Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My friendly neighborhood bookbinder comes through again!

If I were not a believer in bookbinders being a solid source for good material then I surely am now after receiving today's mail!  My second package from a bookbinder here in Georgia came today and it was loaded with goodies.  21 plates in all and some are shown below.  The choicest pieces were a P. Maverick, 2 E.D. French plates (a Crear Library was in the package but it is a duplicate so it is available for trading), a nice Ames & Rollinson plate, and several other armorials of important people!  Here they are:


Maverick plate - my first one ever and it is a beauty!  The only good information that I could find on the good de Rham was from a Sotheby's auction of his belongings.  It is as follows:

The desk-and-bookcase was made for Henry Casimir De Rham, (born 1785 in Brunswick, England, died 1863, New York) and his wife Maria Moore De Rham, of New York. Henry Casimir De Rham served as the Swiss Consul General and was deeply involved in many of the French and Swiss immigrants in New York. Upon his arrival in New York in 1805 he founded a mercantile firm of De Rham, Iselin and Moore with offices at 114 Washington Street. The De Rhams lived at 24 Fifth Avenue, in a home that remained in the family into the twentieth century. Their daughter, Julia, married into the Schmidt family, and it is her printed label that appears on the interior of the desk section. For more information on the De Rham and Schmidt families please see the 1899 book, Smaller New York and Family Reminiscences; De Rham, Schmidt, Bache, Barclay, and Paul Richard.

John Chandler Bancroft Davis , as taken from Wikipedia:
John Chandler Bancroft Davis (December 22, 1822 – December 27, 1907), commonly known as Bancroft Davis, was an American lawyer, judge, diplomat, and president of Newburgh and New York Railway Company.

This one is also a duplicate and available for a trade!

I am not 100% sure but I do believe this plate to belong to the Joseph Hodgson as described in the following Wikipedia entry.
Joseph Hodgson (1788–1869) was a British physician, former president of the Medical and Chirurgical Society of London, surgeon at Birmingham General Hospital and author of the treatise On Wounds and Diseases of Arteries and Veins. He was a well-known Quaker.
Hodgson is best known for his description of Hodgson's disease, an aneurysmal dilatation of the proximal part of the aorta, often accompanied by dilatation or hypertrophy of the heart.
He is buried at Highgate Cemetery, London.

More biographical information from the Wonderful Wikipedia:
William Handy Ludlow (April 2, 1821 Yonkers, Westchester County, New York - September 26, 1890 Oakdale, Suffolk County, New York) was an American politician.

He was the son of Ezra Ludlow and Rachel Seguine. He married Frances Louisa Nicoll, heiress of the Nicoll estate around Islip on Long Island, New York. Their sons were Nicoll Ludlow and General William Ludlow.

He was a Democratic member from Suffolk County of the New York State Assembly, and was Speaker in 1853.  In 1854, he ran for Lieutenant Governor of New York on the ticket with Horatio Seymour, but was defeated.  He was a delegate to the 1860 Democratic National Convention.  In 1889, he sold "Oakdale Farm", a 400-acre (1.6 km2) estate, to Frederick Gilbert Bourne.

Unknown bookplate - I wish I could figure this one out.  Something about it is very cool though!  Maybe the impaled head?

Lucy Wharton Drexel - bio information taken from

Lucy Wharton Drexel (1867-1944), an heiress from Philadelphia, was the second daughter of Joseph W. Drexel, the philanthropist and co-founder of Drexel, Morgan & Co., and Lucy Wharton. In 1890, Lucy Drexel married Eric B. Dahlgren, a son of Admiral John A. Dahlgren, the famous naval officer who made his fortune from the design and patents for the "Dahlgren Gun" used in the Civil War. Following their society wedding, which was performed by Archbishop Corrigan in the Philadelphia Cathedral, the Dahlgrens moved to New York City where Eric would have a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. The Dahlgrens raised eight children in their residence at 812 Madison Avenue, and also maintained a country home in Lawrence, L.I. In January 1912, Lucy Dahlgren's conservative and staunchly Catholic mother died. Two months later, on March 23, 1912, Mrs. Dahlgren sued her husband for a decree of absolute divorce, charging that he was guilty of misconduct on March 13 and 14 of the previous week with an unnamed co-respondent in an apartment house at 54 East 59th Street. To avoid further unpleasantness during the highly-publicized and scandalous divorce proceedings, Mrs. Dahlgreen left the case in the hands of attorneys and took her children abroad.

Mr. Libbey was quite the Renaissance Man and I am proud to have his plate in my collection!

