Provenance Records in Rare Book and Special Collections

JUDITH A. OVERMIER, ELAINE M. DOAK

Abstract

Provenance records provide access to evidence about a book’s previous ownership. Those records are based on physical evidence present in the book. The physical evidence of ownership takes many forms, such as bookplates, signatures, inscriptions, stamps, marginal annotations, and branded bindings.


The literature and oral tradition of the rare book world have always suggested that records of previous ownership and their physical formal should be maintained for sentimental reasons and for their research value to literary, historical, and bibliographical scholarship. That value has been affirmed in the writings of numerous authors based both in the profession of library and information . . .

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