Assorted Personal Bookplates
In the 19th and early 20th century, many large private libraries in both England and America were sold at auction. Individual volumes -- many still bearing the book plates of their wealthy former owners -- made their way into academic and public libraries through the used book trade. The bookplates remain as valuable evidence of a book’s travels from place to place, from century to century.
Personal bookplates are far less common today than they were before World War II. Customized bookplates like those exhibited here are virtually unknown. We have a much more casual attitude toward books now that they have been easily available and inexpensive for many generations: we focus almost exclusively on them as texts and care little about their bindings or for details such as bookplates and endpapers.