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


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