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[Bookplate for Henri Rainville]
[Bookplate for Henri Rainville]
Title[Bookplate for Henri Rainville]
Date Created[between 1920 and 1951]
Sort Date1951
DescriptionThis bookplate depicts a large, bespectacled rat, dressed in what appears to be eighteenth-century attire and displaying a prominent tail and whiskers. Facing away from the viewer, the rat is seated at a table in front of a window, through which the leaves of a tree can be seen. The rodent holds a quill pen and is poised to continue writing in a book that is propped open on the table with a second, closed volume.
Extent1 bookplate : woodcut ; 6.3 x 8.7 cm
SubjectAnimals ; Books
Subject - GeographicMontréal (Québec)
Personal NamesRainville, Henri
TypeStill Image
NotesIn a historical sense, Henri Rainville is somewhat overshadowed by his father, Henri-Benjamin Rainville, who was a powerful political figure in Montreal around the turn of the twentieth century. The MLA for Montreal and chairman of various city council committees, the senior Rainville became infamous for his role in a controversial merger that created a near monopoly on the city's utility contracts. Henri Rainville was born on October 8, 1893. Coming from a family of lawyers, he also studied Law and joined the firm Décary & Décary in 1921. As well, Rainville was a serious bibliophile. In particular, he was an avid collector of the works of Joyce and related literary criticism, and he travelled to Paris and Dublin in order to acquire some rare and important editions. Rainville's collection also contained some older French Canadian texts that had belonged to Louis-Joseph Papineau, and it was featured in a 1951 article for Photo-Journal that also included an image of Rainville's bookplate. The bookplate clearly reflects Rainville's passion for book-collecting and also reveals a certain playfulness in his personality ; while 'rat de bibliothèque' has a figurative sense roughly equivalent to 'bookworm' in English, the image depicts Rainville as a literal rat. This indication of Rainville's playful sense of humour is reinforced by his membership in the 'Casoar-Club, ' an elite literary society in Montreal whose name was whimsically derived from a flightless tropical bird and whose meetings and publications were characterized by humour and creativity. One of only twenty members, Rainville associated with such prominent Canadian figures as Philippe Panneton ('Ringuet'), Victor Barbeau, Louis Francoeur, Edwin Holgate, and Léo-Pol Morin.
1) Burke, Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry. H. Pirie-Gordon, ed. 15th Ed. London: Shaw Publishing Co. Ltd. and Burke Publishing Co. Ltd., 1937.
2) Fincham, H.W. The Artists and Engravers of British and American Bookplates. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd, 1897. Foisy, Richard, ed. Les Casoars: En souvenir des diners du Casoar-Club. Montréal: Éditions Varia, 2004. Print.
3) Heraldric Dictionary. University of Notre Dame, Dept. of Special Collections. Accessed 18 Nov. 2008 from
4) 'Hon. Henri B. Rainville.' An Encyclopedia of Canadian Biography. Montreal and Toronto: Canadian Press Syndicate, 1904. Web. 4 Feb. 2011.
Access IdentifierBP MUR CAN P R3568
Digital IdentifierBP_MUR_CAN_P_R3568
Is Part OfRBSC Bookplates
SourceOriginal Format: University of British Columbia. Library. Rare Books and Special Collections. Thomas Murray Bookplates Collection. Leslie Binder. BP MUR CAN P R3568
Date Available2011
Publisher - DigitalVancouver : University of British Columbia Library
RightsImages provided for research and reference use only. Permission to publish, copy, or otherwise use these images must be obtained from Rare Books and Special Collections:
TranscriptRat de Bibliothèque EX LIBRIS HENRI RAINVILLE
TranslationLibrary Rat, meaning Bookworm
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