Exquisite Venitian Library

20160825_160649This past August, my husband and I had the good fortune to travel to Europe.  We spent a week in Lucerne, Switzerland, attending spectaular concerts at the renowned Lucerne Music Festival and hiking in the Alps with friends. After traveling by train to Italy, we visited Lucca, Florence and Cinque Terra, walking for miles, and loving the history and beauty of the area.

From there, we took the train to Venice, where we took in many of the wonderful museums and explored the city. One of the museums we visited was the Museo Correr in Venice, Italy. The Correr sits directly across Piazza San Marco from Basilica San Marco, and is steps away from the Grand Canal. There is an awe-inspiring amount of history and culture in just this one small area but I am going to focus on one exhibit in the Correr.

20160825_160013Within the museum is the Pisani Library, a room filled with beautiful walnut bookcases that came from the Pisani family palace at San Vidal. The Pisanis, an aristocratic family in Venice from the 12th to 18th centuries, were an important influence on the culture and politics of the time. According to the Museo Correr, they were “the first to set up what might be called a library-museum, in an attempt to endow the city’s publishing industry with its own aura of grandeur and munificent service to the State.”

The bookcases today are filled with “rare manuscripts and printed works, dating from the early Sixteenth Century to the end of the 20160825_155946Eighteenth.” Surrounding the shelves are display cases with beautiful books from the 1500-1600s.

The chandelier hanging above was made from Murano glass in the 1700s. Murano is a series of small islands just outside of Venice and has been home to glass-making since 1291, when the glassmakers of Venice were forced to move there due to20160825_155711 fear of fire within the city and its wood buildings.

It was fascinating and awe-inspiring to view the intricate artwork in books from hundreds of years ago. I’m grateful that people such as the Pisani family valued their libraries and preserved the world’s heritage through books. During this “digital age,” let’s not forget the importance and endurance of the printed page.

Bookplates for authors 101

Although bookplates have traditionally been used to identify one’s books in a personal library, many authors order bookplates from Bookplate Ink to use for book signings and as a promotional tool and thank you gift to their readers, so I thought it might be helpful to new authors (and seasoned authors!) to show some possibilities.

 

 

One popular option is to have bookplates printed with custom artwork from your book(s). Some authors have bookplates with the artwork from the jacket cover of the book at the top of the bookplate or as the background for the entire bookplate. Sometimes artwork related to one element or character of the book is used, along with the author’s name and/or website.

 

12967465_10154844563759466_6679630386450112881_oNew York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater has used more than one design for her young adult Raven Cycle series. Maggie posts photos and offers signed bookplates through her website, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Fountain Bookstore. She even posted a video on YouTube about her bookplates. We have seen more than one tweet with a photo from an excited reader who just bought one of her books and received a signed bookplate. Shown in the photo here is a large bookplate created and signed by the author.

 

Brenna Yovanoff is another young adult fiction writerScreen Shot 2016-05-03 at 1.06.59 PM
who recently ordered bookplates for her new book, Places No One Knows, and posted a photo on Instagram. The book will be released later this month, but those who pre-order through the Tattered Cover Book Store will receive a free signed bookplate, as posted on their website. Many authors use a signed bookplate as an incentive for pre-orders.

 

 

GarthSteinBookplate Ink has also printed bookplates for
New York Times bestseller Garth Stein. His latest bookplate is a good example of a design useful for an author who wants a bookplate that encompasses all of his or her published books. As you can see, the jacket covers of his books are shown at the top along with his photo, while his website address is at the bottom of the bookplate.

 

 

If you’re looking for a simpler and more affordable N100NEWoption, another possibility is one of our non-personalized border designs. These bookplates are printed on a non-glossy, cream colored paper and look very classy. At 3×4 inches, they have plenty of room for your signature and a short message. As they’re pre-printed and we keep them in stock, they ship quickly and are less expensive than custom bookplates. Shown here is one of our most popular border designs, N100. It is available as both a non-personalized bookplate or a custom printed bookplate with the text of your choice.

 

11415560_796725990442144_6075978264755982703_oOne creative author, Joanne DeMaio, even adds her own stamp to our design M752.

 

For a more personalized look, many authors order one of our many border designs and have the bookplates custom printed with their name, website address and/or book title. We can also add artwork or a logo to any of our border designs.

 

There are many possibilities regarding styles and sizes of bookplates. If you have any questions, feel free to call 866-483-3830 or e-mail info@bookplateink.com.

 

 

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.

 

 

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!

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.”

 

Abraham Lincoln bookplate

It seems that I’m hearing about Abraham Lincoln quite a lot these days, and it’s not even his birthday. That’s because the much anticipated movie “Lincoln,” based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “Team of Rivals,” is now in theatres.

I found this bookplate depicting our 16th President in an old catalog of Etchcraft designs called the Celebrity Series. I like that Lincoln appears to be looking down at the space where a name would be added to the bookplate, under “Ex Libris,” which means “From the library of.” Under Lincoln’s signature, the text says “By: Saint-Gaudens.” Augustus Saint-Gaudens was an Irish-born American sculptor who was well-known for his sculptures of Civil War heroes. With a little research, I discovered that this statue, unveiled in 1887, still stands in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. According to AbrahamLincolnOnline.org, the monument was created using “the 1860 life mask of Lincoln by Chicago sculptor Leonard Volk. A Vermont farmer of approximately Lincoln’s height served as the model.”

These is also a copyright with the single name “Richard, ” apparently the creator of the bookplate design. All of the bookplates in the Celebrity Series have this same copyright and are of famous people or places.

As shown on the cover, these designs were acquired by Antioch Bookplate Company, whose designs we acquired. This catalog is most likely from the 1950s. Another detail that made me smile is that the sticker on the cover from Antioch Bookplate has as its border design M752, which we are still printing today and happens to be one of our most popular border designs.