Sunday, October 27, 2013

The American Society of Bookplate Collectors & Designers

James P. Keenan is the director of The American Society of Bookplate Collectors and Designers (ASBC&D).  The bookplate collecting association for America ( Established 1922).  He sent me information about  his plans for the society. With his permission I have copied the  information.and I encourage you to to visit the newly revised and updated ASBC&D website

I asked James to send me a few bookplate images from  the  100+   he has commissioned

. Here are a few examples:

(Birds)  CGD by Nurgül Arikan (Turkey)

 Calligraphy by Joke van den Brandt (Belgium)

Jazz Bookplate by Yuri Borovitsky

AUTUMN 2013  UPDATE: The 21st century of bookplate collecting

The Society's email address is still the most efficient means of communication.

That is:  

 After many technical complications, ALL publications are underway (including finding a reliable digital press and tech support for the creation of printed and e-pubs).

ALL printed publications along with engraved keepsakes are near completion for our FULL PAID members.  So we still value the old traditions, but printing, engraving, even handling & postage cost more these days. It would be nice to have a publications committee, but we must find enthusiastic volunteers in North America to join us in advancing the interest in bookplates! 

Maybe some of your readers have the desire and the time to help.

 Our NEW interactive website is a major breakthrough.  It has taken more than 2 years to develop   At last, we are up and running!  On our site we offer a research “Library” with dozens of complete books scanned (and many more to come).  There is the online “Ex Libris Exchange” page where you can post your items for exchange.  An "Author/Artist" page where members & visitors can submit articles and images--it is not even necessary to go to the post office!  And the “Forum” page where you may be in contact with other collectors, ask questions, and post images.  We have the “Art of This Century Gallery” (out of respect for Peggy Guggenheim’s famous New York City gallery) with hundreds of bookplates by top international artists representing many nations! YOUR DAILY PARTICIPATION IS KEY TO THE SUCCESS OF OUR SITE.

Take a LOOK!!  I always eagerly await  suggestions for your society’s website.

ALL good things take time.   I found our talented webmaster from The  University of Connecticut at Storrs living in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico!  

 It has been a while since my last update.  From April through July, I took a scholarly excursion overseas.  Some part of this excursion I shared with my friend and colleague, Nurgül Arikan.
  I started in Stockholm and visited fine collections of North American bookplates in Sweden with the guidance of Lars Stolt and Per-Axel Wiktorsson .  Then visited Klaus Roedel's bookplate museum in Frederikshavn, Denmark.  Klaus is a pioneer and has been an active member of our society since 1968. He has one of the largest collections in the world. It covers all countries, all periods with a special focus on the contemporary art form.

Klaus Roedel

A Link to the Frederikshavn Museum

In the UK I visited the British Museum collections and the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge.  Spent a few days at Oxford and a few more to see Cliff Parfit who is a regular contributor to the Chronicle.  

Cliff Parfit and Bian in the UK  

Then across the Channel to visit the International Ex Libris Centrum, the world's first bookplate museum at Sint-Niklaas in Belgium .

A link to The Sint-Niklaas Museum

 I spent nearly 2 weeks in Antwerp with engraver Frank-Ivo van Damme and his wife, Johanna “Joke” van den Brandt (she designed our logo We are developing a traveling exhibition of Frank-Ivo's bookplates accompanied by Spanish-English edition about his engravings.

Frank-Ivo van Damme at home in Belgium  

 Joke van den Brandt at home in Belgium

Our Logo Designed by Joke

This was followed by a week at the German ex libris congress at Wurzbach.

Patricia Nik-Dad and I Wurzbach DEG Congress Dinner

Nurgül Arikan (Turkey) and Maria Maddalena 

Through the generosity of the museums and individual collectors throughout our excursion we managed to replace nearly 1,500 books and  many bookplates (I think over 300++ kilos!). These had been previously donated  during  Audrey Spencer Arellane's regime (1968-2000), but were lost along the way. Of course, not having any past records makes my job a little harder although I suppose we must "start" somewhere.

