Monday, July 27, 2015

E.D. French Bookplates Not Listed In Brainerd

Yesterday, I obtained a copy of Three Generations of Book Collectors The Evan Turner Gift at The Athenaeum of Philadelphia.
It was the cover illustration that intrigued me.

In the book I also found an illustration for another bookplate.

Here is the story behind the bookplates.
During world War I some members of the Bierstadt family decided to change their family to Turner.
*“Books in the Turner collection from Oscar Bierstadt, Albert Turner and Evan Turner reflect all three generations of Turner collecting. as well as some of the books that Albert Turner’s wife Percie Hopkins Trowbridge brought to the collection.”
*Ref.p. 49
This is a proof from my collection of the original Edward Hale Bierstadt  bookplate  (Brainerd # 16)

 Here is another variant of the Bierstadt bookplate..For the moment I do not know who George Fottrell  is.(was).
E.D. French

When E.D. French , the engraver of the Bierstadt bookplate died his body of work was catalogued by Mary Brainerd French.(Edwin Davis French A Memorial) .
It is the definitive E.D. French reference book.
 It lists the 299 bookplates he engraved..Some of his partially completed bookplates were finished
by other engravers ( A.J. Brown (A.J.B) , James Webb , and A.N. Macdonald (A.N.M.)
Fellow collector Hallam Webber has compiled a supplemental list of the bookplates completed by other engravers.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Submissions from Readers

It always pleases me when   readers take the time to write about bookplates they have unearthed...
I encourage you to send  information about any bookplates you find..

If English is not your primary language I can assist you with editing.

The first submission is from Nathaniel Shiffman a Judaica book dealer in New York.

Although I am not a ex libris collector, I do have in my book collection a very interesting association copy of a two  volume set of the The Conciliator by Manasseh ben Israel printed in London in 1842.
There is a fascinating exlibris on the end page of each volume.

A little research on the internet revealed  that  Tavistock House was the home of  Charles Dickens.

The bookplate is signed by E.Davis. Once again, further research reveals this to be a Jewish woman named Eliza Davis whom with her banker husband James bought the Tavistock House from Dickens  in 1860.
Eliza Davis single-handedly changed Dickens negative attitude about Jews to a positive one.

Follow this link for more info:

The second submission is from Dave McCord , a bookseller in Georgia


I found a bookplate for Richard Taliaferro under a  bookplate from The Library of the Theological Seminary of Virginia.The creation of Tagliaferro bookplate involved George Wythe , a signer of The Declaration of Independence  and Thomas Jefferson.a future president.

"When Richard Taliaferro died o f "gout i n the head" i n 1779 he bequeathed his land and
mansion a t Powhatan t o his son Richard, Jr.  To h i s daughter Elizabeth, who had married
George Wythe, a signer o f the Declaration o f Independence, he gave the house he had
b u i l t on Palace Street i n Williamsburg, a structure now commonly known as the Wythe House.
So great was George Wythe's affection for his wife's family that he asked h i s former
pupil Thomas Jefferson, then envoy t o France, t o seek out the Taliaferro family coat o f
arms and prepare a copper bookplate f o r h i s brother-in-law,  Richard Taliaferro, Jr.
During the years o f Taliaferro ownership, Powhatan was a prosperous working plantation.
Advertisements i n the Virqinia Gazette and early tax records indicate that f i n e horses
and c a t t l e and agricultural crops were raised a t Powhatan Plantation.

