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CONCERNING
BOOK-PLATES



ZELLA- ALLEN -D1XSON ^





AUTHORS EDITION




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OF THE

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA.



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ZELLA ALLEN 1

Catalogue I

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CONCERNING BOOK-PLATES
DIXSON



from a drcuuinff by ARTHUR ELLIS

ENTITLED




CONCERNING BOOK-PLATES

A HANDBOOK FOR COLLECTORS



BY



ZELLA ALLEN DIXSON, A.M.

Member of Ex Libris Society,

London ; Exlibris-Verein, Berlin ; Oester-

reichische Ex-Libris-Gesellschaft, Vienna ; Soci6t6 Fran-

gaise des Collectionneurs d'Ex -Libris, Paris ;

Ex Libris-Club " Basilea," Basle.



FIBST EDITION
WITH ILIAJSTBATION6 AND PLATES




Chicago

Published by the WISTERIA COTTAGE PRESS
1903




SCHOOL



GENERAL



Copyright, 1903,
By ZELLA ALLEN DIXSON.

All rights reserved.



TO

J. WINFRED SPENCELEY

THROUGH WHOSE PATIENT LABOR AND

ARTISTIC SKILL, SO MANY BEAUTIFUL

BOOK-PLATES HAVE BEEN BORN INTO THE

KINGDOM, THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED,

WITH SINCERE APPRECIATION.



1 *



PREFACE



Part of the material used in this little book
was originally prepared by the author for the
Annual Book Number of The Outlook, 1902.
It is now reprinted by permission.

The general interest in the subject of book-
plates has so greatly increased during the past
few years, that it is hoped that this little book,
as a contribution towards a handbook for collect-
ors, may not be entirely unnecessary. It aims
to give the many small items, hard to find, yet
so much needed in order to know how to collect,
preserve, arrange, and identify the specimens
of such a collection, with the least personal in-
convenience. It endeavors to bring each per-
son who desires to study book-plates directly
in contact with the experience of others of sim-
ilar pursuit. Only a few decades ago, the fad
of collecting ex-libris was largely confined to a
few book-worms and antiquarians ; to-day many
Vii



PREFACE

individuals, scattered all over the world, are
filling their leisure time with pleasure, and their
minds with valuable information concerning art,
history, literature, geography, heraldry, geneal-
ogy, and biography, through the study of this
most interesting subject. Libraries, museums,
and learned societies vie with each other in the
size and rarity of the collections they offer as a
field of research.

As Fra Elbertus has told us, "Life in this
world is all a collecting, and all the men and
women in it are collectors. The only question
is, what will you collect ? " In early childhood
we collect bits of glass, buttons, and jack-knives.
Farther along on the road of life, it is stamps,
coins, and autographs. In middle life, we seek
old china, hand-made furniture, engravings, and
first editions. In slow old age we gather anec-
dotes, fascinating tales of our own early prow-
ess or the smart sayings of our grandchildren.
Some spend the energies of mind and body" to
collect dollars and cents ; others select costly
trappings and fashionable friends ; some make
a specialty of sensations and strive for ever-new
viii



PREFACE



experiences. Incidentally, while we are busy
collecting one thing, there is an accumulation of
quite another sort. The miser counts his hoard-
ed gold, but the enemies that envy and jealousy
have made are countless. The good fellow has
"seen the sights" and "lived the life" but he has
also laid up for himself a fine assortment of
headaches, heartaches, and vain regrets.

This little book recommends the collecting
of book-plates. To make such a collection brings
a good time, without a headache next morning,
It places you in personal contact with the good
and the great, in all lands and in all ages, so that
their lives will overshadow your own, and help
to give it purpose and tone. Such a hobby will
make friends for you of persons you may never
see nor meet ; it will make strange lands real to
you and help you to realize the great brotherhood
of man, as few other studies can.

Zella Allen Dixson

The University of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois.
June, 1903.



