Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Search for Cleon

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Several weeks ago when I asked for information about the artist Cleon who designed the bookplate for Chester Odiorne Swain,Tom Boss called to say he had seen some book jackets designed by an artist with that name in Jackets Required . Sure enough there were four pages with illustrations.

One of these is signed Cleon and one is signed Cleonike. Cleon also illustrated the dust jacket for A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway and Swan Song by John Galsworthy

Over at the Ask Art site I found the following biographical information:

"Born in Berkeley, CA on March 1, 1895. Damianakes studied at UC. After her marriage to Richard Oliver in 1924, she lived in Hollywood. By 1940 she was in NYC and by the 1960s she had wed Ralph Wilkins. She died in Berkeley on Aug. 27, 1979. Member: Chicago and Calif. Societies of Etchers; SFAA. In: Berkeley High School Auditorium (murals); AIC; Toronto Museum"

The real treasure trove showed up at the Flickr site. Lexecon has posted many examples of the art by her great aunt Cleon. Here is a link:

In several weeks I will be writing about bookplates with caricatures. If you have any in your collection I would appreciate a scan. Send it to

Since one good turn deserves another here is a link to Tom Boss . He has the dubious distinction of being the only full time living bookplate dealer in America.

Tom can help you obtain bookplates by topics as well as artists . They make a nice framed grouping for a special present.

See you next Sunday.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Random Thoughts On A Sunday Morning.

William Hammatt Simmons (1884-1949) did at least 20 bookplates. Here are two examples.

The Henry F. Nutt punning plate is by Samuel Hollyer. For more examples of his bookplates click on the link near the bottom of this posting.

Sara Eugenia Blake (1886-1973) was the librarian at the Tufts University Medical school and a very talented bookplate designer. She did over 120 bookplates, mostly etched . Surprisingly no one has written a book about her.

I must have called on over 10,000 customers during 40+ years of selling and am hard pressed to recall the names and faces more than two dozen clients. At the same time I purchased and traded thousands of bookplates and can tell you where I got 80% of them.

There is something therapeutic about collecting . At the most stressful times I can open an album of bookplates and be transported to a blissful state very quickly.

Yesterday fellow bookplate collector and author John Titford mentioned that

" if you take a look at my surname dictionary, (Searching For Surnames) you'll see that HOLLIER/HOLLYER was a whore monger/brothel keeper! The female equivalent was a HOLLISTER."

This was a timely bit of information since I was going to include this link about Samuel Hollyer (1826-1919)

One last thought- If you are in New England and have bookplates for sale or exchange let me hear from you . I will be going to Boston in November.
See you next week.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Day In New York City

My impulse buys in New York City. If I had lots of cash I would be dangerous.
Name label in a circa 188o book called the Farmer's Practical Horse Farriery.

Someone once asked me why I collect things. It wasn't a trick question but it puzzled me because it took me by surprise. How do you explain something that is hard wired into your Psyche.

I don't ordinarily get up at 5:00 A.M. to catch a 6:30 bus to New York City but I had already made a lunch appointment with old friends and was going to see my daughter and son-in law at the end of the day .The only way to squeeze in bookstores and flea markets into a one day trip was to arrive early.Here is a collector's walking guide for those of you who find themselves in New York City on a weekend.

Start at sixth Avenue and 25th street and head east (toward 5th Ave.)

120 W.25th St. Two floors of antiques with many $2.00 books in the basement. That is where I got the horse book.

112 W. 25th St. (The Antiques Garage) 100 dealers , opens at 6:30 A. M. You never know what you might find.

40 w. 25th st 4 floors 200 galleries I spent very little time there .

28 W. 25th St. High end gallery.

29-37 W. 25th St.

Out door dealers set up in an vacant lot. You never know what you might find.

If you still want to keep going take a cab to the Strand bookstore on 12th Street and Broadway.

That is where I got most of the bookplates .

I got this one out of curiosity. Why would Mr. Cook put a screw on his bookplate?

I do not recognize the artist whose last name looks like Cain

Mr. Swain was a vice president at Standard Oil.The artist Cleon is unknown to me.

Update- 10/21/2009 Thanks to Tom boss I was led to Jackets Required , a delightful book about dust jackets. Cleon was the nom de plume of Cleonike Damianakes (Wilkins).
I will be writing a bit more about her on Sunday October 25th.

Mr. Krisel was a corporate tax attorney in New York City.His bookplate is dated 1936. The artist's cipher is hard to read and unknown to me

One last thing . Here is a great resource for every imaginable collectible and some beyond your imagination
See you next week.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Bonus Edition Thursday October 8,.2009

This is an etched proof which hopefully was for Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Jr. (1916-2002)
I purchased it on Ebay and it is a welcome addition to my collection of bookplates from the libraries of famous people.
The Edith Wharton plate is not currently in my collection.

The James Gould Cozzens plate by Ralph Fletcher Seymour is another recent Ebay purchase.

See you on Sunday.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Herman F. Hager's Bookplates

I have seen the artist's name spelled Haeger in two publications but I believe Hager is the correct spelling.
11/4/09 Update from fellow collector Jim Lewis "Just read your weekly blog. Hager, properly spelled in German, no doubt had an umlaut ¨ over the a, which was pronounced like ae, so without the umlaut the it was spelled Haeger - thus the two different spellings."

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Herman F. Hager was a die maker whose shop (in 1915) was located at 105 Sanford St. in Detroit. He seems to like punning plates like this one for Anna F. Rose and the one for Carolyn Key

His HH cipher is easily recognized. If you find some in your collection send a scan to and it will be added to this posting.

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These two scans were sent by Gabe Konrad of Bay Leaf Books

Decorative endpapers showing "a selection of Detroit library bookplates, 1817-1964" from Parnassus on Main Street: A History of the Detroit Public Library (Wayne State University Press, 1965).

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Detroit like my adopted hometown of Philadelphia is the butt of many jokes but if all goes according to schedule I plan to spend a week in Detroit next May.
The Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies is preparing an exceptional five day event in Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan.
You can get further details from Joan Knoertzer at + 734 668 6815

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See you next week