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Cary Memorial Library

Alfred Merian bookplate, ca. 1935

Contributed by Cary Memorial Library in Wayne
MMN Item 96584 Item Details
Alfred Merian bookplate, ca. 1935
MMN Item 96584 Zoom


This bookplate shows the house located in Wayne that was acquired in 1931 by Annie Merian, sister of Dr. Thaddeus P. Hyatt. Dr. Hyatt's wife, Elizabeth Hyatt, amassed a large collection of bookplates in honor of famed opera singer Annie Louise Cary (1841-1921), who was born in the town. Mrs. Hyatt helped establish the Cary Memorial Library in Wayne, which was built in 1938.

Annie Merian's son Alfred, who was an architect, designed the bookplate. The text reads "Ex Libris" (Latin "from the books", meaning from the library of), which was used on bookplates to designate the owner of the volume. The phrase ex libris is often used as a synonym for the word bookplate.

In addition to the house, which he called "Scotholm," Alfred included a number of classical and symbolic elements on the bookplate, which he described as follows:

Pediment and columns from Temples of Minerva at Priene and Athens.
Merian coat of arms, representing the city of Basel in Switzerland, from whence the family came.
Cornucopia, representing a full life.
Grecian urn, Corinthian capital, Inca vase, and Persian lute, representing the arts.
T-square, sun-dial, skull, globe, hour-glass, compass and books, representing philosophy and the sciences.
Pipe, cards and beer-mug, representing the joys of conviviality.
Piolet and rope, the implements of his favorite sport, mountain-climbing.

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