Sunday, November 29, 2009

Theatrical Bookplates Act Two

My plan is to continue posting theatrical bookplates for several more weeks and hope you will keep sending me scans to include on future postings. Send them to
Many thanks to Chris for sending the Eva Le Gallienne scan and to Karen for sending me information about the Antioch universal plate used by Larry Gelbart ( by my definition theatrical includes TV) Let's start with the mystery bookplate used by D. McK. W. For all I know he or she could have been the head usher at the Dewey theatre in Brooklyn but something about the plate suggests celebrity. Does anyone recognize the name
Eva Le Gallienne's bookplate was designed by Waslav Richard Rychtarik in 1926.It features a quotation from Ibsen
( Listen to Fred DuPrez preform)
Like I said last week unless you are a theatre buff many of these celebrities may be unknown to you so biographical links, where available, are included

Frank Fay with his first wife Barbara Stanwyck
Last week I posted a bookplate for his wife Florence Eldridge

The universal plate used by Larry Gelbart was originally distributed by Antioch Bookplate and is still available from Bookplate Ink.Follow this link for ordering information:

And now a brief commercial message from your sponsor-
When the mood strikes me I sell duplicates on Ebay. Some are theatrical but they run the gamut from angling to armorial. Here is a link:
See you next week.
Email received from fellow bookplate collector, Jim Lewis
"This is probably way off the track, but when I saw the D McK W bookplate on your blog my brain immediately said
"David McKay Williams", who was director of music many years ago at NYC's famed Riverside Church - but why the masks on a musician's plate? Must be someone else."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Theatrical Bookplates Part One
If I find a bookplate related to any aspect of the film or stage professions I usually buy it. If you immediately recognize more then three of these celebrities it means you are either much older than I am (72) and you are to be congratulated for your great memory or you are a film/theatre buff.
Biographical links have been added if you want to learn more and I have indicated the bookplate artists wherever possible. If you have any theatrical bookplates to share with us please send a scan to Marlowe/Sothern plate engraved by Tiffany& Co. Lionel Atwill used a universal plate by Bank Gordon The artist's name is hard to read .It appears to be R.C. Chase

TheFania Marinoff plate was done by Willy Pogany

Next week I will add another group of theatrical bookplates.See you then.
11/27/2009- Here is a link to the bookplates I currently have for sale on E Bay

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Back From The Boston Book Shows

I am a creature of habit , going to the same book shows every year, staying in the same hotels, eating in the same restaurants etc..This year in order to economize I tried a bed and breakfast in Brookline , Mass. It turned out to be a good choice so here is a link in case you are considering a trip to Boston.
On the train to Boston I read a great book by Mary Roach about grave robbers, cadavers and anatomy. It was surprisingly interesting and not as ghastly as it sounds.
Here are a few of the bookplates I brought home .
I tried to look up some of these people on Google but much to my dismay the increased listings for FaceBook users overwhelms the entire search process.

Novel themes on bookplates are always desirable . Mr Frisbie chose a Dung Beetle. I wonder why?

I also like to get bookplates by artists new to me . Lois Gilbert of Cleveland , Ohio designed this one in 1933. Her Cipher is shown below.

These two plates for the W.B. Kellogg foundation were done by Grace Hoyt , another artist about whom I know nothing. The images can be enlarged by clicking on them.

This pictorial plate by Tiffany Studios was probably done around 1925 . In searching Google I came up with a passing reference to a Veronica Sammel who was "The Queen Of May" at Marymount College in 1931. In any event I do have a duplicate of this one , for sale or trade.
Send me an email if you are interested in it.

See you on Sunday.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Zombie Bookplates

Fake (posthumous) bookplates have been around for a long time. Auction houses and executors of estates increasingly print them to market books from the libraries of famous people.The Andy Warhol bookplate is a good example of this very questionable practice. Mr. Warhol never used a bookplate and this one was printed after his death. Let the buyer beware.

Books from the library of the late secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger are being offered for sale by several dealers in Washington D. C.. The bookplate contained in these volumes needs further research. The words "From the Library Of" are frequently used by auction houses when printing posthumous plates and the printing is not of the quality one would expect from a high ranking government official.

In 1863, two hundred volumes of books from George Washington's library were offered for sale by the W.L. Wall auction house in Washington. The fake bookplate shown below was inserted in those books. It was very poor copy and easily recognized by the crudely done signature.

It's Monday morning and I am still paying catch-up from my Boston trip so this posting is shorter than usual. I plan to write about Boston on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

California Birds, Bookplates and Booksellers

Richard Wagener is one of the premier wood engravers working in the United States today. "He characterizes the bird he chose for his personal ex libris as the eccentric Emu"
I like bookplates from California in general and this simple design from a Santa Barbara circulating library also appeals to me.