 It is part of my life's mission to try to replace some of this material and I have gained unbelievable support and cooperation from our domestic and international colleagues. At least we do know that some part of the Society's original collection is "safe" at the Library of Congress and at Millikin University. We are only missing 32 years.

After the German meeting, I visited Istanbul for a over a month while I worked on my new book:  BOOKPLATES: The Art of This Century

   Book cover design by  Nurgül Arikan

 And now, with cooperation from our international ex libris friends, we have quality articles coming in—mostly from Germany, Austria, Australia, UK, Sweden, and a few from the USA.  I just need the time to assemble this excellent material or must delegate the responsibility. 

After Turkey, I took off for a continuation of this scholarly excursion by visiting bookplate enthusiasts in Italy. Many important bookplate connoisseurs and talented engravers come from Italy. I spent extra time with Mario de Filippis in Arezzo and Gian Carlo Torre in Genova (this was my second trip to visit them in less than a year).

There is no doubt that through multi-language publications and cooperation with our colleagues we will build a worldwide unity for bookplates.  Along with this will be a rediscovery and understanding of collecting through the traditional “exchange” process.
Oh yes, did you know that in 2022 the society will host the FISAE International Ex Libris Congress in San Francisco for our 100th anniversary!  This date is coming up quickly and I will be spending lots of time in the Bay Area. I certainly will benefit from my experiences with the Boston meeting. Fortunately, there is quite an active movement in the book arts in the SF region and we are already enlisting support for this event. Generally, year round Bay Area weather is the best of anywhere in the USA. 

So, I am making plans for international competitions, traveling exhibitions, new publications, and new studio tours to visit many of the finest engravers in the world. We are properly connected and I can coordinate, but I will need lots of support.  And now, I am planning Master Artist workshops in North America to teach the Americans the fine art of bookplate engraving (as you know, lost here about 1940).  In part, I am working with the Instituto Allende Fine Arts College (IA) on this project.  The IA is listening!  They are paying attention and are willing to support our ideas and have been kind enough to offer me the "space" to work in. 

The new book (an annual directory) is being introduced as an e-book with a small limited print edition coming later on.  Unlike the limited print editions, we will reach the widest possible international audience of libraries, museums, and new individual collectors.

BOOKPLATES: The Art of this Century is the first e-Book to introduce contemporary world ex libris
                    Just one year ago, technology could not support an illustrated e-Book such as this.  In our first edition there are 130 artists with over 300 full color illustrations.  I am presenting quotes on the future of bookplates from more than 30 of the most distinguished international artists/collectors.  The Foreward is written by Cliff Parfit. I'm sure you will like it.  ANY profits will go to marketing, future exhibitions, publications, and expanding the public's awareness of ex libris art.

Within the next 2-weeks we will offer the book in an "iBook" format.  It is now introduced through Amazon Kindle because Kindle is the most widely used format worldwide.  I've downloaded about 6 versions of Kindle for FREE--this is so easy. There is no way that we could reach thousands of people with a small, limited print edition.

 I had the most fun dodging bombs and bullets during the riots in Istanbul--miraculously got out alive..


James P. Keenan
American Society of Bookplate
Collectors & Designers 
5802 Bullock Loop 
Suite C1 #84404 
Laredo, Texas 78041-8807            
VISIT US ON FACEBOOK TOO!  The LARGEST bookplate group on the internet.  NOW over 4800 members!  Advancing the interest in "ex libris" for 90+ years!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Another Excellent Link, Amy Sacker plus World War One Bookplates

Mark Schumacher at the University of North Carolina has  an excellent site about Amy Sacker.
It includes biographical information plus many illustrations of her  bookplates and decorative bindings

Mystery Bookplate

Barry D. Maurer's bookplate for his world War 1 book collection was designed by K.
Do any of you know who that artist might be?