IX



ILLUSTRATIONS

CHARLES WILLIAM SHERBORN Frontispiece

WISTERIA COTTAGE PRESS Title-page

BOOK-PLATE OF ZELLA ALLEN DIXSON v

BOOKS IN CHAINS Facing 2

TOURNAMENT-PLATE " 7

BOOK-PLATE OF VITTORIO ALFIERI " 35

" " ALEX. MELVILLE BELL " 38

" " AMBERLEY LIBRARY " 41

" " WILLIAM BYRD " 43

" " OLIVER W. HOLMES " 46

" H. M. MUHLENBERG " 48

" CALVIN E. STOWE " 51

" " HORACE WALPOLE " 54

" " DR. BRAY'S SOCIETY " 58

" " ROBERT PINKNEY " 63

" " HELEN & GEORGE BEACH " 91

" " PEYTON C. CRENSHAW " 94

" " CHARLES H. FERRY " 106

" " AUGUSTUS J. PHILLIPS " 110

" " MAISIE K. CLARKE " 115

" " MADELEINE McDOWELL " 118

" " WICK PUBLIC LIBRARY " 139

" " PUB. LIB. OF N. S. WALES " 142

" " J. B. MICHAUD " 153

" " A. W. MACKENZIE " 154

" " AUGUSTIN DALY " 159

" " JAMES WARD " 160

" " RIVERSIDE PRESS " 162

" " W. L. KINGMAN " 167

" " GEORGE A. MACBETH " 209

" " JAMES WOODS " 216



CONTENTS



CHAP. PAGE

I. THE SUBJECT IN GENERAL. 1

II. SPECIAL BOOK-PLATES AND THEIR

VALUES. 14

III. SOME FAMOUS BOOK-PLATE ARTISTS

OF THE PAST. 58

IV. SOME MODERN ARTISTS WHO MAKE

BOOK-PLATES. 85

V. CLASSIFICATION AND ARRANGEMENT. 141

VI. BOOK-PLATE ASSOCIATIONS, CLUBS,

AND SOCIETIES. 167

VII. SOME INSTITUTIONS AND INDIVID-
UALS MAKING COLLECTIONS OF
BOOK-PLATES. 175



THE ABT OF BOOK-KEEPING



I, of my Spenser quite bereft,

Last winter sore was shaken ;
Of Lamb I've but a quarter left,

Nor could I save my Bacon.
They've picked my Locke, to me far more

Than Bramah's patent worth;
And now my losses I deplore,

Without a Home on earth.



Yet they have made me slight returns,

To thus my grief divide ,
For, oh ! they cured me of my Burns,

And eased my Akenside.
But all I think, I shall not say,

Nor let my anger burn.
For as they have not found me Gay,

They have not left me Sterne.



xv




CHAPTER I

THE SUBJECT IN GENERAL

" The outward and visible mark of the citizenship of a
book-lover is his book-plate. ... To have a book-plate
gives a collector great serenity and self-confidence. We
have labored in a far more conscientious spirit since we
had ours than we did before. "

Edmund William Gosse. " Gossip in a Library. "

In its simplest definition a book-plate is the
name-label that is pasted on the inside of the
front cover of a book to denote its ownership.
From the last half of the fifteenth century an
increasing number of individuals have used
these plates. In Great Britain, Belgium,
France, Italy, Austria, Germany, Russia, South
America, South Australia, Sweden, Switzerland,
and the Netherlands, as well as in America,
libraries and museums have great collections of
book-plates arranged for the special study of
the individuals who originally owned them. A
list of the plates of such exhibition collections
1



CONCEKNING BOOK-PLATES



includes, more perfectly than the best biograph-
ical dictionaries, the names of the great in all
departments during those years.

To have a book-plate is to be personally
interested in every other plate and to seek
information in regard to all that is connected
with it. To know even a few plates well, is to
have learned indirectly many things not gen-
erally known in history, literature, art, travel,
biography, and heraldry.

In discussing any phase of this subject, one
should remember that a book-plate is only one
of several time -honored methods of checking
the inherent tendency in books to stray from
the library to which they belong and never
again take their places beside their companions
upon the shelves. The most ancient libraries
were housed in temples, with priests charged
with their care. The check in these collections
was the ever-vigilant jailer-librarian, terribly
in earnest to see that none of the unfortunates
under his care made their escape.

During the monastic period, when the
energy and devotion of the Benedictines had

2



THE SUBJECT IN GENEKAL

given a second birth to literature and learning,
and added to the book-world the beautiful illu-
minated books of the Dark Ages, a second
check came into existence. Having now the
care of books upon each of which a lifetime of
patient skill had been expended, books that
were worth a king's ransom, the wise old monks
decided that treasures so scarce and valuable
must not be left to readers with slippery fingers
and defective memories. So each book was
securely chained with a strong chain to the desk
or shelf on which it was to be used. In all
history this has proved the only effectual
method of preventing book-stealing.

