Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Bookplates of Achmed Abdullah and Jean Wick

 I have a copy of Sign Posts by Faith Baldwin , inscribed
 "To Achmed A very important "signpost" on the paths of friendship- Faith- 24"
 .It has the recipient's bookplate as well as another bookplate belonging to  Jean Wick
.Both plates appear to be by the same artist.

Can anyone out there translate the  script  ?

Faith Baldwin co-authored three books with Achmed Abdullah and was a close friend of the New York literary agent Jean Wick who was his second wife

The following  Wikipedia excerpt about Achmed Abdullah is hard to believe.
If it is fairly accurate it  just goes to show that truth is stranger than fiction.

Alexander Nicholayevitch Romanoff (Pseudonym Achmed Abdullah)
"Alexander Nicholayevitch Romanoff was born on 1881 in Yalta, Russia to Grand Duke Nicholas Romanoff, a cousin of Czar Nicholas Romanoff and Princess Nourmahal Durani, the daughter of the Amir of Afghanistan. After his mother's attempts to poison her husband due to his multiple affairs, they divorced, leaving their son and two other children to their maternal grandparents. At the age of 12, he was sent to Eton and then to Oxford University to be educated. Although he was born Russian Orthodox, he was raised as a Muslim by his uncle who adopted him.[1]
Upon his graduation, he joined the British Army, and rose to rank of acting colonel during his 17-year military career. He served in India, Afghanistan, Tibet,[when?] Africa,[where?] China and Turkey. He served the British-Indian army in India, and was also a colonel in a cavalry regiment for one year in the Turkish army as a British spy. He mostly spent the time in the military as a spy because of his wide knowledge of Oriental and Middle Eastern customs and religions. He traveled widely in Russia, Europe, Africa, the Middle-East, and China and spoke many languages and dialects. He was made a British citizen by an act[which?] of Parliament, and convicted by the Germans during the First World War for being a spy.
In the early 1910s, he emigrated to the United States and eventually became a successful, well-paid writer, playwright and later on, a Hollywood screenwriter. Abdullah's work appeared in several US magazines, including ArgosyAll-Story MagazineMunsey's Magazine and Blue Book. [2] Abdullah's short story collection Wings contains several fantasy stories, which critic Mike Ashley describes as containing "some of his most effective writing".[3] He got a doctorate from the College of El-Azar, Cairo in Koranic Studies.
Romanoff was married at least three times: to Irene Bainbridge, Jean Wick, and Rosemary A. Dolan. He was the father of 2 daughters with Irene Bainbridge, Phyllis Abdullah (who died in childhood) and Pamelia Susan Abdullah Brower.
In January 1945, Romanoff was admitted to Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and a few months later, on May 12, his birthday, he died."


  1. Jump up^ Edward E. Curtis, Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History, Facts on File, Inc., 2010, pg. 198
  2. Jump up^ Darrell Schweitzer, "Introduction" to Fear and Other Tales From the Pulps, Wildside Press , 2005, ISBN 1-59224-237-5 (pp. 7-8).
  3. Jump up^ Mike Ashley, "Abdullah, Achmed" in St. James Guide To Fantasy Writers, ed. David Pringle, St. James Press, 1996, ISBN 1-55862-205-5, pp 3-5.
This mounted copy in The William Augustus Brewer Collection at the University of Delaware
indicates that he designed his own bookplate.

See You again Next Sunday.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Note from Andrew Peake

The bookplates relating to Crabites brought back memories of my own
time in Iraq and Baghdad.  I was in Baghdad in August through to
December, 1990, when the country's leader at the time, Saddam Hussein,
made me an offer I couldn't refuse, and I became a hostage.
Fortunately being an Australian, I wasn't in the same category as
US/British and a few other countries, who were regarded as No. 1
enemies and were put on strategic sites.  After a month or so
captivity I was left in the care of my Embassy and could wander around
the city and surrounds.  During this time I transcribed the Christian
cemetery, but can't remember if I saw a headstone for Crabites.

