Dayton and the Wright Brothers

It’s exciting to read a book that really makes history come alive and, as a bonus, makes you feel proud of where you live. That happened for me with David McCullough’s book The Wright Brothers. As Bookplate Ink has deep roots in Yellow Springs, Ohio, which is just outside of Dayton, where the Wright family lived, reading about the lives and work of Wilber and Orville Wright seemed especially relevant to me. If you’re not up on this piece of history, I encourage you to read the book, as it’s interesting and very readable. Bookplate Ink has many customers who are authors, so I don’t usually write about any one book or author, but this book seemed more personal and pertinent after a recent trip into Dayton.

WrightHeadstone_fullDuring this visit, we first went to Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum, where Orville, Wilbur, their parents, and their sister Katherine are all buried. Woodland Cemetery is a beautiful, wooded expanse of rolling hills, and one of the nation’s five oldest rural garden cemeteries, according to their website. In addition to the Wright family, poet (and schoolmate of Orville and Wilber) Paul Laurence Dunbar is buried there. Including Dunbar, the list of grave Dunbarsites contains a “who’s who” list of important people, all from Dayton: inventor Charles Kettering, John Patterson of NCR, George Huffman of Huffy Bicycles, and George Mead of Mead Paper and newspaper columnist Erma Bombeck, among others.

After visiting Woodland, we explored Carillon Historic Park, a 65-acre campus dedicated to preserving the amazing history of Dayton. Just one of the many buildings located there is the John W. Berry Sr. Wright Brothers Aviation Center. The Center includes a model of the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop, formerly located in Dayton, which housed the workshop where they built their first Flyergliders and planes. Also in the Center is the original 1905 Wright Flyer III, the world’s first practical airplane. As you can see in the photo, a model of Wilbur Wright is shown flying the plane. One of the things that struck me while reading The Wright Brothers is that Orville Wright died in 1948, which seemed amazingly recent to me. The building where the Flyer is housed was designed by Orville, though he didn’t live to see it built. Our tour guide mentioned that his father-in-law belonged to the Engineer’s Club in Dayton and saw Orville there many times. Carillon Historical Park’s Facebook page shows a photo of Orville Wright and Charles Kettering talking at the Engineer’s Club.

I was also amazed that the Wright Brothers were building their first flying machines whileOrvilleHeadstone the automobile was still very young. McCullough’s book mentions Wilbur and Orville being picked up by carriage, not an automobile, when arriving home by train. In fact, at Carillon Historical Park I learned that the patent for the first electric ignition device for automobiles was granted to Charles Kettering of Dayton in 1915. The early 1900s were a time of great inventiveness and industrialism in Dayton. Imagine living in Dayton in 1905 and being able to visit with Paul Laurence Dunbar, Wilber and Orville Wright, and Charles Kettering, all within walking distance.

C111And finally, to tie this all in with bookplates, Bookplate Ink has a beautiful design of an airplane similar to the Wright Brother’s flyer, painted by Dayton native and artist Michael Bonilla. Design C111 is available on white, self-adhesive paper, personalized with your name or the text of your choice.

 

 

New York City Library

My husband and I recently spent a few days in New York City, visiting our son. In addition to visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art (both of which I heartily recommend), we took a tour of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library. What a wonderful experience! And free!

The tour was given by a vivacious, enthusiastic and knowledgeable LIon_Libraryvolunteer, who brought amazing history to life throughout the library. The building was constructed on the foundation of a reservoir, with the cornerstone laid in 1902.

FrontWindows_LibraryBefore you even enter the building, you are greeted by two iconic statues. The majestic lions, nicknamed Patience and Virtue, are made of a rose-colored marble. Once inside the front lobby, the gorgeous huge front windows are worth turning around to view.

The first room we visited was the Dewitt Wallace Periodical Room. According to the tour guide, DeWitt and Lila Bell Wallace spent many hours reading and cultivating articles from the Library’s collection before founding the Reader’s Digest Magazine in 1922. The Wallaces ReadingRoom_Librarygave generously after becoming wealthy and The Wallace Foundation funded the restoration in 1983 of The Periodical Room that served as their informal editorial office. The ornate ceiling looks like wood but is actually plaster. The beautiful murals are described in detail on the library website.

