Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bookplates of Scholars in Ancient Studies

This posting originated on The Oriental Institute: Fragments for a History of an Institution: A collaborative project intended to focus ideas and thoughts on the history of the Oriental Institute of The University of Chicago, and was first posted there on 2/14/08, and was updated on 2/28/08 and 3/14/08. Since it has now gone beyond the mission of that blog, starting August 13, 2008, I'll maintain it here in more neutral territory. It was updated on September 22, 2008 with the addition of twenty bookplates collected by Peter Pamminger and Kirsten Konrad. It was updated again on March 24, 2009 with the addition of the ISAW Vermeule bookplate. Updated September 28, 2009 with the addition of van der Meulen, Yoshida and Dorman. April 30, 2010: Konrad and Pamminger's monograph Exlibris von Ägyptologen is now available. As of 4/4/2013, a second edition is in preparation.  Updated 9/7/10 with the addition of Gurney and Evans. Updated 9/17/10 with the addition of Nilsson. Updated 4/4/2013]

When I was Research Archivist- Bibliographer at the Oriental Institute (1983-2005) I began, in a vague and undirected way, to collect scans of bookplates of scholars of ancient Near Eastern Studies. The primary focus was on those which appeared in volumes in the collections of the Oriental Institute. When the OI History blog began in the winter of 2008, it seemed an appropriate place to illustrate this small collection. When that blog entry appeared, correspondents began to send me information on other bookplates and copies of their own, when they had them. I hope this trend will continue, and I urge those of you who have a personal bookplate, or who have examples of scholar's bookplates in your own books or in books accessible to you will send them along for inclusion in this collection.

The study of the Bookplate, or Exlibris, is an interesting topic. See here, and here, and here, for instance. I suggest in particular, that those of you interested in the subject might like to consult Antike im Exlibris 2 Griechenland im Exlibris, and, Antike im Exlibris. Teil 1, Aegypten im Exlibris. A copy of the latter is in the Research Archives. See also the Egyptological (or Egyptomaniacal) bookplates in the collection of Lewis Jaffe at Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie


This is the very plain bookplate of the collection known as the Director's Library. Traditionally this was the collection housed in the Director's Study. The core of the Director's Library was the collection of James Henry Breasted (see the bookplate below). Much of the Director's Library was absorbed and integrated into the Research Archives in the early 1970's. Almost all of the remainder of it (with the exception of the Director's Study collection of publications of the Oriental Institute) was absorbed by the Research Archives during the directorship of William Sumner when the Study was renovated and restored.

This is the personal bookplate of James Henry Breasted. The design used on the bookplate is the same as that used on Ulric Henry Ellerhusen's tympanum over the doorway to the Oriental Institute (and seen also here and here in architect's models, with a variant design here). I am not sure whether the bookplate or the tympanum design were the original iteration of the idea, but the existence of variants of the tympanum rather suggests that the architectural version was first.

See also
The Tympanum within the Arch on the Doorway to the Oriental Institute at The Oriental Institute: Fragments for a History of an Institution.

The bookplates illustrated below are from book in the collections of the Research Archives. Some were acquired through purchase, others by bequest.

Hans Bernhard Ambrosius Abel

Sidney Edward Bouverie Bouverie-Pusey

S. R. Driver and Godfrey Rolles Driver

Ernst Herzfeld
Biographical Sketch of Ernst Emil Herzfeld

Gustave Jéquier
Gustave Jéquier, 1868-1946

Georg [Christian Julius] Möller

Charles Francis Nims

Keith Cedric Seele

Wilhelm Spiegelberg
Wilhelm Spiegelberg (* 25. Juni 1870 in Hannover; † 23. Dezember 1930 in München) war ein deutscher Ägyptologe. Er trat durch seine maßgeblichen Forschungen über demotische Papyri hervor

Walter Wreszinski

and finally...

This bookplate was presented to me when I left the Oriental Institute in June 2005. It was (I think) thought up and designed by Tom Urban, using Mark Garrison's drawing of Persepolis Fortification Seal 1, (Cat.No. 182, pp. 272-274, Pl. 100c-e in Seals on the Persepolis Fortification Tablets, Volume I: Images of Heroic Encounter, by Mark B. Garrison and Margaret Cool Root).