Libraries of chained books were to be found
throughout the civilized world up to the latter
part of the fifteenth century, when the inven-
tion of printing from movable type gave the
book-loving world a volume cheap and plentiful
enough to be used without chains, and relegated
the libraries of chained books to the museums
and treasure-trove rooms of great institutions.
At the same time it became clearly evident that
something was urgently needed to indicate that
3



CONCERNING BOOK-PLATES



the books owned by institutions, as well as those
rapidly forming into private libraries, were not
public property. To meet this want the book-
plate was born into the kingdom, to be the
ever-present silent witness against the book-
thief. At first little thought was expended
upon it. It came at a time when few could
read and write, when the possession of books
was the prerogative of three favored classes,
the clergy, the scholars, and the scions of nobil-
ity. So in its earliest form it was simply the
copy of the family blazon. The coat of arms
of the family was placed on all articles of value,
the carriage, the horse-trappings, fine jewelry,
silver plate, effects of swordsmanship, etc.
When the book collections began to form in
the living-rooms, the same mark was placed on
them, with little thought of the matter and no
realization of the long line of great and illus-
trious descendants that was to follow. Many
of these book-plates were without names or even
initials, because the coat of arms was the name,
in picture writing. The earliest book-plates
known to collectors to-day fall within the years
4



THE SUBJECT IN GENERAL



1450-1490, which is the period now generally
accepted as the time of the formal introduction
of process-made books. From that date to the
present moment book-plates have been steadily
multiplying and their use becoming more and
more general, until to-day not to own a book-
plate with which to mark your books is to argue
yourself quite out of the trend of culture and
education.

In order to impress the lesson implied by
the presence of the book-plate, verses and
couplets were added to reinforce it. Some of
these were in praise of books, some warnings
against the unlawful appropriation of the treas-
ured volume, and all very much to the point, as
some few quotations will show.

On an early monastic plate is this rather
startling command : "Ho there! take me back
to my master. "

"But go ye rather to them that sell and
buy for yourselves. "

" Steal not this book my honest friend,
For fear the gallows will be your end.

Up the ladder and down the rope,
There you'll hang until you choke.

5



CONCERNING BOOK-PLATES



Then I'll come along and say,

'Where's that book you took away ?'"
" He that goes a-borrowing, goes a-sorrowing. "
" My book is one thing ; my boot is another :
Do not steal the one, for fear of the other. "
"Who borrow books and soon restore,
May come again and borrow more. "
" Of borrowed books I take no loan,

Nor lend a book that's not mine own. "
"If thou art borrowed by a friend right welcome shall

he be,

To read, to study, not to lend but to return to me.
Not that imparted knowledge doth diminish Wisdom's

store,

But books, I find if often lent, return to me no more. "
" All those to whom this book I lend, I give one word

no more.

They who to borrow condescend, should graciously
restore. "

The making of book-plates has kept pace
with the manufacture of the books themselves.
Down through the years they have been the
mirrors, reflecting the manners and customs of
each age in which they have been used. By
means of them the student of to-day gleans
many a side-light on the path of research. As
a single case in point, that might be duplicated

6



THE SUBJECT IN GENEKAL

many times, one might cite a certain type of
Heraldic plate, numerous and rather puzzling to
one not understanding the reference it mutely
records. This plate represents a landscape,
more or less varied, but always with a tree in
the prominent foreground. On this tree is
hung a shield, on which is emblazoned the
coat of arms of the individual for whom the
plate was made. The reference is to a rather
picturesque custom connected with the popular
life of the people of the period to which it
belongs.

During the public festivals and tournaments,
it was the custom for the knights to challenge
the world for their right to bear arms. The
knight would hang his shield, beautifully orna-
mented with his heraldic emblems, near the
center of the festivities. A follower would
remain to guard the shield and to accept the
challenge of any one who should proclaim his
doubt of the right to bear arms, by casting his
spear against it.

A choice return awaits the collector who
will master the science of heraldry. Indeed,
7



CONCERNING BOOK-PLATES

very little headway can be made without at
least some knowledge of its simplest rules. For
example, among Heraldic plates will be found
many similar in design but modified to repre-
sent different members of the same family ; as
in England, the eldest son bears his father's
arms with a label as a mark of cadency ; the
second son bears a crescent ; the third a mullet
(a star of five points) ; the fourth a martlet (a
small bird without beak or legs) ; the fifth an
annulet (a ring) ; the sixth a fleur-de-lys ; the
seventh a rose ; the eighth a cross moline ; and
the ninth a double quatrefoil. Heraldic sources
seem to discourage large families, as no mark
of cadency is provided for sons coming after
the ninth. On the death of the father the
eldest son lays aside the label. In Germany,
though now seldom used, th$ label is the mark
of the younger line of the house.*

For many years the Armorial has been the
chief form of the plate, but that is no longer
the only form, nor even to-day the most popu-

* See Leiningen-Westerburg. " German Book-plates. "
p. 21.

