Friday, December 24, 2010

The Romulans are Coming

News Flash-Fellow collector Gabe Konrad has started a website devoted to bookseller labels.
It is a dirty little secret , not widely known but 50% of all antiquarian booksellers are closet collectors of these little bugers which lay dormant in desk drawers and cigar boxes scattered around the country.. It is my personal belief that they are the seed pods for Romulan Shape Shifters and all these new devices with weird names like Nook and Kindle have been programmed to activate the pods in 2012. We need to organize now in order to protect our planet before this happens.
12/27/2010 The following note was sent by MG this morning:
"I understand your concern about the Romulans and other terrestrial beings. Some time ago, I learned from a secret source that the neon colored painting frequently seen on our sidewalks and streets and which I thought was placed by utility workers actually represents inter-galactic communications and landing instructions associated with the coming invasion. I usually try to augment these paint markings whenever I can in an effort to keep my part of the world safe for democracy and now for bookplate collecting. I am now sharing this information with you so that you too may protect you City and your bookplate collection. May the force be with you!"
After a while bookplates tend to get lumped together in unexpected groupings. Here are three which have one thing in common. Each of the owner's was a U.S. ambassador to Turkey.

Here is a list of U.S. Ambassadors to Turkey along with some biographical information.

Henry Morgenthau 's plate was designed by Percival DeLuce

I recently bid on some Antioch bookplates which I suspect came from an employee.They were an odd assortment . Some were sales samples and some were made for well known people in the mid 20th century. I did not get this one for Charles Knight. It turns out he was a Dinosaur illustrator of considerable fame.

Israel Amter (1881-1954) was a Marxist politician and founding member of the Communist Party in America. The plate was modified by Lewis T. Silverman from a design for another plate done by E. M. Lillien

John L. Lewis was a labor leader and headed the United Mine Workers of America

These stickers were used like bookplates, for people who lent their 78 RPM records to friends.
I have no idea if they were ever actually sold. Many of the samples I have were for artists and executives at Antioch.

That's about all for today.Merry Christmas. See you next year.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Yesterday's Mail and Serendipity

Several weeks ago fellow collector David Lowden mentioned a new book about the bookplates of CFA Voysey. I was going to order it eventually. A big package arrived from The Bookplate Society yesterday and much to my surprise it contained the Voysey Book along with a copy of The Bookplate Journal. The book is very informative and I am delighted to own it. It was the annual book selection for members. For those of you who do not belong to The Bookplate Society I can only tell you that it is an organization which every serious collector should join.

Yesterday morning I was examining this plate for Arnold A. Greig ,signed by George Bailey and wondering who Mr. Bailey was. When I started reading my copy of The Bookplate Journal I did a double take when I saw a well researched article about George Bailey written by John Blatchly.
This bookplate by J.W.Spenceley also arrived yesterday.It was purchased on Ebay. .It turns out that this plate was nearly completed in 1908 when Spenceley died;However, the owner had it printed so I guess you could say this was his last bookplate.

That's about all for this week . Merry Christmas !
See you next Sunday.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Collector Profile Brian Whitley

My Background:

I’m a Southerner, born and bred, through and through. I was born in Newnan, GA in 1973 but have lived in Macon, GA the last 8 years. Trish is my very patient and indulgent wife. We have 2 wonderful little boys. Sam is 6 years old and Brice is 3 1/2 years old. I attended the University of Georgia and obtained a degree in International Business. My wife and I own and operate Rainbow International Restoration & Cleaning ( which is a disaster restoration company as well as carpet/upholstery cleaning. Being small business owners affords me the opportunity to pursue my hobbies which include all outdoor activities (camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, sports) and art collecting. Something most people don't know about me is that we own a dirt track race car and I have a lot of fun racing it on Saturday nights!
How I Started Collecting Bookplates:

I have way too many things that I like to collect! But when I step back and boil it all down the common denominator is art. I started collecting comic books when I was 13 years old and that eventually led me to buying original comic book art. I have a fairly large collection with several important pieces. In my young adult years I became fascinated with Japanese art, particularly woodblock cuts. In late October of this year I had an itch for some new art so I started searching for Japanese woodblock prints on eBay. Well, one thing led to another and I found myself looking instead at some wood engravings by a Czech artist named Jan Konupek (he is now one of my favorite graphic artists). Literally 8 hours later, I felt like I half-way understood what an Ex Libris bookplate was and I haven't been the same since. A month and half into collecting bookplates I find myself richer in the knowledge of bookplates and poorer in the wallet.

