Sunday, November 30, 2008

Clark Gable Was A Book Collector/Who wasMontgomery Major ?

Audrey Arellanes used to live near Hollywood and would come up with remarkable celebrity bookplates for exchanges. From what I recall Clark Gable had a very fine collection of books about fishing. According to Audrey's notes she originally got the Kathleen & Clark plate from Justin Turner who was Gable's attorney in the 1960's . Kathleen Gable was originally Clark Gable's dramatic coach. I got the later Gable plate from James Pepper in Santa Barbara, California. He tends to get celebrity libraries.

My educated guess is that Wilfrid M. Langdon is English. His plate was done in 1908 and the artist's initials are A.W. Does it look familiar to you ? I've scanned four unidentified plates today and your input would be appreciated.
There was a California poet with the name Bernice Long Wright. Perhaps this was her plate. Do any of you know the artist whose initials are R L (click on image to enlarge).
If you have unidentified bookplates send me a scan and I will try to assist you.The Reed bookplate is signed FZ. Can anyone identify the artist or the owner ?

I have scanned several unidentified bookplates and hope that one of you may know something about them. The Montgomery plate is signed Fox . Cursory Google searches were not very helpful.There is something hauntingly addictive about the image.I paid far too much to obtain it because I was drawn to it like a magnet.
Update 12/1/2008
Fellow bookplate enthusiast Jim Lewis sent me the following note:
"There was a Montgomery Major who was a big shot in the chess world sometime back...
Could that strange looking person in the plate be reaching for a chess piece just out of view ?"
I tend to focus on American and English bookplates but there are many active collectors in the rest of the world . The link below will give you access to bookplate news from around the world.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Special Edition, Turkeys in Washington

I want to wish you all a very pleasant Thanksgiving holiday.Take a moment to count your blessings even in theses troubled times. I am thankful to see the turkeys leaving the WhiteHouse
On a personal note,I am proud to announce that my grandson Harrison has been selected for the Obama transition team.
See you on Sunday.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Clutter In Bookplates

A. M. Pate, Jr. was a Fort Worth businessman and philanthropist. "Aggie" Pate was involved in many history related activities including the founding of the Pate Museum of Transportation and the Fort Worth Civil War Round Table. He had a strong interest in encouraging research and scholarship and supported a number of institutions of higher learning including Texas Christian University and Texas Wesleyan.
I am guessing that Bill and Betty Covington wanted to capture their lifestyle on a bookplate sometime in the 1930's . Perhaps clutter is not the right word to use as the plate is charming and certainly more enjoyable than the home movie they may also have made.

The most cluttered bookplate award goes to Sir Francis Fust. The information about him was copied directly from British Bookplates A Pictorial History* by Brian North Lee.
*If you are building a bookplate reference library this book should be in it.

Click on the image to enlarge A Cartoon which appeared in the March 5th, 1938 issue of The Saturday Review of Literature . It started me thinking about cluttered bookplates and was the inspiration for this week's posting.

That's about it for this week . If I can think of any thanksgiving bookplates I will add them later in the week.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Back From Boston,

Major decision of the day . Should I put this in with my punning plates or my Turtle plates ?

Second major decision of the day, should I open the business section of the paper to see how Paulson is pissing away my grand kid's money ?
The Reverend John Boddily was born in 1755 in Bristol England and came to America around 1795 to become the pastor of the 2nd Presbyterian Church in Newburyport Massachusetts . His plate is not listed in the standard reference books (Allen, Hamilton , Franks)and I believe it to be quite rare.
UPDATE- 11/19/20-08
Anthony Pincott was kind enough to send me the following additional information about John Boddily:
A discourse delivered by Daniel Dana at the interment of the Rev. John Boddily [microform] pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in Newburyport, who deceased Nov. 4, 1802, in his 48th year.
suggests that the IGI entry for John Boddily born Newburyport in 1755 is MISLEADING, and that this person IS TRULY the reverend.
has the following, probably quoted from A History of Newburyport, Mass by John James Currier (which might be worth looking up) :
The first two names were those of the Rev. Charles William Milton of Newbury and his friend the Rev. John Boddily of Newburyport, both of English birth, who prepared together for the Presbyterian ministry at Lady Selina Huntington's college.
John, s. Rev. John and Sarah, Sept. 16, 1795.
Joseph, s. Rev. John and Sarah, Aug. 18, 1801. CR5
Maty Gushing, d. Benjamin P. and Mary, Jan. 12, 1812.
Sarah, d. Rev. John and Sarah, Sept. 10, 1799. CR5
tells us that the IGI is apparently wrong also in regard to the place of Sarah’s birth
1851.- WILLIAM COOMBS WHEELWRIGHT was lost at sea,
9 September, 1854, aged 25. He was son of Ebenezer and
Sarah (Boddily) Wheelwright, and was born in Portsmouth,
N.H., 13 December, 1829. His grandparents, on his father's
side, were Ebenezer Wheelwright (born in Gloucester), and
Anne (born at Newburyport), daughter of William Coombs.
On his maternal line, his grandfather, John Boddily, was born
in England, probably in 1760. His grandmother, Sarah
(Tuckmell) Boddily, was born in Bristol, Eng., or, at least,
came from that place.

