Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bookplate Exchanges

Hi Lew, I imagine this bookplate is old news but your Kent Odds and Ends prompted me to once again admire and reminisce about this beautiful little gift from Helen Farr Sloan in 1998. Designed by Joan Sloan and pencil inscribed by Helen with a gentle hand. Thanks again for sharing your fascinating world. Paul Thanks to Paul Davis for sending this Rockwell Kent information.
I don't have the precise words in my vocabulary to describe the pleasure I get from exchanging duplicates with other collectors so I will rely on the words that come to mind, fulfilling, gratifying and pleasurable. This week I received an exchange package from a fellow collector and here are a few of the items I selected:In 1919 The Union Pacific Railroad commemorated the 50th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railway system . This bookplate was designed for the celebration.

Leslie Henderson was a Philadelphia artist who designed this bookplate for himself.

I don't know anything about this hand colored punning bookplate.

The Newmans I am told were book collectors who used a Will Bradley image for their plate.

Charles B. Keeler (1882-1964) was a painter/ etcher who lived in many places and settled in California around 1921. I have no idea if he designed any bookplates .
If you are interested in exchanging bookplates I would like to hear from you. Here is my contact information
See you next Sunday.
P.S. Claus Wittal's new list of bookplates for sale can be viewed at

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rockwell Kent Odds and Ends

I have been sorting through my Rockwell Kent items and have selected a few that may interest you. The art deco 1939 Christmas seals were designed by Kent along with the 1940 United We Stand Stamp

Rockwell Kent designed the plate on the right for George Henry Corey. Dr. Shaftel liked it so much he "borrowed" the design for his own bookplate.

I have selected three of my favorite Kent bookplate designs. The Pickering plate just arrived via EBay. It is atypical. So much so that I had to look it up in Don Robert's book Rockwell Kent The Art Of The Bookplate to make sure it was by Kent.

The Rockwell Kent mystery I mentioned last week is still unsolved although I suspect that the Perry Molstad plate was not done by Kent. Here is Don Roberts response:

"When I started researching the book, I started out with Dan Byrne Jones' list. As it turned out, the list wasn't complete, and there were a few items listed that weren't actually bookplates. I never found a trace of a bookplate for Perry Molstad, but left him on the final list. There was no Molstad bookplate among Kent's own samples of his bookplate art (in a shoebox at Plattsburgh), no correspondence among his letters, no sketches in the collections at Columbia and Princeton. The question is how Jones compiled his list. I would assume from what ended up at Plattsburgh, but who knows? Seeing the bookplate, with the "C" mark makes me wonder if it's Kent's work. It certainly has all the elements of his early bookplates, although the design is comparatively staid. It seems to me that if the date is correct, this bookplate would've appeared in one of the two books that Elmer Adler published. I know they were really scrambling to come up with enough work for each volume. And Adler would most likely have been the printer of the bookplate.In the years since my book was published, I've hoped that more bookplates would turn up. I came across numerous sketches for bookplates, but no evidence that Kent ever got beyond rough sketches. Occasionally someone will send me something and ask if it's Kent's, and in every case I've been reasonably sure that it wasn't. Given the number of artists who emulated his style, I'm a bit doubtful now that Perry Molstad's was by Kent. We'll probably never know for sure.By the way, I've just received the contract from a publisher in China for a translated edition of my RK book. This has been in discussion by e-mail for ten months, and I hope it works out. I can't imagine how well it will translate.Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.All the best,Don "
If you feel energized and creative I would encourage you to write something about your bookplate collection for future inclusion in the blog.
It has been a while since I have had a collector profile and most of them have come from American collectors. I would like to include some from other countries . Send me a paragraph or two and if any changes are made I will get your permission before publishing.
Send your information to
See you next Sunday.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Recent Finds In New York and Pennsylvania

I have been buying lots of things lately which means I better get off my butt and start selling a few duplicates on EBay.The English ceramic tile was purchased at a local flea market.The Wylly Folk St.John Plate was an EBay find. She was a a writer of children's mystery stories who lived in Georgia. An Aubrey Beardsley illustration with the head of John the Baptist from Oscar Wilde's Salome was chosen for her bookplate.
At the New York book shows I purchased a new year's card designed by Anton Burka in 1929.
PF (pour féliciter ) cards were sent out by European bookplate collectors and designers.

