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Tate House Museum

Bookplate, Portland, ca. 1774

Contributed by Tate House Museum
MMN Item 100324 Item Details
Bookplate, Portland, ca. 1774
MMN Item 100324 Zoom


Joseph Ingraham (1752-1841) created this bookplate to identify books in his library. Trained as a silversmith, Ingraham possessed the skills to execute this engraving.

Americans are known to have appropriated British heraldic arms for their personal use and Ingraham's arms are based on known examples. Its banner bears the Latin inscription Ad Sidera Vultus, translated to mean, "Look to the Stars."

This bookplate was found in Ingraham's copy of Johnson’s Dictionary, the first dictionary published in the English language. According to his inscription, Ingraham purchased the 1773 edition in Boston on May 21, 1781.

Coincidentally, while in London during the Revolutionary War, Samuel Tate, the father of Ingraham's wife, Ann, lived across the street from Samuel Johnson, the dictionary's author.

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