Sunday, December 28, 2014

Happy New Year

To all of you out there I wish you a happy , healthy and prosperous new year

The following list of upcoming shows was sent out by the Ephemera Society of America

January 3-4, Wilmington MA: Book & Paper Row, at the Boston Antiques Show & Design Sale,

January 10-11, Hartford CT: Papermania Plus,

January 10-11, Glendale CA: Vintage Paper Fair,

January 16-17, Austin TX: Austin Book, Paper, & Photo Show,

January 17-18, Syracuse NY: Salt City Winter Antique Show,

January 23-25, Rancho Cordova CA: Sacramento Gold Rush Paper Show,

January 24, Boxborough MA: Paper Town,

January 31-February 1, Pasadena CA: Pasadena Antiquarian Book & Paper Fair

February 6-8, Oakland CA: The 48th California International Antiquarian Book Fair,

We need ambassadors for ephemera! 19
hours to be covered - bring items from
your collection to be showcased;
authors, bring books to be signed.
Contact us to sign up for an hour or more
at our information booth & display case:
Robert Dalton Harris

February 20-22, New York NY: Greenwich Village Antiquarian Book Fair (photographs, too).

March 6-7, Arlington VA: Washington Antiquarian Book Fair,

March 13-15, St. Petersburg FL: Florida Antiquarian Book Fair,

March 20-22, Old Greenwich CT: Ephemera 35 - International Vintage Paper Fair & Conference, and Scroll to the end for a preview of conference events.
March 27-29, Chicago IL: The Chicago Vintage Poster, Print & Photography Fair,

April 11, New York City: New York City Book and Ephemera Fair,

April 11, New York City: The Manhattan Vintage Book & Ephemera Fair and Fine Press Book Fair,

April 25-26, Allentown PA: Allentown Spring Antique Advertising, Book, Postcard, Photography & Paper Fair. 610-573-4969.

May 2, Wilmington MA: Book, Paper & Photo Exposition and sale

May 11-15, London, England: exhibit at the Guildhall Library of postal reform documents, collection of Anthony Eskenzi.

May 13-16, Business Design Centre London, England: London2015, a stamp exhibition to honor the 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp. 

May 29-30, Ironbridge Gorge Museum, England: conference "Exploring the Project-Based Economy"

June 7, Concord NH: Granite State Book, Paper & Ephemera Fair

July 13-17, CHAViC Summer Seminar, American Antiquarian Society, Worcester MA: "Culinary Culture: The Politics of American Foodways, 1765-1900" application deadline March 20.

12/27/2014 Don Magee was kind enough to send this information:

Lew, thank you for your blog. I do not know if you are aware of exhibits in Rhode Island relative to book plates and owner’s marks. 

I look forward to seeing you in 2015      Lew Jaffe 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Looking Back and Looking Forward


In 2014 I began a series of bookplate artists checklists . Of all the articles I've written this year they give me the most satisfaction . Few if any of the checklists are complete so these projects  with your help  and input are ongoing .

Leonard Baskin
Pauline Stone

Looking Forward

The California Bookplate Project

I probably bit off more than I can chew with this project but with your help I will keep on trucking.
These are a few of the bookplate designers  I plan to write about in 2015 Some of the artists worked  in several locations throughout their careers but many collectors think of them as Californians..

Beulah Mitchell Clute
John A. Comstock
Mallette Dean
Anthony Euwer
Mac Harshberger
Anthony F. Kroll
Dorothy Payne
Charles J. Rider
Ruth T. Saunders
James E.Webb
Margaret Ely Webb 
Albertine R.Wheelan
Leota Woy

I really could use some help with this project.The bookplates of many of these artists   are at 
several California institutions and it does not make sense to reinvent the wheel.What I hope to find is   someone in California with whom I can collaborate.

