New Bookplate Exhibit in the W. Bruce Fye History of Medicine Library

May 17, 2017 at 3:41 pm Leave a comment

 

Mayo Clinic BookplateEver since books were first printed in the 15th century, it has been common practice for collectors and libraries to make some mark of ownership.  This might be simply the name of the owner written on the inside cover of the book or even on the title-page, but eventually the favored convention became the book-plate – a label with a distinctive design.

The earliest known examples are from Germany.  One, circa 1480, bears a woodcut representing a shield of arms supported by an angel; it was pasted in a book presented to the Carthusian monastery of Buxheim by Brother Hildebrand Brandenburg of Biberach.  Between 1503 and 1516 the great Albrecht Durer engraved several book-plates.  Soon, fashion for book-plates spread from Germany to France and Britain.  British examples date from about 1574.

The armorial style of design dominated book-plates for a couple of centuries, when books were expensive.  Then lighter and more diverse motifs became popular during periods of cheaper printing.  After its heyday, the armorial style was added to by landscapes, views of libraries (real and imaginary), allegorical pictures, piles of books and mottoes or quotations.

In 1934 Mayo Clinic Librarian Miss Frida Pliefke began a collection of medically themed bookplates. She wrote to hundreds of libraries and received in return a fine assortment of beautiful bookplates.  The W. Bruce Fye History of Medicine Library collection comprises over 800 bookplates and this exhibit displays just a sampling of this unique collection. Stop by the W. Bruce Fye History of Medicine Library on the 15th floor of the Plummer Building to see this exhibit.  Hours are M-F, 9am-1pm.

 

A few selections from the current exhibit:

Mayo Clinic Bookplate

The Mayo Clinic Library bookplate bears a very close resemblance to the official Mayo Coat of Arms and is adapted from the bookplates of Dr. Charles H. Mayo and Dr. William J. Mayo used in their private libraries.  The bookplate was revised circa 1921-22 by Ella Jack, who worked in the Mayo Art Studio at that time.  She created a border around the “Coat of Arms” of inverted hearts with a rose center like the crest roses.  This became the common version of the Mayo Library bookplate.  According to heraldic design, the heart signifies “sincerity and charity” while the rose is indicative of “hope and joy”.  This Mayo Library bookplate design is still used today.

 

Dr. Henry S. Plummer, 1874-1936.

Doctor Plummer was a man of great mechanical genius.  He developed the Clinic’s medical records system in 1907 and had much to do with the design and construction of the first two Mayo Clinic buildings.  He was also the major planner for Mayo’s group practice of medicine.

Dr. Plummer’s bookplate features scholarly and medical motifs, including a skull, books, a globe, and chemical apparatus.

 

Dr. W. Bruce Fye, 1946-

Dr. Fye selected an iconic image of the Dutch
humanist and scholar Erasmus (1469-1536) for the centerpiece of his bookplate. Félix Bracquemond’s copper engraving, published by the Louvre in 1863, was based on Hans Holbein’s 1523 painting. Dr. Fye acquired the engraving in Paris. The order of the words surrounding the portrait of Erasmus is significant.
Dr. Fye began collecting books in 1960, a dozen years before he graduated from the Johns Hopkins Medical School. It was at Johns Hopkins that he developed an interest in medical history, which grew steadily into a passion for historical research and writing.

 

Dr. Caroline M. Purnell, ? -1923.  Famous for her work in France during World War I as a surgeon,  Dr. Purnell was the first woman admitted as a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.  She was one of the strongest supporters of the suffrage movement.

 

 

 

 

 

Cedars of Lebanon Hospital

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California Hospital – Los Angeles

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibit curated by and article submitted by:

Hilary J. Lane
Instructor in History of Medicine
Coordinator – W. Bruce Fye History of Medicine Library

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

New Acquisitions for the W. Bruce Fye History of Medicine Library New Donation to the W. Bruce Fye History of Medicine Library

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