In Memoriam medical bookplates

Bookplate Ink's design D62

One of the popular uses of bookplates throughout the years has been to designate a book as being donated to a library, school, church, synagogue, university, or other organization, in memory of a loved one.  We received just such an order from the sister and brother-in-law of Dr. Robert Leffert, a physician who made a significant contribution to orthopeadic medicine. An article I found online in the Harvard University Gazette states that Dr. Leffert “became a major force in Rehabilitation Medicine and also in the management of upper extremity disorders” while at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was “adored by his patients and his students.”

D-9

The design Dr. Leffert’s sister and brother-in-law wanted to use was Bookplate Ink’s D62, which shows two surgeons at work. This design was created by woodcut artist Harry Roth, who escaped from Germany just prior to World War II. The Antioch Bookplate Company began offering it in the 1940s. Harry Roth created two other bookplates for Antioch that weren’t quite as popular, D-9 and D-10. He seemed to have a penchant for medicine.

D-10

The D62 design that we usually print has the text “ex libris” included, which means “from the library of.” Dr. Leffert’s sister and brother-in-law asked that this text be changed to “In Memoriam” for this order. As a side note, I appreciate when customers call with questions about changes that can be made to our designs. Even though this can be time-consuming, I’d rather have people ask. We aren’t able to show all the options that are possible with our bookplate designs, and we specialize in personalization.

Dr. Leffert's bookplates

After the bookplates were shipped, I received a very sweet note from Dr. Leffert’s sister:

I’m writing to thank you for the help and beautiful work on the surgeon’s bookplate in memory of my brother, who was a wonderful surgeon.

We’ve begun pasting these into his books (a very simple job), which will become part of a library for doctors from Partners in Health, who bring their expertise to Haiti.

I think my brother would have loved these plates – and they have made me smile!

We don’t have bookplate designs that are strictly for “In Memoriam” bookplates. Most of our customers find artwork that is appropriate for their use, whether it be a border design or something more elaborate, and request the text of their choosing. This gives the customer more flexibility and more customization.

Bookplates and real books for Christmas

This time of year is very busy at Bookplate Ink. We receive many, many orders for bookplates to be given as Christmas gifts. Amidst all the Christmas craziness, many customers take the time to write wonderful e-mails and comments in their orders. I’m convinced that bookplate owners are some of the sweetest people in the world.

Recently a customer named Auban placed an order for two sets of bookplates to be given as gifts at Christmas. In the comment section of the order form, she wrote, “For my mother and my daughter. My mom just found a book with a bookplate in it from her father, who passed away when she was 5. It meant so much to her. I wanted to allow her to share that with my girls.”

This is the type of comment that makes everything else worthwhile. When I picture Auban’s mother finding that bookplate from a father she lost at such a young age, it brings tears to my eyes.

I wrote to Auban that when I started printing bookplates, I had no idea that they would mean so much to so many people. Auban wrote back: “My younger sister passed away last year and I have found books of hers with the bookplates we got for Christmas one year. It has been such a tangible connection to family members we’ve lost recently and long ago.” More tears.

I know many Kindles and Nooks will be given as Christmas presents this year. But nothing beats the beauty and intimacy of a physical book (especially with a bookplate inside!) as a present. I was very encouraged to read an article in the New York Times this past Sunday saying that publishers are adding high quality and decorative touches to book covers and endpapers to encourage the pleasure of owning physical books as opposed to e-books. As I know from this business, there are still plenty of people reading and enjoying real books in their personal library.