Sunday, January 31, 2010

I work in the Insane Department

Click on Images To Enlarge
The meaning of words ,  in addition to  what is politically correct changes  with each generation. Here are some bookplates that are fixed in time. The word condemned book brings to my mind something like Tropic of Cancer but in the late 1800's at The Free Library in California it meant worn out , to be discarded.I asked fellow collector Richard Schimmelpfeng who is also a librarian about this archaic  usage and he recalled that many years ago the term was used for books that had been handled by children who had contracted a contagious disease and such books were taken out of circulation.  

Too bad these New York State laws are no longer enforced.

Look at the rubber stamp on the upper right corner of The Philadelphia Hospital bookplate.Can you imagine any contemporary mental health care professional saying out loud that they work in the "insane department"

If you have any bookplates that should be included in this posting  send your scans to

See you next Sunday .

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday Morning Bookplate Odds and Ends

Fellow collector JoAnn Pari-Mueller currently  has an exhibit at the The Washington County Museum in Portland Oregon .
Here is a link with more information:

Several  readers have asked about hardbound copies of the blog. I tried this firm for myself and was very pleased .There is no substitute for a book which can be read the " old fashioned " way. Personally I think Kindle and its clones are the devil's spawn.

I got this pen and ink drawing for a universal bookplate on EBay.
It was drawn in 1920 by Elizabeth Bankson Curtz about whom I know nothing. Do any of you have information about the artist ?

Here is an excellent Bookplate/Ephemera blog:

See you tomorrow morning for the regular Sunday posting.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Orleans and Bookplates ( Part 2)


Elizabeth Goelet  Rogers designed the two plates shown above .She signed the Tulane plate with her married name Elizabeth Goelet Palfrey. She like many of the others mentioned today was an instructor at  Newcomb College.
The Morel sisters (Vera and May) were illustrators in New Orleans who also designed bookplates.Click on the images to enlarge .

Cynthia Pugh Littlejohn (1890-1950) was a Newcomb College graduate. The art pottery and the three bookplates shown above were designed by her.
Fannie Heaslip Lea was an American writer who also attended Newcomb. She lived and worked in several cities and the designer of her bookplate is not known at this time. For biographical information about her click on the link above.      

The bookplate for Elizabeth Buncombe Palfrey was designed by Sarah(Sadie) Agnes Estelle Irvine .She was an instructor at the Newcomb College Pottery from1906 to 1952
Her pottery shown to the right of her photo is lovely and expensive.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Orleans and Bookplates Part One

 About nine years ago  I went to New Orleans on a business trip and stayed over a weekend to do some bookplate hunting, It was before hurricane Katrina and Bush did their damage.What I remember was the great number of  bookshops, the friendly booksellers and very inexpensive pricing. The Lawrence Fisher /Louis Andrews plate was one I purchased.on that trip.They were costume designers for the Mardi Gras.
.  New Orleans ,  the home of  Newcomb College and The Newcomb Art Pottery nurtured many female artists .  Some of the instructors and their students also designed bookplates.A most useful book about the pottery and the designers is Louisiana's Art Nouveau,The Crafts of The Newcomb Style by Suzanne Ormond. There are too many designers to cover in one posting so I will focus on  bookplates by  Anne McKinney Robertson (1887-1959)  and continue with other designers next week. If you have any bookplates by this artist which are not shown here please send scans to so they can be included..
See you next week.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

FABS Meeting in Ann Arbor /Bookplate designer in North Branch, Michigan

I  am not a book collector . If I had to choose a category for myself it would be book groupie.
 I belong to two book collecting clubs, one  in Delaware and one in Pennsylvania.All the local book collecting groups are part of an umbrella organization called The Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies(FABS) .In May of this year their annual meeting will be in Ann Arbor and Detroit.Michigan.I will be attending the meeting and hope that this little blurb about the meeting  might interest some of you who are really book collectors.

Click on Images to Enlarge

Marina Terauds is a very talented print maker whose bookplates are worthy of your consideration if you are finally going to bite the bullet and have one designed for yourself .Here is a link to her website

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Back From Hartford

Pickings at Papermania were not as good as usual but I managed to find a few bookplates plus some great ephemera.The Uncle Sam Saint Patrick's day postcard grabbed me since it complemented some of the other Uncle Sam items I already had. It's interesting to compare the warm fuzzy Victorian Uncle Sam hugging a Magnolia ham to the no nonsense Uncle Sam from the second world war.
Here's a contemporary bookplate which  I got at the show, for someone who may be a biologist or perhaps a surveyor.The simple Google search which I assumed would solve the mystery was not so easy because Google is cluttered with many references to the other Robert Zimmerman (with one n) who you know as Bob Dylan.There is a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Massachusetts who is a likely candidate and I will send him an Email after this posting is completed..
Speaking of candidates , I got this little give away because of the graphics. I assume it was given out to voters before an election. In this instance the Google search was simple.The 1855 election was held Agawam ,Massachusetts .
These  four bookplates were already in my collection but I purchased them for possible exchange or sale. Elsie F. Weil was a journalist and editor of Asia Magazine.This Hasty Pudding Harvard plate (Allen #356) was used around 1845,The Tulane plate was done by one of the Newcomb Pottery artists Elizabeth Goelet Rogers Palfrey.The Benno Lewinson plate is illustrated on P. 145 in Illustrated Essays on Jewish Bookplates by Philip Goodman.He mentions that  the Hebrew legend (meaning "through the light to light") is an acrostic of his initials..Click on the images if you wish to enlarge them.
UPDATES From Readers:   Hello...Given the stars in the Zimmermann bookplate, might that not be 
a sextant? There was a Robert Zimmermann who was a designer of ships
during the 19th century but that seems pretty early for that bookplate.
Cheers, Kate Doordan Klavan

From Dr. Robert Zimmermann
I just checked your interesting and colorful web site and have an observation. The instrument in the "Robert Zimmermann" bookplate appears to be a navigator's sextant rather than a surveyor's instrument. Maybe RZ is a sailor.

This was my best find. It is a stock certificate subscribed to by  students  for 10 cents a share in order to build a $12,000 vessel to sail around the Pacific and convert the "heathens". Unfortunately , it was built. Fortunately it sank about two years later.
Next week I plan to write about bookplate artists in New Orleans. See you then.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Time Off

I am taking a little time  off and will be back after the Papermania show in Hartford.Connecticut.

Yesterday I discovered that little Harrison( 6 + years old) already has more wisdom then most of our elected officials and has the potential to be a very competent artist..See you when I get back from the show.
Here is a link to the show