I have a small collection of World War 1 bookplates and the Maurer plate is a welcome addition.
This is my collection
Additional information about the American Library Association's World War One bookplates can be found here

If you would like me to add images to this posting  of WW1 bookplates from your collection send Jpeg scans to

See You again on Sunday.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Useful Angling Link, Daniel B. Fearing Collection

Fellow collector David Kolstad  sent me this link with images of  Angling bookplates in the Daniel B. Fearing  Collection  at the Houghton Library.

 When you click on the link you may be surprised to find that you  currently have some of the plates but never realized they related to fishing.
Here is an an example ( In my mind it is still a boxing plate ).
The description  in
A Catalogue of The Angling Bookates forming the collection of Daniel B. Fearing
Newport, R.I is as follows :

141 Harry , Arthur James
"Process,Signed J.T. W.  3 15/16 x3
Welsh.Pictorial.A disjointed rod, landing net and creel.
Motto:Pawb yn ei arfau( (everyone to his taste)
a Black, on cream-colored paper
b Rose, on white paper  "


Anthony Pincott just sent the following information:

Dear Lew

Tom Lloyd identifies the artist of your boxing bookplate as James Thomas Watts RCA, RBSA  (British, Birmingham 1850-1930 Liverpool). It seems that as a painter he confined himself to woodland scenes. He was not born in 1853 as given in several places on the internet. Add to this that Harry A. James wrote  A Professional Pugilist (illustrated by Kenneth M Skeaping who did a few bookplates) Leadenhall Press, 1894, and you have a bit more to add to your blog

I'll be back  tomorrow with another excellent link. This one will keep you occupied until I return.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Bookplates of Edward Leighton. Doty

This is the second in a series  about bookplate artists who have not left much of a published trail.
Edward L. Doty worked in Boston in the 1930's
If you have any bookplates by him which are not shown below please send a scan to
Over time, working together we may be able to build a checklist along with some biographical information for future generations.

In my attempt to find some background information I unearthed the following:
In 1939 Mary E. Doty of Lynn, Mass. donated bookplates engraved by Edward Leighton Doty to the Museum Of Fine Arts in Boston.

None of the bookplates were illustrated but these are the ones for which I will try to obtain images.
Roger Amory
Andrew De Coppet
General William Franklin Draper
Tudor Gardiner
S.M.Incedo Super Ignes
Dennis King 
Mission House, Stockbridge- 10/15/2013, Image found and added below
Perth Amboy High School ,The James Chapman Prize
 Henry Parrish Roosevelt

 I plan to contact the museum in order  to obtain more information and hopefully some additional scans.

11/13/2013    Within hours of yesterday's posting about Edward L. Doty I received the following information:


Just some background on Edward Doty:

Edward Leighton Doty was born in Brockton, MA  on 05 Aug 1895, the son of Edward L. and Mary E. (Dowey) Doty.  Edward had a poem entitled “Thankfully Received” published in Breezy Stories, v. 5, #5, January 1918, p. 74.    In 1918, he was employed as a copper plate engraver for J. P. Ogdin?, 7 West St., Boston.  In the 1920 census for Cambridge, MA, he is listed as an engraver in a stationery store, and in 1930 as an engraver.   It is likely that he never married, and seems to have resided with his mother until his death in 1939.    The Boston City Directories of 1916-26 list him as an engraver at various addresses, along with his brother, Kenneth R. Doty.  In 1927, he is listed at 651 Boylston, with the notation “Doty Studio.”    In the 1930-31 Boston City Directory, he is listed as a “steel and copper plate engraver, with his brother, Kenneth R. Doty also listed as an engraver at the same address.  The 1937 Cambridge, MA city directory lists Edward without this brother, as an engraver at 49 Dana.



The Boston Public Library Bookplate was designed by Mr. Doty in 1939 and engraved by A.J. Downey

The Cabot Fund Bookplate was engraved by Mr. Doty in 1937

 No you don't need new eyeglasses  In 1933  Mr. James D. Henderson a resident of Brookline , Mass. had Mr. Doty engrave a ridiculously small  bookplate .It is one sixteenth of an inch wide and two sixteenth inches high .It is nicely mounted in a presentation folder,If you click on the image it will enlarge slightly. ..