8



THE SUBJECT IN GENEBAL



lar type. In France and England where so
long the Heraldic devices have been so generally
the form used, one sees now in increasing num-
bers the Library Interior, Literary, Biographi-
cal, Rebus, Pictorial, and the purely Decorative.
The terms Jacobean, Rococo, Chippendale seem
destined to remain the terms of description of
decadent types of book-plates. The individuals
who are the happy possessors of these marks of
book-ownership are to be found to-day, not
only in every civilized land, but in every walk
of life, and with no restrictions as to sex, age,
or previous condition of servitude.

Some authorities, however, insist that one
plate does not meet all the requirements of the
case. There should be several. Certainly
there is abundant evidence that such at least
has been and still is the custom. Most of the
larger and more wealthy monasteries used more
than one plate in marking the ownership of the
books constituting their libraries. Baumburg,
1570-1790, had eight plates engraved on cop-
per;* and Chiemsee, 1637-1764, had thirteen
all very beautifully designed and executed.
9



CONCEKNING BOOK-PLATES



Nor are the institutions the only ones whose
past record shows such an abundance of good
things. Frederick August, Duke of Bruns-
wick-Ols, circa 1789, had even a greater number
than any one of the monasteries. His number
reached the surprising figure of sixteen. But
even this record has been outdone by the plate-
owners of modern times. Count zu Leiningen-
Westerburg has twenty-one fine plates, all in
use, and the Countess has eight in addition.
These twenty-nine different plates used in their
library are engravings, etchings, zinc blocks,
and lithographs, many of them complimentary
plates from famous artists. Egerton Castle
also uses several plates, each differing from the
others, both in subject and value, and ranging
from a neat small printed label to the exquisite
Library Interior designed for him by his talented
wife. Paul Nicolaus Ratajczak and Carl Lan-
genscheidt each use eleven different plates.

Various reasons are assigned for this prac-
tice of having more than one plate in a library.
It was customary in the monastic times to
celebrate the advent of each new Lord Abbot
10



THE SUBJECT IN GENERAL



by the creation of a new plate for the library
books, and as the years passed there grew up
much rivalry to see which Lord Abbot should
have the most beautiful and appropriate design.
Among individuals it grew out of the different
states of family plates and various forms of
armorial expression, out of alterations of the
inscriptions, the use of nameless or anonymous
plates, and quite often it was the result of
quadruple cuttings. In our own times the use
is more premeditated and the reasons far more
personal. In many cases individuals have dif-
ferent plates in order to have in their books
specimens of the work of famous artists. Not
a few provide themselves with the plates that
furnish the best medium of exchange, thus
enabling them to secure a valuable collection
much more easily and in a shorter time than
could be done in exchanging one plate.

Some authorities argue that more than one
plate is an absolute necessity, in order to have
cheap plates for cheap books, medium plates
for ordinary books, and costly engraved plates
for first editions and rare art treasures. Still
11



CONCEENING BOOK-PLATES



another variation is to have a special plate for
each general subject-division of the collection,
namely, a pastoral plate for travel, recreation,
and description ; a plate with sentiment for lit-
erature and fine art, etc. ; each one being a
special design for the subject for which it is to
be used. Still other authorities prefer one
plate of a highly artistic value, made by a
recognized artist, and designed with special
reference to the characteristics of the owner of
the library, rather than of the books into which
it is to be pasted. This has always seemed to
the author a more consistent view to take.

In every book-lover's library, books are
arranged by the subjects, not the values com-
mercially of the works. Necessarily a poorly
made book must often be placed next to one of
exquisite workmanship. They share alike the
richly furnished room with its comforts and
luxuries ; they stand side by side on the same
polished shelves ; why then should they not
share alike also the choice name-plate selected
by their owner to represent himself ? It is not
always the Morells and the Zaehnsdorfs that
12



THE SUBJECT IN GENERAL



are the real treasures of our libraries. Often
the heart clings most fondly and the hand seeks
most eagerly some shabby "poor relation" of
the book-world, a cheap reprint, perhaps, in a
stiff board cover. Only its well-worn condition
and its owner's beautiful plate in it, tell the
casual visitor how much it is treasured.



