Continuing with posts related to American Archives Month, we’re highlighting a recent discovery. Lucie Rosen‘s collection contains many books related to dance and music (no surprise!) marked with her name on the flyleaf, either handwritten or embossed.
She also commissioned a custom bookplate – and a letter found in the archives confirms that artist and adventurer Rockwell Kent (American, 1882-1971) created the diminutive image (it measures just 1-1/2 x 2-1/2 inches). Fun Fact: Rockwell Kent was born in Tarrytown!
In his 1922 letter to Lucie, the artist writes that he’ll deliver the plates “when I return to the city before sailing” since his impending voyage to Tierra del Fuego “to stay for many months” had been a distraction. Today Kent’s illustrations are among his best-known works. His bookplate designs—like this one—often show people reading in the great outdoors.
The letter reads:
May 6th, 1922
Dear Mrs. Rosen:
I have wanted so little to be as neglectful and discourteous as I have been that I ask you from my heart to accept my apologies. I have been so distracted with new plans and old obligations that the pleasures of friendship and even the demands of my professional duties became neglected and forgotten.
On May the 20th I sail for Tierra del Fuego to stay for many months. I’m working madly to complete the hundred drawings that I have to make and leave my affairs so that they’ll hold together until my return. I took the bookplates as far as Mr. Kelly’s office with [?]. When I return to the city before sailing I’ll bring them to you unless you have shall taken them away before. Do please forgive me my [?]