Personal Impressions. Ex-Libris: Bookplates, Supralibros.
Gold-Stamped Binding of Maria Agustina Lopez de Castro.
On: Joseph Gómez de la Cruz.
Prodigiosa vida, del glorioso padre San Francisco de Paula, fundador del Orden de los Minimos. Madrid: Andres Ortega, 1762.
The owner of this eighteenth-century Spanish binding is identified on the cover as Doña Maria Agustina Lopez de Castro, of whom little else is known. Although women’s ownership signatures are regularly found in eighteenth-century books, custom stamped bindings such as this example are quite rare. The text is a scarce vita of Saint Francis de Paola (1416-1507), Italian mendicant and founder of the Order of Minims.
Bookplate and Book Ornament Designs.
Pickford Robert Waller, 1849-1930. ca. 1914-1917.
This sketchbook contains 81 watercolor art nouveau designs for bookplates and other ornaments by English artist and illustrator Pickford Waller. A designer of fabrics and wallpaper, Waller also produced book designs for works by Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, Laurence Binyon, and James Guthrie’s Pear Tree Press. The Getty Research Institute has more than two dozen similar sketchbooks, containing Waller’s drawings for bookplates, book covers, title pages, and page borders.
Purchased in 2017 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds; supported by a gift from Mark Samuels Lasner.
Maria Gerard Messenger Women’s Bookplate Collection, 16th century to 1930s.
In 2016, the National Museum of Women in the Arts donated a collection of over 2000 women’s bookplates, collected by Long Island philanthropist Maria Gerard Messenger (1849-1937), to the Grolier Club Library. The museum was seeking a home for the collection where it would be made visible and accessible and supported by related research materials. The Grolier Club immediately made good on its commitment, securing a 2016/2017 Digitization Funding Award from METRO (Metropolitan New York Library Council) to digitize all of the bookplates. This selection provides a glimpse of the geographical, temporal, and graphic range of the collection, which is now fully available online.
Gift of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, 2016.
Bookplate Designs for Henrietta Anne Hoare, Lady Acland.
Samuel Woodforde, 1763-1817. Pen and sepia ink, 6½ x 5¾ in.
Purchased in 2020 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds.
[BELOW LEFT]: Bookplate of Lady Acland from the Maria Gerard Messenger Collection.
[BELOW RIGHT]: Bookplate of Frances Ann Hoare from the Maria Gerard Messenger Collection.
As these framed sketches show, British artist Samuel Woodforde designed several different versions of the bookplate of Henrietta Anne Hoare (c. 1765-1841), Lady Acland, before settling on the composition in the upper right. Lady Acland came from a family of book collectors. Her mother, Frances Ann Hoare (1735/6-1800), also had a personal bookplate, as shown in this example on the right. Her brother, Sir Richard Colt Hoare (1758-1838) of Stourhead, gave his superb collection of Italian topographical books to the British Museum in 1825.
Montclair Art Museum Bookplate Collection, 1720-2010.
The 7175 bookplates and archival material received as a gift from the Montclair Art Museum in 2010 made a significant addition to the Grolier Club’s fine holdings of ex-libris. The bookplates were thoroughly cataloged by Montclair’s librarian, Edith Anderson Wright, whose card indexes of owners, bookplate designers, and subjects accompany the collection. Wright also created electronic versions of the indexes, which the Club migrated from Smith Corona floppy disks to digital files in 2016.
The extraordinary depth of the collection is represented by dozens of bookplates all commissioned by Polish painter Henryk Wojcik (1920-2009) in the 1980s and 1990s. The collection also includes several examples of the original copperplates from which the bookplates were printed.
Gift of the Le Brun Library, Montclair Art Museum, 2010; reformatting supported by a gift from Hersh and Fern Cohen.
William H. Helfand Bookplate Collection, 1776-1993.
William H. Helfand (1926-2018) stands as one of the most active, influential, and generous members of the Grolier Club in its long history. A member from 1978 until his death in 2018, he served on its Council from 2000-2010, and as President of the Club from 2006-2010. In his four decades of membership, he organized important exhibitions on scientific and medical books and prints from his own and other collections, including One Hundred Books Famous in Medicine (1994) and Quack, Quack, Quack: Sellers of Nostrums in Prints, Posters, Ephemera and Books (2002). The William H. Helfand Fellowship was established in 2010 in recognition of his vigorous support of the Grolier Club Library; and one of his last—but by no means least—gifts to the Club was his own collection of medical-themed bookplates.
Gift of William H. Helfand, 2013 and 2016.
Collection of Letters and Proofs Relating to Personal Bookplate, ca. 1960-ca. 1970.
Stuart B. Schimmel. 1970.
A significant component of the Club's collection of ex-libris are mini-archives, like this one, documenting the design and production of individual bookplates. This small collection of letters and proofs records a decade-long conversation between collector and Grolier Club member Stuart B. Schimmel, and noted calligrapher, engraver, and typographer Reynolds Stone, concerning the design and production of Schimmel's bookplate.
Gift of Caroline Schimmel, 2013.