Ex Libris (Or: This Book is Mine, So Hands Off!)

Bookplate_of_Edgar_Rice_BurroughsLongtime Bas Bleu readers have noticed that our catalog offerings over the years occasionally include sets of bookplates and other book-personalizing items (see our From the Library of… Stamp). Decorative paper labels, also known as ex libris, are a stylish way to brand books from your personal library as your own, dramatically increasing the odds of having them returned to your shelves after being lent out to friends. Affixed inside the front cover, contemporary bookplates usually include a pre-printed image, perhaps the words “from the library of” or “ex libris,” and a blank space in which to write the owner’s name.

Recently, this all-star collection compiled by the list-makers over at Buzzfeed got us to thinking: where, exactly, did bookplates originate? We did a little digging, and here’s what we found: Continue reading