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Transcriber's Note

Illustration captions in {braces} have been added by the transcriber
for the convenience of the reader.




Copyrighted 1902 by Tonnelé & Co.


[Illustration: {Book-plate of Amy Ivers Truesdell.}]


Book-plate of Mrs. Amy Ivers Truesdell, in colors.
Designed by Jay Chambers. Frontispiece

Book-plate of Arnold William Brunner, in colors.
Designed by Thomas Tryon. Facing 3

American Designers of Book-plates: William Edgar
Fisher. By W. G. Bowdoin. 3

Book-plate of William Frederick Havemeyer, from the
copper. Designed by Thomas Tryon, engraved by E. D.
French. Facing 9

Nineteen Book-plates by British Designers. 9

Book-plate of T. Henry Foster, in colors. Designed by
Jay Chambers. Facing 19

The Artistic Book-plate. By Temple Scott. 19

Book-plate of Miss Henrietta M. Cox, in colors.
Designed by Thomas Tryon. Facing 23

Thirty-two book-plates from various sources. 23

Book-plate of Robert Fletcher Rogers, in colors.
Designed by Homer W. Colby. Facing 33

Book-plates and the Nude. By Wilbur Macey Stone. 33

Book-plate of Willis Steell, in colors. Designed by
Thomas Tryon. Facing 39

The Architect as a Book-plate Designer. By Willis
Steell. 39

Book-plate of William A. Boland, in colors. Designed by
Homer W. Colby. Facing 45

A Check-list of the Work of Twenty-three Book-plate
Designers of Prominence. Compiled by Wilbur Macey
Stone. 45


[Illustration: {Book-plate of Arnold William Brunner.}]



The book-plate designers of to-day are legion because they are many.
Almost every one who can draw, and many who cannot, have ventured into
the field of book-plate designing; and the result has been that many
of the book-plates that are current have little to commend them to
critical observers. The present increasing interest in these little
bits of the graver's art has greatly encouraged the production of
them, and new ones arise daily. It is desirable, therefore, if we are
to have book-plates at all, that they shall be as artistic as may be;
and it is important, from an art standpoint, to all those who are
about to adopt the use of these marks of ownership that they shall
have, as they may have, the artistic flavor about them.

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Library of the Studio Club.} By Wm.
Edgar Fisher]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Winifred Knight.} By Wm. Edgar Fisher]

Most of our leading designers have hitherto been grouped in the
eastern section of our country, or at least not much further west than
Chicago. Some few designs, it is true, have been produced in
California, but for the most part the book-plates of note have been
marked with an eastern geographical origin.

In William Edgar Fisher we have a designer who has strikingly departed
from geographical conditions of book-plate designing heretofore
prevailing, and in faraway Fargo, North Dakota, has set up his studio
from whence have come designs that are fresh, original and very
pleasing. Mr. Fisher loves to work in a pictorial field. He makes a
plate that tells a story, and in his best plates there is artfully
placed something bookish that harmonizes with the design-form
selected; and, because of art coherence and harmony in design that go
hand in hand, his plates are more than satisfactory. The general
eastern notion in regard to North Dakota is that nothing artistic can
come out of the State, but the work done there by Mr. Fisher quickly
dispels such an idea. The plates he has drawn are acknowledged as
highly meritorious by the best American masters of book-plate
designing. In all the plates from the hand of this artist that are
here grouped, and which may be regarded as quite typical of him, there
are only two that do not contain a book as a detail somewhere in the
finished plate.

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Maie Bruce Douglas. Book-plate of Mary
N. Lewis.} By Wm. Edgar Fisher]

One of the exceptions is the plate of the Studio Club that gains
infinitely by the omission of a book in the plate as produced. The
grouping of the five observers (symbolic of the members of the Studio
Club) around the feminine portrait is most charming, and to the writer
it appears one of the happiest of recent productions in appropriate

Mr. Fisher's feminine figures that he introduces into many of his
plates are likewise exceedingly effective. This is particularly the
case when to the charms of femininity he has added those of symbolism,
as in the case of the plate for Miss Winifred Knight, in which the
graceful female masker appears at the shrine of the idealized god Pan,
who writes, it may be something oracular, in her proffered album. The
figure is gracefully posed and the lines of the arms and neck are
marked by pleasant curves.

