Former owners

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All persons or entities who have had custody of an item, even if temporary, and even if we do not know their name, are considered "former owners." This includes booksellers, gift-givers, and inscribers. Folger catalogers routinely add name Access points for former owners in most circumstances.

For more information on evidence of ownership, see Provenance. For workflow relating to items purchased through a Restricted Endowment Fund, see Virtual bookplates

Notes and name access points

  • Make a note, transcribing (preferably) or summarizing data for every legible name found in connection with an item being cataloged, including names of persons or bodies from whom we acquired the material and date of acquisition if easily ascertainable.
  • Make name added entries for provenance as follows; up to but not including immediate source of acquisition
    • For each person who has a legible surname, and a legible forename and/or initials, excluding immediate source of acquisition.
    • For each corporate body that can be identified, or for whom enough information is given to create a reasonable name access point
    • For each person or body identified by a bookplate or a stamp
    • Use "former owner" as the relationship designator
    • When formulating access points for unidentified persons, avoid using unqualified names, even if currently unique. One of the prime goals is to prevent inappropriate association during automated authority processing. Since we are not creating new name authority records for former owners, we will use basic RDA provisions for formulating headings that do not necessarily qualify as standard LC/NACO headings, including use of single active dates, century dates for the 20th and 21st centuries, adding place names if a place is mentioned in connection with a name. For example:
Autograph: R. Barnaby, Augt 3rd, 1824.
7001 Barnaby, R., ǂd active 1824, ǂe former owner. ǂ5 DFo 
Autograph: Edwd. Arundell (on work published 1710)
7001 Arundell, Edwd.ǂq(Edward), ǂd died not before 1710, ǂe former owner. ǂ5 DFo 
For book published 1875; no date in inscription; appears to be a 19th century hand
7001 Cooper, Paul, ǂc active 19th century, ǂe former owner. ǂ5 DFo
For book published 1905; no date in inscription
7001 Sampson, Sandra, ǂe active 19th century-20th century, ǂe former owner. ǂ5 DFo
Autograph: R.W. Tucker, Philadelphia, July 1823
7001 Tucker, R. W. ǂc (Of Philadelphia), ǂd active 1823, ǂe former owner. ǂ5 DFo
  • For Emily C.J. Folger and Henry Clay Folger for each item with a case number.
  • Please note that a number of books with case numbers have a bookplate "Gift of Henry N. Paul." This large gift was presumably given to the Folgers for their not-yet-opened library, and so received case numbers. Therefore, Henry N. Paul should receive a former owner tracing:
 1001 Paul, Henry Neill, ǂd 1863-1954, ǂe former owner. ǂ5 DFo 
  • Do not make name added entries for the immediate source of acquisition, unless instructed otherwise (for example, Mary P. Massey is added to the records for her collection of herbals)
  • Do not note or make added entries for people who have adopted items or supplied the funding but have not actually owned the item. If in doubt, ask Acquisitions staff
  • For instructions on creating headings for provenance, see Need to write new guidelines that are generally applicable