Sunday, May 27, 2012

Two More Biplanes Leroy J.Prinz & Carl Fisher

If You have bookplates with biplanes and would like them added to this posting please send Jpegs to

I didn't intentionally save these two for last but the owners of both plates are larger than life characters..
 If a writer tried to fashion a novel based on their real life accomplishment it would appear contrived and not believable.
Let's start with Leroy J. Prinz

"St. Joseph, MO, just wasn't exciting enough for young LeRoy Prinz; barely out of his teens, he ran away from home to join the French Foreign Legion. Here he learned the rudiments of aviation, which enabled him to join American ace Eddie Rickenbacker's squadron during World War I. How all this prepared him for a career as a dancer/choreographer is anyone's guess, but by the mid-'20s, Prinz was in Europe, staging production numbers for Paris' Folies Bergere and for Viennese impresario Max Reinhardt. He came to films as a dance director in 1929, working on such early-talkie musicals as Innocents of Paris (1929) and Madame Satan (1930); this latter film launched a long association with director Cecil B. DeMille. Working on some 200 films at various studios (he spent most of his time at Paramount and Warner Bros.), Prinz was nominated for three Academy awards. When he finally won an Oscar, it was for his direction of the uncharacteristically sentimental (and non-musical) Warners short subject A Boy and His Dog (1946). Prinz also produced and directed a brace of 45-minute "streamliners" for Hal Roach, All American Co-Ed(1941) and Fiesta (1941). In films until 1958, LeRoy Prinz was a highly original, fiercely independent talent, a man who was unafraid to tell anyone -- even Jack Warner himself -- what to do and where to go if it impeded his work. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi "
The brief biography was copied from this site:

The image shown above came from this site

                 Sweater Girls: Leroy Prinz Dancers

Paramount dance director LeRoy Prinz with, from left, Esther Pressman, Beula McDonald, Bonita Barker, Kay Gordon, Dorothy Thompson and Dene Myles.
(Los Angeles Times Photo, April 15, 1935

                                                                     CARL FISHER

A complete biography of the remarkable man can be read at this site:

"Fisher operated what is believed to be the first automobile dealership in the United States inIndianapolis, and also worked at developing an automobile racetrack locally. After being injured in stunts himself, and following a safety debacle at the new Indianapolis Motor Speedway, of which he was a principal, he helped develop paved racetracks and public roadways. Improvements he implemented at the speedway led to its nickname "The Brickyard".
In 1913, Fisher conceived and helped develop the Lincoln Highway, the first road for the automobile across the entire United States of America. A convoy trip a few years later by theU.S. Army along Fisher's Lincoln Highway was a major influence upon then Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower years later in championing theInterstate Highway System during his presidency in the 1950s.
Carl Fisher followed the east-west Lincoln Highway in 1914 with the conception of the north-south Dixie Highway, which first led fromIndianapolis, and eventually extended in several northern branches from the Mid-West U.S. at the Canadian borders to southern mainlandFlorida. Under his leadership, the initial portion was completed within a single year, and he led an automobile caravan to Florida fromIndiana.
At the south end of the Dixie Highway in Miami, Florida, Fisher became involved in the successful real estate development of the new resort city of Miami Beach, built on a largely unpopulated barrier island and reached by the new Collins Bridge across Biscayne Baydirectly at the terminus of the Dixie Highway. Fisher was one of the best known and active promoters of the Florida land boom of the 1920s. By 1926, he was worth an estimated $100 million, and redirected his promotional efforts when the Florida real estate market bubble burst after 1925. His final major project, cut short by the Great Depression, was a "Miami Beach of the north" at Montauk, located at the eastern tip of Long IslandNew York.
His fortune was lost in the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression in the United States which followed shortly thereafter. He found himself living in a small cottage in Miami Beach, doing minor work for old friends. Nevertheless, years after his fortune had been lost, at the end of his career, he took on one more project, albeit more modest than many of his past ventures, and built the famousCaribbean Club on Key Largo, intended as a "poor man's retreat."
Although he had lost his fortune and late in life considered himself a failure, Fisher is widely regarded as a very successful man in the long view of his life. He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1971. In a 1998 study judged by a panel of 56 historians, writers, and others, Carl G. Fisher was named one of the 50 Most Influential People in the history of the State of Florida by The Ledger newspaper.PBS labeled him "Mr. Miami Beach." Just south of Miami Beach, Fisher Island (which he once owned, and is named for him), became one of the wealthiest and most exclusive residential areas in the United States."

