Monday, November 28, 2011

The Miraculous Internet / Mystery Solved

Within hours after I posted my mystery item yesterday several readers responded.

Here is what Craig Harris wrote:


Your mystery object is Tibetan, the script is called Lantsa, and these are used to print monograms which are basically prayers comprised of the seed-syllables of the words of the prayer woven into a single design.

See an example here:

and some more information here, near the end of this document:

Here is what Marilyn Ding wrote:

At the first sight of it, I immediately registered it as a religious sybmol of Tibetan Buddhism.
After searching on the Internet, I guess what I thought was correct. This is supposed to be a wooden print block of a "Kalachakra Tenfold Powerful symbol".
The symbol is a combination of Tibetan alphabets. You can see how it is combined here:
I also found a flash image here:
which may better helps you understand what it is and how it is combined together. 
Thank you for sharing it. I'm a lover of Buddhist art, that in Tibetan Buddhism in particular. For me it is such a coincidence because I'm also interested in bookplates as well. 

I also contacted Tashi Mannox  a calligrapher  whose site is well worth visiting:

Here is part of his response:

Hi Lewis

Yes ,your object could well be from Tibet if not the Himalayan region, they are wood blocks for printing. 

To reverse the image helps to identify the letters, they are a combination of Lantsha Sanskrit letters, the first of which is the Kalachakra monogram flanked either side by the Eh and Vam letters.

Mystery Solved. Thank you all.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Princeton New Jersey Bookplates

I went to a flea market Saturday morning and was drawn to this wooden object.
The dealer who sold it to me didn't have a clue as to it's country of origin
nor it's function.
Several of the dealers thought it was used  for printing and one dealer 
said it was an Islamic seal for documents. 
The dimensions are 3 1/2 inches high by 4 1/2 inches high and it is 1 inch thick
Your help is always appreciated.What is it?

The early 19th century American Bookplate shown below was sent to me by Tom Boss
Robert E. Hornor of Princeton, New Jersey was a printer/ publisher who was very
active in Whig politics. Some biographical information has been copied below.
Extracted from
Early Princeton Printing 

"Robert Emley Hornor was a lineal de- 
scendant of John Hornor, the early set- 
tler whose public spirit assisted in locat- 
ing the College of New Jersey at Prince- 
ton. Controlling a tannery and a pottery 
manufactory at Queenston, on the out- 
skirts of Princeton, he seems to have been 
possessed of some little means. In Sep- 
tember 1832 he had established in oppo- 
sition to Connolly's Democratic  Courier,
which supported Jackson and Van Buren, 
a paper called the "American System and 
Farmers' and Mechanics' Advocate," sup- 
porting the protection of American indus- 
tries and the election of the National Re- 
publican, or Whig, candidates. Clay and 
Sergeant. After the campaign he assumed 
the editorship himself and a new firm, that 
of John T. Robinson, took charge of the 
mechanical end. The name of the paper 
was changed to the "Princeton Whig" and 
from this period dates the present weekly 
newspaper, the "Princeton Press" edited 
by Mr. Edwin M. Norris. Mr. Hornor's 
Quaker affiliation is shown in the imprint 
of his paper — "published every sixth- 

