The Bookplate Collection

The History of Medicine Collections has over 450 medically related bookplates. Although ex libris collections have never attained the popularity and status of stamp collections and the focus on medicine further limits the number of enthusiasts, there exists a small body of literature and bibliography on the subject. Bookplates can be approached as small works of art and are widely diverse in style and technique. They range from the simple to the sophisticated, from the serious to the humorous. Both individuals and libraries are represented. They are quite often engraved or woodcut, and are sometimes colored, occasionally by hand. A few are mass produced with a place to fill in a name. Size is limited only by the book into which the plate will be placed as a mark of range. The items chosen for inclusion in a plate even when focused by the common theme of medicine are various. Sometimes medical symbols such as the caduceus, stethoscope, or microscope are prominent or medical activities such as delivering a baby or performing surgery are obvious. An eye, a heart, or a bone can give an idea of the specialty. In others a medical connection is less evident and other interests of the physician are conspicuous. Sometimes there is no connection whatsoever, except for the designation of the owner as Dr. or M.D. Our collection frequently has examples of more than one ex libris designed for a particular person. Many explanations are possible for this practice. There is a limit to the number of good copies that can be struck off from a single plate. New plates are needed for a growing collection and extras are often wanted to exchange with others. An owner might want plates designed by different artists. Quite often separate bookplates are desired for different subjects within a library, either personal or institutional. Property of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library's History of Medicine Collections, Durham, NC.

Parent Collections (1)

Total Works (627)

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List of items in this collection

Bookplate for I. Rutter, M.D.

Picture of rocks in a pile, with grass around them and hills in the background. For I. Rutter, M.D.

Bookplate for Dr. Ladislai Josa

Picture of a man pinning the Grim Reaper under a large book. For Dr. Ladislai Josa.

Bookplate for Paul Koenigsfeld

Portrait of a semi-nude woman standing near a bookcase with a snake curled around her arm. Surrounded by various objects including an owl, skull,...

Bookplate for Daniel Hunt Fuller, M.D.

Picture initialed B.E.S. of a bench in a forest, with books on it, and a house in the background. Bookplate for Daniel Hunt Fuller, M.D.

Bookplate for Dr. Edmund Kammeyer

Picture initialed H. F. K. of a skull on top of a stack of books, with the caduceus in front, and with symbols of medical instruments at the top....

Bookplate for Martin Flaum

Picture by Erich Buttner of a large skull with a caduceus emerging from its open jaw, facing a man holding a book. Bookplate for Martin Flaum.

Bookplate for Jacob Lifschutz, M.D.

Portrait of a skull with monkeys in both eyes and nose. Text: "Hear no evil, See no evil, speak no evil." Books represent the teeth. A man holding...

Bookplate for Dr. Lugosi Dome

Picture of a tree with a heart in a basin below it with vapors coming up from the heart. Books, skull, and medical instruments hidden among the...

Bookplate for Dr. Emil Simonson

Picture of a woman holding a bowl with vapors coming off it, leaning on a staff with a snake wrapped around it. Text in Hebrew. Bookplate for Dr....

Bookplate for Dr. Olle Imre

Picture of a person sitting in a chair surrounded by a skeleton and two other figures, one of which is holding an hourglass.