When television sets first become available to the general public in the late 1940's there were a number of silent films shown because there just was not enough original content to feed the TV monster..I was hooked on those early silent flicks and to this day I actively purchase silent film star bookplates.Not every bookplate I will include is from the library of a silent film star .Some of these entertainers had long careers and some were not even in silent films but many started in silent films.
If you want to read more about this collecting niche I would recommend:
The 1930 Year Book of The American Society of Bookplate Collectors and Designers .
It has a 15 page article by Hattie Gray Baker about motion picture bookplates.
Morris Ankrum (1896-1964) was a character actor whose film career spanned thirty years (mostly B films)
For instance, He appeared in Invaders From Mars, Rocket ship X-M and Cattle Queen of Montana.
Two Excellent blog postings about Hollywood homes and bookplates
Theo Bikel is a character actor, folk singer and musician.He made his film debut in The African Queen and was nominated for an academy award for his supporting role as Sheriff Max Muller in The Defiant Ones.
It took me over thirty five years to get this bookplate.I wrote to him back when celebrities responded to inquiries. He wrote back that he had used a bookplate at one time but no longer knew where they were.
This copy was in a recently purchased collection.
I was quite impressed with James M, Goode's new bookplate engraved by Keith Cranmer and asked him to explain what the design represented .
This is James' response:
"The Kennedy-Warren apartment house, designed by Joseph Younger and built in 1930-1931 at 3133 Connecticut Avenue next to the National Zoo, is the best example of Art Deco architecture in Washington, D.C. The building is noted for its extensive use of aluminum, elaborate patterns of variegated tan brickwork,
as well as its limestone carvings. The exterior has vertical rows of large aluminum spandrels between the windows and a bowed aluminum entrance porch. The low relief carved limestone sculpture includes large griffins at the roof level.
In addition on each side of the front entrance is a pair of carved limestone Aztec eagles with a geometric sun above. The lobby’s Art Deco decoration includes stained glass windows, an elaborate aluminum balustrade on the mezzanine and on the stairs leading to the ballroom below, and a striking ceiling with Art Deco
stenciled beams. In contemplating a design for an engraved bookplate based on an architectural feature of the building, the engraver, Keith Cranmer, and I decided one of the pairs of carved eagles with part of the Aztec sun above would be ideal for a bookplate. When the skillfully designed proof arrived I knew it was the best choice."
I also asked Keith Cranmer to write something about himself and this was his response:
The Raven I made for my son who is well on his way to having his own library. The "work in progress" proof is for myself and will be finished "come spring" someday.
"Fortunately, the first hand engraving I encountered as a young artist was the work of a master engraver. California artist Fran Harry was producing wonderful engravings in San Francisco’s East Bay and in the mid 1970’s, while applying for a job with a metal engraving shop, I was shown some of his work as part of their inventory. I enthusiastically accepted the job knowing that I would be exposed to and involved with this caliber of work.
The endeavor to learn hand-engraving is in fact a formidable undertaking requiring absolute dedication to the craft. I spent hours after work every day, for years, perfecting just the rudimentary techniques. By being around excellent engraving I was able to learn by looking at the work under magnification and deconstructing the process cut by cut. Eventually I was able to spend some time with Fran Harry, who’s style and technique has informed my engraving to this day.
During the intervening years I have owned several engraving businesses and I have drifted in and out of intensive engraving practice. Currently I am enjoying engraving for printing and printmaking. This includes end grain wood engraving or White Line Engraving used in relief printing for Letterpress and also Black Line Engraving in copper or steel plate for intaglio printing.
Bookplate design and engraving is new to me and thus far I have produced only a few. The bookplate is an intriguing vehicle for fine work. That the bookplate is used in fine editions, libraries and collected is a tribute to the beautifully executed graphic image. Just as much a pleasure to see and hold as it is to create."
I’ve long been fond of what I call “accessorized books.” Not necessarily Grangerized (extra-illustrated), where additional plates and other material have been tipped-in or the book rebound to accommodate the additions, though I’m fascinated with those volumes as well.