A new spirit enters Princeton journal- 
ism with Mr. Hornor's assumption of edi- 
torial duties. Never did a paper deserve 
its name more thoroughly than the "Whig" 
during Mr. Hornor's regime. He was an 
eager partisan and one of the most active 
and widely known politicians in the state. 
He seems to have thoroughly enjoyed him- 
self as an editor. Not content with the 
influence exerted by his weekly, when 
election times came around he was wont 
to do extra work for his party by issuing 
special campaign papers, such as the 
"Thorn" in the autumn of 1834 — an aptly 
named little two leaf sheet, which was 
sold for a cent and was issued at least 
once a week until the campaign was over. 
That its contents came practically from 
his own pen is naively revealed by a note 
in the only surviving number (September 
27, 1834) to the effect that the "severe 
indisposition of the Editor must be an 
apology for the want of interest or variety 
in the columns of this week's paper." But 
the "Thorn" so successfully justified its 
name and met with such approval from 
friends of the Whig cause, that two years 
later Mr. Hornor renewed it to counter- 
act what he was pleased to call the "ser- 
vile collar press of the Van Buren dyn- 
asty." To those who remembered the 
"Thorn" of 1834 he would merely an- 
nounce that the new "Thorn" was grown 
on the same stalk — "only a trifle sharper 
and stronger/' Its object would be to 
"place information in every man's hand 
at so cheap a rate that all may read and 
know the extravagant expenditure and 
abuses of Van Buren and his satellites." 
And with cheerful confidence in his ability 
to secure subscribers, he asks that all who 
are opposed to Van Buren will send him 
their names at once so that he mav know 
how many thousand copies of the paper 
he may start with. 
The "Thorn" had not been without ef- 
fect on the college campus. All things are 
possible in politics, and the marvel in this 
case was that the "Thorn" apparentlj'^ be- 
gat the "Thistle," a manuscript news- 
paper made up of political satire, and 
circulated, says one of its undergraduate 
editors in his reminiscences, "by the aid of 
the long entries of Nassau Hall and the 
small hours of the night." The success 
of the "Thistle" led to a more ambitious 
effort, and in the winter of 1834-35 four 
or five numbers of a small eight page 
quarto called the "Chameleon," edited by 
members of the class of 1835, were is- 
sued from the local press. The only re- 
mains of the "Chameleon** seem to be a 
fragrant memory and an "Extra/* pub- 
lished in August^ 1835^ consisting of a long 
poem on a galley-slip, announcing its 
demise. With the passing of this effort, 
undergraduate literary activity, so far as 
publication is concerned, ceased until, in 
1840, John Bogart*s press issued the "Gem 
from Nassau's Casket,** a daintily printed 
little octavo magazine of four double col- 
umn pages, purely literary and serious in 
character. The "Gem** gleamed more or 
less serenely for a very brief day, and then 
' joined the defunct "Chameleon. 

On Mr. Bogart's death Mr. Hornor en- 
joyed a practical monopoly; but, while his 
imprint occurs on many a pamphlet of the 
early forties, most of his attention was 
given to politics and the "Princeton Whig. 

One product of his press, however, the 
"Nassau Monthly, whose first number 
came out in February 1842, the unmistak- 
able and robuster offspring of the "Gem, 
cannot be ignored, even in this scant sur- 
vey. By no means so engaging in appear- 
ance as its parent, it nevertheless had the
elusive quality of permanence that the ear- 
lier periodical lacked. The "Nassau Mon- 
thly/' re-baptised as the "Nassau Liter- 
ary Magazine/' has never been conspicu- 
ous for beauty on the formal side, and is 
not comparable with the "Gem" in looks. 
But it has lived seventy years and, with 
the exception of the "Yale Literary Maga- 
zine/' is the oldest undergraduate publi- 
cation of its kind in the country. 

The campaign of 1844 gave Mr. Hornor 
another rare opportunity, of which he 
made the utmost by issuing a lively four- 
page quarto of three columns to the page, 
called the "Jersey Blue," a name the edi- 
tor may or may not have known as the 
title of a rollicking eighteenth century 
Princeton song. It was, as might be ex- 
pected, devoted to the Whig cause and was 
intended to bear especially on the state 
elections of that autumn, and when they 
were over to aid the election of Clay and 
Frelinghuysen. The opening number 
made this announcement of policy: 
"It will be fearless in advocating that 
which is considered right. While it will 
concede to all men and all monopolies their 
rights and privileges, it will by no means 
allow itself to swerve from an independ- 
ent and dignified bearing. It will deal 
with the rich as with the poor. The sov- 
ereignty of the people will be defended 
rather than the sovereignty of particular 
individuals or families. All party excess 
will be discouraged, while true patriotic 
zeal will be incited. Who will help us ?

Supporting Charles C. Stratton for Gov- 
ernor, the "Jersey Blue" attacked with all 
its might — and Mr. Hornor had not mis- 
laid the *' Thorn's" pointed pen — the can- Carver.
didacy of John R. Thomson of Princeton^ 
turning to good political account his con- 
nection with the Delaware and Raritan 
Canal Company, and at the same time it 
fired broadsides at Captain — slater Commo- 
dore — R. F. Stockton, the leader of the 
Loco Foco party in the State, finding in 
his naval and political record and in his 
connection with the ill-fated gunboat 
"Princeton" plenty of campaign ammuni- 
tion. "
Speaking of Princeton, I was re-reading Bookplates of Princeton and Princetonians 
by Clifford N.Carver and found some bookplates from my own collection:
Vance Thompson(Princeton ,1863) was a writer whose bookplate was designed by the
English sculptor Theodore Spicer-Simpson
Henry van Dyke's bookplate was etched by James Smille from a drawing by Siddons 
Mowbray. His love of fishing and reading is depicted.He graduated from Princeton 
in 1873 and was also a faculty member.
The bookplate of Princeton's most famous faculty member is shown below.
If you live in Princeton or you are a Princeton  faculty member 
or graduate and would like your bookplate added to this posting
send a scan to me  and it will be included.
See you next week

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Three More Bookplate Links

For more information about Frances Mary Richardson Currer , click on this link:

The California printer and bookplate artist Ruth Saunders is featured in this Knox College web site,Follow the link

Here is a link to a Princeton University blog about Charles Read of New Jersey (Allen721)

See you on Sunday..

