Thursday, January 14, 2010
Antioch Bookplate Company II
Recently in inspecting the Notre Dame University’s online bookplate registry online, I found that collection (created probably around 1945) contained about 70 Antioch bookplates of that period but had no record that these were universal bookplates from Antioch.
While many bookplate collections (deliberately or not) contain a surprising number of universal bookplates, little has been done in documenting these ‘universals’ as a separate segment of any particular collection. Generally in fact, they are felt to have little value at all. The twenty-six examples, gleaned from my collection, are only a representation (not an exhaustive survey) of Antioch’s output since 1926.
There are at least four types of publication sources for universal bookplates beyond the Antioch Company. Probably the most common is college and university bookstores that sell bookplate packets with the institutional seal as the principal image, a sure source of sales to students, parents and alumni. Another source consists of the companies (such as Gaylord, Augsburg Press, and Library Bureau) that concentrate on supplying the needs of institutional libraries with a few bookplate designs in their inventory. At various times manufacturers of book oriented products have advertised their product with complimentary bookplates as did Globe-Wernicke with their sectional book cases and (in the present day) the QPB (Quality Paperback Books) and National Geographic firms. Additionally fund raising projects promoted by museums or other institutions may offer a particular design for a bookplate for purchase by their memberships; i.e. the one found in numerous collections with an individual’s name and the name Saranac Lake also imprinted.
The Antioch Bookplate Company is known to Americans, interested even minimally in the use of a bookplate, since their packets are to be found in most shops that sell books in the United States. Antioch College, where the bookplate company was founded and originally housed, was a school that advocated an education that alternated work and study. The company was never an actual Antioch College department or ever officially affiliated with the college. It was founded in 1926 by Ernest Morgan and Walter Kahoe, both Antioch College students, working at the campus print shop as part of a work-study program offered by the college. Distressed by the volume of paper cut-offs, trimmed from publications of the Antioch College press in the printing process, they wanted to find ways of turning this waste paper into something useful. In exchange for janitorial work and as a part of their work-study program, they scrounged printing supplies and used the shop’s press after hours to print a trial press run of decorative bookplates on strips of waste paper.