Sunday, August 28, 2011
Recent Discoveries and Pending Research
Here are a few recent finds and what I have unearthed: so far:
The black circular plate shown below was already in my collection when I purchased the blue variation at Papermania last week. I knew the plate was illustrated in Bookplates Of The Nineties by Keith Clark
(Plate XIV). Here is what I learned on page 15.
I have also tried to find a marriage of an Elizabeth S. with Richard Willis, or alternatively an Elizabeth daughter of a Richard Willis, but again nothing convincing so far – the name Willis is too common
|That's it for now- |
See you next Sunday
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Guest Article By Michele Behan
|Featured Writer Michele Behan|
Harold Schjoth Palmer (1890-1959) was the first professor of geology at the University of Hawaii and a pioneer in the geologic and hydraulic study of ground water in Hawaii.
Harold Palmer’s bookplate is full of curious symbols and mysteries, including the designer, whose initials, F. S. P., do not correspond to any known bookplate engravers.
Both Lew and a friend suggested that perhaps the designer was related to Harold Schjoth Palmer, since the last two initials in their names, S.P., are identical.
That little clue led me to further research, which revealed that Palmer’s mother, Fredrikke Marie Schjoth Palmer, was born in Norway in 1860.
According to a memorial biography of Harold Schjoth Palmer published by the University of Hawaii, she “also showed much artistic ability and later studied with the best teachers of portrait painting in Christiania (now Oslo) and Berlin.”
So it is reasonable to conclude that Fredrikke Schjoth Palmer (F.S.P.) was the artist and designer of her son’s intriguing bookplate.
Fredrikke Schjoth Palmer is listed as an artist known for magazine illustration and figure painting. She was a staff artist for Woman’s Journal, a women’s rights periodical published from 1870-1931.
The curious traveler on Palmer’s bookplate bears a strong resemblance to Gandalf, the wizard character created by J.R.R. Tolkien. Aside from the staff, the traveler is holding in his other hand something that looks like a large leaf or an enormous feather.
This puzzled me until I remembered Lew writing that bookplates often contain rebus symbolism. Of course! The traveler is holding a large palm leaf, corresponding to the last name of Palmer.
Harold Palmer’s Norwegian ancestry on his mother's side explains the Viking ship at the top of the bookplate. But what about the Gandalfian traveler?
It was said of Gandalf that Tolkien derived his inspiration from Odin the Wanderer. In a letter of 1946, Tolkien wrote that he thought of Gandalf as an "Odinic wanderer." Other commentators have also compared Gandalf to the Norse god Odin in the guise of a "Wanderer" --- presenting as an old man with one eye, a long white beard, a wide brimmed hat, and a staff.
So again, Harold Palmer’s Norwegian mother incorporated the myths and symbols of her native land in her design of this bookplate.
The symbolism at the bottom left corner of the bookplate is a reference to Harold Schjoth Palmer’s graduation from Yale in 1912. The “miner’s badge” of crossed pick and sledgehammer directly above Harold Schjoth Palmer’s name is a representation of his profession as a geologist.
The last symbol on the bookplate is the only one that still has me stumped. If anyone can explain the winged griffin pictured on the lower right corner, please post a comment!
Comment Submitted By Jennie Coleman:
Before I read through the text in its entirety I had already studied the bookplate and consequently expected to read some reference to the Welsh dragon (as opposed to winged griffin) at bottom right hand corner of the plate. Might it be that there is some Welsh ancestry in Palmer’s background? There’s mining aplenty in Wales – coal in the south and slate in the north. Or, did Palmer have academic associations with the Welsh mining industry?
I could well be drawing a rather long bow here, but you did ask for suggestions!
Additional thoughts from Michele
Harold Palmer’s bookplate was full of curious symbols and mysteries. In my article which Lew published on August 21, I wrote, “The last symbol on the bookplate is the only one that still has me stumped. If anyone can explain the griffin pictured on the lower right corner, please post a comment!”
Thank you for the comment(s) which have been posted so far.
In the time since I wrote that article on analyzing the design elements of a bookplate, the mystery of the griffin haunted me. I kept thinking, "How can a mythical griffin relate to Harold Schjoth Palmer?"