Another highlight of the tour was the Gutenberg Bible on display upstairs. Johannes Gutenberg was the first European to usGutenbergBible_Librarye movable metal type in the production of books, a much faster system than handwriting or woodblock print. The New York Public Library’s copy of the Gutenberg Bible, one of only about 180 produced, was donated by James Lenox, who was one of the co-founders of the library.

 

 
Surrounding the Gutenberg Bible is a set of four arched murals called The Story of the Recorded Word. These murals, created between 1938 to 1942, were part of a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project.  The first mural shows Moses with the Ten Commandments, as depicted in Exodus of the Old Testament; in the second a monk from the Middle Ages copies a manuscript; the third mural shows Gutenberg with a proof of his Bible; and the fourth depicts Ottmar Mergenthaler at a linotype machine.

This is only a small portion of the artwork and information shown us during the tour. I would encourage you to visit yourself if you are able.

 

 

How to host a baby book shower

BabyInvite

The invitation mimicked a library checkout card

 

My son and his wife are expecting a baby girl next month and one of my daughter-in-law’s closest friends, Katie, hosted a baby shower for her. I was pleased when the invitation arrived and I saw that it was a “book shower.” Every guest was asked to bring a children’s book in lieu of a card. Of course, I thought a natural Babyinviteaddition would be bookplates! When I contacted Katie, it turned out she had just looked at Bookplate Ink’s bookplates on Etsy! Since the shower was for my future granddaughter, I created a new bookplate for the shower. A version of this bookplate is now available on Bookplate Ink’s website.

GreenEggsandHamBookplate Ink has printed bookplates for customers’ baby showers, but I had never been to a book shower. I was very impressed with the way Katie put the shower together and thought it would be fun and helpful to share her ideas.

Everything about the shower was related to books. Classic children’s books were displayed around Katie’s dining room, all related to one of the food dishes she had prepared. For example, Dr. Seuss’ famous Green Eggs and Ham was paired with muffin-size egg soufflés. Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales sat by a tray of cheeses, and If You Give a Moose a Muffin was displayed next to a tray of almond muffins. MooseMuffins

In the kitchen, there were a variety drinksof beverages, including Pinkalicious spa water and Bear’s sangria, both based on children’s books. For coffee, Katie had white mugs on which fun literary messages had been printed with a Sharpie marker.

In another room, KMugsatie had a desk set up with a wonderful, creative guest book. The pages were removable to allow guests to write a message to the parents, decorate with a variety of stickers, and slip the paper into a plastic sleeve in the book. I put the bookplates here to allow the guests to fill them out before putting them with the books they brought. It would be easier to send baby shower bookplates to your guests along with the invitations, but we didn’t have a chance to coordinate this.

Katie also had a cute game for guests to play, called Children’s Book Scramble. The idea was to figure out which children’s book title was described in the obscure description. For example, the answer for “Locale of the Untamed Creatures” was the book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

Overall, the shower was a huge success. The guests all seemed to enjoy the book theme and the books were a wonderful conversation piece. The best part is that my future granddaughter already has a wonderful library of books, complete with bookplates that have a loving message from her friends and family.

 

 

 

 

 

Creative bookplate ideas

As I’ve written in previous posts, connecting with wonderful people around the world is one of the most fun aspects of the bookplate business. And hearing the creative ways people are using bookplates is icing on the cake.

GramercyPark2Our non-personalized bookplates, which are sold on our site in quantities as small as 20, have become quite a popular item. Recently, Etta wrote about using Design B211 for her Gramercy Park-themed birthday party in the fall of 2013. Gramercy Park is a private fenced-in park located within the Gramercy Park Historic District in Manhattan. According to the NY Times, the park has been fenced in since the 1830s and locked since 1844. In 2012, only 383 keys were in circulation, all given to residents of the historic district. GramercyPark3

Etta ordered copies of the book Gramercy Park, An American Bloombury by Carole Klein from Amazon to give to each attendee of her party as part of a goody bag. Interestingly, since the book is out of print, three different versions came, as shown above. She wrapped each one in raffia with autumn foliage and then placed it in the goody bag with a B211 bookplate attached to the outside of the bag with the respective attendee’s name written on the bookplate.

GrammercyPark1Since Gramercy Park is a well-established garden with mature plantings, Etta felt the gnome walking in the garden bookplate fit the theme perfectly. This lovely artwork was created by John Huchthausen, an artist trained in architecture and religious art who created many designs for the Antioch Bookplate Company in the early 1940s. Etta reported that everyone at the party loved the goody bags with their bookplate attached.

