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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Removing a bookplate from a book

I have in my small, but growing, collection of bookplates a few that I'd like to separate from the books I found them in. Some, I wouldn't dream of disturbing because of the relationship of the bookplate to the book, provenance, etc.

Others, like this one from a damaged book or a book that has little value for one reason or another, I determine that the bookplate would be better displayed by itself. Storage considerations creep into these decisions, too.


Appropriately, this Training School Library bookplate from State Teachers College in Kutztown, Pennsylvania became my training school in ex libris removal. As you can see from the photo above, it was successful. For that I thank Molly1216 on YouTube. The best instructions I could find were in a YouTube video. For me, actually seeing a task performed, makes it much easier to duplicate and eliminates any confusion that might develop from written instructions. Molly1216 (YouTube user ID) has an interesting series of book-related videos, one of which was removing a bookplate:


Not on the video: You may have to repeat the procedure. My bookplate was still sticking after 30 minutes, so I repeated the process and 30 minutes later, it lifted off the board perfectly. Drying out, the bookplate wants to curl up a bit, so I kept it flat between a folded piece of wax paper for about 24 hours, pressed with a heavy antique iron. Any heavy object will do. I first had the bookplate wrapped in paper towels (to absorb extra moisture), but noticed the paper towel starting to adhere to the bookplate's backside, so I switched over to wax paper about four hours into it. I did not use the watercolor paper to treat the book cover because my book cover that contained the plate was detached from the book and was discarded. But the watercolor paper might be useful for drying out the bookplate further while being pressed flat.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Libreria Tecnica CP 67 - Buenos Aires

Here's a bookshop ticket from a book published in London, sold in Buenos Aires, and found in Houston. It's done some traveling.


From the Architectural Press in London, the book in which I discovered this ticket is titled, Inscape: The Design of Interiors, edited by Hugh Casson.

I wondered if the Buenos Aires bookshop might have specialized in architecture books and if it still existed. I didn't have to search too far to find my answer in the form of a YouTube video celebrating 40 years of business. And yes, it does appear to have a specialty in the field of architecture.



Reviewing the publication date, 1968, I thought of this: The video commemorates 40 years of business. The video was made in 2007, so 1967 must have been the opening year. And this book would have been one of the early titles to grace their shelves, having arrived the following year.

And after all these years, the bookshop is still in business selling the same kinds of books. These days, when physical bookstores are going belly up or switching to Internet only business models, it's refreshing to see someone doing it their way and still kicking. A belated Feliz Cumpleanos!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Owen Wister Literary Society

Here's an old literary society bookplate, circa 1930s, from Rice Institute (now University) in Houston.


The Owen Wister Literary Society was started at Rice University in 1924 to handle the overload of its sister societies as the university grew and the need arose for additional societies for women students.

Why Owen Wister, the author best known for his novel, The Virginian?

I can find no other reason than that of the acronym, OWLS, formed by the society name. The owl is the school mascot and name of all sports teams representing the university. The Rice Owls. I doubt the ladies had an intense interest in the literary works of Owen Wister. His name was convenient for the acronym I'd guess.

The literary societies were established when Rice began accepting women, primarily for developing an appreciation of literature. The book this bookplate is in is a 1938 volume of poetry by Texas Revolutionary hero, Mirabeau B. Lamar. That seems in keeping for a lit society. But the societies evolved into something more social by the 1950s and hung on until the 1980s.

The Owen Wister Literary Society was established when women were not allowed to live on campus, thus giving them a chance for socializing and an excuse for being on campus in the evening. This link provides a lot more info on the history of Rice's lit societies.

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