What I Collect:

My collecting interests are fairly scattered ,which will continue to pose a problem to my wallet. I am mostly interested in pictorial plates in all manners of production. However, the more I see and learn the more I find myself drawn to woodcuts, wood engravings and etchings. Like many others, I am sure, I really enjoy plates by the "American Masters" such as E.D. French, J.W. Spenceley, A.N. Macdonald, W.F. Hopson, & S.L. Smith. Other notable artists that I really enjoy are J.J. Lankes, Asa Cheffetz, Paul Landacre, Claude Bragdon, Dan Burne Jones, Carl Junge, & Allen Lewis to name a few. European artists that I enjoy are Jan Konupek, F. Kobliha, J. Hodek, Bruno Bramanti, Adolfo de Carolis, & Emil Doepler. I am on the verge of heading down the path of collecting Presidential bookplates. My heart says "GO!" but my wallet says "Listen to The Ventures and Walk, Don't Run!"

Themes or topics that I like are: pictorials of outdoors activities (particularly fishing and hunting), Greek/Roman mythology, World War II, science fiction, political themes, bookplates that have ties to the State of Georgia, and Gothic imagery to name a few

For now my collection is arranged in binders by country, then artists, then owner. I have separate binders for American Masters and for my favorite European artists. I do have plans to mat and frame some of my favorites.

I am also doing my best to amass a reference library. In some instances , this is a more difficult challenge than finding bookplates!

My Contact information is
Ian Schoenherr has written about E.D. French and Howard Pyle on his blog (12/11/2010)
Here is a link:
Fellow Collector Gabe Konrad is offering custom designed boxes with assortments of small bookplates . Here is a link:
One final note- I would be delighted to receive collector profiles from collectors outside the U.S.
Don't be shy . Send a paragraph or two about your bookplate collection to
See you next Sunday

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Support Your Local Artist

Daniel Mitsui recently completed a bookplate for the library on The Arcania, a luxury yacht built seventy eight years ago.
Here is a link about the history of the Arcania.

Dear Daniel,
In Japan ,they have designated national living treasures. Artists, whose accomplishments are recognized by the government. I know it sounds hokey but I have always felt you are an American national living treasure. There are very few competent artists in America who are producing bookplates.The only other one besides you that I can think of is Richard Wagoner and he is so well established in the print world that he rarely devotes time to bookplates. With your permission I will run something about your Acania bookplate this weekend . Just yesterday I had lunch with an Israeli collector who in passing mentioned your name and the fact that he would like to contact you about a bookplate. Perhaps this gentle nudge will be a catalyst for my readers who keep meaning to get a bookplate but never seem to follow through .
Here is Daniel's email address and his website:

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Stanislaw Radziwill , A Turkey & The Lone Ranger

On Thanksgiving weekend I wanted to put a turkey bookplate on my blog but was unable to find one. Yesterday in a bookplate exchange I got one, so here it is . The designer Franklin Bittner had a studio in Nutley , New Jersey. There was an important Anglo -American banker named Edgar Speyer who lived in New York in his later years and this might have been done for him
( I have my doubts). Here is some biographical information about Sir Edgar Speyer.

Click On Image To Enlarge I was drawn to this Arts and Crafts bookplate for Henrietta Cowenhoven Brown.
My first thought was that it was done by Jessie M King. It is not; however, on the checklist by Colin White in the March 1995 issue of The Bookplate Journal. If you know who designed the plate please let me know.

Stanislaw Radziwill (1914-1976 ) Married Jackie Kennedy's Sister Lee Bouvier. I am sure he accomplished more than that in his lifetime but that is how most people remember him.
Fellow bookplate enthusiast Olli Ylonen has sent the following additional information:
Your point on Stanislaw Radziwill gave me some thought about the Radziwill family.Part of their history is in Helsinki, Finland vecause of many quirky historical factsIn the collections of National Library of Finland is part of the Radziwill family library:
If you were a child in the U.S. in the 1940's or the early fifties or just an old time radio buff the name Fran Striker may be dimly familiar. Here is some biographical information to refresh your memory

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Bookplate Addiction Made Easy

I have listed 11 bookplates on Ebay . My goal is to offer a representative sampling of some of the best of the American bookplate designers. Here is a link to all of them.

