Sunday, March 30, 2014

Some Interesting Bookplates

Here is a link to a blog posting by Karl Marxhausen.

It is loaded with interesting  information about these bookplates and their owner's

This image shown above came from an Irving Lew catalogue .
Here is a bit of bookseller trivia.
 Mr.Lew's son is currently The U.S. Secretary of the Treasury

  • Smith Ely Jelliffe

  • Smith Ely Jelliffe was an American neurologist, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst. 
  • He lived and practiced in New York City nearly his entire life
  • BornOctober 27, 1866, Brooklyn, NY

  • The bookplate was designed by Anne Jouart
    Dr. Jelliffe's bookplate amuses me.because I have a room with books and

  •  ephemera which is similar to the bookplate image

  • .Periodically I put excess items in bankers boxes but clutter always wins out.

  • In another life, before retiring  I visited many clients and always paid attention to their desk tops.

  • Some were always squeaky clean.and they amazed me..The clients with cluttered desk tops

  • and file folders piled on shelves were the ones I was more comfortable with...  

                                        Richard Gimbel

    Richard Gimbel (1898-1970) was a dedicated rare book and manuscript collector and the son of the founder of Gimbel's department store. He began collecting while serving with the 8th U.S. Army Air Force in England during World War II and continued after becoming curator of aeronautical literature at Yale University. In 1939, Gimbel purchased the Edgar Allan Poe House in Philadelphia. He refurbished the home and opened it as a museum. The National Park Service began overseeing the property in 1978, reopening the home in 1980.

    Here are three of the bookplates he used.There may be others 

  • John Renjilian, Owner The Pages of Yesteryear

  • "The Pages of Yesteryear has issued their annual date-numbered catalogue. This one is number 49. It celebrates 49 years in the book business. This catalogue offers an eclectic mix of mainly shorter length material, much of it written by hand. There are diaries and such, one of a kind items primarily from the 19th century. They quickly display how much times have changed. "

  • You can reach John  at

     203-426-0864  or 

  • This is an Email John recently sent about upcoming east coast book shows.

  • The month begins with the ABAA NYC fair at the Park Ave Armory, 643 Park Ave at 67th St. Opening with a preview on 3 April, 5-9, $60, the actual fair will be 4-6 April, 12-8 Friday, 12-7 Saturday, 12-5 Sunday. Excepting the preview, three day admission is $45, or $20 per day. Over 200 worldwide dealers will set up, and they will bring wonders to behold, at equally wondrous prices, but it is a treat to see such items. Free informal appraisals of up to five items, 12-3 Sunday. Sanford Smith manages the fair for the ABAA,,, or 212-777-5218.

    Riding the coattails is the Manhattan Vintage Paper & Ephemera Fair and Fine Press Book Fair, 5-6 April, at the Altman Building, 135 West 18th St, NYC. Saturday 5-9, Sunday 9-4, $12 admission. The Shadow Show has been running for several years as an antiquarian fair, and this year has expanded to include fine press books. Appraisals Sunday, 1-3. Flamingo Eventz runs the show, or 603-509-2639.

    The next event will be just across the river a bit for the LI Vintage Paper, Book & Advertising Show, at the Garden City Field House, 295 Stewart Ave, Garden City, 11530. Saturday 12-6, Sunday 11-4, $6 admission. With two LI fairs in two weeks, I can't say what the dealer setup will be. Appraisals by John Bruno Sunday, 1-3. Flamingo also runs this one, or 603-509-2639.

    Finishing out the month will be the Allentown Paper Show, 26-27 April, at the Agriculture Hall of the Allentown Fairgrounds, 17th and Chew Sts, in Allentown, PA. Saturday 9-5, Sunday 9-3. 170 dealers, there is a $1 off coupon at the website but no mention of the admission, usually $7. This has long been a favorite for all kinds of goodies, not just books, though they are there in plenty. Sean Klutinoty is in charge,,, or 610-573-4969.
  • -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  • Note from Lew:
  • I will be attending the shadow show in New York City on Sunday April 6th
  •  If you have bookplates for sale or exchange and plan to be there I would like to hear from you.

