Friday 22 July 2011

The Eatons

Timothy Eaton (1834-1907)
When Timothy Eaton sold his small dry good business in 1869 and opened a new general purpose and Haberdashery, he probably did not realize that he had embarked on a path that would make his name a common household brand, as well as one of the largest department store and retailers in Canadian history.

Needless to say, the Eaton family were the holders of substantial libraries and produced a number of bookplates for their collections.  The Phillipe Masson Ex Libris collection at McGill University has a number of the Eaton family bookplates in their collection.  I recently acquired one for my own collection from fellow collector Lew Jaffe who writes the ' Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie' blog.  This led me to explore not only the history behind the Eaton's empire, but also their libraries.  The result was a plethora of interesting and diverse pictorial and armourial bookplates.  In no particular order I've included a number of these below.







As you can see there was a broad diversity not only in the style of bookplate (pictorial, armourial, labels, and memorial) but also the composition.  Lady Eaton's full colour bookplate is an interesting departure from the others, for example.  As of note are the clearly Canadian icons - the maple leaf, the beaver - all of these are the hallmarks of a legendary Canadian family.    

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