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Two or Three Links a day

I have accumulated quite a few links to share with you . If I list them all at once you might be overwhelmed so I will mention two or three each day until they are all posted. This one is written  in French . If you use a chrome browser you should be able to translate to another language if needed.

The Yale Law Library photo stream is quite interesting.

A mystery plate at Yale Law Library. Can you identify it?

Here is an interesting posting about Dennis Wheatley's library.


I will return on Thursday with more links.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Art Deco Bookplates

Some of the plates shown are probably "universal" The one for David Sarvis was done by The Antioch Bookplate company

Book Cover designed by Mac Harshberger from a book about art deco dust jackets.
It is scheduled for publication in 2012.
For further details contact the author Tom Boss

 Justice Potter Stewart said something like I don't know how to define pornography but I know it when I see it..That's my feeling about art deco.I can't quite define it but I can recognize it (sort of).

Rebecca Eschliman said..

The Sarvis bookplate was actually designed by him. David Sarvis was an Antioch College student who designed about a dozen universal bookplates for the Antioch Bookplate Company in the 1940s.

It was quite common for names of employees to show up on universal bookplates in the sample catalogs in order to demonstrate type styles available for personalization.

The "Alfred Gordon" bookplate was also a universal sold by Antioch Bookplate a few times in the early 1930s (and once for some reason in 1950), but there are no notes about who designed it.

Thank you Rebecca

I believe Carlton Noyes was a writer.
 The artist who did the Wickliffe and Betty Rose plate shown below used a cipher that looks like MFW
Does anyone out there recognize it?
 John Vassos did the plates shown below when he worked at R.C.A.  Here is a link with some biographical information about him:
 The Leonard Edwards plate was done by Sidney Hunt
About two years ago I wrote about Mac Harshberger.Here is a link to that posting:
Photo from Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Mac Harshberger  Exhibit Catalog
written by Karin Breuer
Good fortune smiled upon me this week.I obtained another plate by him . It is on rice paper and was designed for his sister Kay around 1916.If any of you have art deco bookplates in your collection and want them added to this posting send me  a scan(s) and I will try to include include them..See you next Sunday.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Let The Buyer Beware

I have listed a very important and scarce bookplate from the library of Frederic Remington on Ebay.
Here is a link:

A word of caution- There are at least two dealers on Ebay who are selling scans of  bookplates on a buy it now basis .You have to scroll down quite a bit before you are told these are reproductions.I suspect many buyers are so anxious to buy what seems to be a fantastic bargain that they never scroll down far enough to see the tricky wordcraft..Here is an example of what I mean:

Like I say , let the buyer beware.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Flying Blind In Boston

 Paste paper design
 Gilded Leather Bookplate dated 1763
 6th edition of Palm Garden with gilded gauffred edges
I spent two frantic days in Boston attending two shows and have several purchases to show you.
The most interesting item was bought on instinct.  I am a babe in the woods when it comes to 18th century German  books.When I got home I did find a copy on the German Ebay site .which recently sold for 13 Euros;
The listing did not mention any of the extra touches which I sensed were unique. Fortunately, fellow collector Richard Schimmelpfeng is very knowledgeable and was very helpful in explaining some of the finer points about the extra touches which were added to the book.
.The design .on the end papers is called paste paper Think of finger painting.
Here is a more detailed explanation :
The edges are gilded gauffered. Here is a detailed explanation of the process.

My original intent was to do some research and ultimately sell the book .Now that I have examined it more carefully my inclination is  to have it restored by an expert and keep it.
If you have some useful information about the book  please send it to me.

 I have a few golf themed bookplates and this one came with the following dealer notation:
T.S. Adams went to Yale, Johns Hopkins but mostly. played golf.
The calling card shown below came  from Tom Boss. I am assuming Mr Waterhouse was an engineer for the Grand Trunk Railroad,
American Indian themed bookplates are always of interest and this one for Charles H. Glidden has lots of clues in the design  about the owner . He was a Mason, a Republican and was involved with product which is trade marked "fasteners that fasten".
Many years ago I purchased a glass eye at the Maryland Microscope show. It sits in a drawer and every once in a while I look at it and it looks back at me.Fellow collector/dealer Tom Boss brought some ephemera to the show and you guessed it one of the items related to glass eyes.How could I not purchase it ?