Fellow Collector Arno Gschwendtner sent me this video about a bookplate meeting and exhibit.
 It is narrated in German. .The images are well worth looking at even if you do not understand the words.

See You next Sunday

Friday, May 25, 2012

More Biplanes

Amy Bend Bishop's Bookplate was engraved by Sidney L.Smith in 1909.Her husband was Cortlandt Field Bishop. She was a philanthropist and a world traveler

"Cortlandt Field Bishop (1870 – 30 March 1935) was an American pioneer aviator, balloonist, autoist, book collector, and traveler.
He earned an A.B. from Columbia University in 1891, an A.M. in 1892, a Ph.D. in 1893, and an LL.B. in 1894. In 1893 he published a book on American colonial voting practices.
As president of the Aero Club of America, Bishop offered a $250 prize in 1909 to the first four persons who could fly one kilometer.
Auction of the Cortlandt F. Bishop collection was an important bookselling event.["


Eric Henning Nelson  was one of the pilots who participated in a round the world flight contest  in 1924
.His Douglas World Cruiser traveled at  the speed of 70 miles per hour
.Two of the World Cruisers still survive.One is at the Air Force Museum in Dayton Ohio and the other is in 
the collection of The National Air and Space Museum  

Stay tuned for a few more Biplanes on Sunday .

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Biplanes and Trout Tickling Part One

This bookplate  by Nora S. Unwin is from the Gabe Konrad collection.When I first looked at it I had no idea why anyone would tickle a trout. Now I know Here is what I learned:
"The technique was a common practice used by boys, poachers and working men in times of economic stress, particularly during the 1930s depression-era.[3][4] Poachers using the method required no nets, rods or lines or any other incriminating equipment if apprehended by the police or gamekeepers.
Thomas Martindale's 1901 book, Sport, Indeed, describes the method used on trout in the River Wear in Northumberland:
The fish are watched working their way up the shallows and rapids. When they come to the shelter of a ledge or a rock it is their nature to slide under it and rest. The poacher sees the edge of a fin or the moving tail, or maybe he sees neither; instinct, however, tells him a fish ought to be there, so he takes the water very slowly and carefully and stands up near the spot. He then kneels on one knee and passes his hand, turned with fingers up, deftly under the rock until it comes in contact with the fish's tail. Then he begins tickling with his forefinger, gradually running his hand along the fish's belly further and further toward the head until it is under the gills. Then comes a quick grasp, a struggle, and the prize is wrenched out of his natural element, stunned with a blow on the head, and landed in the pocket of the poacher.
In Scotland the technique is more often called "guddling" or sometimes "ginniling". The practice is currently illegal under most circumstances in Britain. A related method of catching catfish by hand is called noodling in the U.S.A."

                                                                Old Planes from England

One of things that happens over time is that you build small collections  with similar themes.For whatever reason I have accumulated many items with vintage aircraft..The first one I ever purchased about thirty five years ago was sold to me by James Wilson .It is an engraved proof . The artist's initial are J.G  
Does anyone out there know the artist's full name?

At the last Bookplate Society auction I obtained the Thomas Howard May plate shown below
It is signed W.P.B (William.Phillips.Barrett) but was actually engraved by Robert Osmond *
*Ref. Bookplates signed W.P. B. by Horace E. Jones

John Saye's plate was designed by Frank Martin.

Dale O.Miller's plate is unsigned

P.Roach Pierson designed his own plate in1932

The wood engraved plate for John Winthrop Hackett was done by Reg Boulton

I will be posting additional bookplates with old planes later in the week
.If you have any in your collection (from any country)
please send scan(s) and they will be included in the next installment.
Lew Jaffe

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Collector Profile John Blatchly

John Blatchly has written some excellent  reference books .
He was recently elected president of The Bookplate Society so I am delighted to feature his collector profile.

