Quick Reference

Time Period:
1912 - 1917




Bookplates & Cachets


Used as Christmass Card
by Elwell's grandaughter




Elwell was one of only five top metalplate engravers in the country during his lifetime. Woodward designed the artwork for this plate as well as the Crowhurst Bookplate for Francis Meredyth & Mary Armour Whitehouse. At this time, it is unknown how many other plates the two worked together, if any.

Related Links

Featured Artwork:John Hudson Elwell Etching

RSW's Diary Comments


Additional Notes

John Hudson Elwell (right), 1878 - 1955, was a master bookplate engraver, designer and craftsman. It is believed that during his lifetime he was one of the five craftsmen in the United States engraving bookplates on copper. Copper bookplates are using in a process of printing called "Intaglio"

In intaglio printing, the lines to be printed are cut into a metal plate (called incised lines) by means either of a cutting tool called a burin, held in the hand " in which case the process is called engraving. The image is incised into a surface, and the incised line or sunken area holds the ink. The plate is then covered in ink, the ink is wiped off the surface of the plate, but remains in the grooves, paper is placed on the plate and compressed, such as by a heavy roller, then the paper is removed, and the ink has been transferred from the plate to the paper Source: Wikipedia

Many of Elwell's plates survive to this day and is under the guardianship of Elwell's granddaughter. The website is going to work to bring more of Elwell's etchings attributed to Robert Strong Woodward to print. For one thing, it is in our interest to do so... but more than that, Elwell's legacy as one of the greats deserves it's own preservation.

This etching was located on ebay and purchased by the estate. We have confirmed through Elwell's granddaughter that it is indeed, an Elwell she published herself as a greeting card a number of years ago and also that the artwork was attributed to Woodward.

To the left: Is another bookplate of Elwell's attributed to Woodward. For more, see the Francis Meredyth, Bookplate or simply visit our Bookplate Gallery for other bookplates attributed to Woodward. Also please go visit our scrapbook page regarding John Hudson Elwell told in the first person by Harry Elmore Hurd.