Lynn Lobash, manager of reader services for the New York Public Library. “It’s a lot different than the frantic sense of checking your email or being on Twitter.”
You’ll find short reads curated for the quick commutes, and long reads for the farther destinations or delayed rides. You can explore New York stories, children’s titles, young-adult novels or new releases in the “New and Noteworthy” category."CC "

This article was copied from The New York Times 6/9/2017
Note From Lew- What an innovative , thoughtful idea.
Hopefully other cities will offer similar services , maybe some will even have "real books" Personally I would be pleased to pay an extra fare to ride in a library car with real books and a librarian.
If you are so inclined  send this on to your local transit system. 
 I am going to send a copy of this posting to the marketing director at Amazon. It seems like it would be a win -win no brainer for them.

 In the golden era of railroad transportation library cars flourished.
Here are two examples of bookplates used in railroad cars.
"The Atalanta was a private  railroad car built  for Jay Gould, a noted financier and owner of several railroads. It was built in 1888 to Gould's specifications and was named the "Atalanta". The car had four staterooms, two observation rooms, two baths, an office, a kitchen, a dining area, and a butler's pantry. Only the finest materials were used. Upon Gould's death, ownership of the car fell to his son George Jay Gould who was also a railroad president. The car remained in the Gould family until the 1930s. It was then used as a private residence during the Texas oil boom until finally coming to Jefferson Hotel in 1954. Today it is a tourist attraction in Jefferson Texas". 
I suspect the bookplate was designed in the 1930s.

In 1901 The Alton Road (railroad) hired J.W.Spenceley to engrave the bookplate shown above.
In writing about this subject in the Journal Of Library History (vol15,No.4) Phillip Metzger mentions that During the 1850's and 1860's , railroads began heavy competition for first class passengers and that the development of the "vestibule" or flexible covered connection between cars made it safe for passengers to move about the train. Railroads began attaching parlor cars to their crack trains and the parlor car shortly thereafter became the " library -buffet smoker car".
"The Chicago and Alton(C&A) traced it's roots back to 1846, eventually developing a triangular route between Chicago, St . Louis, and Kansas City.The C& A also carried President Lincoln's body on the final leg of it's journey to Springfield. In 1900 The Alton Limited was probably the premier train of the ten or eleven the C&A ran daily, leaving Chicago every morning at 11 A.M. and arriving in St. Louis at 4:30 P.M."
If you plan to be in New Zealand before July 5th you might wish to see this bookplate exhibit.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Bookplate News and Events

Fellow book and bookplate collector Jerry Morris send me  his new bookplate and I asked him to send me a brief description. Here is his response.

Back in February 2013, I wrote a blog post 
On Selecting a Bookplate For My Library .
 Recently, I asked a friend to make two copies of Bookplate #4 for me.  I was donating two books, Four Oaks Farm and Four Oaks Library, from my Mary Hyde Collection for the silent auction at the upcoming Florida Bibliophile Society Banquet in May, and I wanted to paste the bookplates in them.
This friend, Charles Brown, the President of the Florida Bibliophile Society, makes exquisite bookplates for our guest speakers; but instead of merely making copies of my bookplate, Charles improved upon it .
I liked it so much that I had 100 copies made for the other books in my Mary Hyde Collection.

Jerry Morris

Piggy Go Fetch My Book
Shown above is one of my favorite plates by William Fowler Hopson
If you are near New Haven Connecticut before October 6th you should
visit the Hopson Exhibit at Yale.

" From his home on New Haven’s Whitney Avenue, William Fowler Hopson catered to a growing marketplace that sought out individualized, personal bookplates. Hopson’s process realizing his 201 bookplate commissions—preserved in correspondence, sketches, and corrected trial proofs—demonstrates his commitment to encapsulating his patrons’ identities.
This exhibition in the Sterling Memorial Library exhibits corridor, features Hopson’s artistic materials and personal papers, part of the Yale Bookplate Collection and Yale’s Manuscripts and Archives, to elucidate the process of inventing, negotiating, and printing bookplate designs in their golden age. Ultimately, Hopson’s clients commissioned bookplates with artistic representations that were emblematic of their familial, personal, and communal contributions. By tracing the claims made through these commissions, we gain unique insight into some of the social standards and aspirations at the turn of the twentieth century in America."

DON'T Procrastinate
The contest is almost over

The contest is easy.
 Just create a caption for the bookplate ,shown below.

The rules are simple .
Only one submission per person The judges (Lew and Mary Jaffe) will delete any submissions in poor taste.

All submissions must be received by Midnight (E.S.T) May 30,2017 

The winner will receive a copy of John Grisham's upcoming new thriller about the antiquarian book trade , Camino Island

Send Your Submissions to