Sunday, September 26, 2010

Universal Bookplate Artists By Edith Anderson Rights

Two plates by unknown artist(s)


Three plates by Guzzardi

Three plates by Hitesman
Two below by Glen Sterling

Two plates by Winifred Bromhall

Mention was made in part 1 of several artists well known for their work with universal designs (Rockwell Kent, Lynd Kendall Ward, Bank B. Gordon, and Juanita Gould, to which can be added Benton Ferguson (see “Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie” for August 27, 2010) and Bruce Rogers. I am aware of seven other artists whose designs for universals commonly appear in bookplate collections: Winifred Bromhall, Hitesman, Hogeboom, Leslie Ivory, Glen Stirling, WOLO, and GVZ Zardi (or Gvzzardi). Information about these artists is not easily found.

Winifred Bromhall

Winifred Bromhall (early 20th C.) was born in England but, with her parents, came to the United States in the 1920s where she continued her career as illustrator of children’s books and eventually both wrote and illustrated numerous stories. So far I know she designed and signed seven children’s bookplates, although there may well be more that have not been discovered.

Glen Stirling

The early 20th Century artist Glen Stirling (probably a California resident about whom I know nothing) created at least nineteen universal designs. Eighteen of these designs are in the bookplate collection of the Los Angeles Public Library. The zodiac Leo is signed but not with the standard Stirling signature that appears on all his other bookplates.


The Ella Strong Dennison Library, Scripps College, has eleven designs by WOLO, one a bookplate for Louise Seymour Jones, another a promotional design for himself, the other nine were universals. The artist who signed himself WOLO was quite well known in California from the late 1920s until his death in 1989. He was a man as colorful and amusing as his bookplate critters. In the Hippo Cook Book of 1969 by San Francisco restaurateur Jack Falvey, and illustrated by WOLO, he is identified as Wolo von Trutzschler, the form he used in the United States that he had shortened from his German legal name, Baron Wolff Erhardt Anton Georg Trutzschler von Falkenstein.
He was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1902 and was educated in Switzerland. He came to the US in 1922 to study agriculture at the University of Wisconsin as an exchange student. Five years later, following a time in Chicago, he was in Los Angeles and paid by Edgar Bergen for a drawing that became the puppet Mortimer Snerd. Later in San Francisco he worked as a newspaper columnist and caricaturist, as a puppeteer and entertainer, as a muralist for several institutions, and as author-illustrator of six children’s books (Friendship Valley, Amanda, The Children’s Music Box, Sir Archibald, Tweedles Be Brave, and The Secret Life of the Ancient Oak) for the publishing house William Morrow and Company.
In the online website entitled ‘Official Wolo homepage’ posted by WOLO’s son there are nine links to his art work that also included greeting cards, bottle caps, and postcards. Only one bookplate design appears – as the first item in the miscellaneous category.


Hogeboom (early 20th C.) designed at least four universal bookplates, and I have seen two others that were probably commissioned designs. Although I have seen numerous multiples of his universal designs, my collection does not have them all.


I have found nothing about Hitesman (late 20th C.) but have prints of four designs which he signed. While the most frequently seen is his blue cat, his other intriguing designs are certain to delight both children and adults.

Leslie Ivory

I have seen only one universal bookplate by Ivory, Leslie (late 20th C.) an English woman who was well known in the 1990s for her elaborate designs of cats and rugs, used in a variety of commercial forms – as calendars, lap desks.

Guzzardi (the standard spelling) is another of the early 20th Century universal bookplate artists to be discussed here and he remains something of a puzzle. He used two different styles of signature 1) a stylized spade shield inscribed with either GVZ / Zardi (also with xx9), or only the initial G; or 2) only the name Gvzzardi as one word. There was an Italian artist Giuseppe Guzzardi, a painter of history and genre who lived from 1845 until 1914, who exhibited in New York, but whether this is the bookplate artist has not been documented.

Unknown Artist(s)

Two bookplate designs continue to tease my curiosity, especially since I have two prints of each, with different names. They have bright red and blue images, stylized figures, but are rather dissimilar in artistic style. Were they done by one artist or two? Were they from different decades? Does anyone’s collection have bookplates with these same names? Does anyone have other bookplate designs that resemble either of these two bookplates? My search goes on – and on – and on!!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I want to thank Edith Anderson Rights for submitting this article. All submissions to this weekly endeavor are appreciated. See you next Sunday

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bed Bug Trivia/Dragonfly Bookplate

Dragonfly bookplate I got in an exchange with a fellow collector.I believe it is from Sweden

