Saturday, January 31, 2009


Collector Profile Jim Lewis/ Bookplate Contest

Occupation: Although I am now retired, I was a commercial photographer specializing in architecture and product illustration.
I also taught college level product illustration and design.

Collection Interests: Over the years I have collected leaf books, photography , prints, miniature books and bookplates. My main bookplate interests are E.D. French and California plates.I have 250 of the approx.300 bookplates that E.D. French produced , leaving me working on the remaining plates that are proving to be scarce or impossible to find. My California collection fills three fat albums and continues to grow. I also collect in other categories including plates illustrating reading and books, the personal plates of Irene Andrews Pace, pictorial plates by W.P.B. and well-known people.
I currently have in-press, a miniature book about the Estelle Dohney leather bookplate. It is being printed letterpress by the Ascensius Press and bound by Gray Parrot. The book will include a short essay about the plate and each volume will have an original Doheny plate tipped in.



Click on image to enlarge.

Last year I held a bizarre bookplate contest which generated quite a few entries. I was unable to think of something different until I spotted this shoulder tattoo.
This years contest is very simple. Send me the word(s) that you think should be on the blank line of the shoulder tattoo

Your entry can be clever,witty, profound , inspiring etc , one word or many.
The judges (Mary and I ) will select a winner when the contest ends on March 2nd.
The winner will receive an engraved bookplate by Frederick Spenceley for President William Howard Taft.
All the collector profiles received so far have been from collectors here in the states. If you are in Europe, Asia, South America ,Australia or somewhere else send me a paragraph or two about yourself and your collection . I may edit it somewhat and send the revisions to you for approval.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Collector Profile, James Goode

Occupation: Historian at the B.F. Saul Company
For seventeen years before that, I served as curator of the original
Smithsonian Institution building
Collection Size: Around 2,000 plates
Residence : Washington D.C.
I started my collection by accident. In 1975, I bid on a lot of twenty five bookplates at a local auction house and was the high bidder.
My focus is primarily on American and English ex libris .
In several years I plan to write a book on the history of American bookplates.
Most collectors keep their plates in plastic sleeves bound in a notebook. I'm a bit different in that I display mine in framed groupings . For example, some of the groups are actors, writers, and scientists. My favorite in the science group is Albert Einstein.
At the present time I am trying to add bookplates from the libraries of U.S. presidents which are not already in my collection.
Here are some very informative links:
Several weeks ago I wrote about Robert Cairns Dobson , a Connecticut bookplate designer about whom very little has been written. Attached is a digital archive which includes many of the bookplates he designed. It will take a while too sort through through all this material and it should be bookmarked for future reference.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Punning Bookplates

The Rockwell Harmon Potter plate is by Robert Cairns Dobson Punning(sometimes called canting ) bookplates use an image relating to the owner's name.I do not know when these whimsical bookplates began but they seem to be have been increasingly popular at the end of the 19th century. Here is a link to a New York Times article written in the 1890's in which the writer is highly critical of them.

Mr. Wolfe's inscription is in Gaelic.

I believe Mr. Tower was a Chicago resident

The Taylor and Smelt plates are from England.

The Ryder plate is by John William Evans

The Robert O. Foote plate is by Ruth Saunders

Charles H. Bell was a Governor of New Hampshire.
Click on the images to enlarge.

The Bookman plate is illustrated on P.126 in The Art Of The Bookplate by James Keenan along with several other punning bookplates

The Beach plate was done by Dr. A. W. Clark

I do not know what next week's posting will focus on but I would like to include some additional collector profiles.It does not take too much time to fine tune them. All I need is a paragraph about yourself, your collecting interest, a scan of your favorite bookplate(s) and a picture of yourself, if you are so inclined.

