Friday, March 27, 2015

Bookplate Owners

I enjoy finding biographical information about bookplate owners almost as much as acquiring them.
 Here are a few examples:

The New York lyricist Paul Francis Webster (1907-1984) collaborated with many of the great composers and conductors including Duke Ellington, Hoagy Carmichael, André Previn and Henry Mancini. In a career spanning more than forty years he wrote over 500 songs, received a total of sixteen Academy Award nominations and won three Oscars.

Here is a partial list of songs for which he wrote the lyrics:

Songs by Paul Francis Webster that won the Academy Award for Best Original Song

 He had an equally long career as a book collector. His first collection of English and American literature was sold by Parke-Bernet on 28 April 1947; his second at Sotheby's New York on 24 April 1985.

Dr. Jacob Klatzkin, editor of the German-language Encyclopedia Judaica,  was at work on the tenth volume of the reference work when he was forced to flee German when the Nazis came to power. He translated Spinoza’s “Ethics” and was the author of numerous scholarly works, written in several languages. Born in Lithuania, Klatzkin was the scion of a rabbinical family. He came to the United States in 1941 and became a citizen in 1946. He lectured at the College of Jewish Studies in Chicago.

The Right Reverend Hugh Montefiore

"The Right Reverend Hugh Montefiore, was Bishop of Birmingham from 1978 to 1987 and one of the most energetic, impatient, colourful and unpredictable Church leaders of modern times.
Born into a famous Jewish family, he underwent a sudden conversion to Christianity while a schoolboy at Rugby, and later brought to his ministry in the Church of England an extraordinary combination of intellect, moral passion and concern for individuals, especially the underprivileged.
His appointment to the bishopric of Birmingham was strongly opposed by a number of Conservative MPs in the city, and also by the Birmingham Evening Mail; but he proved to be a highly effective Church leader in a metropolis beset by racial and industrial problems, and Birmingham rather enjoyed having a larger than life bishop. He stood 6ft 3ins tall and was an imposing, albeit often untidy, figure.
Earlier, while Vicar of Great St Mary's, the university church in Cambridge, Montefiore provoked a national controversy by declaring in a lecture to the Modern Churchmen's Union that Jesus may have been homosexual. He found himself trapped between conventional churchgoers, who were outraged by what seemed to them sheer blasphemy, and his colleagues in the field of New Testament studies, who believed that his argument would not bear the weight of contemporary scholarship.
More seriously, this incident - which owed more to a certain naivety in Montefiore's character than to a desire to be deliberately provocative - threatened his future career in the Church of England. The displeasure of the Queen became known to No 10 Downing Street, and it was understood that he would not be appointed to a bishopric. On the other hand, it was plain that he could not stand the strain of running Great St Mary's indefinitely, and in 1969 he became exhausted and depressed, requiring a three-month break for recovery."

Vivian de Sola Pinto 

Do any of you know who designed this plate?

  1. "Vivian de Sola Pinto (1895-1969) was a British poet, literary critic and historian. He was a leading scholarly authority on D. H. Lawrence, and appeared for the defence in the 1960 Lady Chatterley's Lover trial. Pinto was born and grew up in Hampstead." 
  1. The graph paper mounting was used by the late Brian North  Lee to display his collection
  1. Harley Granville-Barker

Harley Granville-Barker was an English actor-manager, director, producer, critic and playwright.
    BornNovember 25, 1877, Kensington, London, United Kingdom  
    DiedAugust 31, 1946, Paris, France
  1. Bookplate designed by Max Beerbohm

  2. A  Mystery Bookplate

  1. Do any of you know anything about the owner or the artist  ? 
  2. The bookplate was done in 1912 The artist's name is hard to read. It looks like Miigelnian
  3. Send your inquiries and responses to

If you have a mystery bookplate send a scan and I'll try to assist you.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Bookplates About Cars-Part 2

Think Small

by James P. Keenan
It was the late 1950s and the Madison Avenue advertising agency of Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) initiated the most remarkable “Think Small” ad campaign for Volkswagen. Imagine the 50s and 60s in a period of cars that were as big as cruise ships and DDB took on this huge challenge of marketing the German People’s Car.  Selling a car directly linked to the Nazis to a country that was still bitter about WWII. A vehicle, that was small, slow, & ugly.  Yet this became the Car of the 20th Century with over 21.5 million sold worldwide.  Sensible, economical means of transportation and I have owned 3 of them. 
Over the years I have acquired nearly 200 books on the VW.  I visited the museum and plant in Wolfsburg, Germany too.  Today, this vehicle remains my primary “ride” and I named my 2nd and 3rd Beetles after my mechanic, Harry Bodenstaff.  Harry was from the Island of Java and was one of the only Boston mechanics who was capable of servicing an air-cooled vehicle.

Priscilla Alpaugh Cotter created this bookplate using the scratchboard technique.  I took her art and manually cut the ruby (the overlay) for the 2nd color and printed two editions of the job. First printing in 1996 and again in 1999.  Both were printed on a Heidelberg press using 70# White Mohawk Superfine archival quality paper.  For more information about Priscilla, she is featured in our current issue of The Chronicle magazine.  The Society is always interested in helping you with your ideas and artist commissions.
The American  Society of Bookplate Collectors and Designers has been advancing the interest in bookplate art since 1922.