13



CHAPTER II

SPECIAL BOOK-PLATES AND THEIK VALUES

" These are the famed insignia of my Sires,
Which in their proper tinctures thon may'st see. "

Inscription on the KnSringen plate of 1565.

Although the individuals and the institutions
collecting book-plates may now be numbered
by the hundreds, it may yet be stated with-
out fear of contradiction that no one collection
exists anywhere that is even approximately
complete. Nor indeed could any one person
tabulate a list of all the plates or even all the
plates of special interest that might, if brought
together, form a representative laboratory in
which collectors might work out their own
lesser accumulations. The student in this
department of knowledge will not travel far on
the road to wisdom before becoming aware that
one of the greatest delights of this subject is
the series of constant surprises that one meets

14



SPECIAL BOOK-PLATES



in finding rare and hitherto unknown specimens,
not found in any of the well-known collections.

Last summer while the author was mousing
around in some of the cities of Italy looking
for book-plates, the delight of a genuine "find"
was unexpectedly experienced. In soaking off
a seventeenth century plate from an old book-
cover purchased from a journeyman binder, a
tiny plate of exquisite engraving of a still
earlier date was found beneath the second and
upper plate. Both plates were carefully
removed, cleaned, and mounted for study. The
most careful investigation failed to reveal any
recorded instance of this plate being in the
hands of any collector. Before the summer
was over, it had been taken in turn to all of the
great collections in Italy, Germany, France, and
England, without finding its mates or any rec-
ords concerning it. Its history has formed the
pleasant study of the leisure hours of this win-
ter and will be given to collectors in some future
publication.

In few fields of intellectual work is such an
experience possible. In the domain of pure
15



CONCERNING BOOK-PLATES



bibliography the collector of first editions, rare
copies, and out of print books, has definite limits
and well-known boundaries, fixed by the cease-
less toil of thousands of workers. Collectors of
coins, stamps, autographs, engravings, old china,
playbills, and railroad tickets, likewise work
within circles of known diameters, with few if
any specimens whose value is an unknown
quantity. The guide-posts are well-placed and
clearly marked by exhaustive handbooks and
elaborate manuals.

Only in the world of book-plates may the
collector still feel the thrill of discovery and
make out the initial papers of identification and
classification. Not the least part of this "pride
of excavation" is to find some rare specimen of
American plates in the shops and quays of
foreign cities labeled "English Armorial" but
which, with the joy of conscious wisdom, you
know have all been corralled by our own famous
Charles Dexter Allen, and are shelved, num-
bered, and written up in that Blue-Book-tabula-
tion of American greatness, " The List of Early
American Book-plates. " The author's own col-
16



SPECIAL BOOK-PLATES



lection of early American plates was largely
secured in foreign cities at greatly reduced
rates, because the dealers who sold them did
not know them as the plates of Americans,
since in many cases they were of English work-
manship.

Book-plates may be of special interest and
value for one or more of many reasons ; they
may belong to a series of very early plates, as
the woodcut of Johannes Knabensberg, called
Igler, Chaplain to the family of Schonstett,
about the year 1450, which is considered the
earliest German book-plate at present known to
collectors and desired greatly, without much
prospect of possession, by the great army of
collectors. One copy of this plate has been
valued by its owner, Ludwig Rosenthal, of
Munich, at 30.*

But plates are also valuable and interesting
from the fact that they are the work of well-
known famous artists, and the value and inter-
est in these cases is quite apart from any interest
in the owners of the plates. The book-plates

* Ex Libris Journal, v. 3, p. 175.

17



CONCERNING BOOK-PLATES



that were wrought by such artists as Albrecht
Diirer, Hogarth, Bartolozzi, Nathaniel Hurd,
the Mavericks, father and son, and many others
of equal fame, will always have, for that reason
alone, special claim to attention. It may also
be that the artist of the plate is a personality
whom all delight to honor for other reasons
than that he is or was an artist. The few plates
known to have been made by Paul Revere are
valuable to-day, not on account of the artistic
work on them, for that was really quite poor,
but because every one, or every American at
least, loves the memory of the man who rode
throughout the night to awaken "every Middle-
sex village and farm, " and thus, by his heroism


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