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February 24, 2017

Namesakes - Lemperly Bookplate Collection

One hundred years ago Western Reserve University received a gift of 540 bookplates, some engravings and books from Mr. and Mrs. Paul Lemperly in memory of their daughter, Lucia, who had attended the College for Women and had passed away in 1915. This gift was placed in the custody of the Adelbert College Library and became known as the Lemperly Bookplate Collection.

Lucia Lemperly was born 2/7/1886 in Cleveland. She graduated from West High School in 1903 and entered the College for Women with the freshman class of 1907. She pursued the Modern Language course. In January 1905 Lucia withdrew on account of health reasons. She died 5/20/1915 at the age of 29. Her father was a wholesale druggist and a collector of bookplates and books about bookplates.

Lucia Lemperly.jpg
Lucia Lemperly

Soon after the gift was received, the bookplates, designed by Edwin Davis French, were exhibited in the English Library at the College for Women in Clark Hall. The exhibition was held from 2/10-2/17/1917. To commemorate this exhibition from 100 years ago, the University Archives and Special Collections have displayed some of the bookplates, copper plates, and books in an exhibit case in the University Archives. The exhibit is available during the months of February and March.

BlogLemperlyExhibit_Invitation.jpg
1917 Exhibit invitation

Prior to the gift, Lemperly’s collection was exhibited at the Case Library in 1899 and the Rowfant Club in 1911.

French was a renowned American engraver. He was born in North Attleboro, Massachusetts in 1851. After studying at Brown University for 2 years, he became chief of the engraving department of the Whiting Company (silversmiths) in New York. In 1893 he designed and engraved his first bookplate for his sister-in-law, Helen E. Brainerd. He soon changed his career to copper engraving (leaving Whiting in 1894). He died in 1906.

The Lemperly Bookplate Collection contains bookplates designed by other artists as well as those used by celebrities of the day. Mr. Lemperly and Mr. French kept up a regular correspondence and the letters from French to Lemperly have been bound and are available in Special Collections along with the bookplates and related books.

Posted by hxy2 at February 24, 2017 08:53 PM

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