Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Goodbye 2015

As the year is ending I would like to look back and look forward..

In  2015 I did not complete many of the bookplate projects I had planned.

The check lists of California artists , never got very far.
If you are in California and have the time to assist me with this project please send  an email..

For  the month of December here is a snapshot of readership by country.
United States
United Kingdom
Costa Rica

It is interesting to note that China which is feuding  with Google never shows up in these stats even though I know many in  China are reading my blog
 Looking Forward
  I would like to get more collector profiles and reader submissions next year.
 It is hard to believe but 2016  will be my tenth year as  a blogger.
In blog years ( like doggie years ) that is a long time.

To celebrate the tenth year I plan to have a bookplate contest.

Antioch Bookplate Archives–Unusual New Year’s Greetings submitted by

 Rebecca Eschliman 

Among the little correspondence from the 1930s that remained in the Antioch Bookplate Company files were some New Year’s Greetings from Art Young * to his friend (a friendship developed from their shared interest in socialist causes) and Antioch Bookplate Company founder Ernest Morgan.
Art Young in the late 1930s
1936 New Year's Greeting
1938 New Year's Greeting
*Art Young's bookplate designs for Antioch Bookplate were shown on these posts:


 From my own collection here is a New Years letter from 1943 which  I cherish because it reflects 
the pulse of a time long gone , when people had great respect and admiration for their leaders..
About Ralph Ward and Howard B. Cunningham
In 1941, Ward Baking Company became one of the first companies to enrich bread. The company introduced New Tip-Top Bread on June 3, 1952. This new bread doubled the calcium content and contained 1/3 more milk solids. The company was able to change its bread formula with the addition of the new ingredients without increasing the product costs. 11 The New York City headquarters of Ward Baking Company was eliminated during a company reorganization in 1974. 7 The company left the baking business entirely in 1981, when it sold the last of its baking operations to Interstate Brands Corp. 8 In 1924, George Ward’s son, Ralph, became the president of Drake Bakeries, a position which he held until his death in 1953.9 . Drake Bakeries is another bakery that is now owned by Interstate Bakeries Inc. The company is known for their snack cakes including Devil Dogs, Yankee Doodles and Ring Dings.

To all of you out there may 2016 be a year for good health, joy and prosperity.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Birth of a Mezzotint Bookplate

I love to receive unexpected submissions from readers like this one from Guillermo Moran

If you want to contact Guillermo about bookplate exchanges here is his email address


If you want to submit an article for publication in 2016 here is my email address 

Dear Lew,

Here are the pics with their short explanations. Hope you find it interesting. Maybe the text will need some editing: as always, it is up to you.


Here is the original sketch, drawn with white pencil on black paper, as I find that this way of  drawing is the closest to the mezzotint technique, where the areas affected will hold no ink and therefore, be white on the print.

Next step consists of cutting a copper plate to the desired size. Then it is to be grounded with the rocker': The rocker has small teeth that, when rocking the plate, will teve tiny dots and their burrs on its surface. A lot of passes, in different directions will leave an even and complete coverage  of dots and burrs that will hold the ink. Before being affected by any other tools, the plate should print an intense black surface.
With a scarper and a burnisher, the plate is to be affected where it has to print white. Here is the plate compared to the sketch. On the left there is a composite tool: pointing down it is a scarper, pointing up it is a burnisher.
The lettering has been added
The plate has been inked and wiped: the affected areas do not retain the ink.
Then, a slightly wet paper is to be placed on top of the plate and the whole is passed through the press, applying significant and even pressure

The print is  carefully lifted off the plate
Here are the first five proofs of the bookplate.
The final print, prior being numbered and signed.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Bookplate Odds and Ends 12/13/2015

Collectors everywhere hope some day to find a hidden treasure overlooked by everyone else.
It is part of our DNA. That is why TV  shows like American Pickers and The Antiques Road Show have such a large following.
Rebecca Rego Barry has written a book about collectors who grabbed a brass ring. My copy is in the mail and I thought the book  might interest some of you.

In her new book Rare Books Uncovered: True Stories of Fantastic Finds in Unlikely Places
  Rebecca Rego Barry recounts 52 extraordinary discoveries from the world of book collecting, including a stash of vintage comic books worth $3.5 million, long forgotten in a Virginia basement



Rebecca Rego Barry is the editor of Fine Books and Collections magazine. She has also written about books and history for various publications, including The Guardian, JSTOR Daily, Preservation, The Millions, and Victoria. A member of the Ticknor Society, a book collectors’ club based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, her personal collecting specialties are 19th- and early 20th-century illustrated medical books, and Henry David Thoreau. She lives with her family in New York’s Catskill Mountains.