James Webb Above
Sidney L. Smith Below

Edmund Garrett Above
Jay Chambers Below

John William Evans Above
Sara Eugenia Blake Below

WARNING- bookplates are highly addictive and can result in the stunted growth of your pocketbook .
By the way, if you need a fix and can't wait until my Ebay items auction ends I would suggest you find a local hand bookbinder. They are genetically programmed to save every scrap of paper and leather . Often, they are receptive to the request of an enthusiastic bookplate collector who wants to purchase some of their stash.
See you on Sunday

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mystery Bookplates and a Few Links

Here is a mystery bookplate , the designer's name is Fox and I assume it is either English or American.
The second mystery bookplate for Wilfrid M. Langdon was designed by A.W. in 1908.I may be steering you in the wrong direction but it originally came with a group of bookplates from Cleveland ,Ohio

Several weeks ago I purchased this bookplate in Boston and posted it on the blog asking for some information about the owner and the artist. With help from the Google Detective Agency and dumb luck the mystery has been solved. The artist Maurice Sullivan was a physician in Baltimore, who prior to marrying Beatrice Adams designed a bookplate for her. At the time she was a social worker so Dr.Sullivan depicted a woman helping a man in distress.

Brian Whitley is an enthusiastic new collector who recently started a blog about bookplates.

Dr. Wolfgang Rieger is a bookplate dealer in Germany who from time to time sends out a catalog:

This one has nothing to do with bookplates but if you are amused by the covers on pulp fiction magazines follow this link:
There is an upcoming book and ephemera show in Hanover New Jersey on December 3rd & 4th
Next week I hope to do some big time trading with a collector flying in from The Promised Land
Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

This Week in Bookplates 11/20/2010

Bookplate by the late Daniel De Bruin

" The bookplate of John Brooks Henderson (1826-1913). Henderson was a senator from Missouri. He also studied mollusks and even published papers on them. Politicians like him are nonexistent these days." This bookplate and a different one were on a blog about snails, slugs and related sea creatures.

The Bookplate Of Lionell Copley, Royal Governor of Maryland ?

A few weeks ago a Lionell Copley bookplate was sold on Ebay for $15.18

This was the description:

"Jacobean Armorial bookplate inscribed Lionell Copley Esqr. Not in the Franks Collection.

According to Thomas R Young's "Yorkshire Bookplates", the arms are of Copley quartering Bosville, Hardwick and Copley with Black? on an escutcheon, and impaling Black? We are further informed that on the death in 1709 of Sir Godfrey Copley Bart (the celebrated FRS after whom the Royal Society's Copley Medal is named) his Sprotborough, Yorkshire estates devolved on Lionel Copley of Wadworth (d.1720), a distant cousin, who was probably the bookplate-owner.

Entries in the IGI record Lionel (1677-1720) as being born and dying at Sprotborough, that his parents were Lionel Copley and Ann Boteler and that he m.1699 Mary dau of John Wilson (he was b.c.1643) of Burrell, Bedale, York. So it seems that the arms both in pretence and impaled are those of Wilson, not Black, but there is no explanation for the peculiar treatment of the wife's arms appearing both impaled and on an escutcheon.

Dimensions of paper: 100x80mm

Condition: Good"
This week a second (identical) Lionell Copley bookplate was sold on Ebay with this description :


I am the first one to admit to my lack of knowledge about heraldry. It is possible that both descriptions are correct or that the second description may be incorrect. In any event, two bidders got into a pissing contest and the plate sold for $73.00
Anthony Pincott, who is the expert on such matters was kind enough to send me this additional information after I sent him my outline for this posting:
Thanks for your note. It is all too easy for a bookplate to be attributed to a famous man rather than to a less famous namesake. We see this, for example, with bookplates for Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Ernest Shackleton, John Rogers (recently on eBay) and now this Copley one.