I collected a lot of material regarding the situation while in Baghdad
and on return to Australia collected several metres of books on the
event including publications written by fellow hostages.  I published
my own recollections under the title, 'Guest of the President'.  I
also had a bookplate created for this collection of books.  Recently I
deposited my collection of material to the Flinders University of
South Australia.

I've attached a copy of my hostage bookplate, based on a logo used by
my local newspaper , 'The 'The Advertiser' when it published material
regarding the hostage situation and subsequent War in early 1991.

Andrew Peake

Sunday, April 13, 2014

This Week In Bookplates April 13th, 2014

Mystery Bookplate Artist M.R

Does anyone out there recognize the artist M.R. ?

Can anyone out there translate the hieroglyphics ?

4/14/2014 A.K.Eyma was kind enough to submit the following:

The first plate reads IMO:

(1) "Chief Justice P(e)yer [i.e. Pierre]"
(2) "son of K(e)rabites [i.e. Crabites]"
(3) "(and) his wife, his beloved, mistress of the house,"
(4) "Sharlut [i.e. Charlot(te)],"

(5) "her beautiful name [ca. nickname] (is) Lutty [i.e. Lotte/Lotty]"

Thanks to Charles Ellwood Jones I also have these translations from his colleagues:

Dear Lew,

I have had a couple of responses to your query

1) Filip Taterka, Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland) 

The first bookplate reads: “(1) Judge Pierre (2) son of Crabitès (and) (3) his beloved wife, lady of the house, (4) Charlotte (5) whose beautiful name is Tety” (I am not sure the proper transcription of the wife’s beautiful name – I guess it is her birth name that is meant here).

The second one reads:

“(vertical text:) The testament of
(the horizontal text):  (1) the judge Borat (or Burat?) (2) son of Fish (3) born of lady of the house Sera (or Sara?), (4) daughter of Lee (or Ruy?) who was who is (or was) (5) the herald to the Majesty of the (6) king of Upper and Lower Egypt (Faruq)|, living forever”.

2) Thomas Schneider, 
University of British Columbia 

The Judge Pierre,
Son of Crabites,
his beloved wife and Lady of the House
her nick name being Lotti

Second bookplate:
The Judge Burt
Son of Fish
Made (Born) by the Lady of the House Sara (Zera)
Daughter of Loui. He is (was)
Messenger to the Majesty of
the king of Upper and Lower Egypt Furuq, may he live eternally

Peter Der Manuelian just supplied the missing piece of the puzzle, the artist's name

"Nice to see these bookplates. The translations by my colleagues below are essentially correct, though the second one is Bert Fish.
Both of these people were friends of George Andrew Reisner (1867-1942), who led the Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition from 1905 to 1942, when he died at the Giza Pyramids. The bookplates were drawn by his daughter Mary Reisner at Giza (died 1963), whom he taught Egyptian, before she went off to write trash novels after her years in Egypt. That’s what the “MR” stands for, Mary Reisner.

"Judge Pierre Crabitès was born in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, 17 February 1877. Like so many in New Orleans, Pierre Crabitès was a Creole. His father was a wealthy French immigrant, and his mother was a Virginian. Crabitès grew up without want, attending the best private schools and universities that New Orleans had to offer. His family connections helped him when President Taft nominated Crabitès to a seat on the Mixed Courts of Egypt in 1911, and he sat on the bench in Cairo for the next twenty-five years, rendering decisions on many important cases, including the case for the sequestration rights to the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamen. His career as a judge on the Mixed Courts coincided with a period of British dominance over Egypt, and his anti-British sentiments thus evolved during his stay in Egypt.
Several accidents led Crabitès to take up writing as a hobby. He published many book sand articles, and these works exhibit the environment in which he grew up and his anti-British opinions. These anti-British feelings ultimately barred his appointment to the Mixed Courts’ Court of Appeals and later hindered his work for the OSS.
After serving on the Mixed Courts for twenty-five years, Crabitès took up a post lecturing on law at Louisiana State University. When not busy teaching, Crabitès spent much of his time giving speeches on popular subjects in the 1930s, such as politics and the war. President Roosevelt appointed Crabitès as the American delegate to the Montreaux Convention, which resolved to slowly phase out the Mixed Courts. Crabitès finally realized his goal of obtaining a foreign service post when he accepted a job working for the OSS and Colonel Bill Donovan; however, his anti-British sentiments continued to haunt him when he returned to the Middle East, and he was subsequently transferred from Egypt to Iraq. Unfortunately, Crabitès died soon after his arrival in Iraq on 10 October 1943,in "Baghdad"