Here is a  review of the book by fellow collector Jerry Morris

Let There Be Light

In 1879 when the electric light bulb was invented.Mr. William Connell  an early user of this cutting edge technology was proud to incorporate  a light bulb in his bookplate
The Clarence Edward bookplate shown below was designed in  1918 when light bulbs were no longer cutting edge technology. Mr. .Rose was an Electrical Engineer.

The Electrical Standardizing and Training Institute bookplate was designed by

 T Erat Harrison (REF. Ex Libris Journal Volume # 2 page 4)

If you have any interesting electric bulb bookplates and want them added to this posting send JPEG images to                 

A New Bookplate Exchange Site

I received a n Email announcing the start of a new exlibris exchange site and contacted David Kovats ,one of the site developers  for  some background information.

 Here is his response.

Dear Lew,
Thank you again for taking the time to help us improve Collectorism as well as offering to write about it in your blog. This is a fantastic opportunity for us.
 I have attached 8 images that were selected to show how diverse is the bookplate collection of Ferenc Galambos which we acquired a few years ago.
Our journey on becoming seriously involved in the exlibris trade began when we had the chance to buy this collection. Over 70,000 bookplates and the whole library that comes with it. It took us days if not weeks to even understand the volume and the quality we are dealing with. We did have some experience with bookplates; I used to see examples while on valuations with Sotheby's and Karoly has been an antiquarian from the start so it wasn't all new. However this collection took us to a whole new level. In a couple of months we knew that we want to have this as a full time occupation. We opened stores on different online marketplaces, joined societies in different countries, attended meetings, auctions and congresses. We kept selling works and buying/exchanging new ones at the same time.
 We were surprised to see there is no real online platform for people to exchange their bookplates (or actually any other collectible). We wanted to create a place where everyone is welcome, where collectors can meet others without having the trouble of traveling to fairs or conferences. A place where people can showcase their collection and the passion behind it. And most importantly a visual, easy-to-use and fun system to exchange items with anyone from anywhere in the world.
The site opened last week and we already have lots of bookplates online. There are people who only want to showcase their collection or interest and that is great. It's also a fantastic way to make new contacts and there is no need to create your own website for a fortune anymore. There are also no restrictions on exchanging, so it's not just bookplates for bookplates, you can trade bookplates for a stamp collection, coins for posters or vintage toys for modern lego.
I know by experience that there are many collectors out there not able to spend $10/$50/$100 weekly to buy new works but they would love to have the chance to get access to thousands of items that are all up for exchange!

I truly believe this is a great way for exlibris lovers (and other collectors) to keep in touch, browse and find new things on a regular basis.
I hope what I put together for you is not too much, please do let me know if you have any questions
or need further information!

Thank you very much again.

With very best wishes,

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

The Bill Glaseman Collection- Part Two

Here are some letters from the Glaseman collection.
The following paragraph was written by Mr. Glaseman

The Bennett A Cerf Bookplate was designed by Rockwell Kent

Note From Lew

I am always pleased to publish collector profiles.

  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 the readership along with  a picture of yourself, if possible.
If any editing is needed or if English is not your primary language I will advise you of suggested changes before publishing.
A few randomly selected profiles are attached for your review
If you have the time and inclination to participate please contact me.

Lew Jaffe

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Collector Profile Bill Glaseman

 Note from Lew
When I retired  my employer held a farewell luncheon for me in Chicago.
I continued westward and visited friends along the way
In Arizona I made an appointment to see Bill Glaseman ..
Looking back, six years later it was the highlight of my trip.
Bill was ninety four years old  and he was (and still is) at the top of his game.
I am pleased to publish this long overdue tribute to him.

How did you stumble into bookplate collecting ?

My introduction to bookplates came in a rather interesting manner.In an attempt to purchase a fresh water pearl ring for my wife ,I visited an estate dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. He specialized in buying out old estates , and reselling jewelry.His office was overrun with mounted works of art which caught my attention. I inquired about them and was told they were bookplates .
I purchased the ring, which had to be sized ,so I had to come back a week later to pick it up.
When I returned I  was drawn to the bookplates and the dealer asked if I would be interested in buying the collection and "take it off his hands".He quoted an extremely low price and I was hooked. That is how I came into possession of five large trunks and many boxes containing bookplates and bookplate correspondence from around the world.

Who was the original owner of the collection ?

The collection came from the estate of William R.A.. Hays (1875-1943). He devoted a large portion of his life to a worldwide quest for bookplates. The collection consists of more than 33,000 bookplates of which at least 20,000 are mounted.
In addition there are in excess of 6,000 letters .These letters were in response to Mr. Hays requests to exchange bookplates. They came from royalty,captains of industry and notable people from many countries. He wrote more than 30,000 letters in his quest for ex libris.
I do not know how he had time to deal with his law practice. The combination of correspondence and responses alongside the bookplates adds a unique dimension to the collection.

