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:

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