Changing Hands: Tracing Evidence of Ownership in Special Collections

Image collage showing bookplates and inscription

From bookplates, ownership inscriptions and marginalia to bespoke bindings and notes left by booksellers and librarians, many volumes in Special Collections bear the evidence of those who owned, read, or sold them prior to their arrival here at Binghamton University. Taken together, these marks of previous ownership form what is known as the provenance of a book—a chain of custody documenting the book’s travels across the decades or centuries. 

In a new blog series, Changing Hands, we will explore some of these marks of provenance, explain what they can tell us about earlier owners and readers, and offer some hints and resources for doing your own provenance research.

Watch this space for future Changing Hands posts, coming soon.