Bookplate Collection

Finding aid created by California State University, Los Angeles staff using RecordEXPRESS
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, California 90032-8300

Descriptive Summary

Title: Bookplate Collection
Dates: 1772-1937
Collection Number: 2015.010
Extent: 5.42 linear ft.
Repository: California State University, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California 90032-8300
Abstract: Bookplates, or ex libris, are labels with a printed design intended to show ownership, usually pasted inside the front cover of a book. Sizes of bookplates vary from folio to very small. They are printed on white or colored paper, vellum, or leather. Bookplates are produced by various means such as woodcut, wood engraving, line engraving, etching, lithography, and modern photographic reproduction. The custom originated in Germany around the 15th century by Albrecht Duhrer. Many different types of bookplates exist. The early ones represented armorial types that consisted of a simple shield. In the 17th century, bookplates contained more elaboration of cartouche like shields, encircled by wreaths, festoons, and ribbons. In the 18th century, the appearance of carved work emerged surrounding the shield. Overall, countries varied in their designs. In Germany, designs tended to be purely simple, while in France they were more decorative. France was also famous for allegorical bookplates during the mid-18th century. In the late 1700’s, there was a return to a simpler, semi classical motif. Pictorial plates had also been used from comparatively early times. Toward the end of the 19th century, German designers began to include nude figures as a major motif of bookplate design. This fashion was followed in Europe and the United States as bookplates began to be adopted all over the world. In general, bookplates signify a reflection of history; emulating the influence of the eras in art, furniture, and architecture.
Language of Material: English


Access is available by appointment for Cal State LA student and faculty researchers as well as independent researchers.

Publication Rights

Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Preferred Citation

Bookplate Collection. California State University, Los Angeles

Scope and Content of Collection

Our collection of 1,530 bookplates contains a wide variety of designs, designers, and subject matter. The collection includes designs of universities and colleges, clubs and organizations, and Gothic designs by H. Alfred Fowler.

Indexing Terms

ex libris

Additional collection guides