Biblio-Deception

In its nondescript cloth binding, the University of Pennsylvania’s copy of The Works of Publius Virgilius Maro Translated by John Ogilby (London : T. Maxey, 1650) at first appears unremarkable. However, the book’s association with the infamous 19th c. forger Harry Buxton Forman (1842-1917) makes it noteworthy. When this volume of Virgil’s works in the Latin Culture Class Collection was rebound, the binder took care to preserve Forman’s bookplate by affixing it to the title page. LatC V5874 Eg1 1650 H. Buxton Forman was a respected bookman of his time. He was a bibliophile and scholar, establishing his reputation with bibliographies of Shelley and Keats. During his years of book collecting and literary pursuits Forman developed a friendship with T.J. Wise (1859-1937), also a collector and respected bibliographer. Their friendship ultimately took a criminal turn as they used their combined bibliographic expertise to fabricate dozens of counterfeit works.

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For the Love of Reading: Reading on a Windowseat with a Dog Nearby

Bookplate of Edith Barbara Tranter.

Edith Barbara Tranter was secretary to W. T. H. Howe (1874-1939), president of the American Book Company in Cincinnati, and subsequently administrator of his estate. She appears herself to have collected books and manuscripts; her library was sold at auction by Parke-Bernet on March 18, 1952.

Penn Libraries call number: EC8 B7898 W857g

The Language of Bookplates

Bibliophiles and Book Collectors:

Illustrated bookplate of Frank Maier, American book collector and commodore of the New Rochelle Yacht Club (who seems to have participated in a number of races in the first decade of the 20th century).

Penn Libraries call numbers: AC8 H3188 864p,AC8 H3115 838h and AC8 Sh472 846s.

Bookplate of Charles B. Foote (1837-1900), American banker and book collector. Evidently he was a better collector than broker; his firm Hatch and Foote failed during a panic in 1884 and at the time of his death his partner Daniel Hatch accused him of unauthorized speculation with the firm’s funds, leading to a second collapse (cf. the Lewiston Daily Sun, 19 September 1900). Cf. also his death notice in the New York Times (21 September 1900), sub-headlined “Ruined Stock Broker Passes Away Without Regaining Consciousness”. A portion of his library was sold at auction in 1894 and a catalog published, Catalogue of the Unique Collection Made by Charles B. Foote, Esq. … To be sold at auction Friday, November 23, 1894 at 3 p.m. by Bangs & Co. (New York: 1894-1895).

Bookplate engraved by E.D. [i.e. Edwin Davis] French (1851-1906) in 1894. According to M.E. Oemisch, French created his first bookplate as a practical joke in 1893 but quickly became a sought-after artist in the field (cf. “Edwin Davis French” in University of Rochester Library Bulletin 2.2 (1947)).

Both Foote and Davis were members of the Grolier Club.

Penn Libraries call numbers: AC8 L8603 830eand AC8 W6187 870b

Physicians:

Bookplate of Dr. Bradley H. Kirschberg (1883?-1941), chemist and head of the New York State Police Laboratory. Born in Poland, he immigrated to the United States and took a doctorate in chemistry from New York University. From 1912-1935 he served as city chemist for Schenectady. In 1936 he was appointed director of the New York State Police Laboratory, in which position he served until his death. (According to his obituary in the New York Times (29 May 1941), he died of a heart attack on the job.)

Penn Libraries call number: RC9 T7564 932h 1936

George Fales Baker, 1863-1929

Motto: Intus et in cute noscere hominem

Penn Libraries call number: EC8 G5903 823c

For the Love of Reading: From the Library of Harold Greenhill

Bookplate of Harold Greenhill (1893-1968)

Harold Greenhill, a Chicago book collector and president of William P. Green Co., was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1893 and graduated from the University of Illinois in 1917 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He was a member of the Caxton Club from 1948 until his death and served two terms on the Club’s Council. Greenhill was also a member of the Grolier Club. He died in Rhinelander, Wisconsin on October 15 1968.

Many of his books were bought by Bradley H. Martin and sold at Martin’s sale. Greenhill’s books are also found at Princeton University and at the Newberry Library.

Call Number: IC55 G9315 590p

For the Love of Reading: Burning the Midnight Candle

John Louis Haney, 1877-1960

Bookplate of John Louis Haney (1877-1960), author and professor of English literature, who served as president of Philadelphia’s Central High School from 1920 to1943 (succeeding Robert Ellis Thompson) and as a member of the American Philosophical Society.

This bookplate can be found in a fair number of books in the Culture Class Collection at Penn’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library.