  • Sunday, March 23, 2014

    This Week in Bookplates 3/23/2014

    Earlier in the week I spotted a  collection of 160 bookplates on Ebay and asked the seller this question:

    Q: What do the corners of the two presidential bookplates look like when removed from the corner mounts.?
     Do they show a darkening or any change in color ? 
    Thanks for your help. Lew Jaffe
    A: They are the same as the rest of the bookplate. Thanks! 
    Kate Doordan Klavan  carefully read the Ebay listing and sent me this email::
    " My question for you is, what does learning that the corners of the plates are the same tone as the exposed surface tell you? Is it that the exposed areas of the plates were well protected or that there's something not right about the collection? Maybe you could do an edition of 'Maven on various aspects of condition that wouldn't be obvious to those of us who aren't sophisticated, experienced collectors."

    This is my response to her inquiry.
    Old photo mounts can and often do react with the bookplates  leaving hidden unsightly burn marks in the corners .

    Here are some other questions to ask when offered a bookplate an album
    How are the bookplates mounted ?
    If they are glued in what kind of glue was used ?
    If  the glue used was rubber cement or what we used to call airplane glue you should be very careful.
    Airplane glue* resists most solvents and rubber cement eventually damages and stains the bookplates.

    Does the collection pass the smell test?
    Old albums stored in grandma's attic can get musty or mildewed.This isn't an insurmountable problem if you plan to remove and soak the bookplates but it is time consuming  and needs to be considered when negotiating a price.

    If the collection is in another city state or country many established dealers with send it to you for your perusal if you  pay the postage and insurance.Private individuals may  not want to send a collection to a stranger so you should ask the seller if he plans to be in your area in the near future or if he has a friend or relative who lives near you .Perhaps you could arrange to examine the collection that way..
    If all else fails scans or xerox copies of the 15 nicest plates in the collection should be requested.

    Negotiating a price for grandma's collection is often tricky. Most sellers, understandably have no frame of reference and the negotiation is often challenging
    .In any event buying collections has always been something I enjoy.

    In case you are wondering I was not the high bidder on the Ebay collection it sold for $598,88 plus postage.

     Buying collections enables you to get duplicates for exchanges with other collectors.
    Here are a few duplicates I currently have for possible exchange.

    I have many many more so drop me a note about the kinds of bookplates you are searching for.

    There is a wealth of useful bookplate information on You Tube.

     Here are some examples:

    How to remove a bookplate:

    An Excellent Bookplate Reference Book

    See You again next Sunday

    Saturday, March 15, 2014

    Why Do I Collect ?

    Many years ago someone asked me why I collected . The question caught me off guard because
    the person asking  did not understand why anyone would collect anything. There are no simple answers to such questions but I can tell you that every time I go on a bookplate hunt I feel invigorated, like an archaeologist starting out on a new expedition. It may take me three hours to find one bookplate (if I am lucky) during which time I've inhaled three carloads of book dust, but the joy of a find has never diminished..

    Yesterday was no exception. I found two leather bookplates while visiting The Strand in New York City.   I am delighted to give them free publicity because over the years
    I have found many exceptional bookplates on my visits. It sounds strange but I actually remember almost every bookplate I  ever got at the Strand for the last thirty years..

    Here is what I purchased: yesterday
    The red leather bookplate was was found within five minutes after entering the store
    The paper version was already in my collection..The link below is to Mr. Auchincloss' The New York Times

    Louis Auchincloss was a  recipient of The National Medal of Arts in 2005.
    If anyone out there recognizes the gate  on his bookplate ( perhaps at his former estate?) please let me know.

     I believe the second bookplate I found was used by Mary  LeCompte Du Nouy . She was married to
    Pierre Lecomte Du Noüy the French Biophysicist and Philosopher .He and his American wife, the former Mary Bishop Harriman, lived in Paris under Nazi domination in the early days of the war, but escaped to the United States in August, 1942...It is not clear to me what the initials E.L. at the top of the plate signify...
    It just dawned on me. perhaps it is an abbreviation for Ex Libris.