                                                   DR JOHN BLATCHLY MBE FSA

My own labels:

My great-great-grandfather's trade card adapted for my use.

A calligraphic label from the Kindersley workshop in Cambridge

A wood-engraved rebus plate engraved for me by John Craig, grandson of Edward Gordon Craig in 2007.
It reads: J B[latch]ly

This plate is for humorous books,

The Revd Dr William Stukeley of Stamford Lincs, was the founder secretary of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1717. As no other copy of this armorial is known this is my best bookplate

Many ex-libris enthusiasts assemble their gatherings somewhat indiscriminately, whereas in the person of Dr John Blatchly, of Ipswich in Suffolk, you find a methodical student of British bookplates par excellence. His main collection is of East Anglian ex-libris, another being of labels of all periods and places. John's interest in bookplates is scholarly, so for him the thrill of the chase lies not so much in building a large collection but in researching and recording details of the owners and engravers of bookplates, principally those who lived and worked in East Anglia, comprising the three English counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

If you ask what drew John Blatchly into the study of bookplates, he will explain that as headmaster of Ipswich School he had (like most of his predecessors since 1614) taken charge of the ancient Town Library of Ipswich, where he found that many early volumes contained printed gift labels, some dated.  Thus in 1984 he approached the late Brian North Lee for help. Eight years earlier, Brian's Early Printed Book Labels had appeared (rather dry for some readers, but considered by Brian his best piece of research) without mention of these hidden labels (since none had strayed from this closed collection). It led in 1991 to an invitation by Brian (then editor of The Bookplate Journal) for John to write about the armorial engraved in 1748 for the same Ipswich Library. Later, for the years 1994-98, when Brian produced the March journal, John edited the September issue, and he remains a frequent and generous contributor.

In addition to his many articles John has also authored four books issued to members of The Bookplate Society. His book on Suffolk and Norfolk ex-libris was published by Society in 2000, followed in 2008 by its companion piece on East Anglian bookplates. His two other members' books were on the bookplate work of 20th century artists Edward Gordon Craig and George Wolfe Plank (who was born American, but in 1916 moved to England). With this wealth of bookplate literature to his credit, we shall no doubt read more from his pen.

Lest you should imagine that John’s sole focus is bookplates, let something be added about his remarkably wide range of interests. It may perhaps come as a surprise that as an undergraduate at Cambridge in the early 1950s he read Natural Sciences, and his PhD in 1965 was for research in Organic Chemistry. Having retired as headmaster in 1993, he was made LittD honoris causa for services to education at the University of East Anglia, where for six years he chaired the Centre for East Anglian Studies committee. He led teams to inspect 20 independent schools over the next seven years. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, is still archivist and museum curator at Ipswich School and is chairman of the Ipswich Historic Churches Trust and of the Suffolk Records Society. He worked with the Heritage Lottery Fund in the East of England for five years and was made MBE for services to heritage. Just recently he has been made a Senior Visiting Fellow in History in the School of Arts and Humanities of University Campus Suffolk. His numerous other non-bookplate books have centred on local history, he writes a weekly piece for his local paper, he gives talks to schools and associations, he has appeared on radio and TV discussing his investigation of the life of Cardinal Wolsey, and his impressive tally of articles contributed to the Dictionary of National Biography exceeds fifty. Here is a man, 80 later this year, whose energy and productivity sets a benchmark so high that most of us will not attain it. Elected this year in succession to Jim Wilson , he makes a worthy new president of The Bookplate Society.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

How Do You Remove A Bookplate

This month I have received three inquiries about bookplate removal so I have slightly revised an older  posting about the way I remove bookplates.

How Do You Remove a Bookplate?

Let us assume you purchased a book with  historical significance , an association copy from the library of a president. It would be a crime against future generations to remove the bookplate. On the other hand, if you went to a library book sale and got a Reader's Digest Condensed Book which had a bookplate you wanted, the removal would be completely acceptable.
It's all very subjective .Over the years I have  removed many bookplates.
Sometimes the books are donated to a charity, sometimes they are resold on ebay.

