Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mac Harshberger/Visiting the Twilight Zone in Boston

These bookplates are by Mac Harshberger . It is always great fun to learn about someone with talent about whom you previously knew nothing. Here are some other images of his artwork along with background information about him..

I will be heading into the twilight zone this week , revisiting some places that have managed to resist change for many decades.
My ultimate destination is the book show in Braintree Mass. on Saturday May 2nd.
Tom Boss has set aside some original artwork by Mac Harshberger which I am tempted to buy.

Here are some of my special stops along the way:

The Busy Bee Diner in Brookline , Mass..

I always expect Rosie the waitress to take my order.

The food is exceptional and Thursday nights they serve a New England Boiled Dinner

The Brattle Bookshop in Boston
This shop was established in 1825 .
If you plan to visit go on a clear day as they put many one dollar and three dollar books in carts on the vacant lot next to the store .

I am too antsy this morning to sit at the keyboard and its a beautiful spring day so this entry is somewhat brief.I will try to add to it later in the day.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

African American Bookplates

Countee Cullen (1903-1946 ) was an American poet. Here is a link to some biographical information about him:

I do not know with absolute certainty that Robert Hughes is African American.

Let me explain that it was sold to me by an established bookseller who mentioned that Robert Hughes was a black playwright. Searching Google has led me to the Australian writer of the same name but none of his wives are named Amy. The plate was done by Leonard Baskin. Charles L. Blockson is a book collector/educator who was a pioneer in building a library of African-American literature which is now housed at Temple University
Here is a link to their site:

I have been unable to find any information about Reverend David C. Austin.

Paul Winfield (1942-2004) was an African American actor who received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of a fiercely proud sharecropper in the movie Sounder. His Antioch Publishing bookplate was designed by Rockwell Kent

Consider this a seed planting. I have put forth five (maybe four ) African American bookplates . Send me scans of any others in your collections along with any biographical information you might have and I will add them to this posting.
See you next week.

A fellow collector sent these names of African Americans who used bookplates.
E.Franklin Frazier
William L. Dawson
Lewis Latimer
C.B. Powell
Jane D. Shackelford
Arthur Schomburg (two versions)
Charles H. Wesley

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Unidentified Bookplates

Evey once and a while I check to see how this blog is growing and here is an overview.On average, one hundred people visit the site everyday. That number has been fairly constant. Most of the hits come from Google searches plus links from related websites and blogs. In addition, seventy people subscribe via Feed Burner and their competitors.That is the number that impresses me because it has grown so rapidly.The greatest percentage of viewers are from the U.S. followed by the U. K. and Canada.

I have accumulated a good many bookplates that remain unidentified even though the artist's signatures are visible. If you recognize any of these please let me hear from you. If you also have unknown items in your collection send me a scan and I will try to include them in a future posting. With the power of the Internet this could be of great value in speeding up the identification of puzzling bookplates.

The plate is for Wilfrid M.Langdon


The link above will take you to an excellent site to see what people are collecting in addition to bookplates. It is well researched and very enjoyable.
See you next week.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Harold Berliner /Claude Lovat Fraser

An illustration from The Bookplate Designs Of Claud Lovat Fraser by Brian North Lee , printed by Harold Berliner
One of the joys of this strange hobby is exchanging duplicates with complete strangers who become "bookplate friends" . I received these plates from Harold Berliner , a retired lawyer and an accomplished printer. His bookplates were designed over forty years ago by Clemens Schmidt. The symbols on both reflect his interest in Christianity, bookmaking and the law.

After obtaining a copy of his private press book The Bookplate Designs Of Claud Lovat Fraser

I wrote to him and asked for a brief biography. Here is what he sent:

"A short life story. I have printed since age 16, in San Francisco. 1944-45 printed at Notre Dame where I graduated from Law School. From 1946 onward I printed in Nevada City. From 1946 to about 3 years ago, practiced law from Nevada City including 17 years as Nevada County District Attorney. My interests were consumer protection and the environment, mostly dealing with subdivided lands. At nearly 86, slowing down in printing, but will begin selling again in a month or so. The Lovatt Fraser book at $57 is not subject to discount and is available. My web site is

I have a Chandler & Price open press, a large (about 20 x 35) Heidelberg and a few windmills, all in good working condition. "

The book is a delight and I am glad to have a copy in my library.

I picked up two interesting bookplates this week .The Harold Wright Hack plate was designed by Margaret Neilson Armstrong (1867-1944) whose decorative book covers are highly collectible. The Youth's Companion Magazine plate has the initials FD which means the artist may have been Francis Delehanty .

Looking at links takes time so I usually try to include only one per week . I have seen so many good ones recently that I decided to list three of them with brief descriptions.

Charles Ellwood Jones began a project to catalog the bookplates of scholars in ancient studies and has updated it on a regular basis.

Larry T. Nix is a library buff and has written about the Antioch Bookplate Company and its founder Ernest Morgan

Chuck Whiting has a great blog about bookish ephemera.

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