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.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bookplates and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels by Douglas Adams

Bookplates In The Forgery Book Collection Of Douglas Adams
I am a novice when it comes to the bookplate, but as a book collector I have come to appreciate the art and provenance that a bookplate can impart. I collect books on literary forgery and this encompasses, for me, fakes, frauds, forgeries and the occasional hoax. In a collection comprised of about 400 volumes, there are a number of books with ex libris. A few of my personal favorites are displayed here.
 I acquired several volumes a few years back, including The Two Forgers by John Collins and Introductions . . . to the Catalogue of the Ashley Library containing the bookplate of Frederick Baldwin Adams Jr. Adams was a noted book collector and for many years director of the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York City.

This bookplate is, of course, designed by Rockwell Kent. Jake Wien, author of Rockwell Kent: The Mythic and The Modern describes the image as "poetically portray[ing] a lone soul contemplating the darkened universe by way of a shimmering star, as though it were a book emanating mysterious energy." The Two Forgers volume was presented to Adams from Collins with the simple inscription "F.A. from J.C. with many thanks". Adams passed away in 2001, and his library was dispersed at auction in London at Sotheby’s in November of that year. If, however, this book had been happened upon by other means and lacked the bookplate an inscription such as above would have very little significance. The two books with Adams’ bookplate relate to the sensational forgeries of Thomas James Wise and Harry Buxton Forman. These forgers "manufactured" first editions of great literary icons from the 19th Century and were finally exposed by John Carter and Graham Pollard in their bibliographical masterpiece, An Enquiry into the Nature of Certain Nineteenth Century Pamphlets. H. Buxton Forman was a great scholar and his bibliographies of Shelly and Keats are still regularly consulted. Forman was also a collector of works produced at the Kelmscott Press by William Morris. Forman used two bookplates, one known as his "Shelly" and the other as his "Kelmscott". Forman’s "Kelmscott" bookplate was reserved specifically for Kelmscott Press productions.

One other item related to the Wise/Forman saga is a copy of A Catalogue of the Library of the Late John Henry Wrenn. Many of the books Wrenn acquired were purchased from Thomas Wise and as a result Wise’s forgeries wound up in his collection. In 1918, The University of Texas purchased the Wren collection and unwittingly inherited one of the largest collections of spurious 19th-century pamphlets. The catalogue was published in 1920 and each volume bears the bookplate of John Henry Wrenn, which was designed and engraved by Sir Henry John Fanshawe Badeley.
 In 1840, booksellers from around the world gathered in Binche, Belgium for the auction of a unique collection of books formed by one Comte de Fortsas. Upon the prescribed auction date no one could find the auction site and inquires from potential attendees revealed that no one had ever heard of Fortsas. Eventually, Renier Hubert Ghislain Chalon was outed as the mastermind behind this hoax. Copies of the original catalogue are quite scarce. The copy in my collection was sold at auction in 1999 and bears a Zamorano Club bookplate noting donation by Robert E. Cowan. Since acquiring the Fortsas catalogue I have obtained a copy of the 1999 sale catalogue which gives a detailed description of the present volume and together solidify the provenance. Robert E. Cowan was a Bibliographer, Bookseller and Librarian of William Andrews Clark Library.
  In a 1st edition copy of Thomas Chatterton’s Poems supposed to have been written at Bristol by Thomas Rowley and others, in the Fifteenth Century is the leather bookplate of Julius Wangenheim. Wangenheim was trained as an engineer, became a banker, helped form the San Diego Public Library, and became a lifelong bibliophile. I believe this ex libris to be designed by Alice Ellen Klauber who was an artist, bookplate designer and sister-in-law of Wangenheim.
 Another leather bookplate can be found in Spectra: A Book of Poetic Experiments written by Witter Bynner and Arthur Davison Ficke under the pseudonyms of "Emanuel Morgan" and "Anne Knish," in 1916. Intending to mock the then "modern" schools of poetry, Bynner and Ficke became consumed as their poems achieved some success. The hoax was revealed in 1918. One copy in my collection bears the bookplate John Stuart Groves. I have been unable to gather much information on Groves or his bookplate, save that he was a noteworthy bibliophile and most of his library was sold off during the 1930’s. In Eugene Field’s book, The love affairs of a bibliomaniac, he states ". . . the bookplate gives the volume a certain status it would not otherwise have." If only he had known how those words would be put to use by his son Eugene Field II. After the passing of his father in 1895, Eugene "Pinny" Field II implemented a scheme to sell off a portion of his father’s books and in the process forever corrupted every single printed item related to the great poet. With his partner in crime, Harry Dayton Sickles, the two became masterful forgers. Probably, the affair began innocently with Pinny selling identifiable books from his father’s library—those having special bindings or Eugene Field’s bookplate, etc. Soon it was realized the addition of a signature realized higher prices. Eventually, the supply of books and original bookplates became exhausted. More books were bought, a "reproduction" of Field Sr.’s bookplate was made, signatures added, and statements of authenticity written out by Pinny onto the flyleaves. My copy of the anthology Lotos Leaves, containing a Mark Twain story entitled An Encounter with an Interviewer, bears on the front pastedown a signed bookplate of Eugene Field and is signed and dated by Twain on the title page. This bookplate (at right, below) measures 4" x 6 7/8" and is a "creative" forgery of the original. Eugene Field Sr.’s original bookplate (at left, below) is a dainty 1" x 1 3/4" and did not contain the family crest. There is a third variation in the style of the forged larger bookplate, but with the printing much more crude and with a few differences. Everything about this copy in my collection is complete and utter fraud. William L. Butts in, Absolutely, Mister Sickles? Positively, Mister Field! New Light on the Eugene "Pinny" Field II and Harry Dayton Sickles Forgery Case, provides excellent insight into the whole affair and has a short chapter on the Eugene Field bookplates. & My quest in collecting bookplates began with the purchase of a large stockpile of books, mostly printed from before 1900. A number of the volumes were in terrible condition with detached boards, water damage, etc. In culling the good from the bad, I couldn’t force myself to dispense with those volumes having bookplates. I had no room either to store volumes deemed for recycle, so I learned to remove and save the old bookplates. As my book collecting has progressed so has my bookplate collecting: I only collect those bookplates which have significance to the field of books I collect. This includes the forgers themselves, the victims, and the authors who wrote about them. My primary working list is a bibliography I have been compiling, and found on-line, at From this list I am interested in obtaining bookplates of those persons mentioned. Should any reader wish to learn more about the fascinating field of literary forgeries I suggest starting with the University of Delaware on-line exhibit of the Frank Tober Collection. A nice catalogue was published and, as a bonus, tipped-in at the rear is a bookplate designed by Henry Morris of the Bird & Bull Press.