Here is the way I remove the bookplates without damaging the book.I would suggest that you start by practicing on distressed items.These instructions should not be used for leather bookplates and those with red dye should be tested first with a moistened Q-Tip, as red tends to bleed.

1) Boil Water

2) Fold a paper towel in quarters and cut it slightly larger than the bookplate

3) Using tongs, immerse the folded towel into the boiling water.

4) Place the steaming towel on top of the bookplate. If the bookplate is on the inside front
cover be sure it is level. You may have to place a saucer under it to keep it level.

5) Wait two minutes and place the point of a knife under a corner of the bookplate. Lift gently
and try to pull off.If you encounter resistance continue to soak another minute.

6) To avoid curling, after removal , place the bookplate between some paper towels ,
place a book on top and let it sit for a day.

Let me know how well this worked for you. From time to time you may be surprised to find a second bookplate under the one you removed.

5/10/2012 The following information should also be noted:
Thank You Mr. Fox

Subject: Re: Bookplate Removal

Lew Jaffe's post on bookplate removal is good and works well. I would
add one extra step in the process, which is after the plate is removed,
carefully clean the reverse of any old glue or paste residue that may be
left by using another piece of damp paper towel or cotton cloth as a
swab. By doing this you eliminate the possibility of the glue re-glueing
itself and sticking the plate back on the drying materials.

George K. Fox

That's all for today.
Lew Jaffe

Sunday, May 06, 2012

This Week In Bookplates 5/6/2012

For those of you in the New Haven Connecticut area here is some information about a bookplate exhibit  at Yale.

April 30 to August 17
The Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library
180 York Street
Also known as ex-libris, bookplates are labels pasted inside the front covers of books to indicate ownership. This exhibition explores the ex-libris through the theme of image making. Despite its small format, the bookplate is an inventive art form that inspires artists working in an encyclopedic array of graphic media. The bookplate functions as a mark of possession; however, this simple purpose belies how fervently book owners and artists consider the bookplate a vehicle for self-expression. [Your Name Here] examines both historic and modern examples of bookplates with a variety of motifs. It also uncovers how questions of authorship arise in the collaboration between artist and patron as well as in the act of collecting itself.
With an estimated one million individual bookplate specimens, dating from the fifteenth to the twentieth century, the Yale Bookplate Collection is one of the largest such collections in the world. However, this collection is not a singular entity; rather, its holdings comprise many different collections and an assortment of documentary materials. It is a unique visual archive that forms a timeline of the history and the art of the ex-libris. Moreover, the collection serves as a significant resource for the study of bookplates as well as that of biography and histories of the book, art and design, and collecting. In addition to bookplates, the selections on view include process materials, original sketches, correspondence, publications, and other related printed ephemera.
The exhibit is curated by Molly Dotson, Bookplate Project Archivist in the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library. For more information, contact her at or at (203) 432-7074.
The exhibit will be on view until August 17. It is free and open to the public. A current Yale ID (with a prox chip) is required to enter the Haas Family Arts Library during all regular business hours. Non-Yale visitors are also welcome and can gain access to the Library through the security guard in the Loria Center entrance hall.
The Denver Athletic Club bookplate by Leota Woy is one of the many digitized bookplates from the John Starr Stewart Collection at The University of Illinois,

This link describing the collection  was sent to me by Larry Nix *

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- *-Fellow collector Larry Nix is among other things a library history buff

George Barr is a science fiction fantasy illustrator who lives in northern California.He designed this bookplate for himself ,in 1968.

"Barr's work shows influences from Arthur RackhamHannes Bok and Virgil Finlay. . His work is often romantic and whimsical. His technique involves overlaying pen and ink line work with pastel watercolors.
Barr began his art career in 1960 by contributing artwork to various high-profile science fiction fanzines in fandom and for many years displaying and selling his artwork in the art shows of both regional science fiction conventions and at the annual World Science Fiction Convention ."
Here is a link with more examples of his work.

Next Sunday I will be back with a collector profile..