Bookplate Ink is fortunate to have inherited hundreds of bookplate designs that originated with the Antioch Company, originally the Antioch Bookplate Company. Many of these designs were out of print for years.
Originally, the Antioch Bookplate Company specialized in printing personalized bookplates for its customers, promising to keep the designs on file for future printing.
As the company grew, they added designs, some handpicked by owner Earnest Morgan. An example is this Viennese “Scherenschnitte” design, S200.
Scherenschnitte is a papercutting art form which has been popular for many years. Arthur Morgan, president of Antioch College in the 1930s, brought this swan design home from a trip to Europe. His son, Earnest Morgan, a co-founder of the Antioch Bookplate Company, incorporated it as a bookplate.
As the company added new designs, older less popular bookplates were taken out of print. In the 1980s, Antioch expanded into the wholesale market, printing non-personalized bookplates to be sold in bookstores. At this time, Bookplate Ink took over the service of personalizing Antioch bookplates. Originally, we only printed the most popular designs. Over the years, however, it has become apparent that a wide range of the older designs have been important to people and we have made them available again.
Many people who write Bookplate Ink have been using a particular Antioch design for years. One such person ordered design E176, a classic and popular design combining books on a shelf and a ship in the background. This design was created from a steel engraving originally done by Bank Gordon for the Etchcraft Company. It was introduced by the Antioch Bookplate Company in the late 1950s. The customer ordering E176 wrote that that he had been using this bookplate since 1964 and is grateful we’re still printing it.
Another customer, ordering design B213, wrote,
I have been using this bookplate for decades, and was distraught when Antioch Bookplates Company vanished. I’m very happy that you are continuing the tradition. I will eagerly await my supply of your bookplates.
These types of notes make my day. It is so rewarding to know that we are providing a product that has been a part of peoples’ lives for so many years. And while people are thankful to receive their personalized bookplates, I’m thankful that I am able to carry on this wonderful tradition. I will be writing more about the history of Antioch bookplates in future blogs. You can also read more in the “About Us” section of our website, bookplateink.com.