How have you organized such a large collection ?
Thanks to computers,I have entered  into a database about 12,000 bookplates,indicating a reference number,owner,artist,date,and country of origin.
The database also indicates normal size bookplates, miniatures (about 1,500) erotica , schools , libraries etc.
I still have a long way to go. I recall from our meeting many years ago that you estimated “it would take two lifetimes.”
The bookplates are matched with correspondence and placed in acid free sheet protectors which are housed in three ring binders.

Another ongoing project  I am working on is to include biographical information for the bookplates of notable owners.

Has the collection been exhibited anywhere ?

In 1972 the Cleveland Public Library learned of the collection and asked about the possibility of exhibiting some of the material in their downtown facility.I agreed to their request and they sent a team from their fine arts division to my home.For three days they examined the collection. I was not at home during the research period but my wife kept hearing "WOW"throughout their visit.
Several hundred were selected and framed and the exhibit was open to the public for six months.

What are your favorites bookplates in the collection ?

There are so many it is hard to make a selection but since you asked, here are two 
I particularly like.the Enrico Caruso group.
I feel that the two trial proofs must have been handled by Caruso and the combination of the three items are unique.

Enrico Caruso Engraved by A.N. Macdonald (three items)

Trial Proof #1(This is a scan of a Xerox copy)
Trial Proof #2 Before Lettering
Completed Bookplate

David Greene Engraved by Paul Revere

Note From Lew - In my next blog posting I will show some examples of Mr Hays letter writing skills
and some of the responses he received..
Only In New York City
"Stealing is punishable by the law," the sign reads. "If you are caught stealing the bathroom tissue from dispenser, you will be barred permanently from all New York Public Libraries."

Had I seen this sign in the Morisania Branch of the New York Public Library I would have been tempted to take it and add it to my ephemera collection :however, the sign is gone.
Staffers at the library put the sign up three months ago but took it down after it went viral. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Day 2015

It is Thanksgiving day here in the states and I will forgo the usual images of bookplates with Turkeys.

Here are some American Turkeys.

Most of the world news is dreadful so here is a feel -good news item from THE NEW YORK TIMES


Saeed Book Bank is an institution in Islamabad, displaying 200,000 titles, mostly in English, and stocking more than four million books in its five warehouses. CreditDanial Shah for The New York Times

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — After his father died, Ahmad Saeed took over the office on the ground floor of the family’s storied bookstore here, Saeed Book Bank. Then the elderly men started visiting, seeking to settle old debts.
“They all apologized and said they had tried to see my father while he was alive but his office was always too crowded and they were embarrassed,” Mr. Saeed said.
Five times such men arrived, hat in hand, not just to pay their respects to the son and family, but also to say they wanted to pay for books they had shoplifted as children. Mr. Saeed said his father, Saeed Jan Qureshi, who died of heart failure in September, would have been amused: He had always regarded book theft by children as an investment in a future where people still read, and thus become his customers.

The man himself became an oracle to those looking for advice on books, taking time to establish a personal connection and to urge favorites on visitors. (That is another thing his son has inherited: He asked a visitor if he had read “Fallen Leaves,” the last book by the prolific American historian Will Durant, published in 2014, more than 30 years after his death.)


Ahmad Saeed, left, overseeing the cataloging of new arrivals before they are put on the store's shelves. He inherited this business from his father, the founder, Saeed Jan Qureshi.CreditDanial Shah for The New York Times

