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.

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