The other day, I found a link to The Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie, an informative blog with relevant links for bookplate collectors. I got to thinking about some of the interesting bookplates I have found in old books. I have even sold some old books just for the bookplate affixed inside, which I included in the book's description. My interest in books goes back as far as I can remember, and was sparked by the antiquarian books in my grandmother's library, many of which had her mother's bookplate (illustrated by another daughter), shown below.
That would also be my introduction to bookplates, and I remember being intrigued by my great-grandmother's bookplate. The things that get imprinted on young minds tend to stay with you. Thus, my continuing interest in old bookplates and the confessions of a bookplate junkie.
Perhaps the most interesting bookplate I've come across in recent years, and still in my posession, is one that depicts Haiti's first military force, established in 1915 during U.S. occupation, and commanded and supported by U.S. Marines. Quite possibly, the previous owner of the book had been a U.S. Marine in the Gendarmerie d'Haiti during that time.The bookplate design features the words "Gendarmerie d'Haiti" and depicts a fort on a hill.
Researching the Gendarmerie d'Haiti also led me to the biography of U.S. Marine Major General Smedley D. Butler, a larger-than-life hero, and then the biography of the most decorated U.S. Marine in history: Chesty Puller. It is doubtful I would have known about these men and their brave exploits had it not been for the bookplate that opened that particular door of history to me.