The Carl Getz bookplate is from the Yale bookplate collection .It is one I would like to get some day.
The Malcolm M. Ferguson plate has been in my collection for several years and the "I will protect my book " plate was purchased from Tom Boss at the New York Book show.
My gut tells me these threatening plates are effective.

I will be back on schedule on Sunday. See you then.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Rockwell Kent Mystery Continues

In response to last week's posting about the Perry Molstad plate I received one response from an advanced collector who was certain the plate was not done by Kent and one from an equally knowledgeable collector who assured me it was a Kent plate. To put the matter to rest I sent an Email to Don Roberts the author of Rockwell Kent The Art Of The Bookplate . He has to sort through some stored files and will get back to me . In reviewing my Kent collection I came across three bookplates by Chris Kent , Rockwell Kent's grandson.Here is a link to an article by Scott R. Ferris about him and the artistic heritage of Rockwell Kent:

By coincidence a copy of the Perry Molstad plate from the William Spangler just sold on Ebay for $50.99
The Spangler collection of Kent plates is being offered on Ebay in dribs and drabs.Prices realized are very strong ranging from $20.00 to $90.00
This morning I received this email from fellow collector Ollie Ylonen .The second link mentioned  in his message is quite interesting especially if you like decorative bindings

Dear Lew,
Your question about a possible Rockwell Kent sent me googling around.
Some vague references are for a Perry Molstad bookplate made by Thomas Maitland Cleland

("With the bookplate of Perry Molstad (designed by T.M. Maitland)"

Publishers Bindings Online

 tells that Cleland's monogram was c (and there is a photograph of one such

I came back from the New York City Shows late Saturday evening and got up at the crack of dawn on Sunday to attend a flea market so I am one day late in getting out this posting.On Wednesday I will post something about what I found .See you then.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

This Week In Bookplates 4/4/2010

It's Easter Sunday and I  have an appropriate piece of ephemera to share with you.
 In 1918 John Wanamaker sent this card to friends and customers .For those of you not familiar with the name, he owned and operated the major Philadelphia department store  in the early 20th century.I have no idea who did the art work but it always pleases me to look at it.
I am so used to bookstore closings that it comes as a pleasant surprise when a new store of merit opens .
Mr. Jules Goldman  just opened a used bookshop in Philadelphia  at  29 north 2nd street .It is a few doors away from another excellent bookshop (The Book Trader)
Here is why I am going to be a regular customer. Mr.Goldman has been buying box lots at auctions for over thirty years so his inventory is quite large. I had many items  to choose from , at very reasonable prices..The plate shown below by C.Valentine Kirby was one of the ones  I purchased yesterday.

Click on Image to Enlarge
Here is a Rockwell Kent Mystery that needs a solution.If you refer to the Dan Burne Jones 1976 Checklist of Kent bookplates ( page198 in  Rockwell Kent The Art Of The Bookplate  by Don Roberts) you will find a listing for Perry A. Molstad.It is not mentioned elsewhere in the book.The same checklist appears in the 1976 Yearbook of The American Society of Bookplate Collectors and Designers and it includes an illustration. The  yearbook illustration  is identical to the plate shown below.It looks very much like a Kent design but it  has no RK signature .There appears to be an initial c at the bottom of the plate.
It could also be a random part of the design and not an initial..
Hopefully someone more knowledgeable than me will be able to clarify the situation.
Was this a Kent plate which for some reason was omitted from the Roberts book ?
On the other hand could Dan Jones have been mistaken?
I probably have mentioned that I collect bookplates from the libraries of famous people.Sometimes the famous people are no longer household names. Dorothy Thompson (1894-1961) is a good example.

She was a radio broadcaster, syndicated columnist and writer  who reached millions of devoted followers .Her bookplate was designed by her husband Maxim Kopf.
On Friday April 9th I will be attending these two bookshows in New York City
If you plan to attend and have bookplates for sale or exchange I would like to hear from you
See you next Sunday.