Libraries on Bookplates


Bookplates are an entirely separate category of art, and began to come into use among book collectors upon the advent of the printing press, in the 15th century, reaching their peak of use in the last three centuries. There have been many serious collectors of bookplates during this later period, and collecting societies have recognized a specific category of book plates that depict library interiors. These offer fascinating glimpses of what real (and perhaps fancifully augmented) library interiors looked like before the advent of photography could record them.

Many thanks to Jim L. for suggesting this category of libraries, and for sending the first half-dozen images.

And for more library bookplates, particularly some more ancient ones, see here.

 

8001
Jim L.

A bookplate from the American Antiquarian Society, likely printed in the later 19th century.

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8002
Jim L.

A bookplate of C. Theresa Davison, dated 1908 and signed with presumably the artist’s initials, W.E.B. This is clearly a woman’s bookplate, as indicated by the flowers and cherubs portrayed. A religious phrase “Thus God uses us, Lending our minds out,” is included.

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8003
Jim L.

The bookplate from the Union League Club, dated 1900 by the artist, whose initials were E.D.F. The club had been established in 1863, according to the plate, and still exists, although not in the same building pictured in this bookplate.

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8004
Jim L.

The bookplate of Ernest Ridley Debenham, a British department-store businessman, who lived from 1865 to 1952. He was educated at Marlborough College and Trinity College, Cambridge, and had a library befitting a wealthy, educated man. But note the inclusion of a tennis racket in his bookplate: it indicated that quiet reading wasn’t his only hobby. Dated 1910 by the artist, whose initials were W.P.B.

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8005
Jim L.

The bookplate of Patrick M. Longan. This was likely the same Patrick M. Longan who was a California oilman and managed the Mexico operations of the International Petroleum Corporation. His flamboyant Spanish-colonial revival mansion in Hollywood, Castillo del Lago, had been built in 1926, designed by John De Lario, and by the 1930s was reputedly a gambling casino run by mobster Bugsy Siegel. The singer, Madonna, lived there in the 1990s, and it was there that a violent stalker was shot three times by her security guards. This bookplate, although not signed, is by well-known western artist Orpha Klinker (thanks Phyllis H., who owns the original art for this bookplate, for this information). It almost certainly portrays the library in Castillo del Lago, as the inscription “la bibioteca de” signifies a Spanish-style library, and Longan was known for celebrating all things Spanish.

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8006
Jim L.

The bookplate of John Gilbert, an American actor and a major star of the silent film era who lived from 1897 to 1936. He was known as "the great lover," rivaling even Rudolph Valentino as a box office draw, but was unsuccessful in making the transition to films with sound. According to bookplatejunkie@blogspot.com, the artist who designed this bookplate was Leota Woy.

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8007
ebay.com

The bookplate of Dr, Moriz Grolig, who lived in Vienna. The plate was likely printed in the early 20th century.

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8008
ebay.com

The bookplate of (probably) Franz Sales Romstock, who lived in Germany from 1844 to 1925 and wrote about religious and scientific topics. This photographic bookplate likely depicts his library and was probably printed in the late 19th or early 20th century.

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8009
ebay.com

The bookplate of someone or some institution named Farnsworth, likely dating from around 1920.

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8010
sscommons.org

The bookplate of John Thomas Lee, designed by Sydney L. Smith in 1921. The inscription at the top reads “All round the room my silent servants wait,” a reference to his books, of course, and from a poem by Barry Cornwall that continues: “My friends in every season, bright and dim.”

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