Librarian and avid bookplate collector Zella Allen Dixson claims that “the prime requisite for a good book-plate is an artistic client” (p. 10). Perhaps the most artistic clients of all are the many artists who design their own bookplates. Carl Stephen Junge (1880-1972) was a Chicago-based artist who designed bookplates as well as posters, illustrations, and other graphics. Junge’s personal ex-libris cleverly incorporates his initials and surname as part of the owl’s facial markings—the owl being a symbol of wisdom and thus a frequent bookplate motif.
Offering a summation of Junge’s oeuvre, Dixson writes that “there is a great variety in these designs, but all showing dignified treatment, essential strength of line and reserve power. Here is one book-plate artist who has not failed to remember that the book-plate, being the symbol of a personality, a label of ownership, must suggest some detail of life” (p. 7). Dixson had previously written Concerning Book-Plates: A Handbook for Collectors (1903), and she served as the de facto head of the University of Chicago Library from 1891 until 1910.
The Yale Bookplate Collection comprises graphic works as well as archival and published materials related to bookplates. The newly acquired Carl S. Junge Collection (BKP 156), which includes original drawings, correspondence, and printed materials, demonstrates the variety of resources available for study and inspiration in the Haas Arts Library Special Collections.
Zella Allen Dixson, “The Making of Book-Plates,” introduction to Book-Plates: A Collection of Original Book-Plate Designs by Carl S. Junge (Columbus, Ohio: The Champlin Press, 1916).