Ex Libris: Emma Woodward MacMillan's Bookplates
Beginning in 1920, Emma Woodward MacMillan, once head librarian of the Wilmington Public Library, collected bookplates from as far away as Poland. Some dated from before the Revolutionary War. These bookplates, now in the care of the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society, represent a cross-section of readers and moods, from the formal to the wistful to the whimsical. Many of the plates came from local citizens prominent and obscure. Wilmington, from the founding of the Cape Fear Library in 1760 ("the first non-parochial public library in North Carolina," according to Barbara Rehder's article in the LCFHS Bulletin, Feb. 1964), has long considered itself a seat of learning and refinement, where books (which early on had to be shipped from Europe) were highly valued, and many of its early scholars' bookplates have a place in Emma MacMillan's collection.