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 Samuel X. Radbill

Picture of a woman holding a baby. The woman is shown inside the letter "R."A snake is coiled around part of the "R." A rooster is also shown in...

Bookplate for Dr. Ladislaus Petrikovits

Picture of a person in left profile. By Fery, for Dr. Ladislaus Petrikovits.

Bookplate for Arlindo Freixo

Picture of a caduceus between a statue and a tower. Text in Spanish. For Arlindo Freixo by Lima Alberto.

Bookplate for Walter Lindley

Picture showing a mansion in the background and a portal in the foreground. A bell is shown on each side of the portal. Drawn by C. Valentine Kirby.

Bookplate for Dr. Eugen Paravicini

Picture of a coat of arms showing a swan on the coat of arms and a swan above the coat of arms. The swan above has its wings spread. Drawn by P. B.

Bookplate for Norman Shaftel

Picture of an open book and a foxglove plant. An apothecary jar labeled digitalis is shown near the book. Drawn by Alexander Coll.

Bookplate for Dr. Waldemar Bergamini DE SA

Picture of a coat of arms with three rectangles and an angled band, with a helmet over it. At bottom "Nosce me sicut sum". For Dr. Waldemar Bergani...

Bookplate for Dr. Ebba Jahnova

Picture of a man on horseback. The horse is rearing up on its hind legs. Drawn by L. Vele.

Bookplate for Frederic Morris Loomis

Picture of a man standing on a bowl holding up a baby. A number of nude women are arranged in a circle around the man. The bowl is on top of a...

Bookplate for R. Stevens

Picture of a nude woman in a hat standing behind a man sitting at a desk. A view of a city is shown in the background. Various objects are shown...