William A. Libbey III  (March 27, 1855 – September 6, 1927) was an American professor of physical geography at Princeton University. He was twice a member of the U.S. Olympic Rifle Team, and rose to the rank of colonel in the New Jersey National Guard. He is also known for his first ascent of Mount Princeton in 1877.

I couldn't find details on V.D. Galton.  The plate is signed with initial "JB".  Any help on this would be appreciated!

OK, the only bio info I could find on Mathias Noheimer was from  I'm not convinced it is the same person but that is such an unusual name that maybe it just is thew same guy.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, he studied at the University of Cincinnati and the Art Academy of Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Museum, 1932, 1934
San Francisco Museum of Art, 1935
Cincinnati New Group, 1935, 1936
American Institute of Graphic Arts, 1945
Direct Mail Advertising Association, 1944 Prize winner
His work is in many public and private collections, mainly in the Cincinnati area.  Noheimer illustrated several books, including Any Day Now, 1938, A Baker's Dozen, 1939, and Ali Baba, in 1943.
Who's Who 1947

And last but not least is the fantastically hip bookplate for one Clarence Brown.  No info could be found but this is one groovy plate!

I probably won't get another entry out until after Christmas so to all of you out there.....Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Chanukah, and Happy Hunting!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bookplate - noun

As a way to kill some time before my next post, and it shoukld be a good one, here is's definition of a bookplate:

book·plate [book-pleyt] – noun

a label bearing the owner's name and often a design, coat of arms, or the like, for pasting on the front end paper of a book.

1785–95 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2010.
Stay tuned as I try to get some really nice, new things scanned and up for your viewing pleasure!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Collector Profile

Last month Lew Jaffe (Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie) asked me to put together a Collector's Profile for his blog.  I finally got around to doing it yesterday and he published it on his regular Sunday update.  Thanks Lew!  Lew runs a fantastically informative blog.  It can be accessed by pointing your browser here:

I figured I'd include on my blog as well.  Here it is!

Collector Profile Brian Whitley

My Background:
I’m a Southerner, born and bred, through and through. I was born in Newnan, GA in 1973 but have lived in Macon, GA the last 8 years. Trish is my very patient and indulgent wife. We have 2 wonderful little boys. Sam is 6 years old and Brice is 3 1/2 years old. I attended the University of Georgia and obtained a degree in International Business. My wife and I own and operate Rainbow International Restoration & Cleaning ( which is a disaster restoration company as well as carpet/upholstery cleaning. Being small business owners affords me the opportunity to pursue my hobbies which include all outdoor activities (camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, sports) and art collecting. Something most people don't know about me is that we own a dirt track race car and I have a lot of fun racing it on Saturday nights!
How I Started Collecting Bookplates:
I have way too many things that I like to collect! But when I step back and boil it all down the common denominator is art. I started collecting comic books when I was 13 years old and that eventually led me to buying original comic book art. I have a fairly large collection with several important pieces. In my young adult years I became fascinated with Japanese art, particularly woodblock cuts. In late October of this year I had an itch for some new art so I started searching for Japanese woodblock prints on eBay. Well, one thing led to another and I found myself looking instead at some wood engravings by a Czech artist named Jan Konupek (he is now one of my favorite graphic artists). Literally 8 hours later, I felt like I half-way understood what an Ex Libris bookplate was and I haven't been the same since. A month and half into collecting bookplates I find myself richer in the knowledge of bookplates and poorer in the wallet.

What I Collect:
My collecting interests are fairly scattered ,which will continue to pose a problem to my wallet. I am mostly interested in pictorial plates in all manners of production. However, the more I see and learn the more I find myself drawn to woodcuts, wood engravings and etchings. Like many others, I am sure, I really enjoy plates by the "American Masters" such as E.D. French, J.W. Spenceley, A.N. Macdonald, W.F. Hopson, & S.L. Smith. Other notable artists that I really enjoy are J.J. Lankes, Asa Cheffetz, Paul Landacre, Claude Bragdon, Dan Burne Jones, Carl Junge, & Allen Lewis to name a few. European artists that I enjoy are Jan Konupek, F. Kobliha, J. Hodek, Bruno Bramanti, Adolfo de Carolis, & Emil Doepler. I am on the verge of heading down the path of collecting Presidential bookplates. My heart says "GO!" but my wallet says "Listen to The Ventures and Walk, Don't Run!"

Themes or topics that I like are: pictorials of outdoors activities (particularly fishing and hunting), Greek/Roman mythology, World War II, science fiction, political themes, bookplates that have ties to the State of Georgia, and Gothic imagery to name a few

For now my collection is arranged in binders by country, then artists, then owner. I have separate binders for American Masters and for my favorite European artists. I do have plans to mat and frame some of my favorites.

