Selected Bookplates in the Jean Outland Chrysler Library Collection
Bookplates have existed since the 15th century, once the invention of the printing press made widespread personal book ownership possible. Also known as "ex libris" (from the library of), these plates have been made from everything from woodcuts, copper etchings, and simple pen-and-ink drawings. Although bookplates were first used to simply identify ownership, these drawings became recognized as art in their own right, and many collections exist of famous or especially artistic bookplates- sometimes the bookplate can be worth more than the book to which it is attached!
The Jean Outland Chrysler Library has a wide variety of bookplates in our collection, dating primarily from between the mid-19th and 20th centuries. During this period, interest in bookplates underwent a renaissance as book collecting (as a facet of art collecting) became more fashionable. By the 1880s, several ex libris societies existed, and prominent collectors commissioned unique plates from well-known artists. Our collection ranges from plates of local authors to renowned collectors, including the personal plate of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., who gave the museum its name. Also included are samples of the plates used by the JOCL throughout its history.