Thursday 7 July 2011

Prize bookplate for Ecole Normal Laval

Prize bookplates - or what some people might call decorative bookplates - are commonly found in old Canadian text and reference books from the early 20th century.  I recently discovered this bookplate from the Ecole Normale Laval, awarded to Mademoiselle Helene Lemay on 19 June 1906 as a second prize in the first division of studies.

The Ecole Normal Laval was situated in Quebec City at the location of the old residence of the British Governor of the province of Quebec, Sir Frederick Haldimand (1718-1791).  He had originally built here opposite the old Castle Saint-Louis in the late eighteen century, but this building was later destroyed by fire in 1834.  It was replaced soon after with a terrace, and then in 1837, with a new building that housed a teacher training school.  This later became the Ecole Normale Laval.  In 1969, it merged with the Jesuit College to become the new Collège François-Xavier-Garneau.

Ecole Normale Laval c.1900

Unfortunately, I don't know much else about the prize recipient at present and the scrappy old book from which the plate came didn't offer any further clues.  Nevertheless, I still think prize and decorative bookplates are an interesting sub-genre of the hobby and shouldn't be overlooked.  After all, for someone over a century ago, this ex libris held a very special significance.

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