I am also doing my best to amass a reference library. In some instances , this is a more difficult challenge than finding bookplates!

My Contact information is

Saturday, December 11, 2010

New arrivals this week!

It's been a few days since my last post so I thought I'd share 2 new pieces that came in this week.

The first image is a tasteful nude by Henno Arrak.  All I can find out on Henno Arrak is that he is a modern-day bookplate artist from Estonia.  What drew me to this plate was the excellent contrasting of black & white.  The creepy eyeballs are kind of cool too!

The second plate of the week is a very nice, large print by one of my favorites....Jan Konupek!  This print is what I have come to learn to be pretty typical of Konupek in that the imagery is very odd.  I would love to have been a fly on the wall, fluent in the  Czech tongue, when Konupek was discussing this commission with his client.  "So Dr. Novotny, what do you think about the idea of having some really nasty-looking harpies flying down with books in their claws while a helpless sailor, tied to the mast, looks on with fear?  Is that pretty close to what you were hoping for in this new piece?"

Anyway, I hope that next week brings more treasures to my door step!  Until then, have fun looking at my small but growing collection!

By the way, both plates above came from Rob Reilert on eBay. He seems to be a super-nice guy who sells at very fair prices.

Check him out at:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Small Packages = Big Smiles!

For those of you who actively collect Ex Libris Bookplates, you will know exactly what I am talking about.  No matter how bad my day might be going the joy I get when I see a package in the mail is borderline euphoric!  Such was the case today!  For some reason I have been feeling a bit blue the last few days (probably having to do with being a small business owner and things being a little too quiet around the office for my tastes).  Well, in the mail today was my first J.J. Lankes plate and man, this day just got a heck of a lot better!  This is Robert Frost's personal plate and has probably been seen a million times on eBay, which makes me wonder if this not a reprinted version.  I sure hope not!  Nonetheless I love it.  And the longer I am involved in collecting and studying these miniatures beauties them more I find myself drawn to wood engraved and woodcut pieces.  J.J. Lankes is quickly rising into my Top 10 for that reason!  If you have any Lankes plates (or Asa Cheffetz) and want to sell or trade, let me know!

Have a great day, I know I will now!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My small representation of American Masters (and others that are close to being Masters)

My representation of American Masters (and those that are borderline Masters) has finally materialized.  Although small now, I look forward to seeing it grow over the remainder of my days.  Please enjoy these images as much as I do!

Left image by A.W. Aikman                             Right image by W.F. Hopson 



Left image by S.L. Smith                              Right image by J.W. Spenceley 

See you on the flip-side!

Friday, December 3, 2010

My own Ex Libris!

It's been a few days since I last made a post so for the 3 people in the whole world that may be reading this, this post is for y'all!

I finally finished my first Ex Libris.  It is a linocut and is one of my favorite gothic images, the gargoyle!  It will be editioned for trade in just 25 prints.  2 prints are already spoken for so you if you would like to trade with me shoot me a reply through this post or by email and I will get your mailing details!

Anyway, this was really a lot of fun to to do.  In fact I am working on a small Christmas card for friends and family.  I will but and print it and my wife (Trish) plans to watercolor it.  I'll post it when I have a proof done.

More bookplates to be posted over the weekend! 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This just in.......E.D. French plates and package from Europe!

Man I sure do love getting home from work these days just so I can run to the mailbox and see what new and exciting package is waiting for me!  Over the last 4-5  days I received 2 new packages from Lew Jaffe.  Package #1 was my first batch of E.D. French bookplates.  And wow, these are way more impressive in person that on the computer monitor.  This man is truly the top dog as far as I am concerned.  Here are the images of my first round of French plates:


Thanks a million Lew!!!

My other package last week was from an eBay action.  Another Kobliha and a Hans Nubner.  Here they are:

That's all the energy I have for right now!  The next update will include 3 American masters!

Have a great day y'all!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A few finds from the antiquarian bookbinder

It's been a day or two since my last post so I thought I'd share a few things.  As previously mentioned, a trip to my Friendly Neighborhood Bookbinder was succesful indeed.  Over 70 pieces obtained with a few hidden gems.  My favorites are included here.  The Geller Loeb plate is already on its way to Lew Jaffe in exchange for a plate to be named later (my first trade ever)!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Monday, November 22, 2010

As if collecting bookplates wasn't enough......... I am hooked on creating my own bookplates.  I am most attracted to woodblock cuts and lino cuts as I am not very artistic and these are very forgiving.  I recently completed the imagery portion of my first ever bookplate (for my own library).  I have yet to do the lettering portion but I must say that I am well-pleased with the proof of the main image.

