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Bookplate Collection

Identifier: Spec-Coll-00053

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

From 1917-1947, Western Reserve University Libraries accumulated a notable collection of bookplates from several generous donors. Beginning in 1917, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Lemperly donated some 500 bookplates in memory of their daughter Lucia, a student at the College for Women, who died in 1915. Their gift also included a number of standard works on bookplate design and collecting. Miss Clara Prentis Sherwin left over 3000 bookplates to the library collection upon her death in 1939, along with more than 500 titles related to bookplates. In 1944 Miss Alice Tyler, former Dean of the WRU School of Library Science, bequeathed her nearly 2700 book plates and related pamphlets to the collection.

As the collection grew through donations, WRU librarians began the practice of adding samples of book plated created for their collections as well as interesting bookplates found in gift books or obtained by exchange with other individuals and institutions. The last recorded gifts to the collection came in 1947 when Mr. N. Lawson Lewis presented the libraries with 175 bookplates engraved or designed by distinguished artists and Mr. and Mrs. Jack Diamond and Sara E. Blake donated many examples of the bookplates made for their books by various artists, including Miss Blake herself. Since 1947, sample bookplates from libraries at CWRU have been added to the collection as well.

Common themes in the bookplate collection include those designed for children, celebrities, institutions, royal families or designs in foreign languages. In addition to these broad categories many bookplates in the collection feature examples of canting, or punning about the owners’ name, examples of heraldry and examples of libraries over time.


  • 1725-1985


17 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Bookplate Collection
In Progress
Special Collections staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Kelvin Smith Library Special Collections Repository

Kelvin Smith Library
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland OH 44106-7151 United States