Although these two particular bookplates are not from Slippery Rock University's collection, they are included as a starting place for our journey through bookplate history. Below are two examples of the oldest known bookplates. They illustrate just how important literature, ownership, and provenance are to human history.
Speculated to be the earliest bookplate and made on small, enameled, ceramic plates, “The Ex Libris of Amenophis III and Teie” dates back to some time during the reign of the Egyptian pharaoh, Amenophis III (1391-1353 BC).
Translated, it is believed to read: “The Good God, Nimba-at-Re, given life, beloved of Ptah, king of the two lands, and the king's wife Teie, living” and “Book of the Sycamore and the Olive.”
Printed on wood block and then colored by hand, it originates from Brother Hildebrand (Hilpbrand) Brandenburg of Biberach, Germany. Today, it is also revered as one of the oldest examples of a bookplate.