What is The First American Bookplate?
This week I am at the University of Virginia's Rare Book School taking a week-long course called Provenance: Tracing Owners and Collections, taught by David Pearson. Topics include "inscriptions, paleography, bookplates, heraldry, bindings as provenance evidence, sale catalogues, tracing owners, and the recording of provenance data in catalogues" -- in other words, absolutely fascinating stuff, and a lot of it. I intend to write up a better report once the rigorous week comes to a close, but for now, perhaps an answer to a question posed today during a discussion of bookplates. What was the first American bookplate? Sources report that the 1642 bookplate of Massachusetts printer Stephen Daye (printer of the Bay Psalm Book) was the first. Finding an image, however, proved more than a quick Google search away. So classmates--and interested readers--is this the first American bookplate?
According to The Bookplate Annual for 1921, which is where I pulled this image from, "The general consensus of opinion is that it is indeed the bookplate of the Cambridge printer." (No matter the spelling difference; as we are learning this week, that was very fluid in the 17th c.) However, is it not truly a book label since it was printed and not engraved or etched as bookplates generally are?