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 Enrique Saez F. Casariego

Picture of a black cat sitting in a chair. Two other cats are on the floor looking up at the black cat. Two snakes and a goblet are shown in the...

Bookplate for Dr. Theo Vetter

Picture of a snake twined around a flower stem. By Ernest Huber for Dr. Theo Vetter.

Bookplate for Dr. Joao Augusto Duarte Geral

Stylized silhouette of a man pulling a woman away from a snake wrapped around a basin. For Dr. Joao Augusto Duarte Geral.

Bookplate for Giuseppina Dragone Testi

Picture of various objects, including laboratory glassware, a flower, some musical notes, and leaves from a plant.

Bookplate for Waldemar Bergamini DE SA

Picture of a man writing at a desk, with a lion resting on the floor next to him. For Waldemar Bergamini DE SA.

Bookplate for Dr. Eugen Paravicini

Small bookplate with no picture and simple border. At bottom "Dr. Eug. Paravicini".

Bookplate for Kenneth Paul Jones, M.D.

Picture of two doctors standing in surgical attire.

Ex Libris Dr. Bruno S. Klarek

Bookplate: A balding, rotund physician in a white coat forcefully grabs Cupid by the hair. In his pockets are a variety of medical instruments.

Ex Libris MUDr R. Kantorek

Bookplate: In a memento mori scene, a youthful long-haired woman with a crown of flowers is juxtaposed against a skeleton.

Ex Libris Ants Hiielo

Bookplate: An open eye is positioned over a goblet around which a snake is wound to form a caduceus. Below is an open book.