From Thomas Jefferson to George Wythe, 13 August 1786

To George Wythe

Paris Aug. 13. 1786.
Dear Sir
Your favors of Jan. 10. and Feb. 10. came to hand on the 20th. and 23d of May. I availed myself of the first opportunity which occurred, by a gentleman going to England, of sending to Mr. Joddrel a copy of the Notes on our country, with a line informing him that it was you who had emboldened me to take that liberty. Madison, no doubt, informed you of the reason why I had sent only a single copy to Virginia. Being assured by him that they will not do the harm I had apprehended, but on the contrary may do some good, I propose to send thither the copies remaining on hand, which are fewer than I had intended, but of the numerous corrections they need, there are one or two so essential that I must have them made, by printing a few new leaves and substituting them for the old. This will be done while they are engraving a map which I have constructed of the country from Albemarle sound to Lake Erie, and which will be inserted in the book. A bad French translation which is getting out here, will probably oblige me to publish the original more freely, which it neither deserved nor was ever intended. Your wishes, which are laws to me, will justify my destining a copy for you. Otherwise I should as soon have thought of sending you a horn-book; for there is no truth there that is not familiar to you, and it’s errors I should hardly have proposed to treat you with.
Immediately on the receipt of your letter, I wrote to a correspondent at Florence to enquire after the family of Tagliaferro as you desired. I received his answer two days ago, a copy of which I now inclose. The original shall be sent by some other occasion. I will have the copper plate immediately engraved. This may be ready within a few days, but the probability is that I shall be long getting an opportunity of sending it to you, as these rarely occur. You do not mention the size of the plate but, presuming it is intended for labels for the inside of books, I shall have it made of a proper size for that. I shall omit the word αριςος,1 according to the license you allow me, because I think the beauty of a motto is to condense much matter in as few words as possible. The word omitted will be supplied by every reader.
The European papers have announced that the assembly of Virginia were occupied on the revisal of their Code of laws. This, with some other similar intelligence, has contributed much to convince the people of Europe, that what the English papers are constantly publishing of our anarchy, is false; as they are sensible that such a work is that of a people only who are in perfect tranquillity. Our act for freedom of religion is extremely applauded. The Ambassadors and ministers of the several nations of Europe resident at this court have asked of me copies of it to send to their sovereigns, and it is inserted at full length in several books now in the press; among others, in the new Encyclopedie. I think it will produce considerable good even in these countries where ignorance, superstition, poverty and oppression of body and mind in every form, are so firmly settled on the mass of the people, that their redemption from them can never be hoped. If the almighty had begotten a thousand sons, instead of one, they would not have sufficed for this task. If all the sovereigns of Europe were to set themselves to work to emancipate the minds of their subjects from their present ignorance and prejudices, and that as zealously as they now endeavor the contrary, a thousand years would not place them on that high ground on which our common people are now setting out. Ours could not have been so fairly put into the hands of their own common sense, had they not been separated from their parent stock and been kept from contamination, either from them, or the other people of the old world, by the intervention of so wide an ocean. To know the worth of this, one must see the want of it here. I think by far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowlege among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised for the preservation of freedom, and happiness. If any body thinks that kings, nobles, or priests are good conservators of the public happiness,2 send them here. It is the best school in the universe to cure them of that folly. They will see here with their own eyes that these descriptions of men are an abandoned confederacy against the happiness of the mass of people. The omnipotence of their effect cannot be better proved than in this country particularly, where notwithstanding the finest soil upon earth, the finest climate under heaven, and a people of the most benevolent, the most gay, and amiable character of which the human form is susceptible, where such a people I say, surrounded by so many blessings from nature, are yet loaded with misery by kings, nobles and priests, and by them alone. Preach, my dear Sir, a crusade against ignorance; establish and improve the law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against these evils, and that the tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.—The people of England, I think, are less oppressed than here. But it needs but half an eye to see, when among them, that the foundation is laid in their dispositions, for the establishment of a despotism. Nobility, wealth, and pomp are the objects of their adoration. They are by no means the free-minded people we suppose them in America. Their learned men too are few in number, and are less learned and infinitely less emancipated from prejudice than those of this country. An event too seems to be prospering, in the order of things, which will probably decide the fate of that country. It is no longer doubtful that the harbour of Cherbourg will be completed, that it will be a most excellent one, and capacious enough to hold the whole navy of France. Nothing has ever been wanting to enable this country to invade that, but a naval force conveniently stationed to protect the transports. This change of situation, must oblige the English to keep up a great standing army, and there is no king, who, with a sufficient force, is not always ready to make himself absolute.—My paper warns me it is time to recommend myself to the friendly recollection of Mrs. Wythe, of Colo. Taliaferro and his family and particularly of Mr. R. T. and to assure you of the affectionate esteem with which I am Dear Sir your friend & servt.,
Th: Jefferson
PrC (DLC). Enclosure: Tr of Giovanni Fabbroni to TJ, 20 July 1786.
Mr. R. T.: Richard Taliaferro. i will have the copper plate immediately engraved: On 25 Oct. 1786 Short wrote to William Nelson: “This will be delivered to you by Major Martin of Williamsburg. He has been in Paris a few days and leaves it immediately to return to America by the way of London. Mr. Jefferson sends by him also the Arms of the Family of Tagliaferro as received from Italy” (DLC: Short Papers; see also TJ to Short, 7 Apr. 1787TJ to Wythe, 16 Sep. 1787).The original copperplate of the Taliaferro arms is owned by Colonial Williamsburg, Inc., and is in the Wythe House, Williamsburg.
1Thus in MS; TJ followed Wythe’s use of the word literally, both as to the erroneous spelling and as to the form of the first sigma; see Wythe to TJ, 10 Jan.and 10 Feb. 1786.
2The preceding seven words were interlined in substitution for: “could give any aid towards their preservation,” deleted.