. I want to thank Douglas Adams for submitting a very informative article .Any images which are not properly positioned within the article are due to my limited skill in working with the computer. See you next Sunday.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I want to thank Jacqueline Ernst for sending me this fascinating article about Cinderellas .
I encourage you to visit her website
Lew Jaffe 10/17/2010

Hollywood has done much to misrepresent and glamorize “Knights in Shining Armor.” What was actually a prosaic lifestyle, has been ef­fectively dramatized on film as a sword swinging, swashbuckling call to adventure. In that sense, it should come as no surprise that a lead­ing figure in the celluloid landscape was an avid collector of antique weapons of war.
The sheik of film fame owned museum quality armor and firearms. Rudolph Valentino chose to publicize this fact on his ex-libris. The composition, by Academy Award winning production designer and art director, William Cameron Menzies (1896-1957), is an accurate but typically flamboyant representation of both costume and heraldry.

In the 1920s when Valentino’s bookplate was conceived, good antique examples of ex-libris were nearly impossible to find. Collectors in­stead turned their focus on the expanding possibilities Postage Stamps offered. In retaliation (or possibly as a joke ridiculing fanciers who commissioned extravagant bookplates to embellish their libraries), a well-known animal artist of the period, Evert van Muyden (1853­1922), made his own bookplate. The postal parody included his por­trait and the address of his Paris workshop. This tiny bookplates is a collector’s item on two counts: first as a rarity to ex-libris fanciers, and second, a desirable oddity for postage stamp aficionados. The concept of parody postage has long been recognized by philatelists who cleverly dub such anomalies Cinderellas. All dressed up for the ball, these postal pretenders include: stickers for fees paid to private mail services, Christmas Seals, postal labels such as Par Avion, revenue collection stamps like the American Duck Stamp, saving stamps (promotional premiums hoarded by housewives of the 1950s who redeemed them for merchandise), bogus stamps issued by nonexistent countries for purposes of defrauding phi­latelists, forgeries of legitimate postage meant to swindle collectors as well as the Post Office, and finally, Artistamps, the inventive efforts of artists who create “faux postage” solely for the purpose of self expression. As an art form, Artistamps (aka Postoids ) took off with the international Mail Art movement that began in the 1960s. Mail Art loosely refers to any art transferred via official post offices. Gener­ally understood to be an open, unjuried, free exchange of creativity, the medium of choice may be anything from finely crafted art prints to wacky avant garde attempts to stretch the envelope of traditional postal services. Stiffly starched jockey shorts that have been addressed and legally stamped qualify as equally as expertly engraved, limited edition art prints that are stamped, ad­dressed, and sized to meet postcard regulations.
To Mail Artists, the mailbox is the gallery and the address is the art. Correspondence Art gives the concept of playing Post Office a whole new context! Postage stamps and their look-a likes fall naturally into the themes inherent in Mail Art. Its pictorial quality and traveling nature make the postage stamp a miniature billboard -- the ideal vehicle to advertise, spread propaganda, or commemorate a person, place, or event. To have one’s face on a postage stamp automatically confirms and confers fame. As with bookplates, certain postage stamps and artistamps become status symbols among collectors.
Giving credence to status by proclaiming (heralding) one’s all-important genealogy-based social position was the key to Medieval heraldry. Emblazoned accessories like war shields and yards of embroidered horse trapper depicted on Valentino’s bookplate, reached their height between the 13th and 16th centuries. Blazon, the euphonious language of heraldry, followed strict rules of usage. Enforcing the rule of arms was difficult and, in the case of ex-libris, nearly impos­sible. Since bookplates were privately commissioned works of art, owners sometimes cheated on their credentials and had themselves depicted a rank or two higher than they really enjoyed. By comparison, brass tomb effigies were generally accurate public portrayals of rank, period dress, engraving technique, and artistic style of the era. However, the brasses were never meant to be portraits of the individuals whose lives and positions they celebrate.