Leonora  Blanche Kimball's plate was engraved in 1938

The George Burgess Magrath  Library plate was engraved in 1934

In Mission House bookplate Mr. Doty used the initials ELD

Stewart Mitchell's plate was designed by Richard Andrew in 1937 and engraved by Mr. Doty in 1938

Horton Winter Reed's plate was engraved by Mr. Doty in 1937

Charlotte B. Webber's plate was also engraved by Mr. Doty in 1937

That about wraps it up for today. See you next week.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

The Bookplates of Fridolf Johnson

For the next few weeks I plan to focus on bookplate artists about whom very little has been written.
Fridolf Johnson ( 1904-1988) was a collector , author and designer. His book A Treasury of Bookplates from the Renaissance to the Present was published in 1977 and is still one of the best starter books for  collectors . Is is readily available and inexpensive.
With your help I hope to seed a fairly complete check list. If you have bookplates he designed which  are not shown please send me a scan(s) and they will be added to this posting.
Send your scans to

*Biographical Note

"Author, illustrator and calligrapher Fridolf Johnson (1905-1988) studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and then remained in Illinois for nine years as art director for the Frankel-Rose Agency. He moved to California in 1942, free- lancing in San Francisco and operating Contempo Art Service in Hollywood. After ten years on the West Coast, Johnson left for New York in 1952 where he worked as a designer and professional calligrapher. From the 1950s into the 1960s, Johnson became increasingly interested in printing and typography. He established his own private press, the Mermaid Press, and became an active member of the Typophiles, Junkateers, Zamorano Club, and New York Chappel of Private Presses. From 1962 until 1970 Johnson was the executive editor of American Artist and contributed myriad book reviews and articles for the periodical. He wrote on topics ranging from contemporary graphic art, lithography, and printmaking to book illustrations, bookplates, and the artists Rockwell Kent and William Morris. Johnson also wrote A Treasury of Bookplates from the Renaissance to the Present, co-authored 200 Years of American Graphic Art, and edited Rockwell Kent: An Anthology of His Work. Examples of his calligraphy and print specimens can be found in the collections of several museums, galleries, and public libraries, including the New York Public Library and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Johnson resided in Woodstock, New York, until his death in July 1988".

*Extracted from The University of Delaware Library  website where his papers (1950-1985)  are housed.

On the back of the Robert E. Hill plate Fridolf Johnson wrote "A trial run printed on my own Mermaid Press
before sending the drawing to Dr. Hill"

I have a two page letter by Fridolf Johnson dated June 19, 1930 in which he explains that his friend
Herman C. Johnson was
"an an inveterate elbow-bender. When I made up the rough sketch I had no idea that he would ask me to complete it for I meant it only as a sly commentary on his habits."

Mystery Bookplate
Does anyone out there know anything about the owner/artist Margery Rand?

See You Next Sunday

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Email From England

 I Received the following  message this morning from Anthony Pincott in England

Dear Lew,
     I  was cursing earlier this week at UK post offices going on strike for a day.  Now there is a large republic in chaos, resulting in this sort of nonsense:

So will you wish to reassure readers of your blog by something comforting along the following lines ?

That argument continues about early American book labels, so maybe Samuel Phillips deserves mention in your blog if not already covered.
Or at least a link. He doesn’t appear in Appendix A to Brian North  Lee’s Early Printed Book Labels.

Here is the cover image and table of contents for the next issue of The Bookplate Journal (currently with the printer, for mailing end-October).

 Non-members of The Bookplate Society in the US will from
November be able to obtain copies of the latest issue of The Bookplate Journal from The Colophon Book Shop of Exeter, NH,

Note From Lew : For those of you who wish to join The Bookplate Society follow this link:

See You on Sunday.