Amy Sacker's bookplates

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W D Swan bookplate  


Among her many artistic skills, Amy Sacker was a designer of elegant bookplates. In 1903, the Boston bookseller Charles E. Goodspeed produced a small pamphlet of her work called simply "The Book Plates of Amy M. Sacker" and printed at the Troutsdale Press of Boston, a press known for publishing bookplate books.

The slim volume illustrates 12 of Sacker's works. Included are plates for Harold Murdock (1862-1934), banker, author and important book collector, and for Julia de Wolf Addison (b.1866), for whom Sacker designed at least two book covers.

Some of her designs show the possible influence of Boston colleague Theodore Hapgood, only a year or two older than Amy. In fact, the two had bookplates together in an exhibition in 1897, reported in American Architect and Building News. Amy's in particular were praised:

"The exhibits in several places of a number of very ingenious and artistic book-plates, by Edmund H. Garrett, Theodore Brown Hapgood, Jr., the Misses Brown and particularly those of Miss Amy M. Sacker, lend vivacity and interest to show-cases in which they are exposed." 1



In his introduction to the pamphlet, Goodspeed describes Sacker's work as follows:           

     "Her designs are strong and virile and the product of a  practiced hand. They are in no way amateurish but show the impress of good training and hard study. The decorations, on the other hand, are somewhat feminine in spirit and execution, and in this wise form a fitting foil to the inevitable bold of the book-plates."

This description was reiterated in William E. Butler's American Bookplates (2000).

In 1902, Wilbur Macey Stone, in Women Designers of Book-Plates (New York: Randolph R. Beam, for the Tripych), wrote as follows:

"Miss Amy Sacker of Boston, whose book-cover designs all lovers of decoration know and admire, has also made a number of book-plates.  The best known is the one for the Loring Reading Room. This shows a fine old ship full of action, and rich in decorative feeling. Miss Sacker's medieval students, in their picturesque garments are always interesting. The plate for Mr. Swan pleasingly typifies the owner's profession."


Finally, a comment about Sacker's cover design for The Kindred of the Wild (1902), by Charles G. D. Roberts, might also apply to her bookplate designs:

    "[Her design] achieves a sense of depth and drama with . . . simple, linear illustrations." 2





1) American Architect and Building News, April 10, 1897, p. 13

2) Ellen Lupton, "Colophon: women graphic designers", in Women Designers

in the USA, 1900-2000, edited by Pat Kirkham, New Haven, CT: Yale

University Press, 2000

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