I've always liked leather bookplates .They are elegant.Unfortunately they also damage books..
Here is one I recently purchased. It is unusual to find a punning leather bookplate
.Mr. Crane was affiliated with the D.Van Nostrand Publishing firm.
"Following the death of David Van Nostrand in 1886, the Van Nostrand family turned the management, and probably the ownership, of the company over to the Crane family in 1888. The last Crane family member to manage the firm was Edward M. Crane, Jr., who managed the firm from 1964 until 1968, the year the Van Nostrand firm was acquired by Litton Industries and merged with Reinhold. Edward Crane, Jr. was the last of four Crane family members to have managed the firm from 1888 until 1968."

If you have any leather bookplates for sale or trade please contact me.

At The Huffington Post they featured many attractive and affordable bookplates from a number of designers
                             .Are you one of many who keep meaning to get a bookplate?
Stop procrastinating.
Follow this link.

Over at the ABEBOOKS Blog they recently featured twenty booksellers who blog.
You can see the entire posting here;

I searched each of the blogs to locate those which featured something about bookplates and I came of with these three 

Any Amount of Books- featured  a Paul Klee bookplate ( among others)

Link to Any Amount of Books bookplate postings:

Cabin Fever Books featured a charming bookplate by Karl Newson
You can contact the Mr. Newson directly at this email address:

Hang Fire Books-They Depicted many bookplates I liked. 
Here is one of them:

Monday, April 07, 2014

The Shadow Show in New York City , April 6th,2014

I attended a book show in New York City yesterday and was pleased to find two booksellers who had a few items  which I purchased..If logic was my emotional compass I would make a computerized inventory of my collection so I would not purchase items I already own.
Fortunately that did not happen yesterday (a lie).

Here are a few of the items I purchased:

If you are wondering why I purchased this bookplate which has seen better days it is because it is quite rare.
In fact this is the first copy I have ever seen.It is Allen #964, designed by William Taylor and engraved by Amos Doolittle.

Madeleine Bettina Stern (July 1, 1912 – August 18, 2007), born in New York, New York, was an American historian and rare books dealer and noted Louisa May Alcott scholar.
Stern and her decades long friend and business partner Leona Rostenberg became widely known in the late 1990s while in their late eighties when their memoir on the rare book trade, "Old Books, Rare Friends" became a best seller
I read their book in 1997 but I plan to reread it this week.

This woodcut bookseller's label is unique because it can be attributed to a known artist.
It was designed by Norman Kent.
Ref. Year Book American Society of Bookplate Collectors and Designers  1945-1946,Page 32

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ben Grauer
Tedi Thurman and Ben Grauer, 1957
Tedi Thurman and Ben Grauer at Monitor, 1957.
BornBenjamin Franklin Grauer
June 2, 1908
Staten Island, New York
DiedMay 31, 1977 (aged 68)
New York, New York
"Benjamin Franklin Grauer (June 2, 1908 – May 31, 1977) was a US radio and TV personality, following a career during the 1920s as a child actor in films and on Broadway. He began his career as a child in David Warfield's production of The Return of Peter Grimm. Among his early credits were roles in films directed by D.W. Griffith.
Grauer was born in Staten Island, New York. After graduating from Townsend Harris High School, he received his B.A. from the City College of New York in 1930. Grauer started in radio as an actor but soon became part of the broadcasting staff at the National Broadcasting Company. He was one of the four narrators, along with Burgess Meredith, of NBC's public affairs series The Big Story, which focused on courageous journalists."
He was a book collector and a member of the Grolier Club
and also was the proprietor of a small publishing firm.
Does anyone out there know who designed his bookplate?
I am still playing catch-up after having been away so this is an abridged posting..
See you again next week

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Some Interesting Bookplates

Here is a link to a blog posting by Karl Marxhausen.