My focus, however, has been on books that are somehow housed with related—and often personalized—materials. I have a few examples of this on my shelves, one of which is my collection of bookseller labels. In 1986 Larry Dingman of Dinkytown Antiquarian Books in Minneapolis published the first and only book on American bookseller labels. Titled Booksellers Marks: An Illustrated Book, it resembles a stamp collectors’ album with images of various bookseller marks where you can paste the matching labels. Each volume of this limited edition came with at least three labels tipped in, and I have added dozens more to my copy. Of course, there are several thousand labels out there, so to accommodate my collection I had bookbinder Vernon Wiering (http://www.wieringbooks.com/) create a matching volume with blank pages that I organized by state and country. Here I can mount my labels, adding pencil notations as I learn about the various bookshops. While booksellers from around the world are included, true antiquarian pieces (i.e. labels with independent value) are housed in a binder using Vario sheets. Vernon also made a matching slipcase to house both volumes.
This brings me to bookplates. In forming my collection, I decided to use William E. Butler’s American Bookplates as the guideline, collecting fine specimens of the 140+ designers featured. I wanted to house the collection in such a way that it protected the plates long-term, did justice to the designers, and looked good on the shelf. An accessorized book was the answer.
Of course, this project has been years in the making and remains incomplete. When I had examples from a good majority of the artists, I went back to Vernon Wiering for another album. Vernon specializes in historical bindings and repairs but does all varieties of binding work. Not only are his bindings historically accurate, they are often stunningly beautiful with exquisite detail. What I was asking of him was probably more pedestrian than his normal job, but he executed it with precision and flair. The album he created has the same height and width measurements as Butler’s book, and is nearly twice as thick. It has red paper-covered boards over a red cloth spine with “American Bookplates” stamped in black. There are enough archival leaves that I can feature one or two plates per page with nothing on the verso so no plates will rub against one another. Vernon devised a way to use additional paper bound into the gutters to act as spacers, so when the plates were added the binding wouldn’t splay open. The spacers are nearly imperceptible, even when your eyes are drawn to the beautiful endbands. The cover reads “American Bookplates – The Collection of G.L. Konrád” to add provenance and just enough snootiness to make it fun.
Both the album and Butler’s book are housed in a very strong slipcase. The case is covered with matching red cloth, and recessed into the closed end is an Ex Libris medallion that I picked up on eBay a few years ago for just a couple of dollars. The medallion came from Sweden with no hints at its origins.
Currently I have 181 plates mounted in the album from over one hundred artists, all arranged alphabetically by designer. Most are mounted using archival stamp hinges, while some of the scarcer Items—Peter Rushton Maverick, Nathaniel Hurd, et al—are held in place by archival corner mounts, like the ones used for photographs. With only one or two plates per leaf, there is plenty of room for copious pencil notes on the designers, printing techniques and the owners of the plates. And the research is where the fun begins, adding a rich background to each little piece of custom art.
As I mentioned, this collection is not complete. I still need original examples from the designers listed below.
Note from Lew Jaffe- I want to thank Gabe Konrad for taking the time to submit this most interesting article and to encourage those of you wish to submit articles to contact me Bookplatemaven@hotmail.com
Next week I will be in New York City on Sunday July 17th hitting the flea markets. If you are in New York
and have bookplates for sale or trade please contact me.
We found time to meet in New Jersey and exchange duplicates.This plate for Wang needs further research.
Who is Wang? Yosef told me that he has only seen books with this plate in Israel.The plate for Norman and Janey Buchan was another one I got from Josef. Finding information about this couple was easy.There are many references about them on the Internet. Norman Findlay Buchan (1922-1990) was a teacher, writer, and a politician.
He wrote a book entitled 101 Scottish Songs and served as member of Parliament in Scotland.
His wife Janey O'Neil Buchan was also active in politics and Gay rights.
Since most of the book plates Yosef had for exchange came from books in his store I found the diversity fascinating. How did books from a Scottish Gay rights advocate wind up in Israel ?
For some reason it brings to mind a movie I saw years ago entitled ,The Yellow Rolls-Royce
The plate for Augustus William Dellquest was one I forgot to include in last week's posting about California booksellers.Mr. Dellquest's shop was in Los Angeles and his plate was designed by Victor Basinet.
California plates from the Arellanes collection are still being sorted but this memorable one by Will Connell is worthy of early mention. I guess that wraps it up for today. I'll be back again on Sunday.