If you have the time and enthusiasm please contact me.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The California Bookplate Project Olive Percival

Olive Percival, A Renaissance Woman  

By David W. Lowden

Olive May Graves Percival (July 1, 1869 - February 18, 1945) was a multi-talented writer, photographer, gardener, artist, and bibliophile in Los Angeles. Although she earned her living as an insurance clerk, she wrote for a variety of magazines, authored several books, and was sought after as a lecturer on gardens, New England antiques, Japanese ceramics, and children’s books, among other subjects.Percival was born in a log cabin on her family’s farm near Sheffield, Illinois. Her father died when she was ten. In 1887, she moved to Los Angeles with her mother and sister, lured by the climate and the prospect of year-round gardening.
Percival began work as a saleswoman in the People’s Store (later a branch of the May Company California) before joining the fire agency firm of McLellan & Golsh. In 1895, she joined the Home Insurance Company as a clerk and remained there for more than thirty years. Despite her modest salary, which never exceeded $150 a month, she built a home called the Down-hyl Claim in the Arroyo Seco (Los Angeles County), a scenic area northeast of Los Angeles, often described as an artists’ colony. Oddly, when she built her home, she did not have it wired for heat or electricity. Instead, it was lit with oil lamps and candles and warmed by fires in the fireplace.
Her home was often the setting for garden teas, moon-viewing parties, and memorable salons attended by local and visiting celebrity authors, artists, and book lovers. Her diaries from 1889 to 1943 are peopled with artists, actors, writers, society leaders, career women, and others active in the intellectual life of Los Angeles during that time. One guest thought of the occasions as a mingling of “the inconvenient and the cultivated
Percival began writing for publication in 1896 and sold her first poem and first article just before her 28th birthday. Eventually, she began to regularly contribute to the Los Angeles Times, writing articles on subjects ranging from women’s suffrage to gardening. After the Los Angeles Times bombing in 1910, she penned an article titled Would Woman's Vote Suppress Anarchy, which appeared in the October 16, 1910 issue:
If ever we needed the full representation of the whole people in government affairs, that need is terribly emphasized by this distressing occurrence. As for equal suffrage, I have never in my life heard one sane argument against it. I think the only argument that men who are opposed to the measure have ever advanced in justification of their unfair and un-American position, is that they do not want women to lose their delicacy and charm by rough contact with matters political. This is not 'sentiment' but sentimentality. . . . There is no sense or intelligence about it. Women must live in the world as truly as men and in many instances they are as well equipped for the actualities of life as men. . . . If there is to be anything democratic or republican about the government of America, that independence must be based upon the liberty of all of its citizens. . . . When half of the people of any country are disenfranchised, that country has no freedom. We pretend to be progressive and we boast our splendid republicanism, but our republic is more despotic than any monarchy unless all who are taxed have a voice in the control of public affairs.
Her books include Leaf-Shadows and Rose-Drift, Being Little Songs from a Los Angeles Garden (1911) and Mexico City: An Idler’s Note-Book (1901) which featured some of her own photographs and was reviewed favorably. In her will, she arranged for the publication of two of her manuscripts, Our Old-fashioned Flowers (Pasadena, CA 1947) and Yellowing Ivy (Los Angeles, CA 1946). In 2005, the Huntington Library Press published excerpts from her book-length manuscript Children’s Garden Book, as Olive Percival’s Children’s Garden Book. The Huntington Library has seven hundred of her photographs, many of which are a record of her garden. Others are of scenes in Mexico, Los Angeles, San Pedro, and San Francisco. She often printed them herself—purposely on blueprint paper—because the colors reminded her of Oriental porcelain.
In 1949, Los Angeles nurseryman Paul Howard patented an Olive Percival Rose. It was chosen to honor the teachers of America and planted at the White House.
Although she achieved some success as a writer, she often lamented to her diary the fact that she was not able to make a living as a writer Percival accumulated notable book and art collections, many of which are now in three Southern California libraries: Ella Strong Denison Library, The Libraries of the Claremont Colleges, the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens and the University Research Library at the University of California, Los Angeles, CA.
In "Different Images, Portraits of Remembered People," author Hildegarde Flanner writes this of Percival:
"It was in 1915 in Los Angeles that I first met Miss Olive Percival. More properly, let me say, I had the honor to be presented. She was a prominent figure in Southern California, a well-known hostess, a collector of books and art. She was an authority on Oriental art and also early American antiques. She collected both. She had a fine collection of textiles, bookplates, and exquisite paper dolls. Her library of children's books was one of the best in America. She was a direct descendant of Gov. William Tracy of Virginia. In the midst of her scrupulously filed and arranged ten thousand good books she was a very important person, intellectually and socially, at a time in the history of Los Angeles when such possessions as hers represented conspicuous achievement and impeccable position."
Percival also collected old hats while making new ones. Her hat making extended to her dolls, for whom she made nearly two hundred little hats. She also made paper dolls, inspired by a letter about antique paper dolls from Wilbur Macey Stone, an authority on children’s literature and toys. The Denison Library now houses over 300 of Percival’s dolls, clothes, and other accessories
Percival was considered an authority on many aspects of Chinese and Japanese art, lending pieces from her collections of prints, porcelain, scroll paintings, lacquer, bronzes, sword guards, and stencils to local art groups for special exhibitions. Her interest in the Japanese and their culture lead her to protest anti-Japanese measures, such as the California Alien Land Law of 1913 discriminating against the Japanese. During World War II, she stored the belongings of her Japanese friends when they were sent to internment camps. To counteract the charges of some friends who accused her of being un-American, she joined the Daughters of the American Revolution, the American Society of Colonial Families, and the Mayflower Society. This did not stop her from also belonging to the Japan Society of the UK, the Japan Society (New York), the local Japan-American Club, and the Japanese-American Woman's Club.
For more information, see

