Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bookplates, Part IV

Honestly, it’s hard to pick out my favorite bookplate, because each is fascinating in its own way. However, a few come to mind. Midlo2






Hard to choose.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dissecting a Bookplate

I recently talked about how we’re “decorating” the bathrooms here at MedChi with copies of the bookplates which I found last year. One of the more tedious and time-consuming chores I had to undertake before I could frame and hang the plates was to Photoshop them, so they’d look good when they were enlarged.

First I scanned in each plate at 600 dpi resolution. bookplates (11)This is the highest setting on my scanner, and it does the job for me. The papers on which the plates have been printed have discolored and yellowed over the 100+ years since they arrived at MedChi. The engraving ink varies in color from black to brown, although there is one which is orange, and a few others which have red ink.imageI decided to use black frames to highlight the graphics in the engravings, so wanted to convert all of the plates to black on white, so the image would be the stand-out, not the paper, etc.

Once I’d scanned the plate, I had to do some work to clean it up. Dering

The design of this one got lost in the discoloration and foxing on the paper. Dering

The detail on these plates is fascinating, and when I was Photoshopping them, I got a chance to look at them up-close. As an example, this plate has a fishing rod and a fish, a shot gun, a paddle, a skull, an owl, and a pyramid and sphinx, all entwined in roses and thorns.Clark

And this one, which has Johns Hopkins’ distinctive buildings at the top, Dr. Cullen in his library cum laboratory, and his summer camp on a lake in Canada at the bottom. In addition, it has the seals of the schools Dr. Cullen was affiliated with, as well as various scrolls and decorative elements. The bookplate was engraved by Dr. Cullen’s friend, Max Brödel.Cullen

Dr. Dandy’s bookplate has a brain at the very top of it, as fitting his practice as an early neurosurgeon. His surgical team was known as the “Brain Team” and was thought to be the finest available in the world at the time. If you look closely at the bottom, you can see the initials DMP and the date 1939Dandy

If you are interested in looking at the bookplates, either visit our bathrooms, or contact me at, and I will be happy to show them to you.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Last week, the U.S. National Archives asked any organization with an archival collection to post a picture on social media of their archives. They asked everyone to tag the picture #ArchivesShelfie. The #shelfie is a play on the term #selfie, which, as you may know is a picture that you’ve taken of yourself.

The idea was for archives across the world to post pictures of their collections, and perhaps some of the workers who tend to these collections.

MedChi participated in this fun effort with a picture of our library, and if you look closely, you can see our former librarian, Marcia Crocker Noyes, just hovering on the right. archives shelfie

We were pleased to take part in this national recognition of the importance of archives, but also wanted to have a little fun with it!