“The griffin, griffon, or gryphon (Greek: γρύφων, grýphōn, or γρύπων, grýpōn, early form γρύψ, grýps; Latin: gryphus) is a legendary creature of the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. As the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle was the king of the birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature.”
The duality of the griffin creature kept resonating in my brain: Half lion, half eagle.
Then, an idea hit me: Harold Schjoth Palmer’s ancestry was half Norwegian (mother) and half American (father). The eagle is a distinctly American icon, but what about the lion? I had a hunch that there might be a connection between the lion and Norway.
When I researched the country of Norway, I was astounded to discover that the coat of arms of Norway is described as “a crowned, golden lion rampant holding an axe with an argent blade, on a crowned, triangular and red escutcheon.”
A griffin is a cross between a lion and an eagle. Harold Palmer, in the eyes of his artist mother, could certainly be no less!
The griffin on Palmer’s bookplate may have been meant to symbolize Harold Palmer's mixed maternal and paternal ancestry ... the lion of Norway blended with the eagle of America.
I want to thank Michele for submitting this article and encourage you all to submit articles and bookplate questions.
I also wish to thank Jim Lewis for submitting scans of silent movie stars which I will be adding to last week's (August 14th) posting.
Lew Jaffe Bookplatemaven@hotmail.com
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Silent Film Star Bookplates -Part Seven-The Shakers & Movers
Bookplate Submitted by Fellow collector Jim Lewis
He was born Roderick La Rocque in Chicago, Illinois. He began appearing in stock theater at the age of seven and eventually ended up at the Essanay Studios in Chicago where he found steady work until the studios closed. He then moved to New York City and worked on the stage until he was noticed by Samuel Goldwyn who took him to Hollywood. Over the next two decades, he appeared in films and made the transition to sound films.
In 1927, he married Hungarian actress Vilma Bánky in a lavish and highly publicized wedding. They were married until his death in 1969.
|Richard Wallace's Bookplates was designed by Leota Woy and submitted by Jim Lewis|
|Co-founder of Vitagraph Studio|
|Herbert Brenon's plate was desihned byW. Wilke and printed by J.H. Nash|
This series went on longer than I expected and will eventually become a limited edition book for my own enjoyment and a few gifts for friends and family.
If you have additional scans of bookplates that belong in this series please send them to me at
Thats a wrap !
Monday, August 08, 2011
Silent Film Star Bookplates - Part Six
|John Gilbert's bookplate was designed by Leota Woy|
|WallaceReid designed his own bookplate|
In 1935, she married Clarence M. Young, Secretary of Commerce, and retired from Hollywood.
Moran also had a co-starring role in the short-lived TV show Waterfront (1954–1955). The show starred Preston Foster as Capt. John Herrick, and Moran as his wife May Herrick.
That's all for today. I'll be back on Sunday at which time I hope to have the final installment.
Sunday, August 07, 2011
Silent Film Star Bookplates - Part Five
This is where I purchase the cigarette cards
I should also mention that I generally print out biographical information from the Internet but have no recollection of which websites this information originally came from.
Stay tuned for episode number six tomorrow.
|Mabel Normand used two different bookplates.The one on the left was designed by Lucille Lloyd|
Saturday, August 06, 2011
Silent Film Star Bookplates - Part Four (The Cowboys)
|Ken Maynard's Bookplate Is Printed On Silk Thread Paper|
|I get many period photos to display along side bookplates from cigarette cards and Dixie Cup lids.|
Yesterday, I purchased a copy of Whatever Became Of (Fourth Series) by Richard Lamparski.
The format is quite simple .A brief biography of the entertainer,a photo from his or her prime and a 1970 photo.It was saddening to note how many of the celebrities did not save for a rainy day or are selling used cars..According to the author "The man (Ken Maynard) who for several years was among the top screen money-makers lives alone in a ramshackle trailer filled with dusty mementos of his years of glory"
That's all for now I will continue on Sunday morning.
Monday, August 01, 2011
Silent Film Star Bookplates - Part Three
Does anyone out there know who that might be? Stay tuned for part four on Sunday.