Here he is in all his glory!  I will post final version once completed!  This was a heckuva lot of fun and not too terrible difficult....just nerve-wracking!

Back from the mountains!

My family and I had a wonderful time camping this weekend at Black Rock Mountain State Park in Mountain City, GA.  It's always so nice to get away from home for a while and soak up the beauty that God provides us!

An exciting end to my trip is what you, Gentle Reader, will find most intriguing!  I finally made my first contact with an antiquarian bookbinder in North Georgia.  I stopped by their workshop on my way back home.  Interestingly enough, I found out about them through one of their eBay auctions.  I ended up winning the auction this weekend so it was only fitting that I stop by, pay for the auction, and make new friends.  While in their workshop I was presented with a large envelope containing somewhere between 50-70 various items, mostly bookplates!  I am completely overwhelemed by the amount of work that I will now have to do just to figure out what I have purchased.......but that is part of the fun, right?

Additionally I received a large package on Friday from one of my new-found collector friends!  I have a lot of tough choices to make in order to decide what to buy out of this massive amount of stuff.  I'd say there are safely 140 armorials and 10 Konupek pieces!  Maybe I'll just take the whole enchilada?!?  That would make my friend happy, I think!

I also have some tough decisions to make in regards to multiple E.D. French plates that were offered to me late last week too.  That decision will be made tomorrow!

Right now I have to clear my mind over Thanksgiving so that I can get ready to start researching all of the new bookplates that have recently made it to my desk.  Photos of the most interesting items will be coming soon as well as a list of duplicate items that I will be available for trade!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Holy Luftpost Batman! Is that an airmail package from Germany?

Yep, that's right!  A very nice package from Mr. Claus Wittal of in Germany arrived today.  At least 10 or 12 new plates from some top notch European classics like Konupek, Hodek, and Kobliha!  These are all fabulous pieces from the early 1920s or so!  No time to scan and post them all tonight but they will be made available for your viewing please very soon!  Here is one sneak peak though!

Man, what a great day this was!

Oh, and I highly recommend checking out Mr. Wittals' selection.  Lots of great stuff at what I deemed to be fair prices!  Again, his website is

Monday, November 15, 2010

4th, 5th, & 6th bookplates!

OK, so this is a follow-up to my first ever post.  On November 5th I was volunteering at a charity golf even here in town.  The clubhouse had a selection of old books in the clubhouse.  Well, now that I am an official addict it is impossible for me to walk past an old book with out looking inside.  Trust me, I have tried to just walk past but after 3 or 4 steps past the book I start getting the shakes and cold chills.  It is much more pleasant on the body, soul, and mind to just open the book and see what treasure may be inside.  Well, I opened one of the books and Lo & Behold there she was, a beautiful armorial plate.  After some finagling I was able to take possession of said bookplate.  Here she is:

Of course the second rush after finding a plate is doing the research.  Turns out this plate is from a quasi-famous, if not utterly interesting, gentleman.  Here's the skinny:

Owner:           Francis Culling & Emily Blanch Carr-Gomm
Artist:             Harry Soane, SC (London)
Date:              1878-1901
Size:               4 1/8 x 3 1/16
Style:             Armorial
Details:          Taken from an 1848 copy of Scott's Poetical Works "Minstrelsy" Vol. 2.  Research showed that Francis Culling was b. 1834 in England.  He married Emily Blanche in 1878 and they lived in inherited Manor of Rotherite.  Carr-Gomm died in 1901. Therefore it is safe to assume that this Ex Libris was used between 1878 & 1901.  Mr. Carr-Gomm was a Sheriff of Buckinghamshire (per The London Gazette dated Tuesday, November 15, 1892) and was instrumental in helping the infamous "Elephant Man" receive proper care in an English hospital.  In fact, he is portrayed by John Gielgud in the 1980 film "Elephant Man".  
He also published a few books with the “Handbook of The Administrators of Great Britain During The 19th Century (published 1901) being chief among them.
All in all it sounds like the Mr. Carr-Gomm was a good gentleman who cared about a good many things.
The famous Harry Soane SC, London was the engraver as the plate is signed.  He was popular in late 1800s and is credited with many other plates during this time frame. 
What a fun plate to find find!
I also wanted to take this time to thank two people who have been instrumental in guiding me down this most dangerous of path of bookplate collecting.

