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

Ex Libris Dr. German Eichelter

Bookplate: Vignette of three surgeons operating in lower right. An alpine village in upper left.

Bookplate for JN

Iris and pupil of an eye.

Dr. Medgyes Simon Konyve

Bookplate: A naked young man opens a wire cage releasing a long stream of birds that disappear into the distance.

Ex Libris Paul Bonnet

Bookplate: Falcon representing Horus

Ex Libris Dr. Lucien Delatte

Bookplate: A bird is cleaning the teeth of an open-mouth crocodile.

Ex Libris Dr. R. Laudenheimer

Bookplate: A serpent encircles a man's head to form a caduceus. A bird atop his bald head eyes the serpent.

Bookplate for Dr. Luis D. Castro

Picture of an owl with a caduceus superimposed. Text in Latin surrounds the owl.

Bookplate for Dr. Spanyi Geza

Picture of a mule and a small child in front of an eye chart on a stand.

Library of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore

Bookplate: Johns Hopkins Hospital Library bookplate.

Bookplate for Dr. H. Ziegler

Picture by H. Ziegler, for H. Ziegler, of a skull, books, a quill pen, the Masonic symbol, and instruments on a table, with a tree branch and a...