Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Some Children's Bookplates

Bookplates have always been popular as a means of identifying ownership of favorite books. The earliest examples originated in Germany, and date back to the 15th century. They have also been a popular area of collecting over the years.

Some Children's Bookplates, by Wilbur Macey Stone is a fun little book from 1901, consisting of a brief study of some contemporary bookplates for children by various artists. Most notably, the book contains a tipped in example of a plate drawn by W. W. Denslow, for Edna Browning Wilkins. Incidentally, Miss Wilkins' copies of Father Goose, His Book (containing this bookplate), and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz were sold at auction at Bonham's last December.

350 copies of this book were printed, and this is copy 315. There is a small note from the author, dated 1936, tipped inside the cover, to a Mr. & Mrs. Orleans - as well as a bookplate for the House of Orleans. A copy of Father Goose, His Book is currently being offered online at ABE Books with the same Orleans bookplate - they must have been book lovers!

In an article in The Collector from July, 1901,  reviewer W. G. Bowdoin was not very impressed with Denslow's work on this particular plate. The chief complaint was the lack of a "bookish" element, together with a concern that "the average Chicago policeman is not always as courteous as we should like him to be". I couldn't help thinking that this particular reviewer was writing from personal experience, as he also states:

"... and after a man, innocent of the infraction of the law, has been pushed and hauled, if not clubbed, by a policeman such as is portrayed on the Wilkins plate, the most resentful and antagonistic feelings are apt to be aroused by the realism of the drawn subject."

Overall, he clearly felt the subject matter was quite inappropriate! On the other hand, Wilber Macy Stone felt that "this plate quite fulfills the requisites of an ideal child's plate, which is praise enough."

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