Video about bedbug convention

I have no idea why these disgusting parasites interest me but here is a link to some bed bug trivia:
"There is one place where finding a bedbug might be a blessing: at the scene of a crime. To a forensic scientist, bedbugs could prove more reliable than any eyewitness. Because they feed on human blood, bedbugs are living repositories of DNA evidence. Allen Szalanski, an entomologist at the University of Arkansas, and his colleagues have found that they can genetically match the human blood inside of a bedbug to the individual host on which the bug has fed. And, because bedbugs usually retreat to their refugia after feeding, they can preserve that evidence at the scene of a crime for up to a week after the criminal has fled."
See you on Sunday. No more bedbug stories, I promise.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Let The Buyer Beware

My dealings with Ebay sellers are very productive. Many go out of their way to assist me , sending scans , advising me of bookplates which may be of interest , etc.
Every once in a while I spot a seller who engages in deception by omission and this is a perfect example. Here is what the seller stated:

THOMAS PYNCHON'S PERSONAL LIBRARY COPY of Pasquale Villare's "Life and Times of Girolamo Sabonarola."Published in London by T. Fisher Unwin in 1888. This copy has Thomas Pynchon's bookplate on the front paste-down and is from his personal library. Book good, boards loose at hinges, water damage to spine, pieces loose from spine, spotting and scratches on both boards, edges worn, corners bumped and discolored. No DJ.Buyer pays $7.75 s/h. Full insurance required for all items. Additional charge for international shipping. No paypal (except for Canada and the UK) or CC payment available for international customers for items over $100. California residents add 8.25% sales tax.
What the seller forgot to mention was that Thomas Pynchon Jr. (the author )had a father whose name was also Thomas (Ruggles) Pynchon.
I sent an Email to the seller and asked "Is this the bookplate of the father of the author?"
His quick response was "yes, we believe so"
Let The Buyer Beware. See you on Sunday.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Universal Bookplates by Edith Anderson Rights

I was delighted to receive an article about the identification of universal bookplates (mass produced for multiple users) from Edith A. Rights the author of Macdonald Bookplates .For those of you who handle bookplates on a regular basis identification of such plates may be intuitive but for new collectors this information will be very helpful.

This week's mystery bookplate is for Mildred Pearce . It is 3 inches wide by 6 inches high and was designed by R.Carex. I removed it from a 1911 edition of Birthright published in 1911 . Searching for clues on Google was not very helpful so your input would be appreciated.
Lew Jaffe

"This program is from the first production of plays under the Abbey Theatre name. The cover is indicative of the renewed interest in the old Irish legends. Maeve, Queen of Connacht is drawn with an Irish wolfhound. Artist Elinor Mary Monsell Darwin originally cut the design on wood. WB Yeats met the artist at Coole, Lady Gregory’s estate in Galway. WB later requested a design for Dun Emer Press for which Elinor drew Lady Emer standing by a tree (Visit Cuala Press to view the illustration)."

Universal Bookplates with similar designs

Perforated Universal Bookplates

Universal Bookplate with message on reverse side

Universal Bookplates By Edith Anderson Rights

Universal bookplates very likely became popular in the Gilded Age period, for what the aristocratic people of a country enjoyed, other citizens with lesser means also wanted to have. So artist entrepreneurs with printing shops and other small companies began to produce bookplate designs to which an owner’s name could be added as requested. There are many small catalogues of such designs, but usually these are undated.
I was once asked by a person who knew relatively little about bookplates how I ‘knew’ a particular bookplate was a universal or not. I was nearly at a loss for words to articulate my criteria, so I considered my answer for some time before trying to list my reasons.
Three physical distinctions were obvious. First, I realized I excluded those bookplates from the 18th and 19th centuries with a hand written owner’s name; but that an early 20th century bookplate with a blank ribbon or open space for adding an owner’s names I judged to be quite probably a universal. An individual would purchase a supply of bookplates to which could be added the appropriate name. Since a purchaser could have the name commercially printed in the ribbon space, this makes the identification more difficult, particularly when the name font and ink color match those of the bookplate proper. See the owner’s name on each of the bookplates for Allis (Antioch M85), Rappaport (Antioch 8M85), Draper, Theall, Athay and Sandler. A second major clue in identifying a universal is finding bookplates with an identical design (or with minor changes in design or size) but with different owner names. Again, this is not always a safe determination, for there are reasons that a specific commissioned design may have been reused. An artist’s signature on the bookplate is also a broad general, but not infallible, means of separating a commissioned bookplate from a universal. There have been several artists* hired by commercial bookplate firms to prepare designs, or the firm may later have purchased the right to reproduce a design the artist created for another purpose.
Occasionally (and finally) universal bookplates do appear with advertising printed on the back (see Estill), with one or more edges perforated (blank, Praster, Webb), or with the name of some organization as part of the text with (Rights) or without the addition of an owner’s name.