Additional Resources

  • Olive Percival diaries, transcribed, Ella Strong Denison Library, Scripps College
  • Guide to the Olive Percival Collections (unpublished) in the Ella Strong Denison Library, Scripps College, processed by Ingrid Johnson
  • Apostol, Jane, Olive Percival: Los Angeles Author and Bibliophile (Dept of Special Collections, University Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles, 1992)
  • Flanner, Hildegarde, "My Late Miss Percival: A Different Image" in Different Images: Portraits of Remembered People (John Daniel, Publisher, Santa Barbara, 1987)
  • Percival, Olive, The Children's Garden Book: Instructions, Plans & Stories: A Voice from a Gentle Age, Huntington Library Press, San Marino, 2005
  • DiBiase, Linda Popp, "Forgotten Woman of the Arroyo," Southern California Quarterly, 66 (1984)
  • Johnson, Ingrid, "Book Collector Extraordinaire: The Life and Times of Olive Percival"
  • Johnson, Ingrid: Olive Percival - Scripps College podcast
  • Los Angeles Times, various articles and editorials, 1899-1985

  •   Note from Lew Jaffe
    The 1995 Yearbook of The American Society of Bookplate Collectors and Designers includes a well researched   38 page article about Olive Percival and other California bookplate artists.It was written by the late Audrey Arellanes. From that article and with the assistance of David Lowden I was able to begin the following checklist.   
    The Checklist is a work in progress.If you have bookplates designed by Olive Percival for which no image is shown please send a Jpeg scan to

    The Bookplates Designed by Olive Percival

    Adrian's Book

    Seichi ( ?) Paul Akana's Book

    Billie Bailey's Book

    Betty's Book


    Margaret Cohn's Book

    Dorothy Wilson Corbin

    MEC (Mary Eleanor Curran)


    Dick Desmond's Book

    W.D. Jr's Book

    Walter Desmond Jr

    Dora's Book

    Gerald's Book

    SLK FMK/Home Port

    G McC


    Dorothea Moore's Book

    Grace Ormsby's Book

    Helen Mason Percival's Book

    Nova Pursell

    Claire Ryan's Book

    Lora Suydam



    OP (Bell Shaped Flower)

    OP (Bonsai)

    OP(Bunch of Flowers)

    OP (Four Small Flowers)

    OP (Peacock)

    Olive Percival Her Book (House Viewed Behind Two Trees)

    Olive Percival Her Book (Lamb)

    Olive Percival The Gift of (A Circle of Flowers)

    Olive Percival Textiles (Text Inside a Woman's Skirt-Two Sizes)

    OP Textiles(Peacock)

    Olive (Dragonfly)


    Percival (In Circle-Two Sizes)

    Wednesday, December 10, 2014

    Odds and Ends plus a few more Christmas Cards

    "Clarence Hamilton Kennedy(1879-1952) was an entomologist and an artist. (He designed his own bookplate).. He was the first person to carry out a comprehensive census of dragonflies in the western United States. In 1914 and 1915, he travelled throughout California and Nevada, compiling lists of species that he encountered at specific sites along with notes on environmental conditions. This survey provides a valuable source of information on freshwater habitats and insects for a time when widespread urban development was beginning, and more than 50 years before there was any thought of human-caused global warming."
    Ref.  Excerpted from a discussion on dragonflies given by . Joanie Ball

    This beautifully embossed bookplate was designed by the art-deco medalist Pierre Turin

     and defaced by Willis H. Ware

    Pierre Turin is widely considered the most accomplished Art Deco medalist. He was born in Sucy-en-Brie, France, in 1891 and died in 1968. He attended the École des Beaux-Arts, where he studied under Vernon, Patey and Coutain. In 1920 he won the Grand Prix de Rome, and was made Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur in 1936. His most famous work is the medal for the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts that gave the name to the Art Deco style.

