Audrey Arellanes (1920-2005) in memoriam  


The passing of Audrey Arellanes on 23 October 2005 marks the end of an era in organized bookplate collecting in the United States. She was only the third President of the American Society of Bookplate Collectors and Designers, taking up the mantle passed by Carlyle Baer in 1968 and serving until the year 2000. Baer himself served from 1924, the first President of the American Society holding that office for merely one year.
 
An enthusiastic internationalist in bookplate matters, Audrey often commented that the bookplate was a "passport to friendship". Although she formed a sizable holding of bookplates, most consisted of those sent to her by way of exchange or gift or in connection with the production of Society publications. Her passion in the world of bookplates was "Bibliography". Her bibliography of American bookplate literature remains the landmark for the period covered to 1970, and she updated this through a quarter-century supplement published in Bookplate International through 1995. She continued to publish the excellent Yearbook of the American society throughout her tenure in office, continuing the Baer tradition, but left her own indelible mark on the field by instituting and maintaining throughout her reign the Newsletter of the American society issued quarterly with original bookplates tipped-in. Bibliography was perhaps the central feature of that publication, together with current news items, notices of exhibitions, and profiles on individual artists. It was very much a one-lady operation, like the society itself (and so many others around the world).
 
Audrey was among the Giants of the bookplate community in the second half of the twentieth century. Her passing leaves few behind who helped revitalize bookplate collecting and design in that remarkable era.
 
W. E. Butler

Executive Secretary of FISAE
 

 

 

 

 

Audrey Spencer Arellanes (1920-2005) was born in Wyoming but subsequently made her career and life in California. Taking over the running of the American Society of Bookplate Collectors and Designers on the death of Carlyle Baer she sustained it for the next 30 years. She edited and arranged its Year Books, wrote and published Bookplates in the News and was author of Bookplates. A selective annotated bibliography of the periodical literature, 1971. In 1992 she was made an honorary member of The Bookplate Society, having always been a keen supporter of Anglo-American bookplate contact and friendship. Audrey belonged to the Manuscript Society, too, and the Society of California Archivists, enjoyed printing at her private press, the Bookworm Press, and had an especial love for miniature books. She was also well-known internationally, for she took the trouble to attend ex-libris congresses and meetings far and wide, and her character was such that she made many friends. Few exlibrists can have been as dedicated as she was to the hard graft of documentation and publication, but she took every and any challenge in her stride. Indeed, Dedication should have been her middle name. After relinquishing her bookplate labours in 2001 she retired to share a home with her daughter Denetia but still remained an indefatigable traveller, ever keen to extend her experience and knowledge. It was not of her nature ever to seek either the limelight or acclaim, for she was a sweet and unassuming lady; but she enriched many lives and the world is the poorer for her passing - which occurred suddenly as Audrey was recuperating from a fall. But for her, the American Society would have ceased years ago. Her questing spirit, outgoingness and endeavours were remarkable; the publications which ensued are Audrey’s memorial.

Brian North Lee, F. S. A.
Hon. President of the Bookplate Society