One of the delights in preserving the Libraries and Archives collections at the Brooklyn Museum is that I am so often pleasantly surprised at what I find in a book or a box. A while back I opened two boxes from the collection of the Library’s special collections simply marked, “Bookplates”. It was a collection of miscellaneous bookplates dating from the 1770’s to the 1940’s. These bookplates are created in a variety of media including etchings, engravings, linoleum blocks and woodcuts. This collection was donated to the Museum over the years when the Print Department was actively collecting and exhibiting examples of printing. Unfortunately, most of the bookplates in this collection are not signed by the artist, but can only be identified by the owner of the bookplate. Here are the highlights:
Since I have had bookplates on the brain, I recently came across this wonderful blog dedicated to bookplates and I most certainly bookmarked it. It’s funny how a few ‘book’ terms like bookmark and web page have made it into our everyday computer lexicon. One wonders what will happen to terms like dog-eared, deckle edge and a personal favorite, double elephant folio (that’s a book up to 50 inches or 4 feet!) in the digital future. As one also wonders what will come of the art of the bookplate. Here’s a website of the American Society of Bookplate Collectors & Designers. Finally, here is a site with a glossary of book terms.
Keith DuQuette is the Museum Libraries Preservation Associate. He came to the museum in 1987. He is responsible for overseeing the physical care of the diverse and wonderful research collections of the Art Reference, Wilbour Libraries and Museum Archives. Additionally, he is the author and illustrator of seven children’s books.