Let's face it , The grim reaper is going to get us all sooner or later..

Several bookplate collectors have begun to dispose of of their collections at auction houses.The Robert Weinberg Judaica Collection recently sold at auction and to the best of my knowledge the James Goode collection will be sold at Heritage Auctions some time in  early November.
I will update you as additional  information is received...

The disposal of collections is a subject worthy of discussion.and I encourage you to contact me about
your thoughts. and plans.. .

 The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article about  advertising matchbook collectors and the difficulties they encounter in disposal of their collections.

. Much of what is said could readily apply to our peculiar hobby.

I know of  at least four bookplate collections which were salvaged from dumpsters

Here is a link to the article :

Monday, July 13, 2015

Custom Bookplates From The Antioch Bookplate Company. Archives

Submitted By Rebecca Eschliman

A bookplate has always been a choice of a most personal nature, none more so than a custom bookplate. During the first half of its existence, the Antioch Bookplate Company (later Antioch Publishing Company) worked with hundreds of customers to create custom bookplates, and often the correspondence involving the bookplate creation process emphasized the personal rather than the commercial aspects of the transaction.

Regrettably, whole file cabinets full of custom bookplate correspondence were thrown out over the years in fits of industrial housekeeping zeal, but a  few examples managed to be preserved. The following letters regarding the custom bookplate for Mark V. Barrow (illustration courtesy Yellow Springs Historical Society) were transcribed from onion-skin carbon copies..

March 15, 1967

Mark V. Barrow, M.D.
The J. Hillis Miller Health Center
Box 705
Gainesville, Florida  32601

Dear Dr. Barrow:

Thank you for your letter of March 7th with further reference to the proposed special bookplate. Your calculations are exactly correct and 600 three color bookplates would price at $137.00 complete.

In view of all the money I have spent with physicians and apothecaries over the last eight years, (two major heart attacks, empyema and prostrate trouble) it is hard for me to believe that there is a physician anywhere who is short of funds, but I am basically a credulous fellow, and I'll take your word for it.

Because work performed on a private bookplate design is of absolutely no value to anyone except the person who commissions it, we have to be pretty strict about enforcing our rule of cash with order on custom work for private persons. The only concession which we can make in this area is to permit you to make payment for the three different phases of the work as it proceeds. These phases break down as follows: art $61.00; plates $22:00; prints $54.00. If you will send us your check for $61.00 we will complete the art. When you have approved this, send us your check for $22 and we will make the plates and submit brownprints. When these are approved, an additional $54.00 will bring on the prints. If you want to wait a few months between stages, this will create no special problem so far as we are concerned. We have orders of this general type drag on, as the customer saved up his money or made up his mind or got back from a trip to the South Pole for as long as three years. We might drop you a note now and then to see if you are still alive, but you could certainly feel free to take your own time. I wish it were practical for us to be even more accommodating, but a special bookplate in process is not something which it makes sense to repossess the way a retailer might repossess an automobile or an organ. We have had several customers die during the course of protracted negotiations, and I can't remember a single instance in which his heirs carried the project through to completion.

David W. Sallume, Vice-President

P.S. My father was an ophthalmologist, and left an estate only barely more than sufficient to discharge his debts. It would not have done even this if the Masonic Lodge had not buried him.

March 17, 1967

Antioch Bookplate Company
Yellow Springs, Ohio

Dear Mr. Sallume:

Your delightful letter of March 15 has been received and digested and I must say I am now convinced you have spent a considerable portion of your life “Mark Twaining” the Mississippi River. Is this not so?

I was sorry to hear of your misfortune with doctors and I can honestly say that as a whole that are a rotten lot—until you desperately need them; then they're tolerable.

Actually I have no business spending money on an Antioch Bookplate since I am only a Research Fellow and receive a paltry but livable salary each month to support my wife and four children, but I think that bookplate is so good, if you'll pardon my vanity, that I will go ahead and have it made.