You can read the full expanded “Think Small” essay that presents my various Beetle bookplates in Volume 14, Number 3 of The Chronicle magazine.  IF you want a FREE copy of this bookplate to add to your collection, please write to me:

 James P Keenan, ,
Suite C1 #84404 
 5802 Bullock Loop, Laredo, TX 78041  

 or send an email to: Take this opportunity to register on our 500+ page bookplate website at:

In 2005 I received the Stirling Moss  bookplate in an exchange with fellow collector Bryan Welch. At the time Bryan sent me this information :"The following is the explanation that Sir Stirling kindly left on my answering machine one day: "Sir Stirling explains that the idea for his bookplate came from a motor racing bookseller Alan Ansorge. The design is composed of the number 7, his mother's lucky number and his own, written in the continental way (as he himself writes it).There are three wheels juggling along which gives the impression of speed-only three because he so often lost one!In the centre appears the initials"SM"

Four Automobile Bookplates from the Antioch Bookplate Company

 Submitted by 
Rebecca Eschliman     

# F-606 shown below was a universal bookplate depicting a 1909 Maxwell (in the catalogs about 1957-58), It was designed by Shirley Glaser , then an artist for the Yale Museum.
 The other three plates were custom designs.

The Royal Automobile Club 
Founded in 1897 with the aim of encouraging the development of motoring in Britain, today the Royal Automobile Club is one of London’s finest private members' clubs, combining over 100 years of luxury and tradition with exceptional facilities and outstanding service. Members enjoy unlimited access to two superb clubhouses; the Pall Mall clubhouse, in the very heart of London, contains a unique range of accommodation, dining and sporting facilities, including what is arguably the finest swimming pool in London. The Woodcote Park clubhouse is set in 350 acres of Surrey parkland, complete with two 18 hole golf courses, together with a variety of other sports facilities, dining and accommodation
The Bookplate shown above was engraved by C.J. Barton-Innes

Note from Lew:
Here are a few more automobile bookplates. .
If you have any in your collection send a jpeg scan for inclusion in this posting.

Mr. John K.S. Tweed's plate is a wood engraving by Andy English.

The car is based on the 1934 Aston Martin Lagonda M45 Tourer
Ref :The Bookplate Society Newsletter 
Vol.37 #1 (winter 2014-15) Page 2

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Bookplates about Cars Part One

I have a group of bookplates relating to transportation . Within that group  are a number of car and truck items.
This is one that arrived yesterday.

Ref.Page 19

Tales of Studebaker: The Early Years

 By Jan Young
1908 Studebaker Limousine

For those of you unfamiliar with the Studebaker here is a link to photos of their bullet-nose models.

Here are a few more bookplate relating to cars and trucks

Fellow Collector James Keenan paid tribute to  his Volkswagens Harry and Harry Two with bookplates designed by Priscilla Alpaugh Cotter .
Priscilla Alpaugh Cotter lives and works in Massachusetts. Born in 1959 she studied painting and illustration at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and did her graduate studies at Syracuse University. She has been designing bookplates for many years.
Henry Ford II was the grandson of the founder.
He oversaw the company from 1945 to 1980

Mr. Chrysler's bookplate was designed by E.B. Bird

"Walter Chrysler Jr., while a 14-year-old boarding school student, bought his first painting, a small watercolor of a nude. A dorm master, believing no proper young man should have a nude in his room, confiscated and destroyed the painting. The kicker? The destroyed painting was a Renoir! "

  1. Alfred P. Sloan

  2. Alfred Pritchard Sloan, Jr. was an American business executive in the automotive industry. He was a long-time president, chairman, and CEO of General Motors Corporation. 
  3. BornMay 23, 1875, New Haven, CT
  4. His bookplate was engraved by The Heraldic Company 132 Nassau St , New York City

Two Etched Bookplates by Michael W. Jones

  1. Charles Rolls
  2. The Hon. Charles Stewart Rolls was an English motoring and aviation pioneer. Together with Henry Royce he co-founded the Rolls-Royce car manufacturing firm. Wikipedia

"Louis Renault (French pronunciation: ​[ʁəno]; February 12, 1877 – October 24, 1944) was a French industrialist, one of the founders of Renault and a pioneer of the automobile industry.
Renault built one of France's largest automobile manufacturing concerns, which bears his name to this day. During World War I his factories contributed massively to the war effort notably so by the creation and manufacture of the first effective tank: the Renault FT tank. Accused of collaborating with the Germans during World War II, he died while awaiting trial in liberated France toward the end of 1944 under uncertain circumstances. His company was seized and nationalized by the provisional government of France although he died before he could be tried. His factories were the only ones permanently expropriated by the French government.
In 1956, Time Magazine described Renault as "rich, powerful and famous, cantankerous, brilliant, often brutal, the little Napoleon of an automaking empire — vulgar, loud, domineering, impatient, he was a terror to associates, a friend to practically none," adding that to the French working man, Renault became known as "the ogre of Billancourt."

