Sunday, October 05, 2014

Leather Bookplates Used by the Macdonald Bindery

"JAMES MACDONALD (1850-1920) was born in Scotland and trained as a bookbinder. In 1873 he came to the United States and worked with William Matthews, one of the pre-eminent binders. He left Matthews when he had saved enough money to start his own binding business. The Macdonald bindery, established in 1880, soon became one of the most sought-after binderies in this country. In an interview with the New York Herald in November 1910, James Macdonald acknowledged that hand- binding in the industrial age was a dying art, "...the world is moving away from the art of the book lover. The world is swifter now, but it is not so thorough in many things as it once was. The average man has become used to the product of the machine. Today he knows no other standard. He has lost his touch for half-tones - for the cover of a book has its half-tones."

Mr. Macdonald's clients were the leading publishers and antiquarian booksellers  of the late 19th and early 20th centuries .They included Scribners, The Gotham Book Mart and Brentanos
His collector clients included  J.P.Morgan, Paul Mellon and Henty C. Taylor .               Because these were active clients he had on hand leather bookplates in various sizes and colors for insertion in their books. I currently have duplicate examples of some of these plates, for possible exchange

J.P.Morgan used two sizes of leather bookplates in a wide range of colors.

                The two brown bookplates shown on the right 
                are uncut examples before  trimming.

The AHA plate was used by  Arthur Amory Houghton Jr


I accumulate links which may  interest book and bookplate collectors,
Here are three of them.

Flickr has an interactive site with all sorts of bookish ephemera

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