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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 32, August 6, 2006, Article 15

BOOKPLATES AND TRACING THE OWNERSHIP OF BOOKS

Continuing last week's discussion of identifying ownership of books,
Katie Jaeger writes: "I inherited an 1851 copy of T.W. Gwilt Mapleson's
A Handbook of Heraldry, published by John Wiley.  It has fabulous hand-
colored plates, and its subject is the heraldic symbols, arms etc. of
important New York families.  On the third innerleaf is a hand-colored
plate inscribed "to Mrs. Anson Livingston, by her very humble devoted
servant, the author," showing the Livingston arms. Each individual copy
was similarly personalized to the subscriber.  At the end of the book
is a list of subscribers, all of whom were members of New York's "300,"
and it supplies the number of copies printed for each. "Dowager Mrs.
Livingston, Manor of Livingston" ordered 12, but the maximum ordered
by other subscribers was four.  Most ordered but one or two.

Robert Lovett, Sr. was a stone seal engraver who catered to the 300,
frequently cutting their arms onto personal or professional seals.
He advertised that he had made a special study of heraldry, and had
a large collection of heraldic books to consult.  Somehow, he acquired
this copy of Mrs. Livingston's book, and he has autographed it in pencil
on the second innerleaf.  When Robert Sr. died, the book passed to his
son, Robert Jr., who autographed it in pen on the first innerleaf.

When Jr. died, the book passed to his son, Robert Keating Lovett, who
died shortly thereafter, willing his collection to George H. Lovett,
his uncle (another son of Robert Sr.).  George H. Lovett left it to
his daughter, Anna, who left it to my grandmother (her daughter), who
left it to my mother, and now it is mine.  Though I am not a direct
descendant of Robert Jr., I am a direct descendant of Robert Sr.  My
question is, would it be appropriate for me to also sign one of the
innerleaves of this book?  Or would it be better to document this
history on a separate sheet, and keep it folded inside? Or could I
do both?

I recently received a copy of Joseph Addison's Dialogues Upon the
Usefulness of Ancient Medals, published in 1726. The second innerleaf
is signed "Michael Joseph Quin, May 26, 1803."  This may or may not
be the Michael Joseph Quin who became editor of the Dublin Review in
the 1820s.  If so, he was nine years old at the time he signed the
book.  The first innerleaf is signed "John Terry, 1898."  Does anyone
know of an online autograph archive, where one could go to compare
signatures?"

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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