Monday, July 31, 2006


CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE These are some of my favorite bookseller labels.I know a little about some of them and will insert whatever information I can .If you have additional information or want to enter the contest you can either post a comment or send an email to Bookplatemaven AT HOTMAIL DOT COM

John Brady - Baltimore around 1824
J.P.Parke - sold medical books in Philadelphia around 1840
Vandenhoeck/Richmond- London

Paul Elder- Jim Lewis was kind enough to send me the following information: "The bookplate for
Paul Elder is for his bookshop in San Francisco.As I recall, he had two shops, both designed by Bernard Maybeck.
The first went down in 1906, and then Maybeck designed a second establishment after the fire was out. Elder had a publishing program and a lot of his books were printed by John Henry Nash,who also did printing for William A. Clark and Hearst."
If you go to and then click on "what is tomoye " you will find additional information about Paul Elder's labels.

By way of explanation , every morning I check my ratings at and am pleased to say my blog ranking is now 288,014 . At the same time, I check to see who else has made blog entries about exlibris.
This morning, I found a blog entry in Cyrillic which did not pertain to bookplates but did have an amusing picture of a pussy cat aiming a rifle. I have posted the image(scroll down to To Put A Smile On Your Face) .
I can not relocate the Russian site so my sincere apologies to the site owner.

To enter the contest send me a caption for the photo. The contest will end at midnight August 31st and the winner will receive a copy of The Art Of The Bookplate by James Keenan.

I will be posting all kinds of labels from booksellers, printers , bookbinders and others throughout the day.

If this subject interests you, the following link is a delight:


To Put A Smile On Your Face

Posted by PicasaMarina Terauds,one of the finest contemporary bookplate designers was kind enough to translate the caption .It says Take it, Mutt .

Friday, July 28, 2006

Rats, Gnats And Light Bulbs

The Textile Museum in Washington D.C. is exhibiting
28 rarely seen items from their permanent collection.
Many of the items shown were acquired by the museum's
founder , George Hewitt Myers and you can click on the link
below for details. - The First Art Newspaper on the Net

Mr. Myers had a very interesting bookplate etched by
Livia Kadar (1894-1985). She was originally from Hungary
and settled in the U.S. I do not know of any other bookplates she designed.

Click on Images to Enlarge

Several days ago I wrote about rabbits on bookplates. Trish, one of my readers wrote to tell me that she was fond of rodents and did I know of any bookplates with mice or rats.Well Trish it just so happens I found one .It was designed by the American wood engraver Richard E. Horton in 1990 for a collector(of bookplates).
If I find any others I will post them.

This got me to thinking about other critters one does not usually associate with bookplates and I will be adding images throughout the week.

Gnats: The image is actually that of a mite, Sarcoptes Scabei , which causes Scabies. Reuben Friedman wrote about Napoleon's battle with the affliction in The Emperor's Itch .

Light Bulbs: When I was a kid, Dick Tracy, in the Sunday comics had a wristwatch telephone . The concept was so futuristic that most people did not think they would see such a device in their lifetime. Now things well beyond wristwatch communicators are readily available and our sense of wonderment has been dulled by the speed of progress.

I mention that because there was a time when the light bulb was an object of awe. So much so , that they were depicted in bookplates. Two examples are illustrated . Both were done in the 1890's

E. D. French engraved the Connell plate in 1897 and Thomas Erat Harrison designed the Electrical Standardizing Testing And Training Institution plate in 1891.

Do click on the image to enlarge it as the detail on both is remarkable.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Japanese Bookplate Blog

Click On Image To Enlarge
Yahoo!??? - ?????? Link To Japanese Blog

I tend to write about, and collect bookplates from America but there is far more interest in bookplates throughout Asia and Europe then there is here in the states. Several days ago I wrote about a Chinese bookplate site and just this morning I discovered a Japanese bookplate blog.

