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.

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List of items in this collection

Bookplate for books once owned by Major Robert Titus Phillips M.C., U.S.A. and presented to his alma mater by his parents

Memorial bookplate showing a chronology of events in the life of Robert Titus Phillips. Text at bottom "Neither shall there be any more pain."

Bookplate for Dr. Georg Burchard

November, 1958
Picture of a man standing among grasses, with a crossbow on his belt, and examining something. For Dr. Georg Burchard. By George Poppe.

Bookplate for Emil Jekelius

Picture of a woman resting on an anchor, with books behind her. At top "Spes ultima dea" At bottom ":Bucherei: Emil Jekelius Apotheker". By Fritz...

Bookplate for Ellis B. Freilich

Picture of a bookshelf and a desk with a book and skull on it, as seen through a church-style window. For Ellis B. Freilich.

Bookplate for Robert Sonnenschein

Picture of a man sitting at a desk, holding a book in his right hand and a quill pen in his left hand. On the desk are instruments for an ear,...

Bookplate for Hans Winkler

Picture of St. Franziskus at top, over a man handing a woman something to drink, with a beaker on a flame between them. At bottom "Mag. pharm. Hans...

Bookplate for Frank W. Lynch, M.D.

Scene of waves hitting the rocks along a shoreline with seagulls flying overhead. A caduceus appears next to Dr. Lynch's name.

Bookplate for Carl Sager

Picture of a man standing above a woman sitting on the floor holding a small child. The man has his hand on the woman's head. Drawn by Fidus. Text...

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.