Grolier Club Bookplate Collection, ca. 1700-1977
RLIN ID No.
Grolier Club, compiler.
Grolier Club Bookplate Collection.
11 boxes (6.1 linear ft.)
The Grolier Club Bookplate Collection was compiled by Club librarians from ca. 1896-1977. Most of the bookplates were acquired through donations from Grolier Club members, bookplate designers, and bookplate collectors. Club librarian Ruth S. Granniss actively solicited donations during her tenure. After she retired in 1944, George L. McKay continued to build the collection on a more limited scale. After 1956, there was no significant activity until Charles Antin solicited donations for an exhibition of members’ bookplates in November 1976 by the Committee on Modern Fine Printing.
Scope and Contents
Ca. 4200 bookplates, ca. 1700-1977. Correspondence 1895-1977. Ca. 700 signed proofs donated by notable engravers of the 20th century, including Edwin Davis French and Sidney Lawton Smith.
Organization and Arrangement
Bookplates are arranged by designer where possible, by owner, or by type. There are two series of correspondence, one representing the collecting efforts of Grolier Club librarians, the other relating to the 1976 exhibition by Charles Antin and the Grolier Club Committee on Modern Fine Printing. Wherever possible, large donations of bookplates have been kept together. Examples include the donation of proofs by the widow of E.D. French in the 1920’s, a collection of several hundred bookplates compiled by Beverly Chew and left to the club after his death in 1924, and a collection of angling bookplates donated by D.B. Fearing in 1918. Series include “Bookplates by Designer,” “Bookplates by Owner,” “Advertisements,” “American Bookplate Society,” and “Proofs by designer.” Two small boxes of catalog cards (probably prepared by Ruth S. Granniss) accompany the collection. These provide cross-references where both owner and designer are known. Thomas Proctor bookplate added to box 11 in June 2013 after it was found framed in the club.
Title devised by cataloger.
Acquisition dates are largely unknown.
Finding Aid Note
Unpublished inventory available in repository.
Bookplates. Collectors and collecting.
Fishing in bookplates.
Chew, Beverly, 1850-1924, collector.
Fearing, Daniel B. (Daniel Butler), 1859-1918, collector.
Granniss, Ruth S. (Ruth Shephard), 1872-1954, compiler.
McKay, George. L. (George Leslie), 1895-1976, compiler.
Eve, G. W. (George William), 1855-1914, bookplate designer.
Fisher, William Edgar, b. 1872, bookplate designer.
French, Edwin Davis, 1851-1906, bookplate designer.
Hall, Frederick Garrison, 1879-1946, bookplate designer.
Hopson, William Fowler, 1849-1935, bookplate designer.
Hurd, Nathaniel, 1730-1777, bookplate designer.
Ipsen, L. S. (Ludvig Sandoe), bookplate designer.
Kent, Rockwell,¬ 1882-1971, bookplate designer.
Lipinsky, Sigmund, 1873-1940, bookplate designer.
Macdonald, Arthur Nelson, 1866-1940, bookplate designer.
Rogers, Bruce, 1870-1957, bookplate designer.
Ruzicka, Rudolph, 1883-, bookplate designer.
Smith, Ismael, 1886-1972, bookplate designer.
Smith, Sidney Lawton, 1845-1929, bookplate designer.
Spencely, J. W. (Joseph Winfred), 1865-1908, bookplate designer.
Stone, Wilbur Macey, bookplate designer.
Occupation Reflected in Collection
Related Collections at the Grolier Club
Beverly Chew Papers, 1883-1926.
Spencer Van B. Nichols Bookplate Collection
Grolier Club, 47 East 60th Street, New York, N.Y. 10022-1098.
Grolier Club Bookplate Collection: Inventory
Box Series Contents
1 1 Bookplates by Designer, A-R
2 1 Bookplates by Designer, S-Z
2 Bookplates by Owner, A-F
3 2 Bookplates by Owner, G-Z
3 Angling Bookplates Presented by D.B. Fearing
4 4 Beverly Chew Collection
5 5 Miscellaneous Bookplates
6 6 Correspondence, 1895-1956
7 6 Correspondence, n.d.
