Text by Jane Davis and Edward L. Kallop Jr.
Images from Cary Memorial Library
"BOOKPLATES PRICELESS" was the headline to a feature news story in The Lewiston Journal in 1945. The occasion was the formal delivery of a bookplate collection to Wayne’s Cary Memorial Library, then still a new building.
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Cary Memorial Library in Wayne
Like the building, the collection was a labor of love. During the 1920s and 1930s, Elizabeth Mast Hyatt, who lived in Brooklyn, New York, during the winter and Wayne during the summer, spent her days in accumulating an exceptional collection of bookplates.
She created the collection in memory of world-famous opera and concert singer Annie Louise Cary, who was born in Wayne, and who kept ties to the town and the town library throughout her life.
The resulting collection of some 3,600 bookplates features the work of notable designers and artists, and provides a glimpse into the world of early 20th century readers and book enthusiasts at a time when bookplates were not only a popular method of identifying and preserving a personal or institutional library, but provided an opportunity for collecting unique, small works of art.
Kallop, Edward L. Jr.; Golden Summertime: A Portrait of Vacation Life in Wayne, Maine 1890-1960. Wayne Historical Society, 2005.
Nalon, Rada Fuller; "Maine's First Prima Donna," in Down East , May 1973, pp. 56-59, 76, 78.