[Illustration: {Book-plate of John Charles Gage. Book-plate of
Elizabeth Allen. Book-plate of Leila H. Cole. Book-plate of
Elizabeth Langdon.} By Wm. Edgar Fisher]

In the plate of Maie Bruce Douglas, Mr. Fisher may have been
influenced by Hans Christian Andersen. At any rate, whether or not
this is so, he has neatly and most effectively grouped the old-time
jester with his cap and bells, the pointed shoes from whence came our
modern samples, and the maiden with the quaintness of head-dress and
drapery, that at least suggests the fairy and the incidental sacred
stork, making this plate with its shelf of books and the panel of
repeated heraldic shields very attractive even to the chance observer.

In the plates for the Misses Mary N. Lewis, Elizabeth Langdon, Leila
H. Cole and Elizabeth Allen there are several diverse methods shown in
which convention has been pleasingly utilized. The vine and tree forms
that are motifs are very effective, and in all of these we see
suggestions of treatment similar to that which stands out perhaps a
little more pronouncedly in the plate of Miss Douglas. Costume
quaintness, charm of pose, graceful outline, the tendency toward
lecturn detail and delicacy of touch, are in each instance here seen
to be characteristic of the artist.

The plate of John Charles Gage has in it the atmosphere of the
monastery. Two friars are busy with a folio manuscript that has been
beautifully illuminated. The one reads the lessons for the day from
the book of hours. The other has a pleasing bit of gossip that he is
telling to his brother friar as he reads, and the reader hears with
eagerness with his ears while he reads without absorption with his

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Samuel H. Hudson. Book-plate of Silvanus
Macy Jr.} By Wm. Edgar Fisher]

Into the plate of Samuel H. Hudson the atmosphere of the monastery is
also introduced. The cordelier sits absorbedly reading his matins.
Through the open window of the monkish cell is seen the morning
medieval landscape whose charms exercise no influence upon the
solitary recluse, solitary save for the monkey who plays sad havoc
with the vellum volume that lies upon the cell floor and the
destruction of which the Franciscan is too absorbed to notice. The
monkey as a foil for the ascetic in this plate shows that Mr. Fisher
has a strong appreciation of the most delicate humor, which here crops
out most delightfully. The border makes the plate a trifle heavy, but
this can easily be excused because of the charm of the plate

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Stanley Shepard.} By Wm. Edgar Fisher]

The dog is given a prominent place in the plate of Miss Lula Thomas
Wear. He dominates even the books, and it may be that the owner
prefers her dachshund to her library, although it is evident that her
books have some place in her esteem.

The design on the plate of Stanley Shepard suggests a derivation from
an old print. The caravel rides upon the waves according to the
conception of the old-time engravers. The anchor, the sword fish of
the deep sea, and the sea-stars all suggest the ocean voyager who has
deep down in his heart a love of books.

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Edna B. Stockhouse.} By Wm. Edgar

In contrast with the plate of Mr. Shepard's appears that bearing the
name of Silvanus Macy, Jr. The love of hunting stands out right boldly
here, and in the fox hunt does Mr. Macy undoubtedly revel. He could
not have such a book-plate otherwise, and live with it every day, let
it be in all his books and have it stand for him as it does, unless it
was fairly representative of the man's personality. That is what makes
a book-plate so eminently interesting, aside from the art work put
upon it. Books appeal to all sorts and conditions of men, as the work
of Mr. Fisher's here grouped clearly indicates.

The plate from the books of Miss Edna B. Stockhouse is a trifle
shadowy in motif notwithstanding which there can be no doubt the owner
loves books. The face in the book-plate reads. There is also a love of
the beautiful in ceramics indicated as an incident in the plate. No
wonder the head wears an aureole.

