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

Maurice J. Strauss Memorial Book Fund, Yale Medical Library

Bookplate: Cross-section of skin. Flash camera in upper right corner.

Ex Libris Dr. Laurand

Bookplate: Behind the crane and the wolf is a caduceus with a serpent.

Bucherer des Dr. Med. Maximilian Bresgen schen hauses

Bookplate: Crane with bill in wolf's mouth. Coat of arms at upper right. Lupus et grus in fabula. Pflichttreve macht tapfer.

Ex Museo Collection Radiographique du Docteur J. Le Bayon

Bookplate: X-ray images of human and animals. Caduceus with X-ray serpent. Per lucem ad lucem.

Bookplate for Dr. Miklos Lippoczy

A violin with a bunch of grapes to the left. Copper engraving made by the Polish artists Wojtech Jakuvowski. Publisher: Poland

Bookplate for J. Kouwenhoven

Picture of a man holding a sword fighting the hydra. A group of books is shown in the bottom right-hand corner. Text in Latin.

Bookplate for Edward Stewart Gifford, Jr.

Picture of a man looking at a skeleton who has grabbed his beard. On the table next to him is a microscope. Above the man is a musical staff.

Bull Memorial Fund

Bookplate: Seal of Columbia University in the City of New York. Department of Surgery

Lewellys F. Barker Jr. Memorial

Bookplate: Seated woman in classical dress, holding four small unclothed children.

Ex Libris Henry Barton Jacobs

Bookplate: Border of heraldic shields. "Prints" and "medals" appear at the top and Johnson, Laennec, Jenner, and Pasteur at the bottom.