    Here are some representative medals he created:
    Willis H. Ware 

    1. Willis Howard Ware was an American computer pioneer, privacy pioneer, social critic of technology policy, and a founder in the field of computer security. 
    2. BornAugust 31, 1920
    3. DiedNovember 22, 2013, Santa Monica, CA

    Here is a Christmas card by George Wolfe Plank

    Cat and mouse, often expressed as cat-and-mouse game, is an English-language idiom dating back to 1675 that means "a contrived action involving constant pursuit, near captures, and repeated escapes. The "cat" is unable to secure a definitive victory over the "mouse", who despite not being able to defeat the cat, is able to avoid capture. In extreme cases, the idiom may imply that the contest is never-ending. The term is derived from the hunting behavior of domestic cats, which often appear to "play" with prey by releasing it after capture. This behavior is due to an instinctive imperative to ensure that the prey is weak enough to be killed without endangering the cat.
    In colloquial usage, it has often been generalized to mean simply that the advantage constantly shifts between the contestants, leading to an impasse or de facto stalemate.

    Bookplate Designed By Luis Agassiz Fuertes

     This Christmas letter from 1943 is a refreshing bit of nostalgia.

    Monday, December 08, 2014

    Santa in New York and More Christmas Cards

    I came back from New York City without seeing Santa Claus. There was a three hour wait at Macys
    and all adults present were not that patient.The back up improvised plan was to visit a toy shop and that pleased all adults and one child.. At the end of the day I managed to stop at a bookshop and picked up this bookplate.

    My guess was that Mr. Clark was in the printing trades..I did several Google searches and  finally came up with this information about a couple with the same names but that in and of itself proves nothing. I will treat this as a mystery bookplate and hope more conclusive information may be sent to me.

    "Norma Lee Clark, actress, author and personal assistant to Woody Allen for more than 30 years, died of cancer Nov. 8 at her home in New York City. She was believed to be 75 year old at the time of her death.
    Born in Jefferson City, Missouri, Clark began her career in show business with the Pittsburgh Children’s Theater and later acted at the Rochester Arena Theater. In the late 1940s, she moved to New York to take the female lead in the Buck Rogers TV series, “Captain Video and His Video Ranger,” which ran 1949 to 1955.
    For 30 years, Clark worked as Woody Allen’s personal assistant. During this period, she also wrote 15 Regency novels, under her own name and the nom de plume Megan O’Connor, including “The Infamous Rake” and “The Daring Duchess.”
    Her marriage to lighting designer David Clark ended in divorce
    She is survived by husband, Dimitri Vassilopoulos, her two daughters, Megan Clark and Emily Carvajal, and two grandchildren"

    Here are a few more Christmas Cards

    These Two are By Dugald Stewart Walker

    These Two are by Rudolf Ruzicka

    See you Again on Sunday

    Sunday, December 07, 2014

    Christmas Cards by Bookplate Artists

    I'll be taking a train to New York City this morning to visit Santa  at Macy's .My grandson Jack is four years old and in all probability he won't be a true believer by next Christmas.
    Over the years I've accumulated  a number of Christmas cards by various  artists and collectors.

    This seems  like a good time to share some of them with you.

    This one was done by James D. Havens for The Hart family:

    This One was done by Allen Lewis

    This one was done by Thomas Ewing French

    This one was Done by Charles Keeler

    This One was done in 1934 by Jerry Doyle 
    The Pennsylvania gubernatorial election of 1934 occurred on November 6, 1934. Incumbent Republican governor Gifford Pinchot was not a candidate for re-election. Democratic candidate George Howard Earle III defeated Republican candidate William A. Schnader to become Governor of Pennsylvania. This was the first Pennsylvania gubernatorial election won by the Democratic Party since 1890.

    This one was engraved by Roy Cooney in 1994 and sent as a Christmas card 
    to the late Brian North Lee
    This one was done by Justin C.Gruelle

    This one was sent by Olive Percival in 1920.
    She had a good sense of humor.