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COLLECTION Identifier: UAIII 50.15.20.6

Harvard College Library printing plates and blocks used in the production of bookplates

Overview

This collection consists of engraved printing plates and blocks created for the production of bookplates for the Harvard College Library from the the mid-eighteenth through mid-twentieth centuries. Most plates and blocks indicate the names of donors and specified funds for Harvard College Library acquisitions. A limited amount of sample bookplates and related correspondence is also included in the collection.

Dates

  • [1765], 1850-1971

Creator

Conditions on access and use

The Harvard College Library printing plates and blocks used in the production of bookplates contain Harvard University records which are restricted for 50 years from the date of creation. These restrictions are noted at the item level in the inventory.

Restricted material is housed in box 8.

Extent

2.62 cubic feet (7 document boxes, 1 half document box)
This collection consists of engraved printing plates and blocks created for the production of bookplates for the Harvard College Library from 1765 to 1971. Most plates and blocks indicate the names of donors and specified funds for Harvard College Library acquisitions. When available, biographical and historical notes on the donors, honorees, and printing plate and block creators, are listed at the item level.

Of particular note in this collection is Nathaniel Hurd's copper printing plate engraved circa 1765 for the Detur Prize, which was the first bookplate created and used by the Harvard College Library. This copper plate was used for the production of bookplates to be placed in books presented by the college as prizes to students.

In addition to the engraved printing plates and wooden printing blocks, the collection also contains a limited amount of correspondence and sample bookplates. These items have been arranged with the corresponding plate or block in the collection.

Historical note on bookplates in the Harvard College Library

Bookplates have been used by Harvard since 1765 when Nathaniel Hurd engraved a copper printing plate with the College's seal to commemorate the Detur Prize. The bookplates produced from this printing plate were placed in books which were awarded as prizes to the student recipients.

Over the next two hundred sixty years, the Harvard College Library inserted bookplates into its printed volumes to indicate ownership, identify collections, and honor donors. The Library continued this practice until December 2010; all materials acquired after this date, with the exception of rare books and manuscripts, now receive a digital rather than a paper bookplate.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in two series:
  1. Printing plates and related correspondence, [1750], 1850-1971
  2. Printing blocks, [1858-1949]

Acquisition information

The Harvard College Library printing plates and blocks used in the production of bookplates were transferred to the Harvard University Archives from the Harvard College Library:
  1. Accession 18466; received 2011 November 7

Related materials in the Harvard University Archives

  1. Harvard College Library. Bookplates, ca. 1897-ca. 1932 (HUF 523.406): http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua14003
  2. Harvard University. Copper printing plate for the Detur book prize bookplate, 1898. (UAN 7)
  3. Wright, Walter Woodman, 1915- . "Harvard book-plates," Columbia University, School of Library Service, 1938 (HUF 523.538.95)

Inventory update

This document last updated 2019 March 26.

Processing Information

Processing information Processed in September 2013 by Jennifer Pelose.

Processing included rehousing materials in the appropriate containers, establishment of series hierarchy, and the creation of this finding aid. Printing plate and block titles were transcribed by the archivist; dates and titles supplied by the archivist appear in brackets.
Link to catalog
Title
Harvard College Library. Harvard College Library printing plates and blocks used in the production of bookplates, [1765], 1850-1971: an inventory
Status
completed
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English
EAD ID
hua01013

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard University Archives Repository

Holding nearly four centuries of materials, the Harvard University Archives is the principal repository for the institutional records of Harvard University and the personal archives of Harvard faculty, as well as collections related to students, alumni, Harvard-affiliates and other associated topics. The collections document the intellectual, cultural, administrative and social life of Harvard and the influence of the University as it emerged across the globe.

Contact:
Pusey Library
Harvard Yard
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-2461