Bookplates originated in Germany soon after the first printed book appeared and were then, as now, used to express gratitude for a gift or to assert ownership.
Bookplates have always been an art form. Famous engravers and designers have been attracted to them by reason of the special opportunities and problems they presented. Notable artists who practiced the bookplate art include Albrecht Durer, Hans Holbein, Hogart, William Blake, Aubrey Beardsley, Paul Revere, and Rockwell Kent.
The history of the bookplate mirrors the fashions of heraldic practices, furniture, architecture, and design of the periods in which they were produced. They also stand as a record of printing methods. The earliest ones were woodcuts and cooper engravings; later ones included examples of etching, steel, zinc, lithographic, photoengraving processes, and others.
The Library's bookplate collection was largely the result of the personal enthusiasm of Miss Elizabeth Baldwin, former Librarian of Teachers College, who bought, exchanged, and sought out fine examples. A gift of several hundred book plates was made by Miss Aidelaide Nutting, Chairperson of the Department of Nursing Education at Teachers College. Today there are approximately 1,000 items in the collection, including ones that were used by the Library in recognition of gifts received from various donors.
Created By: Jennifer Govan