Saturday, August 16, 2008

Frequently Asked Questions About Bookplates

Display of small bookplates in a nine pocket sheet.Click on images to enlarge
The Charles Rosen bookplate was submitted by Johnny Dale. Submissions are always appreciated.

Three universal bookplates designed by Diana Sudyka

Frequently Asked Questions

"I'm a new member of the Bookplate Society. In reading my first newsletter, I read about you and your blog-- what a treasure trove!! I am very new to this fascinating world of bookplates. I came across a recent Barnes & Noble publications book about them quite by accident at an antiquarian bookseller's in Chicago a couple of years ago. Around that time, too, I read a biography of the 18th C engraver Thomas Bewick..... Inspired by the beautiful designs in the bookplate book and by what I learned about wood engraving in the Bewick book, I commissioned a local Michigan wood engraver to create bookplates for my two sons. Since that time, I have learned that there is a very active world of collectors and have purchased 4 plates on ebay..... Including the bookplate enclosed as a gift with the Bookplate Society, that brings my collection to a big 5 plates, 7 if I include stolen plates from my sons!!

I'm curious: how do you organize and store your bookplates?

Almost every collector I know has a unique way of storing and displaying bookplates. I buy Ultra-Pro archival loose leaf sheets at a local stamp and coin shop.They come in four pocket , two pocket, and nine pocket sizes(see image on top) . Into each pocket I insert acid free paper so that I can display bookplates on each side of the page. The Ultra Pro website is

As to organizing that is an ongoing process. I have as the collection has grown purchased many loose leaf albums. Parts of the collection are sorted by artist, themes, dates of usage etc

I'm also wondering if you could suggest a book or series of books that I might study to better understand the history of bookplates."

There are so many books to choose from but here are the ones I use most frequently :

American Bookplates by William E. Butler

Rockwell Kent, The Art Of The Bookplate by Don Roberts

American Bookplates by Charles Dexter Allen

A Treasury Of Bookplates From The Renaissance To The Present by Fridolf Johnson

The Fridolf Johnson book is an inexpensive Dover book and that is the one I recommend you purchase first.

This email was sent to me and with the writer's permission I have reproduced most of it so that I can share the information with those of you who have similar questions.One more thing I might mention is to find a local hand bookbinder.They often hold onto old bookplates and are often pleased to sell them to collectors who contact them.
Next weekend I will be at Papermania in Hartford and the blog will probably be updated after I return on Monday.

Here is a link to an excellent blog posting by Charles Ellwood Jones about the bookplates used by scholars in ancient studies.

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