Click on the link above and clck away in the column on the left side when you get there. The text is in Japanese but the site contains many images of contemporary bookplates, from Europe and Japan

There is an excellent book about Japanese bookplates , EXLIBRIS JAPAN by Cliff Parfit, an English collector who lived in Japan for many years. It is very well illustrated and I assume it can be tracked down on ABE

If any Japanese collectors read this posting and wish to exchange duplicates with American collectors I would be glad to include your contact information .

The image at the top of the blog comes from the 1939 YearBook Of The American Society Of Bookplate Collectors And Designers

That's all for today.

Whoops-It's Sunday morning and I just noticed a charming bookplate on Ebay which amused me.I've added the Puss N Boots scan (opus #129 by Kapy Tarus) because it reinforces what I was trying to convey last night.This plate appears to come from Turkey.If I am incorrect, please let me know.There is a great deal of creative energy in bookplate design, all over the world, that needs to be publicized.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Library Bookplates,Bookseller's Labels and The Heraldry of Fish

Click On Images To Enlarge

Click On Images To Enlarge

Click On Images To Enlarge Right now, you are looking at some interesting pictures along with whatever information I currently have. As people contact me and I do more research, additional information will be added. Your input is encouraged and appreciated.This is really a work in progress. Bits and pieces will be added throughout the day.

Bookseller's Labels And Bookbinder's Tickets

Now the dirty little secret is out , for all the world to see. Many booksellers are closet collector's of bookseller's labels.The compulsion to save these tiny graphic gems is known only by their most trusted friends .

In 1986 , Larry Dingman published a charming book on the subject, Booksellers Marks.
I assume it can still be found on ABE .

There is also a website for you to see: Http:// When you get there click on the Gallery of Book Trade Labels.

Here is an interesting site with Bookbinders Tickets Http://

J. Francis Ruggles YEBIBLIOEXPERTO Bronson ,Michigan

My assumption is that Mr. Ruggles was in the book trade in the early 19oo's. I know he had a great sense of humor and gathering more information about him should be relatively easy.
What do you know about him?

Oliver Ditson Company Boston,Mass.

This bookstore and music publisher was started in 1836 and was still in operation in 1918 when they published Notes on Music in Old Boston by William Arms Fisher. My copy was purchased earlier this week and has not been read yet but it appears to be an excellent reference about the book and music trade in 18th century Boston.

The signed bookseller's label/bookplate within the book is most interesting .
Alma Gluck( 1884-1938) was a very famous opera singer who married Efrem Zimbalist the Violinist (1889-1985). They were the parents of Efrem Zimbalist. Jr. , the actor.

Several years ago I wrote to Efrem Zimbalist , Jr. explaining that I had the bookplates of both his parents and was hopeful that he also had a bookplate to add to my collection.
Most graciously, he took the time to send me a very warm and cherished letter.He does not use a bookplate.

Thomas Groom, Boston, Mass

They were in operation as early as 1835 and published The Boston Almanac


I have always liked the bookplates of circulating libraries . They tend to have interesting graphics. Several very well illustrated books on the subject are as follows:

A Book For A Sixpence by David Kaser
The Evergreen Tree Of Diabolical Knowledge by Davendra P. Varma
A History Of British Circulating Libraries by Charlotte A. Stewart-Murphy

S H Colesworthy Circulating Library

Samuel H. Colesworthy was a bookseller and publisher in Portland Maine in the 1830's and 40's
His book label was engraved by Cyrus A. Swett.

Farmington,Monthly Library

In Charles Dexter Allen's American Bookplates this is item #267. It is signed in the copper
M Bull's & T. Lee's Sculp.

Bell's Circulating Library

This establishment was within walking distance of my house. Later in the day I will go to Third St. to see if there are any historical markers. I know that Tom Paine worked there.

W. Aikman's Circulating Library

This is an rare item.The library was established in 1773 in Annapolis Maryland.

The Heraldry Of Fish

Learning about heraldry requires a discipline which I lack. I tend to favor bookplates that strike my fancy and many of them are armorial.

