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

Library of the Academy of Medicine, Toronto

Bookplate: Lamp over open book with motto beneath: Domina Rerum Sapientia

Ex Libris Wayne County Medical Society

Bookplate: Seal of Wayne County Medical Society featuring staff of Aesculapius with serpent.

Tufts College, Medical Dental School Library

Bookplate: Seal of Tufts College

Casey A. Wood

Bookplate: Tree surrounded by a decorative border. Brass lamp above; motto below: Irrideo Tempestatem.

Bookplate for Dr. Toth Erzsebet

A doe with her fawn. Drawn by Antal Fery. Publisher: Hungary

Bookplate for R. F. Vanimschoot

Picture of Isis holding an ankh in her left hand. Isis is being held in a large right hand. Various hieroglyphics are at the top of the sheet.

Bookplate for Dr. Hans Wittak

A design of open and closed books with a quill pen. Text in Latin.

Bookplate for W. F. Daems

Picture of a flower, with a man mixing something in a bucket behind it. For W. F. Daems.

Bookplate for Dr. Soroa

Portrait of a group of people standing before a seated man.

Bookplate for Dr. Carlos Santos

Picture of a woman holding a bowl with her arms raised. A serpent is shown with its head above the bowl. A ship is shown in the background. Along...