bookplate, label pasted in a book to indicate ownership, also called ex libris [Lat., = from the books of]. The bookplate is usually of paper on which heraldic or other designs are engraved or printed. The earliest printed bookplates date from c.1480 in Germany. Dürer and Holbein designed and engraved a number of bookplates. A Stephen Daye bookplate of 1642 may have been among the first printed in North America; the John Cotton plate of 1674 certainly was. Paul Revere was well known for his bookplate engravings, as was Nathaniel Hurd. The practice of designing bookplates flourished throughout the 18th and 19th cent. Fine examples are still being produced mainly for collectors and connoisseurs by a number of graphic artists including Richard Horton and John DePol.
See J. B. L. Warren (Lord De Tabley), Guide to the Study of Bookplates (1880); W. Hamilton, Dated Book-Plates (1895); E. J. Kavanagh, ed., Bookplates (1966); C. D. Allen, American Bookplates (1895, repr. 1968).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.