At the foundation of all bookplate forms are the essential ideas of ownership and provenance. Personal bookplates have always been relatively feasible to all social classes as they consist of minimal designs. Along with pictorial/illustrative forms in the 19th century, personal bookplates are still in use today as a simple name or sentimental inscription retains just as much meaning as a traditional coat of arms.
A Battle for Ownership
Initially inscribed in pen, then pasted over with two separate bookplates, this copy of Speeches and Forensic Arguments by Daniel Webster is a wonderful example of just how important ownership is as it carries a rich provenance.
A Simple and Personal Plate
Again, we can see the passage of ownership over time from Mrs. Agnes Marshall to Isaac S. Cooper. This discovery found in Herman Melville's work, Issac Potter: His Fifty Years of Exile, is a wonderful example of both handwritten script and personal bookplate. From individual to individual, it settles the idea that ex libris has been used by everyone and all social classes.
A Bookplate from a Senator
Signed and inscribed by the author, Grace Tully, F.D.R., My Boss also contains the personal bookplate of Joseph F. Guffey. Guffey was elected to the United States Senate from 1935 until 1947 and worked as a Democratic Party politician for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His sister, Emma Guffey Miller, was an SRU trustee and also actively involved in politics.
Grace Tully, the last personal secretary for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, wrote a personal note for Senator Guffey.