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Articles of Interest


Ever design a bookplate?  Paste one into your books?  Thinking about personal marks of ownership?  Time to get acquainted! For nearly a century, the American Society of Bookplate Collectors & Designers (ASBC&D) unites "ex libris" artists and collectors.

Our international network provides the highest visibility for your artwork and essays. Through publications, competitions, exhibitions, conferences, and the internet.  LOOK!

James P Keenan

Bookplate by Lionel Lindsay, Australia (1874-1961)


When television sets first become available to the general public in the late 1940s there were a number of silent films shown because there just was not enough original content to feed the TV monster. I was hooked on those early silent flicks and to this day I actively purchase silent film star bookplates.

Morris Ankrum

Not every bookplate I will include is from the library of a silent film star. Some of these entertainers had long careers and some were not even in silent films but many started in silent films.

Digital Metamorphoses

Krzysztof Marek Bąk is a Polish graphic artist born in 1977. He is one of the most notable visual artists of his country. His work focuses on the computer design, a technique he has worked with for two decades. Bak also teaches as a professor of digital art at the Silesian University in Katowice. For almost 3 years now he has been designing bookplates and given his distinctive style and diverse content, many collectors have shown great interest with a positive response.

Krzysztof Bak comes from a working-class background that provided no appreciation for art. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw in Poland where he developed his talents with digital graphics. His art has been presented in about 50 solo and over 100 group exhibitions. The artistic commissions he has received from home and abroad have resulted in the creation of seven free-art installations in the UK.

KEITH R. CRANMER: Berkeley, California, Artist & Engraver

The process is what drives me while engraving. That infinite moment as I move the gravure through the cut absorbs all of my attention…

California wood engraver, Richard Wagener, introduced me to Keith Cranmer’s engravings on steel & copper. I planned an excursion during July of 2012 to San Francisco to visit with Keith at his home in Berkeley, California. He is active with a group of Bay Area bookplate artists including Richard Wagener, David Lance Goines, and Richard Siebert. All are known for their work in design, fine printing, and the book arts. 

A WORD FROM CLIFF IN ENGLAND: Robert Burns (1759-1796)

Robert Burns – 'Bobby Burrns' to Scottish people, is Scotland's favourite poet and best known celebrity. He is known throughout the world and his songs are sung with enthusiasm in places as diverse as Tokyo and New York. Wherever there are some Scottish people or any lovers of his poetry, of whatever nationality, there is a Burns Night on his birthday, the 25th of January. 

Picture a large room somewhere in Japan, with an old painting of a stag by a Scottish loch on the dark, woodlined wall. The long refectory table is covered with a Royal Stuart tartan cloth and set with green plates, horn-handled cutlery, and silver candlesticks and goblets, with some crystal bowls of purple heather. In the centre of the table is a Georgian vase with a single, freshly-cut rose – dark red, deliciously perfumed, and just opening.


This is a continuation of the excursion report I introduced in the last issue of the Chronicle. Here I will review the basic purposes of this scholarly ex libris excursion.

There are many large collections of ex libris throughout the world. Our purpose for these trips will be to visit individual collectors. To see the bookplate collections of major museums and libraries for research. We will learn the most efficient ways for presentation and storage of the prints.

A WORD FROM CLIFF IN ENGLAND: The Edward Newton Ex Libris for his Dr. Samuel Johnson Collection

An American writer whose books are becoming very popular in modern China is A. Edward Newton. He started an Electric Supplies company at the time when electricity lighting and power was just beginning to be very important in America and he quickly became a millionaire. Having reached this milestone in his life, he trained honest capable directors to take charge of his business empire and started the real interest of his life which made him famous throughout the world — books.

Edward Newton always loved books and at last he was in a position to buy them. These were not new books, but antique books by great writers. Like those of Charles Dickens for example, whose Christmas Carol in the pretty hand-coloured volume in the first edition as originally issued, was already very rare, and those of Lewis Carol whose Alice in Wonderland (as first published) was already a treasure.

News from Minnesota

Staying connected is not always an easy thing to do. Regaining the routine of working in the studio, once lost, is another feat which I have yet to achieve. In the past I’ve referred to art as being a habit. For a while I lost my taste; now my appetite has picked up.

As an arts family we have annually participated in the fall Book Arts Festival at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and this year was no exception. Our table was tucked away in a far corner. Traffic was slow. The weather cooperated and parking was tight. How did we do at the sale? People made their way back to Lucy going right by the rest of us; I presented some monoprints & books from my found object print series Icanography™ while Lucy sold her Tooth Fairy Kits, monoprint greeting cards, & recycled blank books in a steady flow. We will be back next year.


This 2013 excursion is the first of many scholarly ex libris tours. This trip had three main objectives.

First of all, there are vast private collections of ex libris throughout the world today. Our goal is to visit the collectors. To learn from them and create future projects to work alongside them.

Secondly, to see the ex libris collections of major museums around the world. Especially those holding membership with our society. We examined and documented the collections through written and photographic means. To understand how the libraries, museums are organizing and mounting the plates. Generally how they are maintained and stored. What the museums are doing to further the interest in bookplates.

A Word from Cliff in England: the Jester in Ex Libris

Since writing this essay, I’ve examined, through the miracle of email, two superb modern ‘jester’ plates from the James P. Keenan collection. One by Konstantin Kalonvich for A. Selle, shows a smiling Till Eulenspiegel with the traditional adjuncts of owl and mirror, but also with some more whimsical images — the asses ears on the man reflected in the glass, trimmings of feathers, and a snail creeping along at the border. What here, were the secret fancies of the owner who had commissioned the plate, and what those of the fertile mind of the artist? A plate, clearly on which to meditate at length, and with pleasure!