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img905In this book, The Art of the Bookplate by James P. Keenan, I found the key to a bookplate or ex libris in my own collection. This small introductory book to the subject matter is jam packed with information and a fine research source.img906img907The red underlining is mine, it highlights the names of some of the early ex libris designers working in America. The references and names were put to good use, it helped me to identify a few bookplates shown below.

img911cBookplate designer Sydney Lawton Smith (1845-1929) dated 1906.

img911aBook plate designer A.N.M. stands for Arthur Nelson Macdonald (1871-1940) and the bookplate date is 1918. The medical book prominently displayed within the heraldic frame clearly indicates the professional interest of this posthumous bookplate.

img911b Superb craftsmanship is evident in this bookplate, unidentified as to its designer.

img912Another fine 1896 bookplate unidentified as to the maker.img307Lyman V. Rutledge’s bookplate. He was the author of a number of books and instrumental in the founding of the Marine Laboratory on Star Island in New Hampshire, named after him. The window shown in the bookplate might indicate a wider view onto the world. The bookplate designer has not been identified.

img909The book, The Art of the Bookplate by James P. Keenan offers a number of famous owner’s bookplates hard to find elsewhere, and is a true delight with respect to the research of these small intricate gems. Yet it also pays homage to the famous bookplate designers such as Rockwell Kent showing some surprising examples.

img908The book was published in 2003 by Barnes & Noble (ISBN 07607-4696-6), and it held another great surprise for me.

img901img903Ludwig Renn’s book WAR is a very famous anti war novel chronicling some of his own wartime experiences in World War I. The book published in 1929 went through five printings by August 1929 in this American edition. The publisher’s cloth with the stark lettering is effective advertising!

The first English edition appeared in the United Kingdom and was published by Secker and Warburg. The original German book was  published in 1928 in serial form in Germany and became an instant controversial hit upon publication in a hardbound edition in 1929.

img904Ludwig Renn’s life (1889-1979) is very fascinating, and a more exhaustive biography can be found here.

The exciting part, in my copy of the book, was a large armorial ex libris attached to the front board. I had no idea who the designer was, and with difficulty could  I make out the previous owner.

img902The cross at the bottom of the bookplate is, of course, the Iron Cross Medal. The Iron Cross (German: Eisernes Kreuz) is a cross symbol typically in black with a white or silver outline that originated after 1219 when the Kingdom of Jerusalem granted the Teutonic Order the right to combine the Teutonic Black Cross placed above a silver Cross of Jerusalem.

The eagles depicted on the spines of the books in the bookplate are the symbol of the German Empire of that time, it is known as the  Reichs Adler. Not much to go by to identify the plate, but on page 164 in Keenan’s book, I found the counterpart.

img984Emil Doepler (1855-1922) was the designer of the escutcheon in vogue after 1918, that eagle, a German symbol until these very days. Most likely Doepler adapted the Kaiser’s design for different users after the end of the First World War which saw the abdication of the German Emperor. Coincidental, on my bookplate the previous owner crossed out the initials E.D. In a way, I am glad he did as it made me look at some other bookplates again and read The Art of the Bookplate more thoroughly.

Another interesting bookplate from our own collection was pasted in the book below.

img261img262aimg294The inside front cover had a wonderful bookplate designed by Lynd Ward, the great American wood cut artist in it, as well as, a newspaper review of the play. Wonderful how some people keep memorabilia, and what it meant to them, although personally, I do not paste anything in books. I understand those that do, and on the whole it does not prevent me from acquiring such a copy.

The bookplate is typical of the Art Deco Modernist type of bookplates designed by Lynd Ward ( 1905-1985) popular in the 1930’s and 40’s.

Lynd Ward also designed the first American wordless woodcut novel with just pictures, in short, a graphic novel, titled God’s Man published in 1929! Read the excellent bio on the book in the last link.

img955This bookplate called “Creation” was also designed by Lynd Ward during the same period as the one above it in our post and it clearly shows the modernist era reflected by the buildings in Chicago, the city where he was born. To get some idea of the importance of his bookplate work, I refer to the text below from the website of https://www.ischool.utexas.edu/~lcr/archive/bookplates/30_4_Webster.htm

“Dan Burne Jones, in his 1981 checklist of Lynd Ward bookplates in The American Society of Bookplate Collectors and Designers Yearbook identifies twenty-two bookplates done by Lynd Ward between 1927 and 1958. Jones, a close friend and fellow graphic artist, lists a wood-engraved bookplate done for Montclair State College in 1939 and reproduces the Webster bookplate without, however, any direct tie between the text and the illustration. Ward also did eight bookplates for Antioch Bookplate Company, a commercial publisher of universal bookplates. In addition, at least one Ward illustration, from Madman’s Drum (New York: J. Cape & H. Smith, 1930), has been adapted as a bookplate. Ward’s own recounting of his life and work, Storyteller without Words (New York: Abrams, 1974), has reproductions of only three of his bookplates, not including the Webster Collection bookplate.”

The educational website used from which the above quote comes from is a valuable source for bookplate collectors. Other interesting bookplates can be found on this site bookplatejunkie.blogspot.com