Guide to the Caral G. Gimbel Bookplate Collection
Title: Caral G. Gimbel Bookplate Collection
OCLC/RLIN No. (Unique ID): 940503871
Extent: approximately 200 items (1 box)
Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research use. Copyright restrictions may apply; please contact repository for requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote, or reproduce the materials.
Preferred Citation: [Description and date of item], [Box/folder number], Caral G. Gimbel Bookplate Collection, The Grolier Club of New York.
About the Finding Aid: This finding aid was prepared by Meghan Constantinou in Microsoft Word at the Grolier Club, February 2016.
Provenance: Gift of Alva Greenberg, 15 November 2015.
Gimbel, Caral G., collector
Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919
Chambers, Jay, 1877-1929, bookplate designer
French, Edwin Davis, 1851-1906, bookplate designer
Merrill, Katherine, bookplate designer
Macdonald, Arthur Nelson, 1866-1940, bookplate designer
Pyle, Howard, 1853-1911, bookplate designer
Smith, Ismael, 1886-1972, bookplate designer
Biographical/Historical Note: Caral G. Gimbel was born on November 29, 1914 to the department store scion, Bernard F. Gimbel and his wife Alva B. Gimbel. At the age of 17, she left high school for France, where she studied painting for two years and met many artists. On February 1, 1935, she married Edward Lasker whom she divorced ten years later. In 1946, she married Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Greenberg with whom she had three children: Glenn, Stephen, and Alva. They divorced in 1959, and Caral moved back to New York where she lived for the remainder of her life. In 1962, she married Joseph Lebworth and remained with him until his death in May of 2008. Caral died a few months later on September 25, 2008. She was a passionate equestrian and a lifelong patron of the arts (NY Times obit, 30 Sept. 2008).
Scope and Content Note: A collection of approximately 195 bookplates assembled by Caral G. Gimbel and dating primarily to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The collection is particularly strong in bookplates owned by women collectors, as well as bookplates of German and Eastern European origin. Most of the bookplates are pictorial, although several armorial plates are included as well. Some of the artists represented include Jay Chambers, Edwin Davis French, Katherine Merrill, A.N. Macdonald, Howard Pyle, and Ismael Smith.
The collection also includes miscellaneous ephemera, including a brochure for the Three Star Hunt Club, Washington D.C., 18 May 1929, depicting Caral and Hope Gimbel in equestrian dress; a TLs from Theodore Roosevelt to Caral Gimbel (24 Jan. 1925) enclosing Roosevelt's autograph; and an undated printed card from Lucy C. Carnegie stating that she has enclosed her bookplate designed by Edwin Davis French (not included), signed Member of Ex-Libris Societies of England and Germany.
The bookplates were collected when Gimbel was a young woman, almost certainly before her first marriage in 1935. A few bits of correspondence indicate that at least some of the bookplates were acquired through exchange with members of various national Ex-Libris societies.
Arrangement Note: The collection arrived in its original half morocco green cloth clamshell box, with gilt spine title: “Book-plates / Caral G. Gimbel.” Within the box, some plates were loose and others were mounted on sheets of black paper measuring 10 ¼ x 7 inches. There was no discernable order. The archivist removed the bookplates from the box in the order in which they were found and placed them within acid-free folders. The original clamshell box was retained.
The archivist also created a spreadsheet indicating (when known) the name of the bookplate owner, the artist, the date, and the folder number. The data is based exclusively on transcription: there was no attempt to match names to authority files, or to identify owners and artists identified only by initials. Some of the data is missing or incomplete.
Container List: See spreadsheet in repository.