UPDATE 1/22/2009
Will Smith of Hangfire Books has a wonderful celebrity/punning bookplate for Gloria Swanson
Here is a link:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Musty Bookplates

Last week I received a collection on approval and the paper smelled musty. I wanted to keep a few of the bookplates but not at the expense spreading the odor to other items in my collection.
Here is what I did. I put a tablespoon of Clorox in a quart of water and soaked the plates for an hour.Then I poured out the water and re soaked the plates in tap water several times.The plates were then dried between paper towels with a book on top of them to prevent curling. It worked reasonably well but I am sure there are better alternative methods. If you search Google you will find many Voodoo remedies from using Kitty Litter to anti -perspirants.

Here is a sampling of what I found. I am interested in hearing about remedies that you have tried, which worked for you.

"Have successfully removed very strong musty smell from a book by fanning pages & spraying with with a dry anti-perspirant deodorant spray. Needed repeating treatment after a few days, but is now completely pong-free. "

" To really get rid of the mold odor on books you have to get rid of the mold. Spraying any liquid on a book or paper is going to damage the surface. That is why you need to use a gas product. Unfortunately most of the gas products are very toxic, and corrosive.There is, however, a new product on the market that I have used that gets both mold and smoke odors out of books. Its called OdorXit CLO2 and it really works. The product is little packets with powder inside. When they are exposed to water vapor, they produce a gas called chlorine dioxide that actually kills the mold and the spores without harming the paper or leather cover.I stood the books with the pages fluffed in an old school locker with the vents covered and a 5 gram packet in the top on the shelf and a very small fan running on low. In 2 days, the mold odor was gone and it didn't come back. It really worked for me. "

"I would like to mention that some of these tips might work, but they will also damage the book. Newspaper is an acidic paper, and if it comes in contact with your book, it could speed up the deterioration process. I'm sure you've seen books that have very brittle/yellowish pages...this is because of the acid in the paper. Also, sunlight is very bad for books, since it activates the acid. Although many books are being published now on non-acidic paper, it is still necessary to be careful. :)I've found that the Kitty Litter technique works well, but make sure you use a smaller container inside a larger container, so that the kitty litter and the book do not touch.Basically, you don't want stuff touching your can be very damaging to them. You may not notice right away, but there are many things like sunlight and acidic papers that can shorten the lifespan of a book.Hope this helps!"

"I often buy used paperbacks books at the library thrift store. To ensure that I don't pick up some unwanted contaminant, I microwave them. The government does this to foods imported to the US and kills living things including mold. "
( Remind me not to sell this guy a fire insurance policy)

" I was told to cut up a grapefruit and put the piece of fruit with the open book in a plastic bag. I never heard how long etc. but they swore that works. "

1/15/2009- This was sent to me by Richard Schimmelpfeng.
OK Lew, here is my response. After you soak the stuff in the clorox and resoak in water you should make a saturation of baking soda in water, say a quart of water add as much baking soda as the water will take without leaving residue in the bottom, and then soak the cleaned plates in this solution, which should neutralize the chlorine in the paper. Then you dry the plates. This is the important step, neutralizing the chlorine. Actually I use a teaspoon in a quart of water.

Sunday's posting will be about punning bookplates.

Monday, January 12, 2009


This Week In Bookplates 1/12/2009

Papermania was exhausting You could not tell we are in a recession if you were an attendee. Many dealers reported brisk sales and prices seem to have risen. If you are in the New York City area this weekend there is a book show at the 25th street armory. Details are at this link:
Three of the bookplates I picked up at the show are Harry Crosby of The Black Sun Press (wood block on parchment)
Secretary Bird by Arnljot Lovstad , a Norwegian artist. Does anyone out there recognize the owner's name?
Weird plate for Louis N.Wilson,(etching and aquatint) Signed F.B. R and engraved by W. F. Hopson. The owner was the librarian of Clark University from 1889 to 1929.
This morning I participated in a bookplate discussion on BBC/Radio Scotland. Hopefully the link below will enable you to listen to it for the next seven days. The bookplate segment starts at 21:40 on the timer
This is an abbreviated posting because I am still playing catch up after having been gone for several days. I will be posting some more later in the week. See you then.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Bookplate Collector Profile ,Gabe Konrád

I have always wanted this blog to be a collaborative effort and encourage collectors to participate with collector profiles. Here is the first one received . I look forward to posting many more.