The "Bi Lauda" plate is that of a secret society at Wellsville,
N. Y., and we, therefore, forgive if we cannot forget its poverty of
bookish design.

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Wm. Edgar Fisher.} By Wm. Edgar Fisher]

In the personal plate of the designer, of all those here reproduced,
we catch glimpses of the artist's own personality. We see him as a
book-lover and something of his inspiration is spread out before us.
He goes reading along, carrying reserve volumes in case the one that
engages his attention in the portraiture is happily finished. Mr.
Fisher has been producing book-plates only since 1898, since which
time he has to his credit some forty examples of work in this field.
He is perhaps happiest in his rendition of the plate pictorial, and he
has sometimes tinted his plates most charmingly. Mr. Fisher prepared
for Cornell at Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass. At Cornell he studied
architecture for two years, with especial attention to drawing. He
also studied, for six months, at the Art Institute, Chicago, Ill.,
whither he went from Cornell. He has been largely self-taught in the
matter of designing, but his work indicates that his teacher was a
good one. He has privately but carefully studied the work of the best
modern pen-and-ink draughtsmen, and from this he has formed his
personal style. The methods and craftsmanship of reproduction were the
subject of special study on his part while he was with one of the
large Chicago engraving houses. Anything that comes from his hand will
be sure of the most kindly reception, so long as his work is
maintained at the present high standard.

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Bi Lauda. Book-plate of Lula Thomas
Wear.} By Wm. Edgar Fisher]


[Illustration: {Book-plate of William Frederick Havemeyer.}]



[Illustration: {Book-plate of Charles Holme.} By J. W. Simpson]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Frank Lynn Jenkins.} By Byam Shaw]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Théodule, Comte de Grammont.} By R.
Anning Bell]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of P. C. Konody.} By Walter Essie]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Edward Morton.} By E. H. New]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of J. W. Simpson.} By J. W. Simpson]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Katie Black. Book-plate of R. C.
Book-plate of Edy. Book-plate of K. D.} Four Designs by Gordon

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Hugh Giffen McKinney.} By J. Williams]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of R. Mullineux Walmsley.} By J. Williams]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of W. S. George.} By W. B. Pearson]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Kenneth N. Bell.} By S. A. Lindsey]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Therese Alice Mary Jackson.} By Enid M.

[Illustration: {Book-plate, no name.} By Anna Dixon]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of A. H. V.} By Arthur H. Verstage]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Robert M. Mann.} From Drawing after
By D. Y. Cameron]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Edith A. Kingsford.} By Harold Nelson]


[Illustration: {Book-plate of T. Henry Foster.}]



A book-plate, in its simplest expression, is a printed indication of
the ownership of a book. It may take the form of the unadorned
visiting card, or it may be embellished with heraldic and other
designs explanatory of the owner's name, ancestry, tastes, or
predilections. Primarily, however, it is intended to fix ownership.
How far it satisfactorily serves its purpose, is, perhaps, of little
moment to the average book-collector; for the book-plate has emerged
from the stage of practical utility and become a thing in itself, so
to speak. It has taken its place beside the many _articles de vertu_
which are godsends to the weary of brain and heart, inasmuch as they
become the objects of a passion so delightful in its experience, as to
make us forget the little trials and worries of life that make
pessimists of us in this "bleak Aceldama of sorrow." Nay, they may
even become the one sun, shining and irradiating for us all the dark
places of our wanderings, and cheer us with the hopes for newer and
finer acquisitions than we already have.

When, however, we come to a consideration of the _artistic_
book-plate, we enter upon a new field of enquiry entirely. It
indicates that a simple usage of a necessary and harmless convention
has developed into a complex expression - an expression not merely of
the individual to whom the book belongs, but also of the artist whose
business it is to give pictorial form to the desires and wishes and
tastes of his patron.