Here are three California bookplates with Peacocks.They look much better on bookplates then they do strutting around the halls of congress. The O'Farrell bookplate was designed by Anthony Euwer. The Baldwin plate was done by Harry French

Clare Ryan Talbot at age 74 in her exhibit booth at the Jack London Square Book Show.

Her book Historic California in Bookplates belongs in your library if you do not already have a copy.

Click on images to enlarge.

Audrey Spencer Arellanes was the driving force in The American Society Of Bookplate Collectors and Designers for well over twenty five years.When she died several years ago I purchased some California bookplate ephemera from her estate. Some of the items were from the Santa Barbara Bookseller Helen Halbach and some were from The California author and bookseller Clare Ryan Talbot.

Here are four bookplates from Helen Halbach. I never met her but just from her bookplates you can see she had a sense of humor.On the back of the Sherlock Holmes plate she made the following notation " Sherlockian Bookplate for new Sherlockian book"

The EP bookplate is very small, (one inch wide by one inch high) and strangely seductive.It would have been almost impossible to identify had it not come with a trade card from The Cawston Ostrich Farm in Pasadena , California signed on the back by Edna Porter. I have not made a connection yet between Ms. Porter and the bird farm. Perhaps she worked there.

Here is a link to some information about the farm:

On Thursday, I leave for Boston ( big time bookplate hunt). Chances are I will be wiped out by the time I return next weekend so the next posting on the blog may not appear until Monday Nov.16th. See you then.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Let The Buyers Beware

I have neither time nor inclination to alert all the "dealers" who misrepresent provenance. I have seen an increase in misrepresentations lately. If a dealer can not cite specific references to back up a claim do not buy from him. Here is how this dealer tap danced around his lack of accuracy:

"Notably, volume bears the bookplate of "Alexander Hamilton", presumably the famous American statesman. Bookplate dates from the 18th century and was pasted over scribbled annotations on verso of front cover [see images]. Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) was the first United States Secretary of the Treasury, a Founding Father, economist, and political philosopher. He led calls for the Philadelphia Convention, was one of America's first Constitutional lawyers, co-writing the "Federalist Papers", a primary source for Constitutional interpretation."

This is not the bookplate of Alexander Hamilton the American statesman.In fact, it is not an American bookplate.

Last week another dealer offered me a bookplate that was also questionable. It may have been what he claimed it was but when I asked him to cite some sort of reference he finally sent me the following :

"Sir, I bought the book from an estate sale of a collector in Los Angeles. He had other rare collector books as well as signatures and autographs. Apparently he was well known for his collection. I was told the bookplate was authentic by his wife, and also saw the small penciled notation in the book that stated that it was when they purchased it. I hope this helps "

Sorry pal, that's not good enough for me. See you on Sunday.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Collector Profile Robert J. Weinberg

Bookplate Collector Profile - Robert J. Weinberg

One day in the 1960's, I was at my mother's house. She was a member of the Book of the Month Club. I opened one of her books and noticed a bookplate with her name on it given to her by the BOMC. I thought that would be fun to collect -only I would like famous Americans.

The first person I wrote to was Eleanor Roosevelt who was living in New York City and writing her column called "My Day". I wrote-" Dear Mrs. Roosevelt-I am a bookplate collector. Do you have a bookplate?" One week later, she responded by saying she did not have a bookplate but thanked me for writing. WOW. A personal letter from Mrs. Roosevelt.

The next person I wrote to was Bennett Cerf, President of Random House. Again, the same query as with Mrs. Roosevelt. A week later, he replied-" Dear Mr. Weinberg- Thank you for writing. I am enclosing two bookplates designed for me by Rockwell Kent." That was my watershed moment!!! I was hooked.

As my American collection grew over the years, I noticed that I had several bookplates on Lincolniana--books and library collections about Lincoln. I am a great admirer of Lincoln, probably due to my high school days, when I memorized the Gettysburg Address. He gave me inspiration then and still does.

My quest for Lincoln continues.
If you have any Lincoln bookplates for sale or exchange please let me know

These two were etched by Bernhardt Wall

Designed By Will Simmons

The Charles W. McLellan plate was engraved by A.N. Macdonald

This is the sixth or seventh American collector profile which has been published.I look forward to getting more submissions from collectors in Europe,Canada , Asia, and other countries outside the U.S.. If you do not speak English fluently your profile will be edited and spell checked.
The profile guidelines are very loosely structured . Just send me a paragraph or two about yourself and what you collect. A photograph is not required but it does add a nice touch to the profile. Send your profile to
Here is a link to the winners of the evil orchid bookplate contest sponsored by a journey round my skull.
See you next week.