Several years ago I came upon a disbound copy of The Heraldry Of Fish by Thomas Moule. If someone felt the need to write a 250 page book on such an arcane subject, I felt a responsibility to preserve it .

Whenever I find bookplates that are in the heraldic fish category I tend to get them and read about them in my nicely rebound copy of Mr. Moule's book.

That's all for now.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bookplates From China

????????? (Link to Chinese site)

Bookplate collecting is very popular in China .
In 2000 , I attended a bookplate conference in Boston and only twenty one American collectors attended.
Twenty two collectors came all the way from China.

The link above will give you an overview of contemporary bookplate design from a variety of Chinese artists.
If you are a collector fromChina and wish to exchange duplicates with collectors from other countries send me your contact information and it will be posted on the site.
That's all for now.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Way Of The Buggy Whip-Bookplate Hunting In Bethlehem

Click On Images To Enlarge


Recently , I mentioned theme collecting in bookplates. The link above is about bookplates and microscopes.

Yesterday , I was on a pilgrimage to Bethlehem. My first stop was the Allentown Paper Show.The title for this posting , much as I hate to admit it, is appropriate. Many of the book and paper shows have seen better days and are in a downward spiral. Don't get me wrong.If they show I will come . Anyone afflicated with the collector gene loves the thrill of the hunt.
In addition, it's nice to meet up with kindred spirits several times a year.

Having said that, five years ago the show had 300 dealers and it's now down to 140. From a dealer's point of view there are more cost efficient ways to turn over merchandise quickly. Ebay and A.B.E are the "horseless carriages" of this decade and many of the book and paper shows will go the way of the buggy whip.

If you want to slow down the process, support your local shows.The next big East Coast show will be in Hartford Connecticut on August 26th and 27th. It's called Papermania and it's one of the best east coast shows. Their website is Http://

If you are in the Bethlehem area here are two really nice "old fashioned" bookshops to visit :

The Antique Room at the New Street Book Shop 515 North New Street. Evelyn Stravino, one of the proprietors has many albums of bookplates at home and will bring them to the store if you call her in advance.She can be reached at 610 868 6489

Old Library Bookshop 1419 Center St Http://
The owner's are very helpful and this is where I got the James Law bookplate that is illustrated above and described below. They have additional copies pasted in books.

Here is some information about three of the bookplates purchased yesterday.

James D. Law

I was able to get some background information at the Old Library Bookshop and will post additional information as it is received.
Mr. Law was born in Scotland and came to the U.S. sometime in the late 19th century.He was a poet and writer who befriended Walt Whitman. I just ordered one of his books, Here and There in Two Hemispheres When it arrives I hope to learn more about him and share it with you.

The plate's die cut scalloped edges and vivid colors are very unusual .

The Lotos Club

A very elite private literary club on east 66th street in New York City. It was founded in 1870 and Mark Twain was one of it's members. I know nothing about the bookplate's designer Thompson Willing but additional information will be posted as received.

Frederick Lucking

Mr. Lucking lived in Philadelphia and designed his own bookplate in 1909. If you look carefully at the coiled cobras you will see they are actually his initials. More biographical information will be posted as I unearth it.

That's all for tonight.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Bookplate Graveyard

The Bookplate Graveyard

The title for this posting was borrowed from a kindred spirit, a bookseller, whom I have never met. He has posted some of his favorite bookplates, Hollywood bookplates , and bookseller's labels at his site. If you click on the the title you will be able to locate them all and you might even find a book to buy.

I have always been interested in celebrity bookplates and a surprisingly large number of actors, and directors have used bookplates. In most instances, I will assume that the celebrities I have chosen will be recognized by by many of you who are visiting so biographical information will not be included.

Monday, July 10, 2006

WHO IS MR. (MRS.) Rebus ????

