Wednesday 25 May 2011

Canadian Bookplate Research Resources - Part 1

WANTED! New Books on Canadian Bookplates

A recent email from a fellow Canadian collector has prompted me to post a short list of some Canadian bookplate research resources that should prove useful to novice collectors, as well as to those who may be experienced collectors but not familiar with sources focused on Canadian Ex Libris.  You will also undoubtedly quickly note that all of the publications listed below are rather dated.  This not only reflects the longevity of the hobby, but unfortunately, also its passing out of vogue many decades ago. It's a shame really, as there's so much to discover about Canada from these little literary works of art.  Anyway, From time to time I'll post additional lists, so if you know of any other sources out there please email me about them and I'll add them.  In meantime, enjoy tracking down these publications for your bookplate library if you do not already have them.


Colgate, William. The Bookplates of Leslie Victor Smith: Illustrated with Original Prints in Addition to a Full Checklist and Introduction. Weston, Ontario: Old Rectory Press, 1947. 32p, 13 ill, bibl, En.

After preliminary remarks on the history of bookplates with an emphasis on Canada, this catalog focuses on Smith’s creations in this field and includes a checklist of all of his bookplate creations dating from 1916-1946.  A list of exhibitions are followed by illustrations of examples of his work.

Howard, Sydney H. “William W. Alexander: A Canadian Engraver”, American Society of Bookplate Collectors and Designers. Yearbook 17 (1939), 15-22. En.

William Alexander’s engraved bookplates first attracted attention when, as a founding member in 1915 of the Society of Canadian Painter-Etchers and Engravers, he participated in the Society’s annual and traveling exhibitions.  Sketches and watercolours made on canoe trips in the north were translated into bookplates, but the artist always searched for motifs that reflected the character of the book owner.  The checklist of bookplates at the end of the article includes heraldic designs.

Jack, David Russell.  “Book-plates”, Acadiensis, vols. 1-6 (1901-1906). Many illus., En.

The author’s objective was to catalog all the Acadian bookplates he could find in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island.  The series of articles brought numerous responses, and the scope was broadened to include Acadian bookplates wherever they were found.  Over 70 bookplates of the 18th and 19th centuries were listed, described, and illustrated, however few engravers were identified.  The lists appear in Acadiensis as follows: 1 no 2 (Apr 1901) 48, 90-103; 1no 3 (July 1901) 113, 115-120; 1 no 4 (Oct 1901) 236-242; 2 no 2 (Apr 1902) 122-128; 2 no 3 (July 1902) 188-197; 2 no 4 (Oct 1902) 276-279; 3 no 1 (Jan 1903) 2, 65-66; 3 no 2 (Apr 1903) 129-134; 3 no 3 (July 1903) 236-240; 3 no 4 (Oct 1903) 308-311; 4 no 1 (Jan 1904) 84-86; 6 no 2 (Apr 1906) 123-129.

Macdonald, Thoreau. J.E.H. MacDonald Designs for Bookplates. Thornhill: Woodchuck Press, 1966.
Many Illus., En.

Compiled by the son of the subject, Thoreau MacDonald included beautiful monochrome illustrations of the bookplates designed by J.E.H. MacDonald for the Arts and Letters Club, Toronto; Hart House, University of Toronto; Dalhousie College Library, Halifax; Boysand Girls Library, Toronto; S.H. Hooke; Dr. J.M MacCallum; Paul Hahn; Isobel Nairn Robertson; Basil Morgan; Doris H. Mills; A.O. Brigden; E.E.Norwood; M.R. Norwood; J.W.Beatty; Joan MacDonald; and W.L.Grant.  Of additional interest, the Woodchuck Press was operated by Thoreau MacDonald from his Thornhill property.

Prescott, Winward ed. A List of Canadian Bookplates, With a Review of the History of Ex Libris in the Dominion. The Society of Bookplate Bibliophiles Publication No.4. Boston & Toronto: Printed for the Society of Bookplate Bibliophiles, 1919. 156p, 15 ill, En.

Compiled by Stanley Harrod and Morley J. Ayearst and illustrated with prints from the original copperplates and woodblocks, this book serves as the earliest known comprehensive study of Canadian bookplates.

1 comment:

  1. Robert Stacey published a small booklet titled "Canadian Bookplates" in 1997. The publisher was Subway Books in Toronto, ISBN 0-9681660-5-9. Includes 132 B&W plates.

    Love your blog, please keep up the good work.

    Pierre Rastoul,
    Stanstead, Qu├ębec