From the crude, if sufficient, paste-board stuck on the end-paper, to
the heraldic display, was, surely, no very far cry. In the countries
of the Old World, where pride of ancestry touches the worthy and
unworthy alike, it was to be expected that so valuable an opportunity
for flaunting the deeds of "derring do" of one's forefathers as a sign
of one's own distinction, such as the book-plate offers, was certainly
not to be neglected. So we find that the coats of arms which once
served as inspirations, and which once had a genuine meaning to their
owners and retainers, now do service in the more peaceful realms of
Bookland. And, assuredly, there are certain books in a library, which
are more worthily acknowledged after this ancient and martial fashion.
We cannot but believe that a Froissart from the press of Caxton or
Wynkyn de Worde, would be handled with more reverence if one saw on
the verso of its front cover a glorious display of the arcana of
heraldry, in all its magnificence of mysterious meaning. This feeling
would also be aroused in turning the leaves of, say, Philippe le
Noir's edition of the "Gesta Romanorum" (1532), or of Hayton's "Lytell
Cronycle" from the shop of Richard Pynson, or of Mandeville's
"Voyages and Travailles," issued by T. Snodham in 1625, or of Pliny's
"Historia Naturalis" from the Venetian press of Nic. Jenson in 1472,
or of Rastell's "Pastyme of People," "emprynted in Chepesyde at the
Sygne of the Mermayd" in 1529. To these and their like a book-plate of
heraldic story comes as a fitting and graceful complement.

But the average mortal of this work-a-day world and age has not the
means wherewith to acquire such treasures of the bibliophile. Nor,
perhaps, has he the necessary pedigree with which to adorn them, if
acquired; though on this latter consideration, we suspect that the
Herald's College in the purlieus of Doctors' Commons, and the more
amenable, though not less expensive Tiffany on this side of the
Atlantic, would, no doubt, prove excellent aids to a full

But we are not here dealing with the pomp and glorious circumstance of
Heraldry. In dealing with the artistic book-plate, we are considering
a matter which concerns itself not with past stories or past
individuals, but with the present tale and the particular living
personage who has the laudable and humble ambition to distinguish his
copy of a book from his friend's copy of the same book. A taste in
books may be easily whitewashed, but a taste in a book-plate flares
its owner's heart right into the eyes of the demurest damsel or the
simplest swain. It may be that our collection is but a series of
Tauchnitz editions carefully garnered on a European tour, or a handful
or two of Bohn's Library, accumulated from our more studious days, or
a treatise on golf, chess, gardening and photography, or a history of
the state or town in which we live - it matters little what - these are
the treasures we most prize, and we wish to hold them. Now, how best
shall the collector mark them as his own?

He writes his name on the title-page. Ugh! What a vandal's act! The
man who could so disfigure a book deserves to have it taken from him,
and his name obliterated. He who could find it in his heart to write
on title-pages could surely commit a murder. We'd much rather he
turned a leaf down to mark the place where he had left off in his
reading; though to do that is bad enough, in all conscience. Nor does
he save his soul by writing on the fly-title, or even end-paper.
Moreover, this will not save his book either. A visiting card can
easily be taken out - it looks too formal, nondescript, meaningless,
common, to inspire any respect in a would-be thief. But an artistic
book-plate! Ah! that's another thing altogether.

An artistic book-plate is the expression in decorative illustration of
the proprietor's tastes, made by an artist who has sympathetically
realized the feeling intended. It should objectify one, and only one,
salient characteristic, either of temperament, habit, disposition, or
pleasure, of its owner. If it does less, it is not individual; if it
does more, it is not satisfying.