This bookplate doesn't strictly speaking belong in this compilation, because no book in the Research Archives carries it. I guess this means I'll need to make a donation to become legitimate.


Since the initial posting, I have had several interesting responses, both in the comments on the blog, and offline. The following bookplates have been brought to our attention by correspondents [February 28th 2008]:

James Henry Breasted's bookplate altered to identify books in the collection donated to the Research Archives by Gregory Areshian [Courtesy of Foy Scalf]

Armas Salonen [Courtesy of Bob Whiting]

Silvin Kosak Created by the Slovene painter and sculptor Andrej Ajdic [Courtesy of Silvin Kosak]

Edda Bresciani Scanned from: La tradizione degli ex libris nella provincia di Lucca. 103 esemplari stampati dalla tipografia Biagini di Lucca. Forte dei Marmi 29-30-31 luglio 1994, printed by: Tipografia Biagini, Lucca 1994. [Courtesy of Giuseppe Del Monte]


Since the revised posting, I have had additional interesting responses. The following have been brought to our attention by correspondents [March 14th 2008]:

Louis Herbert Gray [From a book in the Research Archives. Courtesy of Foy Scalf]

Peter Lacovara [Courtesy of Peter Lacovara]

Herbert Lockwood Willett (1864-1944) [From a book in the Research Archives. Courtesy of Foy Scalf]

[Alan M. May - whose collection is now in the Library of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University]

[Dows Dunham - some of whose book were in the collection of Emily and Cornelius Vermeule, now in the Library of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University]

Emily Dickinson Townsend Vermeule, Cornelius Clarkson Vermeule III


The following set of bookplates was collected by Peter Pamminger and Kirsten Konrad, with whose very kind permission they appear here. They have been studying Egyptological bookplates for a number of years. They presented a talk on a small collection of 11 examples at the 2004 Egyptological meeting in Mainz. They are planning a 2009 exhibition at the Gutenberg Museum at Mainz.

Henri Asselberghs

Friedrich Wilhelm Bissing

Fernand Bisson de la Roque

Hans Bonnet

Warren Royal Dawson

Philippe Derchain

Adolf Erman

Prinz Johann Georg von Sachsen

Fritz Hintze

Jozef Marie Antoon Janssen

H. O. Lange

Maria Pouline Mogensen

Siegfried Morenz

Oliver Humphrys Myers

Herbert Oster

Eugène Revillout

Joachim Spiegel

Břetislav Vachala

Alexandre Varille

Walter Wreszinski


Each of the following trio of bookplates appears in books in the Oriental Institute Research Archives

Peter Dorman


The following pair of bookplates were scanned courtesy of Diane Bergman Griffith Librarian, Sackler Library.

John Evans

The following bookplate was scanned and provided by Christophe Hugot from the collections of the Bibliothèque des sciences de l’Antiquité, Lille.  He has written a very nice description of the bookplate and its owner.


This bookplate was supplied to me by Christine Lilyquist. It appears in books in the Egyptian Department library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Caroline Ransom Williams


Michael E. Smith said...

These are great! Thanks for sharing them.

irenesbooks said...

They are wonderful!

Michelle said...

Love the bookplates! I was discussing the modern version of these on my blog yesterday.

Anyway, I'm here to leave a link, not to my blog, but to a place that might interest your members here. A forum on Archeology and Ancient History. I go there to read the latest news articles. (Ancient news LOL)

Web20Librarian said...

Thank you for mounting this interesting exhibit -- many of the bookplates are beautiful,
Nick Tomaiuolo

A. K. Eyma said...

I think worth mentioning is this recent monograph:
GM Beihefte no. 7:
Kirsten Konrad/Peter Pamminger
Exlibris von Ägyptologen (2010),
111 pages
(for order info, see

Chuck Jones said...

Thanks, I cited GM Beihefte no. 7 when it appeared in April 2010 (see the fine print in the introduction).

Kasia said...

Beautiful! AND you have just inspired to make my own (so much classier than a stamp!). Never had I considered bookplates before.