Many Ways to Use Bookplates

The traditional use of bookplates, begun in the 15th century, is to identify the owner of a book. Bookplates, also known as ex libris, are usually decorative, with artwork that is meaningful to the book owner. Often they show the family coat of arms or some particular area of interest to the owner. Many well-known figures have used bookplates and many well-known artists have created them over the years, but they are available for anyone to use.

The Antioch Bookplate Company, in its early days, promoted the use of bookplates for ordinary folk, as people could order one of its many designs — often called universal designs — that are available to the public. No need to hire an artist to create a design specifically for you, although that is always an option. Many well-known artists, such as Lynd Ward, Rockwell Kent, and Robert Whitmore, created artwork for Antioch bookplates.

The Antioch Company closed several years ago, but Bookplate Ink continues to print their popular designs, both personalized and non-personalized. Many of our customers are individuals ordering for their home libraries, but it is noteworthy how many interesting uses people have for bookplates.

Memorial Bookplates: Many bookplates are placed in books being donated to a library or school in memory of someone, and are often books from their own collection. Sometimes, however, a collection of new books is donated in memory of a loved one, co-worker or teacher. One of our customers donates books to a nearby nature center in memory of her dear daughter, who died much too young. Another customer has requested bookplates in memory of her book club members. And many bookplates are in books given in memory of a favorite teacher or librarian.

University Libraries: Many of the bookplates we print are shipped to universities, either for their main library or a departmental library. Some of these are to designate a particular collection, or ownership by a university department. Some bookplates are sold at college bookstores, with the logo for school.

Kickstarter Campaigns: Who said bookplates aren’t part of the modern world? Bookplate Ink has printed many bookplates to be given as a reward for donating to a Kickstarter or other online campaign. These bookplates are usually signed by the author/and or illustrator who is the recipient of the funding. Many of these have been for comics and graphic novels.

Authors: Bookplates provide a convenient way for authors to reach out to fans with an autograph, when shipping a book or a signing in person aren’t possible. Author Bernard Cornwell has been using bookplates in this way for years. He has a significant fan base in Brazil and recently had his usual bookplate printed in Portuguese. Maggie Stiefvater sends bookplates with her own beautiful artwork, as shown below, to fans in the United Kingdom when she can’t go there on tour.

Gifts: Of course, one of the best uses for bookplates is as a present to your favorite reader. Grandparents and parents often order non-personalized bookplates as a stuffing stuffer at Christmas. Bookplates personalized with a name make a special gift for the holidays or a birthday. Many people are thrilled to find the same design they used as a child still available for them to give to their own children.

Advertisements

Bookplates, schools and peacocks

cathedral

One of the joys of having an online business is having the chance to work with people from all over the world. And when there is some connection between us, it is the icing on the cake.

A few weeks ago, a customer called about having a bookplate printed for a book fair at her son’s school. Marceline explained that at the book fair, there would be a “wish list” table of books needed for the school library and teachers’ classrooms. While purchasing books for their children, parents could also purchase one of the “wish list” books to donate to the school. She further explained that she was looking for bookplates to put in the books to permanently acknowledge the parents and students for their gift to the school. While discussing possible designs, Marceline mentioned that there are peacocks on the school grounds. I suddenly realized that I had visited this school.

Last spring, my husband and I flew to New York City to visit our son. We had a wonderful time riding the subway and being tourists. One of the places we most enjoyed visiting was The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine on Amsterdam Avenue, which it turns out, is the location of the school Marceline was calling about.

compositeAs we approached the cathedral, I was taken by the garden and Peace Fountain at the side. The Peace Fountain, a magnificent work itself, is surrounded by sculptures created by students at the school. I was astonished by the skill and effort put into these creations and spent quite a while looking at them.

peacockMy husband strolled down the lane at the side of the cathedral and came back to report seeing two peacocks wandering about. These peacocks, one of which was white, were friendly and fearless. They seemed quite used to being around people and, at least while we were there, seemed to enjoy showing off. According to an article in the NY Times, the cathedral grounds has been home to peacocks since the 1980s, when the Bronx Zoo donated some chicks. And the peacocks are named after various deans at the school and cathedral.peacockwhite

Marceline, who is the Co-President of the Parents Association at The Cathedral School, ultimately chose Bookplate Ink’s design B211 because of the animals in the elaborate border, citing the animals in the many sculptures on the church and school grounds. B211 is one of two troll designs drawn by John Huchthausen, an artist trained in architecture and religious art who created many designs for Antioch Bookplate Company in the early 1940s.

As you can see, I removed the troll from the middle of the design, added the logo for the school and the necessary text, and enlarged the design just a little. The students’ names will be handwritten on the bookplate, along with their graduating class year. The printed bookplates are now at the school and the book fair is starting. Marceline reported that everyone is pleased with the bookplates, and I am pleased to be a part of this wonderful event supporting reading and education.Bookplatecomposite