These two are WRETCHED EXCESS Click To Enlarge
Click On Image Mr. Rebus To Enlarge
Click On Image To Enlarge

Bookplates can offer a glimpse into the window of someone's mind. Sometimes; however, the shades are drawn.Such is the case with Mr.? Rebus. Was he a sadist out to torment future generations with his rebus name? There are a gazillion permutations and combinations.
Could he be the infamous Kingbush Smithy or his cousin Royaltree Anvil. Under magnification the date 1931 can be seen at the bottom of the plate along with two sets of initials ,M.C.C. and I.M.S
If any of you out there have any thoughts on whose bookplate this is , I would love to hear from you.

Here are two more puzzlers. D.McK.W had something to do with acting :Was he (she) a big time silent movie star or just a theatre groupie ? Perhaps a theatre buff with curiosity above and beyond the call of duty can help me out.

Finally, the unusual bookplate with the obscure reference to political prisoners and December 22,1923 . What is that all about?
The quotation cited at the bottom "The music crept by me upon the waters"originally came from Shakespeare's The Tempest . It was later incorporated by T.S. Eliot into chapter 3 "The Fire Sermon" in The Waste Land.
Update- Leslie in Louisiana has suggested the following:" Republican president Warren Harding ended the "RED SCARE" and released the last political prisoners"
That is a good lead to follow-up President Harding's term of office was 1921-1923 so the timing is right. Thank you Leslie.

Now you know as much as I do.Help me out and I will let everyone know how bright you are.

Let's end this posting by jumping from ciphers to a new collecting theme : Wretched Excess

Two entries have been posted and the pictures are enough. No words are needed.
Do you have any bookplate images you wish to add to this category. Send them to Bookplatemaven At Hotmail Dot Com

That's all for today.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Rockwell Kent,New Wife, New Bookplate

Click on Images To Enlarge

Click on images to enlarge

Click On Images to Enlarge

Click On Images To Enlarge

Most people today do not use bookplates, so for those of you who just stumbled upon this site it may come as a surprise to find out that some people have thirty or more bookplates.They are usually bookplate collectors who want to have a variety of items for exchange with other collectors .
I have used the same bookplate for ten years and and just recently commisioned a new Meerkat bookplate .

Today , I will focus on owners who have several bookplates which were used in their libraries.

Let's start with Charles William Beebe (1877-1962) the American ornithologist , explorer,and author. He had at least three bookplates that I know of and perhaps more .

The least attractive one was done by Sara B. Hill (18?-1950).

Stephen Vincent Benet, (1898-1943) , the American poet and author had a juvenile bookplate which was used around 1911 and at least one adult plate. The quotation on the adult plate is by William Butler Yates. The latin phrase on the juvenile plate translates as follows: Gentle in manner resolute in execution

Witter Bynner, (1881-1968), the American poet had two I know of.

Erle Stanley Gardner (1889-1970) American writer and lawyer best known for his Perry Mason stories, had two plates that I know about.

Rockwell Kent , (1882-1971) American writer , painter, illustrator had three bookplates, one for each marriage.The earliest plate (Kathleen and Rockwell) was done by his friend John Sloan
Ref. P.19 Rockwell Kent The Art of the bookplate

Gertrude Lawrence, (1902-1952) The English actress and singer had two bookplates. The first was probably designed in England in the 193o's and the second was used after her marriage to Richard Stoddard Aldrich.

Benito Mussolini ,(1883-1945) had two wood cut bookplates designed by Bruno da Osimo for use in his library.*

*Ref.p241 The world of Ex-Libris (vol.2) edited by Benoit Junod

Joseph Priestley ,(1733-1804), English clergyman and chemist who lived in America for many years. Among his many accomplishments he discovered the properties of Oxygen.

His armorial plate is listed in American Bookplates by Charles Dexter Allen ( #702 )

His pictorial plate by Josiah Allen is listed on page two in The Artists and Engravers of British and American Bookplates by H.W. Fincham

That's all for now.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Gipsy Pat Smith , The A Bomb, and Quarks

Click On Images To Enlarge

One of the joys of exploring old bookshops is finding boxes of ephemera.I often ask booksellers if they have a box of detached boards. Sometimes, great bookplates are attached to them.
In addition, I ask if they have oddball things that fell out of books. The blank check for Gipsy Pat Smith was one such find.I do not know much about him yet. He was a preacher in 1927 and this is going to be another research project.Perhaps, someone out there can send additional information.
Let me pose this question:Would you buy a used car from someone whose name was Gipsy Pat Smith?