It is loaded with interesting  information about these bookplates and their owner's

This image shown above came from an Irving Lew catalogue .
Here is a bit of bookseller trivia.
 Mr.Lew's son is currently The U.S. Secretary of the Treasury

  • Smith Ely Jelliffe

  • Smith Ely Jelliffe was an American neurologist, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst. 
  • He lived and practiced in New York City nearly his entire life
  • BornOctober 27, 1866, Brooklyn, NY

  • The bookplate was designed by Anne Jouart
    Dr. Jelliffe's bookplate amuses me.because I have a room with books and

  •  ephemera which is similar to the bookplate image

  • .Periodically I put excess items in bankers boxes but clutter always wins out.

  • In another life, before retiring  I visited many clients and always paid attention to their desk tops.

  • Some were always squeaky clean.and they amazed me..The clients with cluttered desk tops

  • and file folders piled on shelves were the ones I was more comfortable with...  

                                        Richard Gimbel

    Richard Gimbel (1898-1970) was a dedicated rare book and manuscript collector and the son of the founder of Gimbel's department store. He began collecting while serving with the 8th U.S. Army Air Force in England during World War II and continued after becoming curator of aeronautical literature at Yale University. In 1939, Gimbel purchased the Edgar Allan Poe House in Philadelphia. He refurbished the home and opened it as a museum. The National Park Service began overseeing the property in 1978, reopening the home in 1980.

    Here are three of the bookplates he used.There may be others 

  • John Renjilian, Owner The Pages of Yesteryear

  • "The Pages of Yesteryear has issued their annual date-numbered catalogue. This one is number 49. It celebrates 49 years in the book business. This catalogue offers an eclectic mix of mainly shorter length material, much of it written by hand. There are diaries and such, one of a kind items primarily from the 19th century. They quickly display how much times have changed. "

  • You can reach John  at

     203-426-0864  or 

  • This is an Email John recently sent about upcoming east coast book shows.

  • The month begins with the ABAA NYC fair at the Park Ave Armory, 643 Park Ave at 67th St. Opening with a preview on 3 April, 5-9, $60, the actual fair will be 4-6 April, 12-8 Friday, 12-7 Saturday, 12-5 Sunday. Excepting the preview, three day admission is $45, or $20 per day. Over 200 worldwide dealers will set up, and they will bring wonders to behold, at equally wondrous prices, but it is a treat to see such items. Free informal appraisals of up to five items, 12-3 Sunday. Sanford Smith manages the fair for the ABAA,,, or 212-777-5218.

    Riding the coattails is the Manhattan Vintage Paper & Ephemera Fair and Fine Press Book Fair, 5-6 April, at the Altman Building, 135 West 18th St, NYC. Saturday 5-9, Sunday 9-4, $12 admission. The Shadow Show has been running for several years as an antiquarian fair, and this year has expanded to include fine press books. Appraisals Sunday, 1-3. Flamingo Eventz runs the show, or 603-509-2639.

    The next event will be just across the river a bit for the LI Vintage Paper, Book & Advertising Show, at the Garden City Field House, 295 Stewart Ave, Garden City, 11530. Saturday 12-6, Sunday 11-4, $6 admission. With two LI fairs in two weeks, I can't say what the dealer setup will be. Appraisals by John Bruno Sunday, 1-3. Flamingo also runs this one, or 603-509-2639.

    Finishing out the month will be the Allentown Paper Show, 26-27 April, at the Agriculture Hall of the Allentown Fairgrounds, 17th and Chew Sts, in Allentown, PA. Saturday 9-5, Sunday 9-3. 170 dealers, there is a $1 off coupon at the website but no mention of the admission, usually $7. This has long been a favorite for all kinds of goodies, not just books, though they are there in plenty. Sean Klutinoty is in charge,,, or 610-573-4969.
  • -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  • Note from Lew:
  • I will be attending the shadow show in New York City on Sunday April 6th
  •  If you have bookplates for sale or exchange and plan to be there I would like to hear from you.