Such memorials were generic engravings turned out by workshops that specialized in glorifying and romanticizing the lives of significant persons. When an effigy was chosen as a commemora­tive, it would be personalized with specific heraldry associated with the deceased. Learning the elements of armor that defined each historic period, introduced me to the men who wore them. Each had been a respected member of his community. Most were landowners; some were Patrons of the Church. All were armigerous.
Researching their shields of arms as well as paintings of the period, allowed me to add appropri­ate color to my collected drawings of their military brasses. I also discovered details of their lives and loves. The result is accurate depictions of battle dress used to illustrate a scroll that unfurls to reveal the history of armor and the men who wore it.
As I came to know these gentrified servants of The Crown, a new level of recognition, if not renown, seemed in order. I turned to the Artistamp. Presenting each figure on Faux Postage gave the individuals renewed fame through association with the ubiquitous postage stamp. The Age of Chivalry is once again glorified -- this time in the form of historically correct miniature mail­able artworks. The men and their arms are commemorated in a new wood encased scroll celebrating their lives and loves in context.

Jacqueline Ernst is a California artist, historical writer,

and publisher of WINGIN’ IT, a subscription based art ‘zine.

Ernst’s limited edition artist book,

Silent Knights -- 3 Centuries of Armored Effigies

was released October 16, 2010.

A limited edition of 30 full color scrolls, each encased in

a maple and vermilion hardwood castle, are being produced by

The Seat of My Pants Press.

Postoids and text for this article are © Jacqueline Ernst and have been reproduced by written permission of the author.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jacob S. Potofsky by Michael Longmire

Bookplate of Jacob S. Potofsky .

He was the president of The Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.

This article was submitted by fellow collector Michael Longmire,

Lew - attached is a scanned photo ca 1950's of Jacob "Jack" Potofsky. Photo taken in Atlantic City where the ACWA held many of their conventions.The gentleman on the left is Frank Rosenblum. I don't recall the middle person's name offhand. To the right of Jack is David Monas. Jacob S. Potofsky, onetime president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. Jack, as he was popularly known, was born in Kiev in 1884 and arrived in America in 1908. Although only 13 at the time he quickly gained employment with the firm of Hart, Schaffner, and Marx, a large clothing manufacturer in Chicago. In his late teens he became acquainted with Sydney Hillman and became active in the labor cause. His later studies at the Hebrew Learning Institute of Chicago not only afforded him an introduction into American History and the arts in general but served him well in his rise to General Secretary - Treasurer of the ACWA under Hillman. In 1946, after the death of Sydney Hillman, Jack Potofsky was unanimously elected to succeed him as president of the union. In the ensuing years he continued his pioneering efforts to provide credit unions and banking services to his union members. Jack was also instrumental in various early cooperative housing programs in New York. As president of the Sydney Hillman Foundation he worked to better educate his union members, extending the philosophy embodied by the late Sydney Hillman that a well treated workforce was better to the financial and competitive well being of the company they worked for. Jack passed away in 1979.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

This Week in Bookplates 10/10/2010

The bookplate shown above was used in the portable libraries sent to American Light Houses.

