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Collection of book-plates by Edwin Davis French and others.,
Collection number: MS 0048

Lay, Helen Brainerd; Librarian. Mount Holyoke Female Seminary graduate, 1887. Papers consist of a collection of book-plates designed and engraved by her brother-in-law, Edwin Davis French. Other material consists of the work of Cleora Wheeler, Octave Uzanne, K. Nakata and Yumimaro Ohmori. The correspondence is between Helen Brainerd Lay, Mount Holyoke College librarians, book-plate engravers, and other collectors. Also contains some periodicals, catalogs, advertisements, and supplementary books.

Terms of Access and Use:

Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Helen Brainerd Lay, librarian. Sister-in-law of Edwin Davis French. Graduated Mount Holyoke Seminary and College in 1887.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The bulk of the book-plates were designed and engraved by Edwin Davis French and represent an almost complete collection of his work. In addition there is an almost complete collection of the work of Cleora Wheeler. Most of the rest of the book-plates are English and American although there are also examples from Italy, France (including the plate of Octave Uzanne) and Switzerland, along with plates of the Japanese designers K. Nakata and Yumimaro Ohmori probably from the 1930s. The American book-plates not by French have been identified using Allen's "Classified list of early American book-plates" whenever possible. The correspondence (<1896-1938>), both with Helen Brainerd Lay and with librarians at Mount Holyoke College, is from book-plate engravers and from other collectors.

This collection is organized into five series:

Arranged thematically then alphabetically.

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Lay Book-Plate Collection, Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, MA.

History of the Collection

Additional Information
Contact Information
Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
8 Dwight Hall
50 College St.
South Hadley, MA 01075

Phone: (413) 538-2013
Fax: (413) 538-2370

Email Reference Form:
Encoding funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List
Book-plates Engraved by Edwin Davis French,,


Numerical by catalog number.

Restrictions on access:


Scope and content:

This series consists of book-plates designed and engraved by French. The earliest plates, designed for his sister-in-law Helen Lay Brainerd, is dated 1893.

Book-plates Not by Edwin French,


Arranged alphabetically.

Restrictions on access:


Scope and content:

This series consists of book-plates engraved by artists other than Edwin French Davis. Some are anonymous.

Anonymous - Plates of Colleges, Societies, Libraries.

Box 2: folder 1
Early American Book-plates, with citations to C. D. Allen

Box 2: folder 2
Plates by B. A. - Benrick

Box 2: folder 3
Plates by Elisha Brown Bird

Box 2: folder 4
Plates by F. C. Blank - George W. Eve

Box 2: folder 5
Plates by Geo. R. Halm - Hermann R. C. Hirzel

Box 2: folder 6
Plates by William F. Hopson

Box 2: folder 7
Plates by C. W. Sherborn

Box 2: folder 8
Plates by Irving Press - Rowell

Box 2: folder 9
Plates by B. E. S. - Sidney L. Smith

Box 2: folder 10
Plates by J. W. Spenceley

Box 2: folder 11
Plates by J. D. Stout - Harry F. Weyl

Box 2: folder 12
Plates by Cleora Wheeler

Box 2: folder 13
Periodicals, Catalogs, and Advertisements,
circa 50 items



Restrictions on access:


Scope and content:

This series is comprised of 2 periodicals ("The Literary Review and Book Plate Collector" and "The Book-plate Booklet"), several catalogues of book-plate collections, and advertisements from Edwin Davis French, The Book Plate, Elisha Brown Bird, and others.

Periodicals: "The literary review and book plate collector" [v.1, no.1 (Nov. 1902)], "The book-plate booklet" [v.2, no.2 (May 1908)-v.2, no.4 (Nov. 1908) and v.3, no.3 (May 1910)-v.3, no.4 (Nov. 1910)]

Box 4: folder 1
Catalogues: "A classified list of early American book-plates ..." by Charles Dexter Allen (1894), "A list of book-plates engraved on copper by Mr. Edwin Davis French" (1899), Catalogue of a sale by the Anderson Auction Company of books and an extensive collection of bookplates (May 1908), "300 bookplates engraved by Edwin Davis French, 75 engraved by F. W. Spenceley ..." Heartman Auction (Feb. 1914), "A list of angling book-plates" by Daniel B. Fearing (1916), "A choice collection of modern and early American bookplates ..." Walpole Galleries (Feb. 1927) "Book-plates, books about bookplates, mainly American, including the work of Edwin Davis French ..." Walpole Galleries (Nov. 1927)

Box 4: folder 2
Advertisements: Edwin Davis French

Box 4: folder 3
Advertisements: The Book-Plate (E. L. Boyd)

Box 4: folder 4
Advertisements: Elisha Brown Bird

Box 4: folder 5
Advertisements: J. H. Elwell, Goodspeed's, etc.

Box 4: folder 6

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

  • French, Edwin Davis, 1851-1906.
  • Wheeler, Cleora.
  • Bookplates, American - Specimens.
  • Bookplates.
  • Engravers.
  • Heraldic bookplates - Specimens.
  • Toys in bookplates.
  • Women's bookplates - Specimens.

  • Allen, Charles Dexter, 1865-1926. Classified list of early American book-plates.
  • Bird, Elisha Brown.
  • French, Edwin Davis, 1851-1906.
  • Hopson, William Fowler, 1849-1935.
  • Sherborn, C. W. (Charles William), 1831-1912.
  • Spenceley, J. Winfred, (Joseph Winfred), 1865-1908.
  • Wheeler, Cleora.

Genre terms
  • Bookplates.
  • Engravings.

Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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