  • Sunday, March 23, 2014

    This Week in Bookplates 3/23/2014

    Earlier in the week I spotted a  collection of 160 bookplates on Ebay and asked the seller this question:

    Q: What do the corners of the two presidential bookplates look like when removed from the corner mounts.?
     Do they show a darkening or any change in color ? 
    Thanks for your help. Lew Jaffe
    A: They are the same as the rest of the bookplate. Thanks! 
    Kate Doordan Klavan  carefully read the Ebay listing and sent me this email::
    " My question for you is, what does learning that the corners of the plates are the same tone as the exposed surface tell you? Is it that the exposed areas of the plates were well protected or that there's something not right about the collection? Maybe you could do an edition of 'Maven on various aspects of condition that wouldn't be obvious to those of us who aren't sophisticated, experienced collectors."

    This is my response to her inquiry.
    Old photo mounts can and often do react with the bookplates  leaving hidden unsightly burn marks in the corners .

    Here are some other questions to ask when offered a bookplate an album
    How are the bookplates mounted ?
    If they are glued in what kind of glue was used ?
    If  the glue used was rubber cement or what we used to call airplane glue you should be very careful.
    Airplane glue* resists most solvents and rubber cement eventually damages and stains the bookplates.

    Does the collection pass the smell test?
    Old albums stored in grandma's attic can get musty or mildewed.This isn't an insurmountable problem if you plan to remove and soak the bookplates but it is time consuming  and needs to be considered when negotiating a price.

    If the collection is in another city state or country many established dealers with send it to you for your perusal if you  pay the postage and insurance.Private individuals may  not want to send a collection to a stranger so you should ask the seller if he plans to be in your area in the near future or if he has a friend or relative who lives near you .Perhaps you could arrange to examine the collection that way..
    If all else fails scans or xerox copies of the 15 nicest plates in the collection should be requested.

    Negotiating a price for grandma's collection is often tricky. Most sellers, understandably have no frame of reference and the negotiation is often challenging
    .In any event buying collections has always been something I enjoy.

    In case you are wondering I was not the high bidder on the Ebay collection it sold for $598,88 plus postage.

     Buying collections enables you to get duplicates for exchanges with other collectors.
    Here are a few duplicates I currently have for possible exchange.

    I have many many more so drop me a note about the kinds of bookplates you are searching for.

    There is a wealth of useful bookplate information on You Tube.

     Here are some examples:

    How to remove a bookplate:

    An Excellent Bookplate Reference Book

    See You again next Sunday

    Saturday, March 15, 2014

    Why Do I Collect ?

    Many years ago someone asked me why I collected . The question caught me off guard because
    the person asking  did not understand why anyone would collect anything. There are no simple answers to such questions but I can tell you that every time I go on a bookplate hunt I feel invigorated, like an archaeologist starting out on a new expedition. It may take me three hours to find one bookplate (if I am lucky) during which time I've inhaled three carloads of book dust, but the joy of a find has never diminished..

    Yesterday was no exception. I found two leather bookplates while visiting The Strand in New York City.   I am delighted to give them free publicity because over the years
    I have found many exceptional bookplates on my visits. It sounds strange but I actually remember almost every bookplate I  ever got at the Strand for the last thirty years..

    Here is what I purchased: yesterday
    The red leather bookplate was was found within five minutes after entering the store
    The paper version was already in my collection..The link below is to Mr. Auchincloss' The New York Times

    Louis Auchincloss was a  recipient of The National Medal of Arts in 2005.
    If anyone out there recognizes the gate  on his bookplate ( perhaps at his former estate?) please let me know.

     I believe the second bookplate I found was used by Mary  LeCompte Du Nouy . She was married to
    Pierre Lecomte Du Noüy the French Biophysicist and Philosopher .He and his American wife, the former Mary Bishop Harriman, lived in Paris under Nazi domination in the early days of the war, but escaped to the United States in August, 1942...It is not clear to me what the initials E.L. at the top of the plate signify...
    It just dawned on me. perhaps it is an abbreviation for Ex Libris.