Your reasons for not extending credit are sound indeed and it may well take me a long while to complete the business arrangements. As soon as I have accounted for $61.00 I will forward you a check and we may be on with the art work. Lord, I hope I do not die before I see the finished product. What a startled surprise my wife would have receiving plates and art work about which she had no previous knowledge. She would probably inform you to cease capitalizing on a poor dead man's estate (less than your father's, I'm sure). Of course she has no knowledge of my clandestine arrangements. She would think I have surely taken a turn for the worse.

So you may look forward to receiving the first phase payment in a short while.

To your good Health,

Mark V. Barrow, MD

March 23, 1967

Mark V. Barrow, M.D.
The J. Hillis Miller Medical Center
Box 705
Gainesville, Florida  32601

Dear Dr. Barrow:

Thank you for your gracious and charming letter of March 17th. I certainly didn't mean to suggest that I had a “down” on physicians. Actually, “some of my best friends are doctors.” Living as I do in the extraordinary community of Yellow Springs, Ohio, where, with a population of less than 5,000, we have something over 20 psychiatrists and psychologists, not to mention 14 M.D.s in general and clinical practice, I have had the opportunity to meet a good many of them. In addition, they are amongst our most interesting clients for private bookplate designs, and I'll scratch through my sample files and see what I can turn up, just for the devil of it.

I will be leaving in about a week for a three week vacation and, while we have other people in our organization who could carry the project forward, this particular one is full of technological pitfalls, and I have a suspicion that it would be held for me in any case.


Notes From Lew

Rebecca Eschliman of The Yellow Springs Historical Society is a regular contributor to this blog .
On The Yellow Springs Historical Society website  I found some very useful information about 
many Antioch Bookplates and their artists.

F-306 (later M-18), sold in the early 1930s
Here is the link:

Friday, July 03, 2015

Errol G. Hill's Bookplate,Dartmouth College Library

Rauner Special Collections, Dartmouth College Library

Errol G. Hill’s   Bookplate
Created for Rauner Special Collections, Dartmouth College Library
2011, sheet: 2 ½ x 4 inches

Errol G. Hill (1921-2003) 


The bookplate was made for Dartmouth College Professor Errol G. Hill’s library.  Hill’s personal papers and library were acquired in 2003 by the Dartmouth College Library.  The collection comprises primarily books and papers on Trinidad Carnival and Caribbean, African, African American and European theatre.  Professor Hill, born in Trinidad & Tobago, was the first tenured professor of African descent at Dartmouth College.

The image on the bookplate is of “Negue Jadin,” a historical Trinidad Carnival character from the time of Emancipation.  The figure is a full-length image of a man of African descent in a costume of tight-fitting green satin or velvet knee-length breeches, bright yellow shirt with heart shaped panel of contrasting color adorned with rhinestones and mirrors over the chest.  A scarf is tied around his waist.  The man is brandishing a stick with his hands on either end.  The costume is completed by “alpargatos” (rope sandals) and a cap or paper crown decorated with spangles worn over the head pad.  The outfit would be trimmed with little metal bells that would tinkle as the stick fighter moved.

The image was derived from a watercolor drawn by Trinidad artist Carlisle Chang (1921-2001), who also designed the Trinidad national flag.  Carlisle Chang was a friend of Professor Hill’s and served as costume and set designer for a number of Hill’s theatre productions.  Chang’s signature can be seen below the right foot of the character.

A blue border surrounds the figure and the words “Ex-Libris Errol G. Hill 1921-2003” is printed above the image.  The text at the bottom of the bookplate reads “John D. Willard Professor of Drama and Oratory,” Professor Hill’s title, and “Dartmouth College Library.”

Grace Hope Hill, Hill's widow, selected the image and Dean Bornstein designed the plate for Dartmouth College. The image was scanned and printed by four-color offset lithography on acid-free Mohawk Superfine paper.


Carnival Subject Guide, Trinidad and Tobago, National Library and Information System Authority

Description of “Negue Jadin” from:  Errol Hill, The Trinidad Carnival (London, England: New Beacon Books Ltd), 1997, 28.

Errol Hill Obituary, Dartmouth College

Guide to the Papers of Errol G. Hill

Note From Lew- I want to thank Claudia Hill, Professor Hill's daughter for sending me this information compiled and written by her mother Grace Hope Hill