1. The Maryland governor died on 27 Sept 1693, about 20 years before the bookplate could have been engraved.
2. The Maryland governor married 20 June 1676 Ann Boteler of Walton, Woodhall, Hertfordshire.
3. The wife’s arms on the bookplate are evidently those of Wilson (certainly not Boteler, and not Black).
4. Given that Sir Godfrey Copley dates were c.1653-1709 he could not have left his Sprotborough estate to the Lionel who was governor of Maryland.

The correct owner of the bookplate (which is Not in Franks but is V.950 in the Viner Collection) is Lionel b.16 July 1677, d.25 Dec 1720, who m. Mary Wilson. He was the eldest of the three children of Lionel (governor for a very short time) and Ann Boteler.
It saddens me to report that Daniel DeBruin died on October 19th. We exchanged bookplates from time to time and he was an exceptionally talented heraldic bookplate designer . His good friend Robert Wooten, the executive director of The American College of Heraldry has uploaded a memorial website in which he has has posted all known exlibris by Daniel De Bruin. Here is a link: Please take the time to click on to it . Mr. DeBruin's body of work was remarkable.
I have noticed an uptick in the number of new collectors bidding on Ebay. This is music to my ears as we are on the endangered species list put out by the U.S. Department of Obscure Hobbies.
If you are a new collector and would like to have a "collector profile" on my blog send an email to me with a paragraph or two about yourself and your collection. My Email is
See You next Week.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Back From Boston, Part Two

It is both time consuming, and great fun to learn about the owners and artists of bookplates.Here are two I purchased at the Boston Book Show. Helena McCann and Winston Guest were married in 1934. She was an heiress to the Woolworth retail fortune and he was an heir to the Phipps Steel fortune. He was among other things a leading international Polo player. Their bookplate was engraved in 1935 and the artist's initials are W.E.O. Does anyone know who this artist was ?
Beatrice Adams is a very common name and determining who she was is more difficult. The designer of her plate was Maurice Sullivan. If you want a copy of the Adams plate , I believe Tom Boss still has one left. His contact information
There is some speculation that she may have been the patron of the American artist Ralph Albert Blakelock but I suspect that is only wishful thinking.

See you on Sunday.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Back From Boston ,Part One

CLICK On Images To Enlarge No I am not taking ads on my blog. On the way up to Boston I was reading a local newspaper and this ad made me laugh out loud so I decided to show it. I am somewhat overwhelmed today so I will make this short and sweet . My plan is to research a few more of the plates I purchased and post them on Monday.
This is the Mystery bookplate I brought back from the show. The only thing I know about it is that it was purchased in England. Does anyone out there have any information about the owner Oliver Daly?

The Boston trip was a smashing success.I found a number of interesting items and was able to purchase an 18th century American bookplate which is quite scarce plus an early 19th century engraved American Reward of Merit also not often seen in private collections.

John Allen was a Boston bookseller and publisher of The News -Letter

His bookplate was engraved before 1730 (Charles Dexter Allen #13)

Ref.P 43-44 Vol.1 Journal of the Exlibris Society

This Reward of Merit for Miss Ogden, a student at Madame Binsse's Academy was engraved by Thomas Gimbrede "He was Born in France in 1781; died at West Point, New York 1832. Gimbrede came to the United States in 1802 as a miniature painter;but he was engraving some excellent portraits in the stipple manner for the New York publishers John Low and William Durell as early as 1810.In 1816 he had an office at 201 Broadway, New York and he furnished a considerable amount of work for the Philadelphia magazines, The Port Folio and The Analectic . On January 5, 1819 Thomas Gimbrede was appointed drawing master at West Point and he remained in that position until his death. He continued to engrave ; however,until late in his life .as we find portrait plates engraved and published by him in 1831."

Ref. Fielding Dictionary of American Painters Sculptors and Engravers P.139

Madame Binsse's Academy was a ladies finishing school catering to the offspring's of the elite. Tuition was $600.00 per year.
That is about all I want to say right now. I will be back on Monday.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

