Sunday, 25 March 2012

Bookplates, Blogs, and Bookplate Blog Books

It's a rainy spring Sunday here, so no better time than to catch up on the blog and share a bunch of interesting things I've come across this past week.

If you're just looking for ideas, or perhaps resources even, to pursue creating your own bookplate then I recommend you consider attending the upcoming Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artist's Guild annual book arts fair in Toronto this June.  Dozens of artists, designers, and bookbinders gather at this event every year to showcase their talents and wares, making it an ideal venue for someone who might be looking to get a bookplate of their own.

I also noted this week that my blog has passed the 11,000 visits mark.  As I think I wrote last year after it passed the 1000 visits mark, I wonder who are all these people and perhaps more important, how many of them love, have, or collect Canadian bookplates?  If you're a regular visitor to this site, I'd love to get a comment from you letting me know what you think of this blog as well as if there are any topics or subjects you'd like to see covered more or less?  My posts reflect 1) what interests me, and 2) what I think might interest you.  Hopefully I get the latter just as right as the former, but I won't know for sure unless you send me your thoughts on the matter.

Several blog posts later, one of things that began to concern me slightly was making sure I did't blog the same thing twice.  This blog is just a way for me to share ideas about one of my favourite hobbies, but the fact that it is a hobby means I take a much less structured approach to it than my other more formal historical research and publication.  That also means I hadn't kept any record of what I've blogged about before...until now.

See, the historian in me wanted to keep a record of this blog, as I know that it lives in cyberspace only so long as its host Blogger lives.  If anything should happen, I could lose all of the information I've shared here forever.  That got me thinking about how best to make a more permanent record, and after a little research I came across a few print on demand websites that will turn your blog into a physical book for a modest price.  I ultimately chose Blog2Print to create a hardcopy of all of last year's blogs, and was very pleased with the end product that arrived in the mail.  If you're running a blog of your own I'd highly recommend doing the same.  Not only are the books themselves very attractive and affordable, the effort involved to make the book is minimal.  Frankly, I can't think of a better way to preserve your blog.  Until next time...

Friday, 16 March 2012

Bookplates and Place Names

A Vancouver BC bookplate
Aside from the obvious interest that comes with learning the identity of the owner of a particular old bookplate, one thing I always enjoy is when those owners also included the place name of where their library resided.  Some ex libris, such as those belonging to Canadian institutions, typically included not just the name of their organization but also its location.  But for private libraries the practice was much less consistent.

I suppose it makes sense in a way.  Even during the golden age of bookplate design and collecting, people moved often enough perhaps to not want to include a location.  Perhaps as well, it was simply a matter of practicality.  After all, who wants to remove and replace several dozen or even several hundred bookplates every time you move?

Still, to me adding a place name added just that much more to the story of the bookplate.  And as I continue to consider the design of my own new bookplate I've decided that I'll definitely include the place where my private library lives.  It may seem trivial to some, but I don't think it is.  If the book itself is considered an artifact, then every clue offered about where it came from as well as who owned it is important.

Anyway, just something that struck me this week as I was looking through yet another collection of bookplates.  I've included a few more place name ex libris below.  Until next time....

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

University of British Columbia bookplate collection online

Ex Libris Myrtle Bryce by Stanley Harrod
The University of British Columbia's Rare Books and Special Collections Division has made their bookplate collection available for browsing online.  This fascinating website incorporates the Thomas Murray Collection and greatly expands upon the number of bookplates that may now be examined more closely.  Needless to say this is great news for the hobby, and for Canadian book history in general.

I was pleased to find a number of new bookplates I had not seen before, including several by some of the artists and designers I've begun taking a greater interest in researching further.  For example, the bookplate on the right is a great specimen of Stanley Harrod's wartime work, and is but one of several interesting ex libris to be found in this collection.

Hopefully other Canadian institutions with similar collections in their holdings will take note and perhaps follow suit.  With each new collection opened to the public, interest in both our hobby as well as our cultural history grows.  Be sure to take a moment sometime soon and check out the collection.  Until next time...