Here is a link with more details:


Here is a link with some biographical information about Sabato Morais whose bookplate is shown below.
After this was published I received the following email from fellow collector Bernatd Goldblum:
Dear Mr Jaffe, Renewed congratulations on your weekly articles. I would be interested to know on what you base this week the attribution of the Hebrew bookplate to Sabato Morais. The Hebrew at the top reads 'From the books of Nehemiah Samuel Libovitch'. An entry in the Encyclopedia Judaica (XI,190) reates to Samuel Nehemiah Libovitch (1862-1939) who was a businessman, scholar and writer and this would seem to be his bookplate. Kind regards, Bernard Goldblum.
I also received this Email from Israel Mizrahi :
Good Morning,
Thank you for the mention, very much appreciated!
I think I was indeed misunderstood with the bookplate, the Morais was the one I could not find at the moment, the bookplate is of NECHEMIA SHMUEL LEIBOWITZ author and bibliophile
here is a brief bio of him
Samuel Nehemiah Libowitz (1862–1939), writer on Jewish subjects. Born in Kolno, Poland, he emigrated to America in 1881. He traded in precious stones and was so successful that he could afford to print over twenty books in limited editions. He corresponded with eminent Jewish scholars including Israel Davidson, to whom he wrote 107 letters, which he later published himself in 1933. His works include: Peni'el (1914), a collection from Jewish literature on the subject of death; Ha-Mavet be-Fanim Sohakot (1917); Sefer Sha'ashu'im (1927); and Ha-Shome'a Yizhak (1907), sharp-witted jokes and original interpretations of the rabbis and from the Middle Ages; Judah Aryeh Modena bi-Demuto ve-Zivyono (1896); Kitvei ha-Rav Yehudah Aryeh mi-Modena (1936); and Doresh Reshumot ha-Aggadah (1893, 19202, 19293), explanations of several aggadot of the Talmud. He also edited and published Ozar ha-Hokhmah ve-ha-Madda (1897), in collaboration with Jacob Reifmann, Moses Reicherson, Solomon Rabin, and others. In several of his works he violently polemized against such scholars as R. Isaac Hirsch Weiss, Ze'ev Schorr, Radkinson, Saul Tchernichowsky, and Joseph Klausner. He emigrated to Palestine in 1927, but his longing for his children took him back to America

Israel Mizrahi
P.S. you can link to me much easier at
I found a treasure trove of Judaica bookplates earlier this week.

I was very impressed with the dealer who got them for me. Here is his contact information.

Israel Mizrahi,

Here is a link with some biographical information about David de Sola Pool.

Here is a link with some biographical information about Isaac Landman:
Daniel Mitsui has added a number of new bookplates to his site. Here is a link:
That wraps it up for this week. See you next Sunday.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

This Week in Bookplates 10/2/2010

Title page to exciting new book by Tom Boss . See notice at the bottom of this posting.
Ashley Benham not only designs charming bookplates , she also has a nice way with words.
In the paragraph quoted below she expresses something I have also felt about the bookplates in previously owned books but was never able to articulate so skillfully.
Here is a link to the complete message on her blog.

"To celebrate my parents’ birthdays this month I made them both personalized ex libris plates. I’ve always liked the idea of the ex libris, and whenever I happen upon one in an old book I feel a deep and immediate connection to the previous owner, like it’s a taste of their personality. Each of these bookplates is reflective of their interests, though like most bookplates perhaps the images speak more clearly if you know my parents, and I’m happy with it that way. I hope you enjoy them, and that you have many good books in your future!"

Fellow collector James M. Goode has two new bookplates both of which are magnificent.

The giant anteater is a wood engraving by Richard Wagener .

The design is based on a bronze statue at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. by Edwin Springweiler.

The equestrian bookplate with Andrew Jackson was drawn by Richard E.Stamm. It is fashioned after the statue in Lafayette Park (Washington D.C.).In a cover note to me James mentioned that this was the first bronze sculpture cast in the United States (1853)

New Bookplate Book

To be published October 20th, 2010......Bookplates of The Club of Odd Volumes......A small number of this privately-issued book will be available to the general public. There are photographs of the plates of 168 past and present members(1887-2010), one bookplate per page with descriptions , those employing color printed in color. Includes the full text of Charles Dexter Allen's "A Talk on Book-Plates" given before the Club in 1901 and heretofore only available in the very rare Club edition.Bound in full blue cloth, 6 x 9 inches, 212 pp. and issued in a very limited edition. $50 plus $5 postage. Massachusetts residents must add 6.25% sales tax. Order from Thomas G. Boss Fine Books.

I still have difficulty( after 35+ years) identifying many printing techniques once I get past engraving, etching and woodcuts so I thought this identification link might interest you.

See you next Sunday.