That's about all for now. See you soon.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

This Week in Bookplates 11/6/2011

Here is a link to an excellent new blog about book collecting: 

I purchased Forgotten Bookmarks  by Michael Popek earlier this week. The author has worked in his family's bookstore for over twenty years and has chronicled in a very orderly fashion much of  the ephemera 
 (no bookplates mentioned) he found hidden in books.
I would call this a whipped cream book. It is light , frothy and easy to digest .It would be a nice gift for a bookseller or a lover of old book stores.
You can get more details by following this link:

Speaking of old bookstores I was in New Paltz, New York yesterday for a family get together and much to my delight and surprise I found an old fashioned (in the best sense of the words) bookstore The stock was well organized, affordable and the owner was very helpful..
Yes, I came home with some nice bookplates and interesting ephemera.

I also received a book  from the Bookplate Society this week It is, as with all of their publications very well written  and reasonably priced.
 The price is £14/$22.50 or £9/$14.50 if you join The Bookplate Society (plus postage.)
 Payment by PayPal or dollar check. 

Copies may be ordered by email to   editor (AT ) 

Here is some further information about the book :

Gleeson White (1851-1898) – Bookplate Artist and Luminary

The Ex Libris Society flourished in Britain between 1891 and 1908. About halfway through its life, Gleeson White, who had been a member but not much involved for reasons of artistic preference,  prepared a Special Winter Number of The Studio for 1898-9.. It included a section on Modern British Bookplates and their Designers. White had founded The Studio in 1893, edited it for about a year, and remained a contributor of many articles on bookplates, also writing articles on art nouveau artist Robert Anning Bell and on etcher George W. Eve for the Ex Libris Journal. The British part of the now scarce 1898-9 Winter Number has  been reprinted by The Bookplate Society, providing us with additional material – a biography of White, a short introduction, details of bookplates designed by and for White, and indexes to both the Winter Number and to other articles about bookplates in The Studio.

Born Joseph William White at Christchurch in the county of Hampshire, he went straight from grammar school to the Art Workers Guild in London, but by the age of 30 was back in Christchurch working as bookseller, stationer and organist. By 1890 he had adopted his mother Lydia’s maiden name Gleeson in place of his first names (which were also those of his father). He moved to New York City, where he conducted the Art Amateur for 1891 and 1892, then returned to England, founding in 1893 The Studio, An Illustrated Magazine of Fine and Applied Art. His editorship lasted for less than a year, but he continued to write for it for the rest of his short life. Joining Messrs George Bell & Sons, he edited the Ex Libris Series, the Connoisseur Series, the Pageant and, with E.T. Strange, Bell’s Cathedral Series. He also published three editions of Practical Designing (1893-7), English Illustrations in the [Eighteen-] Sixties (1897) and four volumes of Master Painters of Great Britain (1897-8).  In November 1898, while enjoying a short holiday in Italy, he contracted typhoid fever, which proved fatal. Gleeson White died at the age of only 47. Fortunately for us, his major essay for the Special Winter Number was already in course of publication. We learn from a tribute in the Ex Libris Journal that he was an industrious worker, always genial, affable and helpful, full of art and art lore, well known as foremost in the decorative movement, and knew its history, development and occasional shams better than anyone of his day.

Quite unlike the Ex Libris Journal, which carried much heraldic and historical material, The StudioSpecial Winter Number was a comprehensive, well written and well illustrated overview of what was modern, with keen and exclusive focus on artists of the 1890s – Charles Ricketts, Cyril Goldie, Paul Woodroffe, Charles Robinson, D.Y. Cameron, John Williams, J.W. Simpson, Edmund New, J.J. Guthrie, Laurence Housman, William Nicholson, Robert Anning Bell, Gordon Craig, C.F.A. Voysey, E. Bengough Ricketts, Harold Nelson, Henry Ospovat, and sixty more. This publication illuminates our understanding of the art nouveau and other bookplate work of book illustrators and exlibris designers at the end of the nineteenth century.

The Studio Special Winter Number 1898-9, Modern British Bookplates and their Designers is reproduced at 92.5% original size in The Bookplate Journal, Vol.7 #1 (cover date March 2009 but only published in 2011). 

Gleeson White

 By Friday 11/11 I will be in Boston attending  two excellent shows:
If you are in the area and have bookplates for sale or trade please contact me

See you again next Sunday or Monday .