First off, BIG THANKS to Mr. Lew Jaffe for a wonderful gift received in the mail on November 13th.  2 very nice bookplates and a good looking business card to boot.  They are featured below! 
Color plate by Dusan Janousek (probably 1970s); Initials plate by Elly de Koster (1986) 

Mr. Jaffe has spent more than his fair share of time answering loads of questions from me.  And the bad thing is, I ain't even close to done with questions.....but I'm gonna give him a few days to recuperate from his bookplate hunting trip before bombarding him again.  Thanks Mr Jaffe!

Secondly I'd like to thank Mr. Luigi Bergomi for also being patient with me and my million questions.  I am thankful that Mr. Bergomi is taking time to put a selection of plates together for me to look at for purchasing.  His sage advise is definitely helping to get me focused and on the right track!  I look forward to receiving that early Christmas Gift in the mail soon!  THANKS Mr. Bergomi.

If anyone else out there has extra plates that want to consider selling please contact me and I will provide you with a list of what I am looking for!
I'll be adding a few more odds and ends later this week.  Until next time, Happy Plate Hunting!

Friday, November 12, 2010

First Bookplate Blog Post!

I will volunteer to start this meeting.  Hi, my name is Brian and I am a "Bookplate Addict"!

Every year or so I seem to find a way to get myself involved in another new hobby.  But when I step back and boil each hobby down to its base form it always has something to do with art.  This time around I have been bitten by what I call the "Pocket-Size Print" bug.  About 3 weeks ago I was surfing eBay for Japanese Woodblock prints.  I love Asian culture and have a few around the house already but felt it was time to treat myself to a new graphic image.  Well, in my searching I stumbles on a beautiful little piece by some Czech dude named Jan Konupek.  I was so intrigued by this image that I started researching this man named Konupek.  To my great surprise I learned of not only Konupek but of Kobliha, VĂ¡chal, Hodek, and on and on and on.  After I stopped drooling on my desk it struck me that these bookplates were basically "pocket size prints", many of a limited number, many over 75 years old, and gosh I just have to get some!

And so it started!

After more research on not only Czech artists but American artists as well I found that one could select 3-4 artists or 3-4 styles or 3-4 subject matters.  That person could have one heck of a good time searching books for just what they wanted.  I decided to give it a go!

My wife and I went up to Atlanta last week for business and I took the occasion to drag her into two dusty ol' antique bookstores.  The first stop was at Atlanta Vintage Books (  Super nice folks who tolerated me digging through their stuff.  I was amazed at how many covers I opened only to find really nice bookplates (some of which were even discussed in Charles Dexter Allen's book entitled "American Book-Plates: A Guide To Their Study with Examples".  The problem was that nearly all of these books were in the $50-200 dollar range.  Still it was a pleasant surprise to see so many "famous pocket-size prints" in person.  I did finally manage to find 2 books with nice plates that were affordable.

Here was the first.  Richard Hughes Armorial.  My research on Richard Hughes indicates that this was the famous British author. 

Taken from Wikipedia:
"Richard Arthur Warren Hughes OBE (19 April 1900 – 28 April 1976) was a British writer of poems, short stories, novels and plays."
My guess is that the bookplate was used from early 20s through his death.  If anyone can offer additional details I would love to hear them!
The next bookplate found at Atlanta Vintage Books was a neat little pictorial plate as shown below.  The only thing I can find on Ms. McRae right now is that she was probably a prominent lady in Atlanta in the early part of the 1800s.  She has a horticultural award given in her name as we all as an endowment in her name by the The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.  Dated 1924.  The plate, however, was engraved by a well-known artists named Ralph Fletcher Seymour.

                                                            Taken from Wikipedia:

"Ralph Fletcher Seymour (18 March 1876 – 1 January 1966) was an American artist, author, and publisher of the late nineteenth and the twentieth centuries.[1][2] Though long based in Chicago, he was also noted for his work in the American Southwest; he studied, wrote about, and portrayed the Native American cultures of the region." 
Our second stop in Atlanta was a nice little store called Books Again (  We were running out of time so we made this a quick stop.  The owner helped me dig through a few racks and we actually came up with several plates but most were of no interest to me.  I was about to walk out when he said "Hey, here is one more".  I opend the cover and BAM.....there was one heckuva nice armorial plate.  This unsigned engraving (again, any help here will be MOST appreciated) was for Baron Marcus Rosenkrantz.  Here is what I have learned about the Good Baron:  Armorial bookplate - based on my research about the Baron (he is a Danish noble) this plate is somewhere between his birth in 1871 and his death in 1933.  My guess is that it is 1890 or so.  Very beautiful.  I wish I knew who engraved it.  Any guesses?  He was living in Virginia (USA) at the time.
Well, my first "hunting trip" was filled with a lot of learning and 3 nice bookplates to boot!  Stay tuned for my next post where I will show off my 4th bookplate!