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)

Sort the listing of items    
List of items in this collection

Milwaukee Academy of Medicine

Bookplate: Winged caduceus with two serpents inscribed in an oval.

Bookplate for Norman Shaftel

Portrait of a nude woman holding a curtain. Some cactus plants also appear. Drawn by S. Bottella.

Eks libris Dr. Gerhard Kreyenberg

Bookplate: Abstract of physician's head with stethoscope and patient rib cage.

Bookplate for the George D'Angelo Collection on the Chest

Portrait of an open chest with a man's head. "Duke University Medical Center Library" appears at the bottom.

Prof. Henri Vermelin

Bookplate: Red shield with heart; behind Caduceus and waxing crescent moon.

Bookplate for Dr. Nicolai de Okolicsanyi de Okolicsna

Coat of arms featuring an arm wielding a sword with a head impaled on it. Drawn by Aiglon Sassyittila.

Bookplate for Dr. Carlos Lozano Lardet

A woman seated on a rock is holding a baby. She is flanked by two columns. Drawn by R. Abad. Numbered 104. Text in Spanish.

Bookplate for Enrique Saez

A cat sitting on two books against a landscape background. A caduceus is shown at the top of the sheet. Drawn by R. Barande. Text in Latin.

Bookplate for Dr. Luis M. Callis

Picture by I. Vidal of a nude woman lying down, as seen from above. Name at top: Dr. Luis M. Callis.

Bookplate for Gino Testi

Picture showing various alchemical objects and a uroborus. Text in Greek. Text on verso: "La Crisopea di Cleopatra, dalla 'Storia della Chimica' di...