This Week In Bookplates 10/7/2010

The Immortal Soul Of Emily Seaman
I attended a flea market today and was drawn to a tattered text book which had a political cartoon pasted on the inside back cover.Below the cartoon was a faint pencil notation "presidential campaign 1896 defeated candidate:".The 114 year old cartoon is very timely since the same folks who helped to bring us close to an economic tsunami now want to save us by debasing our currency.
When I got home I noticed a pencil notation on the first blank page.I will write the message in case the scan is not clear. "Emily Seaman is my name. Hamburg ,is my station.Heaven is my dwelling place.Christ is my salvation.When I am dead and in my grave and all my bones are rotten remember me,as you will see that I am not forgotten." I am not sure if there is such a thing as divine intervention or not but I am obliged to honor Emily's wishes.She will not be forgotten for a long, long time.
Click on The Cartoon To Enlarge

Here are two more examples of let the buyer beware when bidding on Ebay. In the listing for the bookplate shown below, the seller indicated it was for the poet Heinrich Heine. I am not all that knowledgeable about German bookplates so I asked fellow collector Richard Schimmelpfeng for assistance and he quickly determined that the plate was done in 1923 by Mathilde Ade. Since the poet died in 1856 the plate was either done for someone with the same name or as an "honorarium" plate.

For the plate shown below the seller indicated that it belonged to Theodore Roosevelt.Giving the seller the benefit of the doubt, what he did not know was that the Roosevelt family used the same bookplate design from generation to generation. A Roman numeral was printed in the lower left corner to indicate which family member the plate belonged to. The numeral three indicates President Roosevelt's grandson.. Theodore Roosevelt the Third ( Click on image to enlarge) and not the president.

I received an email in answer to last week's inquiry about the artist who did the John Cotton Dana bookplate.
"Edith Rights sent me a note and introduced me to your blog. Congratulations on some great information and wonderful images on the art of bookplates. We have a collection of bookplates here at the NPL, which Edith has worked with off and on over a number of years. Our collection was largely collected in the time of John Cotton Dana and immediately afterward, but since it really has not been processed or cataloged since the 1940s or 1950s, unfortunately there is not much access to it (as is the case with many of our collections in our Spec. Col. Division). Regardless we have great examples from Arthur Nelson Macdonald among many other bookplates for which we know relatively little.
However, tied into your blog post about Dana, it is our understanding here at the Library that Dana designed his own personal bookplates. He designed one tied into his Japanese Collection (see attached) which looks similar to the plate on your blog, so I would assume that he did that one as well. Some discussion of Dana and bookplates is in a book by Ezra Shales called Made in Newark: Cultivating Industrial Arts and Civic Identity in the Progressive Era (Rutgers Univ. Press, 2010), but it is far from exhaustive on bookplates as you might imagine (see:"
Best wishes,

Chad Leinaweaver
Special Collections Division
Newark Public Library
Upcoming talk on bookplates and bindings in Amherst, Mass. with interesting bookplate illustrations.


Next Weekend I will be in Boston attending two of the best book/ephemera shows on the east coast.
Here are the links with hours etc.

If you are in the Boston area and have some bookplates for sale or exchange please contact me.

I saw this book for sale on Ebay and it made me laugh. See you next week

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Raymond Nott of Roycroft

A  copy of  Bookplates Of the Club Of Odd Volumes arrived this week and it is an excellent reference.
My favorite  among the many examples in the book is for John Cotton Dana. Does anyone know who the artist was? You can still order a copy of the book from Tom Boss

Click on Images To Enlarge

Three Bookplates designed by Raymond Nott. Please send me scans of other plates by him..They will be added to this posting.

Raymond Nott (1888-1948) was born in Kirksville, Missouri . He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and is best known for his pastel landscapes.

He began working at The Roycroft Studios around 1904 and by 1908 was appointed acting art director. At Roycroft he designed book covers, mottocards, and bookplates. To the best of my knowledge very little has been written about the bookplates he designed. It is my hope that some of you may know of bookplates not shown here and will send scans. They will be added to this posting. Please send your information and scans to

After joining the Navy at the outbreak of World War One, he was sent to San Diego, California. Upon discharge, he settled in Los Angeles. His paintings were handled there by the Bernay Gallery. Working in pastel and oil, he produced mountain landscapes รก la Edgar Payne. Nott continued producing art works until his death in Los Angeles on December 6, 1948. Member: Sierra Club; Hollywood Athletic Club. Exhibited: Bernay's (Los Angeles); Hollywood Athletic Club, 1920s.
Here is a different cipher .Perhaps he used it on some of his bookplates.
See you next Sunday.