Etta wrote about her party when she ordered another set of bookplates, this time the non-personalized version of Design B253. Etta planned to host a party for her daughter, who was graduating from college in Charleston, South Carolina. Again, each attendee of the party was to be given a goody bag, this time with a book on the history of the college—which was established in the late 1700s—as well as other school memorabilia. B253Etta chose design B253 partly because she likes the inscription in the border, which reads, “A book is like a good friend; my friends I would forever keep.”

Other customers have used bookplates for guests to place in books for baby showers, to memorialize loved ones with a donation of books, for author signings, to put in books as a party favor at a wedding reception….the list is endless. Let me know if you have a unique use for bookplates!

Little Free Libraries and bookplates

Recently, we have received orders for bookplates with text indicating the book is from a “Little Free Library.” What is a Little Free Library? And who started this trend?

LIttleFreeLibrary

Little Free Library in Orlando, FL

I honestly thought this was just a good idea that various individuals were instituting. Then I came across the Little Free Library website, where it is explained that a Little Free Library is “a ‘take a book, return a book’ gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share.”

According to the website, this idea started in 2009 when “Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading.” Soon, inspired by Andrew Carnegie’s support of 2,509 free public libraries and a mission to promote literacy and a sense of community, a goal was established to build 2510 Little Free Libraries, a goal which was reached in 2012.

LIttleFreeLibraryRobertaReachingBetterI was excited to see an example of just such a library nearby in Orlando, Florida, at one of my favorite restaurants. Dandelion Communitea Cafe, which hosts many events to support a sense of community. Their library, located at the front of the cafe, is a colorful and cheerful box. What a great addition to any neighborhood gathering place!

I urged you to visit the Little Free Library website to read about this fascinating and inspiring concept. Maybe you’ll want to build a library in your community!

The small world of bookplates

Bookplates, like family photos, often become part of a treasure of family memories and history. I saw this demonstrated recently when my husband and I were visiting a friend. Our friend is a musician and comes from a family of musicians. While we were visiting, he shared with us several bookplates that had belonged to his father and grandfather, both of whom are now deceased.

E31Fryxell_greenOne of his father’s bookplates, shown here, was fun to see because it is a variation of a design that we are still printing at Bookplate Ink. As you can see, this nautical design was altered to add the cat and fiddle picture that was the logo for The Catgut Acoustical Society, to which our friend’s father belonged, and printed in green. Most likely, this bookplate was printed by Antioch Bookplate Company in the 1960s.

I was excited to see another bookplate that belonged to my friend’s grandfather. This is one that has been out of print for many years but was also printed by Antioch Bookplate Company. It was a Christmas gift from our friend’s brother to his grandfather in 1962. Not only was this design used by our friend’s grandfather, but it was also the design used by another mutual friend’s grandmother, who happens to have been the mother of the man who started Bookplate Ink.Fryxell_music_text

It’s a small world in the bookplate world!

Donating books

GaborKorvinGabor Korvin has been a wonderful and supportive customer of Bookplate Ink’s for many years, during which time he has ordered several thousand bookplates. Like many bookplate customers, he is devoted to one design; in his case, design B208, or “The Bookworm.” This is an adaptation of German Romanticist painter/poet Carl Spitzweg’s famous satirical painting, which was originally published as a bookplate by the Etchcraft Company, then introduced by the Antioch Bookplate Company in the 1950s. Many people refer to it simply as “the man on the ladder.”Gabor_book

Korvin is a professor at King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals in Saudi Arabia. I wasn’t aware until last year that he is an avid collector of Oriental books and has been donating his collection to The Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, where he was presented with their Teleki Medal in 2010. Korvin has donated more than 2000 volumes to the library and continues to send them rare and important books every week.

I was thrilled to hear that librarians at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences have told Korvin that readers frequently ask “Has any new book arrived with the old man on the ladder”?

Korvin_booksI asked how he goes about obtaining these rare books. He wrote, “There are so many steps of getting a new Oriental book: it starts from months or years of search, then finding it in auction lists, bidding, winning, waiting for weeks for its arrival, picking up the parcel at the Post Office, carefully opening it, reading some pages at random, but it only becomes really mine when I put in my bookplate. It has become such an important habit with me that I never travel without taking a few dozen of them.”