Once there was a book…

Book Prizes

Steady and Strong 23h8120

Bookplate from Steady and Strong by R. M. Freeman. 1891, Griffith Farran Browne & Co: London. 23h8120


When I was in elementary school we had a program where if a teacher saw you being exceptionally good they would give you a golden ticket that you could take to the main office where they would use it to enter you in a lottery. Every Friday morning, they would pull a few names from a basket and those kids would be allowed to choose a book from the main office’s prize table- this was a very big deal. The books would always have a stamp inside proclaiming the name of the school and that it was an award for being an excellent student. Awarding children with books was hardly an original concept, and in the Baldwin I have come across several examples of book prizes that I think are both beautiful and interesting. These books with their detailed, some times extremely so, bookplates go above and beyond the stamp that was in the books I received.

Take for instance the image above. This bookplate, taken from the inside cover of Steady and Strong by R. M. Freeman, proclaims that it was awarded to Master Moorcraft for general improvement upon Christmas 1900. It’s an exceptionally beautiful bookplate with rich colors and lush details in the lettering of “prize” and the outside border. receiving this prize would be quite an honor, the gift of the book itself amplified by the gorgeous bookplate within.

Brave and True 23h8980
book-plate from Brave and True by Gregson Gow. 1892, Blackie and Son: Glasgow. 23h8980


 Here is another example of decorative prize bookplates. This image, taken from Brave and True by Gregson Gow, which is rather hard to decipher so please forgive any errors,  announces that this book was awarded to a John Hunter by a Mr. John Foltiugill for ___________ at Sunday School ________. (I need help deciphering this!!!!) The bookplate is beautiful, with many elaborate details and embellishments, especially in the border and title. The golden highlights and flower pattern really draws the eye and makes this bookplate stand out.

Homes of the West 2310109
Bookplate from Homes of the West and How They Were Made Happy by Mary D.R. Boyd. 1864, Presbyterian Board of Publication: Philadelphia. 23h10109


This last bookplate, from Homes of the West and How they Were Made Happy by Mary D.R. Boyd, varies greatly from the other bookplates stylistically, but it is just as beautiful.Gone are the bright jewel tones and gilded adornments, instead this bookplate features a gorgeous print of an angel in heaven, with a bible, who is basking in the light from above. The border itself is simple but charming, with swirling, curlicues details. Notably, it would appear that this bookplate was printed specifically for Watervliet Union Sabbath School as it is printed directly onto the paper. The bookplate states that the book was presented to John F. Dunn for 2nd Premium Attendance by Superintendent William S Woolley (?), over seen by I. N. Eaton, his secretary, on the first of January, 1865.

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One comment on “Book Prizes

  1. Pingback: School Scribbles | Once there was a book...

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This entry was posted on October 16, 2014 by in Children's Literature, Paratexts and tagged .
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