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

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