Stay Tuned For Part Two 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

New Bookplate Catalog Just Released

Fellow collector/dealer Gabe Konrad has just released a 23  page well illustrated catalog of bookplates, bookseller labels and books about both subjects. It is an excellent reference for both beginning and advanced collectors.

Here is a link


Fellow Collector/dealer Jacques Laget has just released his catalog of 110 new bookplates

I'll be back on Sunday March 15th with my regular blog posting

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

This week in Bookplates 3/4/2015

Timothy Jones, Esqr. By John Titford

How many collectors may have been confused by such a plate? It could so easily be mistaken for an eighteenth-century item, but it was engraved by E.D.French in 1893.  Brainerd* has this to say: `297. Timothy Jones, Esq. A copy, with much variation, of the Samuel Vaughan Esqr plate, engraved as a study of the Chippendale style.' He lists three variations, of which that illustrated here is #297b: `Name partly erased, still traceable'.
*Ref. Edwin Davis French A Memorial by Mary Brainerd French -Page 75

 In The Welsh book-plates in the collection of Sir Evan Davies Jones, Bart., M.P. of Pentower, Fishguard (London, 1920), p.129, Herbert M Vaughan lists a plate for Samuel Vaughan: `Chippendale armorial. Impaling Bond. Father of Benjamin and William Vaughan (vide infra); married Sarah Hollowell of Boston, U.S.A. The coat impaled is undoubtedly Bond, not Hollowell. (Reproduced as an American plate in Allen, p.53).' The reference here is to American book-plates: a guide to their study with examples by Charles Dexter Allen (New York and London, 1894), which has an illustration (p.53) of a plate for `Samuel Vaughan Esqr.' (`a very fine example of good Chippendaleism'); the arms (impaled) are different from those on the Timothy Jones plate, as is the crest, but the design is clearly that which EDF has copied in 1893 (though a year before Allen's book was published).

Note from Lew- The following article currently appearing in The Theatre Historiography Blog has some collecting tips that have served me well.

A Bookplate Collector Shares his Passion–and Strategies
by  on MARCH 3RD, 2015
Ed. Note: Lewis Jaffe runs the website, which features images from his and others’ collections of bookplates used by important figures in the theatre profession as well as in cinema and television.
Bookplates:  why I collect them
I am retired now and devote a good deal of time in pursuit of and learning about new bookplates for mycollection. A client once asked me why people collect? It wasn’t meant to be a trick question but at the time I was at a loss to explain.
Upon reflection the answer which suits me best is that collecting is therapeutic. Sometimes I feel like an archaeologist digging up old artifacts or a detective trying to locate a person. Interestingly enough several entertainers were also notable rare  book collectors. Among them were James Cagney, Jean Hersholt, and George Jessel.
David Garrick
Here are some time-tested ways to obtain bookplates
EBay: When I started this adventure about 45 years ago there was no Ebay, so I built a collection without it. Today Ebay is certainly an excellent way to find bookplates from around the world. It takes time and discipline because there is so much clutter and misrepresentation, but it is still worth the effort.
Bookplate Societies: When I first got interested in bookplates I joined both The American ( and English ( bookplate societies. That gave me an opportunity to meet with and obtain bookplates from other collectors. It still makes good sense to join these organization and exchange bookplates with other collectors.
Antiquarian and used booksellers will go out of their way to help you if you make your interest known to them. It gets harder each year as the number of open shops decreases, and the number of pre-1940’s books on the shelves are decreasing. Nevertheless, it is often productive. Start looking in either the poetry or drama sections as owners of such books seem to have used bookplates more frequently and there is often less turnover of inventory. Ask the bookseller if he keeps a box of detached boards. I have found some excellent 18th century plates in such boxes.
John Gielgud
Michael Redgrave
Bookbinders: In most large communities there is at least one hand bookbinder. Check the Yellow Pages, Google, or ask a book dealer. More often than not they, being pack rats, hold onto old bookplates, and in some instances are more than willing to sell you a cigar box full.
Book and Paper Shows: I have always enjoyed going to shows. After a while, dealers will save things for you. It pays to stop at every booth and ask.
Noel Coward
Angel of Death letters: I am almost (not quite) embarrassed to admit to the fact that I used to look up the ages of bookplate collectors and wrote to all those over eighty to inquire if they knew of any collections for sale. The point is that it was very productive and I’ve purchased several major collections that way.
For the record, I am 77, so do not bother me until 2018!
Letters to Famous People: I've occasionally gotten some remarkable bookplates by writing to celebrities, but I have not had much luck in recent years. Most celebrity mail is filtered by clerks and more often than not you get a signed photo or an auto penned label.
Wylly Folk St. John
Wylly Folk St. John
For those of you wishing to obtain additional information about this topic,  I can be reached at

Upcoming Book Show

I will be attending The 40th annual Washington Antiquarian Book Fair on Saturday March 7th and hope to see some of you .