      Andre Bishop sent me the following biographical information which is most appreciated:
    Claire Lecomte du Nouy sent me your email message to her. Mary Lecomte du Nouy was my grandmother. Claire is the daughter of my grandmother’s stepson, Philippe who died a few years ago.
    Mary and Pierre Lecomte du Nouy were avid rare book collectors, both French and English, and had a number of Zola and Flaubert first editions and letters, as well as many letters of De Maupassant who was a close friend of Pierre’s mother.
    Mary translated many of Pierre’s books into English, including his most famous book “Human Destiny”, and eventually wrote a biography of her husband called “The Road to Human Destiny.” She started a foundation in his honor in the late 1950”s and gave awards to scientific and spiritual books. The foundation exists today but has broadened its scope to include playwrights and artistic institutions.
    Mary died in 1974.
    She was born Mary Bishop Harriman, the daughter of James and Elisabeth Harriman. Her grandfather was Heber Bishop who had a fantastic jade collection, given to the Metropolitan Museum.

    I think E L is indeed for ex libris.
     It seems to me they had other bookplates as well (I have many of their books) but the oval leather one is by far the nicest.

    I have not received very many collector profiles yet  this year .If you wish to participate  please send me an email..
      The  profiles are are not very structured. You just write a few paragraphs about yourself and your bookplate collection.
    Jpeg scans of your favorite bookplates increase  readership along  a picture of yourself, if possible.
    If English is not your first language and editing is needed I will advise you of suggested changes before publishing.
    A few randomly selected profiles are attached.
    3/16/2014 Jacques Laget's latest catalog of bookplates for sale just arrived.
    Here is a link:

    See you again next Sunday


    Sunday, March 09, 2014

    This Week in Bookplates 3/9/2014

    Holly Hurd-Forsyth ,The Collections Manager and Registrar at The Maine Historical Society sent  the following information, extracted from The Maine Historical Society Blog

    The paper size is 7.7cm high by 10.8cm long (irregular). 
    The imprint size is 6.5 x 6.5cm square

    "MHS staff are continually reviewing and researching the collections and (re)discovering wonderful things.
    A beautiful, very early, and very rare, printed bookplate pasted into the front of one of our Special Collections volumes recently drew attention.  It reads “Thomas Smith, Hunc Librum Vendicat. Anno. Dom MDCCVII” which translates to “Thomas Smith Claims This Book in the Year of Our Lord 1707.” The words are surrounded by a woodcut border of flowers, including roses and thistles. The boldness of the design combined with the early date, and the name “Thomas Smith” warranted further investigation.
    As it turns out, this book belonged to Thomas Smith (1678-1742), a merchant in Boston and the father of Parson Thomas Smith (1702-1795) who was the first minister of the first church in Portland (then Falmouth). Parson Smith served as minister for 68 years, until he died in his early 90s. His journals were published in 1849, and provide a valuable window into early to mid-18th century Portland.
    The bookplate itself is important. Sinclair Hamilton, the preeminent scholar of early American printing and book illustration proclaims it “…is probably the first ornamental American bookplate” and demonstrates the advancement of the art of woodcut printing in the American colonies.
    The book (S.C. 843: Annaei Senecae Tum Rhetoris Tum Philosophi…, published in Geneva in 1620) was a gift of Florence Codman of New York City in 1958. 
    For more information on bookplates, see this Maine Memory Network online exhibit, Bookplates Honor Annie Louise Cary, developed by the Cary Memorial Library in Wayne."

    Note from Lew- Tom Boss  advised me that the Thomas Smith plate is listed (item#7) in

    Early American Book Illustrators and Wood Engravers 1670-1870 by Sinclair Hamilton

    In addition the bookplate for James Penniman (item # 10) utilizes the same woodcut design.
    Here is a PDF link to the Princeton University Exhibit:


    New Arrivals in my own collection

     Louis Untermeyer's wife Bryna  was a cousin of the late Anne Blaine Jaffe, my sister in law.In 1978 Anne  received a note from Mrs. Untermeyer to which was   attached one of Mr. Untermeyer's early bookplates,The note and bookplate were placed in a Louis Untermeyer book where it rested until my brother Arnold stumbled upon it and gave it to me yesterday.

    Sunday, March 02, 2014

    This Week in Bookplates 3/2/2014

    Fellow Collector David Wilton has a new wood engraved bookplate by Andy English.

    It is based on a William Kent mirror design.