I cannot find in the IGI either the birth or marriage of a Sarah Tuckmell. Nor is there a record at Newburyport (below) of her marriage, which was therefore perhaps in England. Various churches (eg Quakers) have refused to participate in the IGI.

All we find is:

Benjamin Peach, and Mary Cushing, Mar. 24, 1809.*
Elizabeth Peach, and Capt. James Cummings, Apr. 17, 1810.*
Sarah, and Ebenezer Wheelwright of Portsmouh, NH, Jan. 21, 1823.*
Susanna, and Paul Noyes, jr., Jan. 2, 1806.*

The pictorial bookplate has the motto DEUS EST AMOR and shows a bird [Noah’s dove] bearing a [olive] branch and finding new land, which is appropriately symbolic for Rev. Boddily’s transfer to America. Was this bookplate engraved by its owner ?

I returned from the Boston book and ephemera shows last night with a smile on my face. Some of my most interesting finds are included in this posting.The copy below was provided by the dealer who sold the plate ( click on the image to enlarge). The part about William Bradford having printed the plate is wishful thinking at best.

When I soaked off the plate from the detached board the paper scrap below was under the leather binding.

Here is an excellent site with more biographical information about Joshua Maddox Wallace and his descendants

Scrap of paper found under leather binding. The next time you chat with your bookbinder ask him (or her) what interesting things he has found under leather bindings. A binder I used to use found some 16th or 17th century playing cards under a binding.

Marty Weil publishes an excellent ephemera blog which I try to read on a regular basis.He was kind enough to mention my blog several days ago .One good turn deserves another.Here is a link:

That's all for now. See you next week.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

YouTube - Goodbye to Alex a gifted parrot

CLICK on the words below to see Alex in action
YouTube - Goodbye to Alex a gifted parrot

In Memory Of Alex

I purchased a book for Mary which I intend to read on the train to Boston. It is about a thirty year experiment and love affair with a Parrot who was smarter than most of our outgoing elected officials. " On September 6, 2007, an African Grey Parrot named Alex died prematurely at age thirty one. His last words to his owner Irene Pepperberg, were You be good.I love You."
Dr.Emil August Göldi's biographical information can be seen at this site:

This bookplate for Dr. J.P. de Vos is combination etching and dry point ( C3/4)
by Elly de Koster. Here is a direct link to her website:

I have not been in touch with Reva Kern for several years. Here is an article she wrote about the technique used in creating Henri Kuhn's bookplate.
As I mentioned previously I will be in Boston next weekend for a book show and an ephemera show.
The blog will be updated on MondayNovember 20th when I return.

This video did not transmit properly but I have posted several others at the top of the page.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

From Mussolini To Baseball To Tom Mix

I am not much of a sports fan and always felt a bit awkward when new customers would talk about sports at lunchtime. It's a male bonding thing that I never learned. Having said that, it was very easy to get caught up in all the excitement last week when Philadelphia finally won the world series. It seems like the right time to start off with some baseball ephemera. The engraved bookplate is by A. N. Macdonald and the trade card is for the Briggs Piano Co. of Boston (circa 1888)
Last night we set the clocks back one hour. When I was very young my parents explained that this was done so that the farmers would have an extra hour to plant.This never made sense to me then and still doesn't. Why don't the farmers get up an hour earlier to plant?
Some day I would like to write a book about the bookplates used by famous people. My life is full of "some days" so it may never happen but here is a small group of the M's .
If You Click On Any Image It Will Enlarge

A word about Tom Mix for those of you who never heard of him. He was among other things a movie actor . In the late 1940's every weekday afternoon I would listen to The Tom Mix radio show. It never occurred to me until just now that he was already dead and gone . His bookplate is quite distinctive.
Note I just started to read about Tom Mix on and spotted the following:
"Around this time, the Ralston Purina Company of St. Louis negotiated a deal with Mix to use his name and character for a new radio show, and 'The Tom Mix Ralston Straight Shooters' first hit the airwaves in September, 1933 over NBC. Mix was never a participant in the broadcasts --- the TM-Bar Ranch was the setting for the radio series with Ralston peddling their cereal products from 'Checkerboard Square'. For much of its run, the program was a 15 minute serial adventure, running Monday through Friday around 5:00 p.m. along with other quarter hour adventures such as 'Captain Midnight' and 'Jack Armstrong'. It went off the air for a year during WW2 but returned over the Mutual Broadcasting Network, in 15 and 30 minute versions, with Curley Bradley in the role of Tom Mix. The show ended in 1950"

I bought the Mountbatten plate last week. He has at least one other plate.

Each week, I try to include at least one bookish link of interest. Steven Wurth, a bookseller in upstate New York has a a very informative blog which I am currently reading.
See you next week.