Name: Gabe Konrád (Rockford, Michigan, USA)

Occupation: I own and operate a small used and rare bookshop in the tiny village of Sand Lake, Michigan. We’re a “general stock” shop that includes a wide variety of non-fiction and children’s books.
Hobbies: I love bicycling, kayaking and hiking with my family . My daughter and I take karate classes together. I collect books that are related to my hobbies and in a past life I wrote several articles and contributed to a few books on bicycling history and touring. Now my writing centers mainly on poetry and I’m a member of the Poetry Society of Michigan.
Bookplate Collection: I’m new to collecting bookplates, having started about a year and half ago. I was infected with the collecting virus at a young age, so to keep the beast at bay I’ve tried to keep a relatively narrow scope to my collections. Currently I’m trying to put together a collection of plates that represent each designer featured in William E. Butler’s American Bookplates. No easy task. Anyone have a spare Paul Revere engraving? Cheap? I also have a few topical interests that include bookplates related to bookplates, insects, natural history, Michigan, libraries and institutions, printing, armorials, book labels," friend's" bookplates. I also have a small selection of bookseller labels as well as books with bookplates pasted in. I’d like to start a topical collection of martial arts bookplates, but I haven’t come across any
I just got an email from Daniel Mitsui with my new bookplate design. Fantastic! As I recall, the original design is 4" tall and it incorporates several devices to represent my interests and passions: a crystal, ammonite and flower for my interests in geology, paleontology and botany; a bay leaf to represent my shop, Bay Leaf Books; books and a bicycle of course; a little family tree with three apples, one each for my wife, daughter and son; bookplates are represented by the little ex libris with my initials; and the kanji characters for Karate Do ("the way of the empty hand"). All that and plenty of room left for what I like to call Daniel's "biological fill." A pic of that is attached as well.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


California Houses On Bookplates

After I wrote about leather bookplates I was asked to identify this one. I have never seen it before . Do any of you recognize it ?

This posting about California Houses on bookplates is a collaboration between myself and fellow collector Jim Lewis. Jim sent me a number of examples . I choose several and tried where ever possible to add actual photographs of the houses.

Mary Pickford , the American silent screen actress owned the house at 56 Freemont Place in Los Angeles and it was eventually sold to Irene and Ernest Pace. Irene Pace had several husbands and many many plates with different last names. I know two collectors who are trying to complete a set of all her plates.

2/13/2013 Thank you  Ann Pace for submitting the following Correction:

I came across your 2009 posting of California houses in bookplates and the bookplate of Irene and Ernest Pace's home.
I thought you might be interested to know that they did not own the (Mary Pickford) house shown. Their house was a few blocks away, on Windsor Blvd. Also, as far as I know, Irene only had two husbands: Edmund Andrews and my grandfather, Ernest Milton Pace, Jr.
When I was a child Irene "hired" me to water color etched book plates that she used to exchange with other collectors and I well-remember her collections (her main collection room was on the upper right-hand side of the house).

This Pickford / Pace house was recently sold and you can find some great interior shots of the house by clicking onto "view featured sites" at the following link

Ellen B. Scripps' plate is illustrated on P.190 in Historic Bookplates in California and was designed by W.J. Fenn

Photo of the Scripps house circa 1900

Luther Burbank used at least two different bookplates. Another one of his plates is illustrated on page 89 in Historic Bookplates In California by Clare Ryan Talbot
Click On Image To Enlarge

The link above will take you to current views of the Burbank house and gardens in Santa Rosa California

I would like to showcase different bookplate collectors and their collections from time to time. Send me an email if you are interested in participating.
Next week I make my semi-annual pilgrimage to Papermania in Hartford Connecticut so in all likelihood the next blog will be a day late. Here is a link with show information:

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