7 American Bookplate Society, 1919-1924 and n.d.
8 Advertisements, sorted by country
8 9 Charles Antin, Correspondence for exhibit, 1976-77
9 9 Charles Antin, Bookplates from exhibit
10 10 Proofs by designer, A-F
11 10 Proofs by designer, F-Z and misc.
I. Bookplates by Designer
Bookplates mounted on cards by compiler and filed alphabetically by the last name of bookplate designers. The word “designer” seems to be used synonymously with “engraver.” In many cases, notes about the donor or cross-references to the correspondence series have been written on the cards. Occasionally, the compiler also mounted correspondence from the designers on cards and filed them with the bookplates. Envelopes of plates sorted by designer have been interspersed. These are likely to have cross references or donor information. Two boxes of catalog cards compiled by Ruth S. Granniss also provide cross references when both owner and designer were known. The cards also contain some provenance information. (1 linear ft., Boxes 1-2)
II. Bookplates by Owner
Bookplates mounted on cards or inserted into envelopes and filed by the last name of the bookplate owner. Donor information or cross-references have been written on the occasional card. (.8 linear ft., Boxes 2-3)
III. Angling Bookplates Presented by D.B. Fearing
Inscription reads: “Bookplates of authors and collectors of angling bookplates presented by D. B. Fearing, Feb 1918.” (.1 linear ft., Box 3)
IV. Beverly Chew Collection
Ca. 500 bookplates, filed by designer. Chew interfiled his correspondence with the bookplates. Notes in Chew’s hand can be seen on the back of the cards, which give some provenance information. See Beverly Chew Correspondence, Bequest of 1924, also in the Grolier Club collection. (.8 linear ft, Box 4)
V. Miscellaneous Bookplates
This series is only partially processed. Roughly 1000 are loosely grouped by country or type and stored in envelopes. (1 linear ft., Box 5)
VI. Correspondence 1895-1956, n.d.
Letters to Grolier Club librarians from bookplate collectors and designers. The letters discuss the design and provenance of bookplates, and in many cases the bookplates under discussion are still in the envelopes. There are approximately 500 bookplates in the correspondence files. Correspondence is from libraries, clubs, and book collectors. In many cases, donors are requesting a Grolier Club bookplate in exchange for their own, or responding to a similar request from the Grolier Club librarian. The letters are arranged chronologically. (.8 linear ft., Boxes 6-7)
VII. American Bookplate Society, 1919-1924, n.d.
This series consists of several publications of the Society. These include the Society’s constitution, two exhibition announcements from 1920, The Bookplate Bulletin I, no. 1-5, advertisement for Books and Bookplates, The Bookplate Calendar for 1920, and The Bookplate Chronicle II, no. 5. (3 folders, Box 7)
These are catalogs from bookplate designers, exhibit announcements, and other publicity materials related to bookplates. They are sorted by country. The collection is strongest in American and German advertisements. (5 folders, Box 7)
IX. Charles Antin
In November 1976, Charles Antin curated a small exhibition of members’ bookplates as part of the Committee on Modern Fine Printing’s series of small exhibitions held in the clubhouse lobby. The bookplates and related letters are grouped by the style of bookplate. The compiler’s organization has been maintained. Box 8 contains correspondence (1976-77) from club members about the exhibit. Some bookplates are still filed with the correspondence from their owners. Box 9 contains bookplates used in the exhibit. Roughly 500 bookplates are in this series. (.8 linear ft, Box 8-9)
X. Proofs By Designer
This series consists of several hundred proofs arranged by designer. Many are signed. The series also contains a large collection of signed proofs by E.D. French, donated by his wife after French’s death. This represents an almost complete set of the bookplates designed by French. (.8 linear ft., Boxes 10-11).