The collection consists of thousands of bookplates (originals and facsimiles from the 18th to the 20th century from private and institutional libraries), proofs, metal plates, notes, and letters. The collection has been organized into five series (Institutions, Designers, Armorial, Newark Public Library plates, and Oversize) and includes original bookplates created by prominent engravers such J.W. Spenceley, E.D. French, W.F. Hopson, and A.N. Macdonald, as well as Dutch, German, Swedish, and Spanish artists.
- Majority of material found in 18th - 20th century
Conditions Governing Access
There are no access restrictions on this collection. Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied or photographed without permission from library staff.
Conditions Governing Use
There are no access restrictions on this collection. Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied or photographed without permission from library staff. Many manuscripts are brittle.
6.17 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
John Cotton Dana began the collection before he became the second Director of the Newark Public Library in 1902. A majority of the plates were purchased by Dana. Some were acquired by exchanging bookplates with other institutions or persons. In the 20th century, designers also donated some of their plates and proofs and other items were gifts from collectors.
Processed by Nadine Sergejeff, June-October 2016. Note: Series headings were developed by John Cotton Dana, bookplates were organized and inventoried in each series.
A large portion of the collection needed to be organized and filed. This finding aid was created as an attempt to organize the collection, most of which had been left untouched since the 1920s. Errors were found (attributions) and much research still needs to be performed in order to identify some of the designers and to continue authenticating some of the attributions. In the meantime, items that were unverified or unidentified were grouped into an “anonymous” category. There may also be some duplication between Series II & III, but, for the most part, Series III, as created by John Cotton Dana, was left intact. The items have not been digitized.
Conservation Note: In addition to intact original plates, the collection consists of many facsimiles which were removed and cut out of books by John Cotton Dana, forming a “study collection.” Originals were also detached from books. Both original and facsimile plates were then glued onto cardboard during the first half of the 20th century. These items were left untouched and presently, no attempt was made to detach the plates. Therefore, these items are stored as vertical “cards” in their original wooden boxes. Several are in poor condition. If an item is a facsimile, this is noted in the finding aid.
In May-October 2016, conservation work entailed removal of metal paper clips and rehousing the collection into archival folders. During the process of the inventory, the loose plates were covered with sheets of archival polyester.
- Associations, institutions, etc. -- New Jersey
- Associations, institutions, etc. -- New Jersey -- Newark
- Book collecting
- Dana, John Cotton, 1856-1929
- Engravers – United States
- French, Edwin Davis, 1851-1906
- Hopson, William
- Lankes, Julius J., 1884-1960
- Macdonald, Arthur Nelson, 1866-1940
- Newark Public Library -- History
- Smith, Sidney Lawton, 1845-1929
- Spenceley, J. Winfred (Joseph Winfred), 1865-1908
- Nadine Sergejeff
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script