    I purchased this  Mayan bookplate last week because it appealed to me.
    I've never seen it before, and it fits in with my threats and warnings collection

    Here are two older postings about threats and warnings.

    One thing that adds to my enjoyment of this peculiar hobby is learning about the owners of bookplates.
    ,In this instance it was a piece of cake.*
    William Frederick and Elizebeth Smith Friedman were American cryptographers.
    They also had an interest in Mayan glyphs.

    "William Friedman was still an infant when his family immigrated to the United States; he studied genetics at Cornell University (B.S., 1914). Elizabeth Smith majored in English at Hillsdale (Michigan) College (B.A., 1915). They met at the Riverbank Laboratories (Geneva, Ill.), where they both eventually became involved in cryptology, working often for the government in decoding diplomatic messages. In 1917–18 William served in the U.S. Army, partly in France, analyzing German code books.
    After the war, in 1921, the Friedmans (they had married in May 1917) moved to Washington, D.C., where, over the years, Elizebeth Friedman worked for several government departments, notably cracking the codes used by rumrunners and other smugglers, and where William Friedman, in the War Department, became the chief cryptoanalyst in the Signal Intelligence Service, notably leading the teams that broke various Japanese codes, including ultimately the Purple machine cipher initiated by Japan in 1939. After World War II, William Friedman worked awhile for the National Security Agency, and Elizebeth Friedman for the International Monetary Fund.
    William Friedman wrote The Index of Coincidence and Its Applications in Cryptography (1922), one of the standard works in the nomenclature and classification of ciphers. Together, the Friedmans wrote The Shakespearean Ciphers Examined (1957), in which they denied Francis Bacon’s purported authorship of the William Shakespeare plays and sonnets"
    *  Idioms are of interest to me . For some of you American English may be a second or third this explanation may be in order.:

    Dr.Wolfgang Rieger has a well illustrated  new catalog of German and Swiss bookplates for sale.

    The Ephemera Society Meeting and and show will be here before you know it.

    Fellow collector/dealer Tom Boss will devote most of his exhibit space to bookplates.,He is bringing thousands of bookplates including many popular items in   categories such as angling, famous people and
    18th century American including some by Paul Revere.

    Update on  mystery bookplates

    Fellow bookplate enthusiast Alan Pendray sent me some additional information about two mystery bookplates in the style of Jessie M. King

    Hi Lew,
    Please find below my synopsis of the Cowenhoven bookplates,including the website link, for your blog,lets hope it generates additional leads:

    Having read Colins Whites extensive article regarding the HENRIETTA COWENHOVEN BROWN bookplate mystery in the Autumn 2012 Bookplate Journal,imagine my surprise when Lew told me that he not only had an original copy but also had the identical copy with the name KATHERINE COWENHOVEN TAYLOR.
    As Colin had not seen an original and could find no trace of a HENRIETTA COWENHOVEN BROWN,I decided to investigate further and found a website* that contained references to BOTH the names and it turned out that Henriette was an American heiress (1889-1962) who travelled to Europe and had a daughter , Katherine . Henrietta`s married name was in fact HENRIETTA COWENHOVEN BROWN TAYLOR.
    I then forwarded this information to Colin White whose analysis is below;

    I think Alan Pendray seems to have got to the heart of the matter. He’s done a fine bit of research into the Cowenhaven family. I think the summing up might well be that Henrietta saw the JMK illustration in the Studio and had the bookplate based on it made by some unknown (but talented) artist, perhaps using her own  image instead of JMK’s maiden. An artist clever enough to reproduce the intricacies of all the foliage would surely have been able to produce a better nymph than she did and I suspect that there is a portrait element there. Henrietta’s daughter, the Taylor girl, (Taylor by marriage and certainly no relation of E.A. Taylor) adapted her mother’s bookplate, possibly posthumously. I do believe that everything stems from the original drawing in Studio. JMK wouldn't ( couldn't) make such an close copy of her own work (and leave it unsigned) even if, by chance, Henrietta had met up with her in Paris in 1913.

    *Website link

    1.   Henrietta Cowenhoven Brown Taylor (1889 - 1962) - Find A Grave ...

    This has nothing to do with bookplates.
    It's just a nice photo of my son and two grandsons.

    See you again , next Sunday