The A -Bomb

Henry Avery chose a mushroom cloud for his bookplate. It seems like a reasonable assumption that the bomb was related to his profession. As additional information about him is discovered it will be posted.

Albert Einstein's bookplate was designed by Erich Buttner in Berlin around 1917.

It depicts man in the cosmos. This is not the kind of bookplate you will find in a box of loose boards.They rarely come up for sale and a price of several hundred dollars should be expected.

The Quark-

Murray Gell-Mann won the 1969 Nobel Prize in physics for his discovery of the quark, a fundamental building block of all known matter.He and Linda McManus designed the bookplate.

Several years ago I wrote to him and he most graciously responded with a bookplate.

Thats all for now-Your comments are always appreciated.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Fishing And Bookplates

Click on Images To Enlarge

Click On Images To Enlarge

In yesterday's post I mentioned themes in bookplate collecting. One very popular theme is fishing.

I will try to fill in as much as I know about the owners whose bookplates are illustrated on this page but it will be done slowly.Tonight,I will create the skeleton only and during the next few days more will be added. As always, your input is welcome and appreciated.

There is at least one book on the subject of fishing and bookplates: A Catalogue Of An Exhibition Of Angling Bookplates Forming The Collection Of Daniel B. Fearing, Neweport ,R.I published 1918 by The De Vinne Press.

John Simpson

I never had the pleasure of meeting John Simpson. He was a bookseller at Thomas Thorp and during his lifetime acquired a taste for angling books and exlibris.

His bookplate collection was sold at Bonhams on May 17th, 2005. He designed two bookplates for his angling library. The one illustrated above plus another. Both are illustrated at The Bookplate Society website and can be purchased inexpensively from the site.

Louis John Rhead (1857-1926)

The photo of Mr. Rhead comes from A Collection Of Bookplate Designs by Louis Rhead published by W. Porter Truesdell. He is best known as an art nouveau poster artist but was also a children's book illustrator, a bookbinder, bookplate artist and writer of angling books.

The example of his own bookplate, shown above is remarkable in several ways:

It is printed by Peter Platt*, on birch bark and inscribed to Oscar T. Blackburn**.

*Peter Platt was a master printer in New York whose client's included John Taylor Arms, and John Sloan .Perhaps one of my enthusiastic readers will send more information about him.

** Oscar Taylor Blackburn (1863-1956) was a bookplate engraver, a bookplate collector and an antiquarian bookseller. Ref p.54 American Bookplates by William E. Butler

The Butler book , mentioned above is an excellent reference .If you want to learn more about American bookplates in the twentieth century ,this is the book to purchase.

Update below added on 7/9/06

Dr.William Butler recently moved to the U.S. He has offered to sell copies of his book to any collectors who write to him at 155 Mt. Rock Road,Newville, Pa.17241

The book costs $30.00 pus postage.

F. Gray Griswold (1854-1937)

BIGTIME FISHERMAN and writer ,the picture on top right says it better than I can.

The Museum Of American Fly Fishing

Has one of the largest collections of books on fly fishing in the United States.It is located in Manchester , Vermont.

7/20/06 Update-Yoshi Akiyama, the collections manager at the museum sent me some additional information.The image on the bookplate comes from an engraving in the July 1859 issue of Harper's Magazine. The gentleman pictured is George Dawson (1813-1883)." He is considered by many to be the father of American fly fishing writing"

On another note:

Here are thre reliable and informative bookplate sites. You will find them helpful whether you are just starting or have been collecting for some time:

The Cyber Journal Of Heraldic Bookplates

The Art Of The Exlibris

ELG -A Good Place to buy bookplates

That's all for today.