*See articles about Bank B. Gordon (Bookplate Journal v.19 #1, March 2001), Juanita Gould (Bookplates In The News)#97, July 1994), and Lynd Ward (Bookplates In The News #105a, July 1996).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Recent Bookplate & Ephemera Finds

I would like to find out more about Walter M.Trumbull. There must be a book about him but I have not located one yet. The fact that a 26 year hard labor sentence was reduced to one year sounds like high drama.This item was purchased on Ebay.
9/12/2010 The miracle of Internet speed. Within 24 hours after publishing Mr. Joseph Swiers in the Netherlands wrote to tell me about a book by Walter M. Trumball entitled Life In The Army.

This is Ernest Michael Dinkel's (1895-1983) art work for his own bookplate. He is best known for his posters and murals some of which you can see by clicking on the link below.

I got the Art Deco silver and black bookplate for Maxwell Jay Rice from the same dealer who sold me the Ned Guymon plate shown below. Mr. Rice was a vice president at Pan Am .

E.T. (Ned) Guymon (1900-1983) was an important American book collector who focused on mystery fiction and eventually gave his entire 15,000 volume library to Occidental College for it's special collections.

I purchased the Judaica item shown above at the Archive.

KKL was founded in 1901 to buy and develop land in the Ottoman Palestine region in order to encourage settlements. Rabbi David Prato (1882-1951) whose name is typed in the right corner eventually became the Chief Rabbi of Rome .

The Hagadah shown below was published in Germany in 1920 and somehow survived 90 years until it wound up at the Free Library Bookstore in Philadelphia where I purchased it.

We have local flea markets in Philadelphia about six times a year which are sponsored by this group:

Some of the items I purchased today are U.S. Military currency used in Japan , circa 1950

A five inch slide rule circa 1955 and a piece of slate with a fossil fern circa 60 million B.C.

( I made up that last date, your guess is as good as mine)

I also found a 2 3/4 inch neoprene salesman's sample with the patent # 1687441

Google has a free patent search service . The patent is dated 1928 so I assume this item is from the thirties . For those of you who are curious, a link to the patent is under the image

That's about it for this week. See you next Sunday.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Bookplate Websites

These are two of the bookplates shown in The Ancient World Bloggers site listed below.

These are two of the bookplates in the Brewer Collection which has been digitized. See the second link below.

I have been saving some bookplate websites which are worth looking at.This is a bonus edition. I will be back on Sunday with my regular posting

This site has been expanded since I previously wrote about it. It is about the bookplates of scholars and collectors with an interest in ancient civilizations.

The University Of Delaware has done an excellent job of digitizing the Brewer bookplate collection. It is thoughtfully presented . There are 3040 bookplates in the collection so you may be visiting the site several times .

This one is about Sherlock Holmes related bookplates .

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Katherine C. Bartholomew, Bookplate Designer

Katherine Collens Bartholomew (1907-1992) studied art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in hopes of becoming a portrait painter in oils. She was a resident of West Hartford Connecticut and very active in many local organizations. She organized at least two bookplate exhibits in Hartford and designed bookplates for friends, family and local organizations.

Katherine C. Bartholomew circa 1960
Sent by Tracy Munn, her grand daughter

Her sketchbook contains a checklist of some of her bookplates. If you wish to enlarge the image double click on it. In addition to the bookplates on the checklist Edith Anderson Rights in her monograph Women Bookplate Artists mentions a plate designed for the Town and Country Club of Hartford. If you know of additional plates designed by Mrs. Bartholomew please send a scan to

and it will be added to this posting

Checklist By Date


Kay Collins

 sketches for proposed bookplates

K.C., Charles Dickens set

H.W.H and W.H.B.


Anne Bulkeley

Pomeroy Day

Mary Lydia Peck

William Brewster

The completed plate for William Brewster along with preliminary sketches.

J.H.and K.C.B (German Fable)


Nancy and Gale Harper

Charles L.Taylor


1010 Asylum Avenue

The owner of the plate shown below was Atwood Collins, a local banker.

Guy Bryan Holt

J.C. and K.C.B  ( Captains Chest)


Helen Patricia Cowles


John Robinson Hart
Initial Sketch and completed plate

D.G.Brinton Thompson

Wilmar M.Allen

The initial sketch for a presentation bookplate from the Connecticut Valley Garden Club to the West Hartford Library was drawn on the back of a menu.

Connecticut Town and Country Club

Harriet Putnam Perry

Julia Watson Marlow

National Society of Colonial Dames

This is another more whimsical plate she designed for her own use.It was printed in several colors on very poor quality paper which is quite brittle.

I hope the bookplate for Nancy and Gale Harper was completed.It is one of my favorites.

Here is a link to the latest issue of Fine Books & Collections. They are doing an outstanding job and the information is always of interest.

Next week I will write about some of the bookplates recently obtained through purchases and exchanges .