History of Books and Printing

Hand Press Era

Birth of Western printing:

Gutenberg Bible (1456, reduced black-and-white facsimile)

Juan de Torquemada, Expositio psalterii (Mainz, 1476). The library's oldest printed book. Hand-rubricated initials. The printer, Peter Schöffer, apprenticed with Johannes Gutenberg.

Polybius, De primo bello punico et Plutarchi paralelia (Brescia, 1498). A second incunable. 

Leafbook, The Brescia Dante with a Leaf from the Illustrated Edition of 1487 (1975).

Leafbook, The Nuremberg Chronicle (Book Club of California, 1930) with an original leaf from the 1493 Latin edition.

Leafbook, The Nuremberg Chronicle (Dawson's Book Shop, 1950), with an original leaf from the 1497 Latin edition.

Loose leaf from the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493 Latin edition).  Ask staff.

Collection of original printed leaves from herbals, 1485-1590

Collection of uncataloged manuscript and printed leaves, 1100-1500

Collection of uncataloged manuscript and printed leaves, 1501-1600

In hoc volumine haec continentur M.T. Cic. Officiorum lib. III. [etc.] (1519). Example of a Classical text printed by Aldus Manutius.


Early typography:

Gutenberg Bible (1456, facsimile). Gothic font.

Juan de Torquemada, Expositio psalterii (1476). Gothic font.

Boethius, De philosophica consolatione (1523). Gothic font with commentary surrounding main text.

Raphael Holinshed, The Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland (1587). A mix of Gothic, Roman, and Italic fonts.

Richard Hakluyt, The Principal Navigations... (1599). Gothic font.

Nuremberg Chronicle (1493, facsimile) and an original leaf from the Nuremberg Chronicle. Gothic font.

Burchard von Ursberg, Chronica (1566). Gothic font. Red and black printing.

Coronica de Don Alvaro de Luna (1546). Spanish Gothic font.

Giovanni Battista Ramusio, Terzo volume delle navigationi et viaggi (1556). Roman font.


Specialized fonts:

Leaf from the Complutensian Polyglot Bible (1514-17). Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic fonts.

Hoc est Novum Testamentum Aegyptium vulgo Copticum (1716). Coptic Bible.

The Catechism (1742). Printed in English and Irish.



French Revolutionary Pamphlets. Sewn and unsewn sheets (for best examples see folders 2 and 15)

Odes to Kien Long (1792). Sewn sheets.

Ensayo sobre el teatro espanol (1773). Rococo page borders throughout.

Boethius, De philosophica consolatione (1523). Printer's device of Lucantonio Giunti.


Important books (selected):

John Foxe, Acts and Monuments [Book of Martyrs] (1583)

Abraham Ortelius, Theatrum orbis terrarum (1595)

A Leaf from the 1611 King James Bible

The First Folio of Shakespeare (1623, facsimile)

John Barclay, Satyricon (1637), printed by Elzevier. 

Jonathan Swift, Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World [Gulliver's Travels] (1726)

Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (1749)

Samuel Richardson, Clarissa (1748)

Samuel Johnson, Dictionary of the English Language (1755)

Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, The Spectator (1720)

Novissimus librorum prohibitorum, et expurgandorum index (1707)