I made a completely unexpected discovery a few days ago. Looking for a photograph, I instead came upon an envelope full of examples of a wide variety of bookplates used in the Fondren Library. I couldn’t have been more surprised–I’d never given any thought at all to these small labels. But someone named Robin (I assume a Fondren staff member)had carefully collected these and left a short note with them, offering to help design another one if needed.
People love libraries. I myself love the Fondren Library recklessly and I know that others do as well. Over the years, many generous and thoughtful people have created funds for Fondren to acquire books in a wide variety of fields. Others have given us their own specialized collections. These plates were (and still are) used to identify which books came from which sources. Some of them are historically interesting, others striking to look at, and a few are both. A handful (as the one above) are immediately clear and some are mysterious. Each one means something, though, and I’m curious enough to try to sort them out.
I can’t choose a favorite, but this is a top contender. I find it utterly charming.