      Andre Bishop sent me the following biographical information which is most appreciated:
    Claire Lecomte du Nouy sent me your email message to her. Mary Lecomte du Nouy was my grandmother. Claire is the daughter of my grandmother’s stepson, Philippe who died a few years ago.
    Mary and Pierre Lecomte du Nouy were avid rare book collectors, both French and English, and had a number of Zola and Flaubert first editions and letters, as well as many letters of De Maupassant who was a close friend of Pierre’s mother.
    Mary translated many of Pierre’s books into English, including his most famous book “Human Destiny”, and eventually wrote a biography of her husband called “The Road to Human Destiny.” She started a foundation in his honor in the late 1950”s and gave awards to scientific and spiritual books. The foundation exists today but has broadened its scope to include playwrights and artistic institutions.
    Mary died in 1974.
    She was born Mary Bishop Harriman, the daughter of James and Elisabeth Harriman. Her grandfather was Heber Bishop who had a fantastic jade collection, given to the Metropolitan Museum.

    I think E L is indeed for ex libris.
     It seems to me they had other bookplates as well (I have many of their books) but the oval leather one is by far the nicest.

    I have not received very many collector profiles yet  this year .If you wish to participate  please send me an email..
      The  profiles are are not very structured. You just write a few paragraphs about yourself and your bookplate collection.
    Jpeg scans of your favorite bookplates increase  readership along  a picture of yourself, if possible.
    If English is not your first language and editing is needed I will advise you of suggested changes before publishing.
    A few randomly selected profiles are attached.
    3/16/2014 Jacques Laget's latest catalog of bookplates for sale just arrived.
    Here is a link:

    See you again next Sunday


    Sunday, March 09, 2014

    This Week in Bookplates 3/9/2014

    Holly Hurd-Forsyth ,The Collections Manager and Registrar at The Maine Historical Society sent  the following information, extracted from The Maine Historical Society Blog

    The paper size is 7.7cm high by 10.8cm long (irregular). 
    The imprint size is 6.5 x 6.5cm square

    "MHS staff are continually reviewing and researching the collections and (re)discovering wonderful things.
    A beautiful, very early, and very rare, printed bookplate pasted into the front of one of our Special Collections volumes recently drew attention.  It reads “Thomas Smith, Hunc Librum Vendicat. Anno. Dom MDCCVII” which translates to “Thomas Smith Claims This Book in the Year of Our Lord 1707.” The words are surrounded by a woodcut border of flowers, including roses and thistles. The boldness of the design combined with the early date, and the name “Thomas Smith” warranted further investigation.
    As it turns out, this book belonged to Thomas Smith (1678-1742), a merchant in Boston and the father of Parson Thomas Smith (1702-1795) who was the first minister of the first church in Portland (then Falmouth). Parson Smith served as minister for 68 years, until he died in his early 90s. His journals were published in 1849, and provide a valuable window into early to mid-18th century Portland.
    The bookplate itself is important. Sinclair Hamilton, the preeminent scholar of early American printing and book illustration proclaims it “…is probably the first ornamental American bookplate” and demonstrates the advancement of the art of woodcut printing in the American colonies.
    The book (S.C. 843: Annaei Senecae Tum Rhetoris Tum Philosophi…, published in Geneva in 1620) was a gift of Florence Codman of New York City in 1958. 
    For more information on bookplates, see this Maine Memory Network online exhibit, Bookplates Honor Annie Louise Cary, developed by the Cary Memorial Library in Wayne."

    Note from Lew- Tom Boss  advised me that the Thomas Smith plate is listed (item#7) in

    Early American Book Illustrators and Wood Engravers 1670-1870 by Sinclair Hamilton

    In addition the bookplate for James Penniman (item # 10) utilizes the same woodcut design.
    Here is a PDF link to the Princeton University Exhibit:


    New Arrivals in my own collection

     Louis Untermeyer's wife Bryna  was a cousin of the late Anne Blaine Jaffe, my sister in law.In 1978 Anne  received a note from Mrs. Untermeyer to which was   attached one of Mr. Untermeyer's early bookplates,The note and bookplate were placed in a Louis Untermeyer book where it rested until my brother Arnold stumbled upon it and gave it to me yesterday.