That approach helped Mr. Qureshi make an extraordinary future for Saeed Book Bank, particularly in an era when online sales have been driving independent bookstores out of business, and in a region where unfettered book piracy adds to retailers’ travails.
With his passion for books, Mr. Qureshi built one of the biggest bookstores in the world — mostly selling books in English, in a country where that is a second language for most people.
Saeed Book Bank has 42,000 square feet of usually busy floor space over three stories, displays 200,000 titles, and stocks more than four million books in its five warehouses — all, Ahmad Saeed said, “by the grace of the almighty.”
(His visitor had not read “Fallen Leaves,” so Mr. Saeed sent one of his 92 employees to fetch a copy. “It is so good, you must read this book.” Another visitor to the office, an aged doctor named S.H. Naqvi, agreed, having himself read it at their insistence: “It will touch your heart,” he said.)
Saeed Jan Qureshi came from a family that worked for a feudal landlord named Mir Banda Ali. His estates in southern Sindh Province were so vast that five railway stops reputedly lay within his property lines. His library was similarly scaled, and as a 9-year-old, Saeed was put to work dusting the shelves. One day Mr. Ali found him reading instead of working, and told the boy to get back to work immediately — but added that he could take a book home every night, so long as he returned it in mint condition.
Saeed never got past high school but he was exceedingly well-read, and after school he found a job as a book salesman for a company that sent him to its Peshawar branch. Later, in the 1950s, he opened his own bookshop in Peshawar.
During the Cold War years that followed, Pakistan was an outpost in the American rivalry with the Soviet Union, and Peshawar became an important military base, and later a vital C.I.A. base of operations, particularly during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Say what you will about the spooks, they were readers, and Mr. Qureshi built his business around catering to their literary tastes.
(Speaking of Afghanistan, Mr. Saeed said: “Have you read ‘The Spinner’s Tale,’ by Omar Shahid Hamid? No?” He seemed mildly shocked. Moments later a Pan Macmillan paperback copy of the novel materialized. “I am sorry, we’ve sold out of ‘Fallen Leaves’ — it’s so hard to keep in stock — but read this,” Ahmad said. “A lot of it is set in Afghanistan.”)
Later the rise of terrorism and fundamentalist Islam made Peshawar, capital of the wild frontier lands of Pakistan, a dangerous place for a bookseller — especially one who insisted on carrying magazines like Cosmopolitan and Heavy Metal, books by Karen Armstrong on Islam, and even the scientist Richard Dawkins’s atheist treatise, “The God Delusion.” (“You just wouldn’t believe how that sells,” Mr. Saeed said. “We buy a thousand copies from Random House every year, year after year.”)
On the other hand, he said, another best-seller is “The Message of the Qur’an,” an English translation of the holy book by Muhammad Asad, a European Jewish scholar and diplomat who converted to Islam.
Forced to close shop in Peshawar, Mr. Qureshi focused his efforts in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, a place heavily insulated from the country’s more extremist elements. Hard times followed as even Islamabad became a “no families” posting for diplomats and aid workers, but by then the bookstore was so big that its sheer breadth kept it viable, as plenty of Pakistanis read books in English.


A salesman at Saeed Book Bank sorted volumes according to genre.CreditDanial Shah for The New York Times

“Other Pakistani booksellers laughed at us that we never carried pirated books,” Mr. Saeed said. “But only best-sellers get pirated, and we carry everything.”
The result is a bookstore of impressive scope, quirky and catholic. “Islamic Fashion,” a glossy coffee table book and a best-seller, vies for shelf space with “Queer Studies.
A thick condolence book for Mr. Qureshi, the third so far, sits on a counter, which sags under the weight of a couple hundred miniature books as well. A few rows away, an entire shelf is given over to Noam Chomsky, 26 titles in all, which may well be more than any bookstore in the world displays for the radical linguist and philosopher.
“Honestly, Chomsky sells here,” Mr. Saeed said.
As the eldest son, Mr. Saeed was always destined to take over the business when his father passed away, and to learn the trade he traveled with his father to international book fairs; annually to Frankfurt, thrice yearly to London, twice yearly to Delhi.
But not to the United States, the Saeed Book Bank’s biggest source of books.
“We spend $500,000 annually in America, and I can’t get a visa,” Mr. Saeed said. “The consular officer said, ‘Why can’t you just order by email and fax?’ They just don’t understand about books. You have to go to the warehouses, and see them and feel them — that’s how you buy books.”
(“Fallen Leaves” again: “When my father was sick, he said, ‘Read this book, and you will calm down,’” Mr. Saeed said. “He was right.” Dr. Naqvi could quote lines from it. “What if it is for life’s sake that we must die?” Otherwise, “youth would find no room on the earth.”)
Mr. Qureshi made sure his children had the education he did not. Ahmad has a master’s degree in business administration, with ambitious plans to computerize the store’s inventory and build up what is now a clunky and unsophisticated online business. Nonetheless, it sells $1,000 worth of books a day online in a place where credit cards are still a novelty.
For his father, books were more than just a business, Mr. Saeed said. One of the penitent former book thieves who dropped in was Suleman Khan, the vice chancellor of Iqra University, in Islamabad.
“He came to say that when he was a child, 6 years old or so, he stole an Archie comic book and my father saw him,” Mr. Saeed said. “He said he was afraid he was going to get slapped, but my father said: ‘This is good that you like books. So every day you can take a book but keep it in mint condition and return it when you’re done so I can still sell it.’”
And then the vice chancellor said, “Everything that I am now, I owe to your father.”
(Dr. Naqvi, who is getting on in years, had seemed to doze off for a moment but awoke when he heard that story. “‘Fallen Leaves,’” he sighed. “You have to read that book. Everything is in there.”)

Wherever you are enjoy your day.