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!!

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