Now each one of us has some characteristic trait that is not common to
us all - then let that be the aim of the artist to embody in decorative
form. And let that embodiment be simple and direct - the simpler and
more direct it is, the more will it appear; and the more beautiful it
is the more will it soften the kleptomaniacal tendencies of the
ghoulish book-hunter. For nothing touches him so nearly to the finer
impulses of nature than the contemplation of beauty; and he would be
less than human did he fail to respond. We would even go to the length
of giving as an admirable test of the book-plate artist's powers, the
lending of a book (whose loss would give no qualms) containing the
plate. If it come not back, there's something the matter with your
plate; or, you can libel your friend as a beast of low degree, which
suggests a good way of finding out your friend's true character. But
then, there's no limit to the powers of a beautiful book-plate.

Now there are a great many coy people who don't care to wear their
hearts on their sleeves; these would naturally feel indisposed to post
themselves thus before the public eye, be the book-plate never so
beautiful. To these we would say: Give us what you prize best - your
home, your wife, your sweetheart, your motto (though that's giving
yourself away too), your baby, anything that is truly yours. (Babies
are quite _à propos_, and should be characteristic, though it does not
always follow. Some babies have a habit of taking after quite other
people.) The idea is, to embody something individual, something
special and particular.

If he can afford a large library, or is a collector of the works of
one or two authors, there's a way out of the difficulty for the coy
person, by having the book-plate represent the characteristic of the
author and have his name as an addition. That may be taking a
liberty - but authors are accustomed to that; and, besides, you are
appreciating them, and that should exorcise the spirit of an indignant
"classic" from the four walls of your library. Have the original of
the design framed on the wall; it may save you a lot of explanation
should the spook even get "mad." You can always lay the blame on the
artist. Of course, this means a book-plate for each author; but as
book-plates are not, after all, such very expensive luxuries, this
consideration need be a matter of but small moment.

Yet another idea is to have an artistic treatment of a representation
of your library, your "den." That sounds very inviting and certainly
can hurt no one's feelings. If you don't happen to possess a special
apartment, give an apartment such as you would like to possess. Or
show your favorite chair, or nook, or greenwood tree, or running
brook, or garden plot. There are thousands of ways in which to fashion
a book-plate, and an artistic book-plate, too. We thus can see what an
advance the modern artistic book-plate is on the old style article - so
formal, so characterless, so inchoate and so amorphous.

Indeed the artistic book-plate is a genuine inspiration, or it may be
made so. How charming, or delight-giving, or valuable, or intoxicating
it is, depends largely on the artist. But it also depends on the
individual who desires it. It should be planned with care and executed
with feeling. It should be like no other book-plate in the sense that
it possesses some _flavor_ that is private and personal. It should be
as much an indication of the owner's taste as is his library - and no
man can hide his nature from the friend who has had access to that.
There are many things a book-plate should not be - but these may be
summed up in the advice - it should not be a mask. You may order your
books by the hundredweight from your bookseller, but that won't stand
you in any stead when your friend handles them and turns to you for a
criticism, or an opinion. You may also commission your artist for a
book-plate; but you are in a worse plight if you fail in the more
direct explanation you will be required to make to the insistent
inquiries as to its meaning or appositeness. No! Be it ever so humble,
let it be yours. It may be a poor thing, but it is your own; but it
may be also a very rich thing, and your own also.

[Illustration: {Book-plate of James Dick.} By J. W. Simpson]


[Illustration: {Book-plate of Henrietta M. Cox.}]

Other Sources_

[Illustration: {Book-plate of the Worcester Art Museum.} From Steel
Engraving By E. D. French]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of the Authors' Club Library.} By Geo.
Wharton Edwards]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Theodore Brown Hapgood Jr.} By T. B.
Hapgood, Jr.]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Eaton.} By Charles Selkirk]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Frances Louise Allen.} By T. B. Hapgood,

[Illustration: {Book-plate of David Turnure.} By Louis H. Rhead]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of A. Squire.} By B. G. Goodhue]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of William Snelling Hadaway.} By W. S.

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Edwin Allis de Wolf.}]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of John B. Larner.} From Steel Engraving
By E. D. French]

[Illustration: {Book-plate of Constance Grosvenor Alexander.} By
H. E. Goodhue]

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