Editions of the ‘Columbus Letter’ : Scans newly provided by the Library

A representation of Columbus’ landing on an island in the Bahamas, with caption “Concerning the recently discovered islands in the Indies sea.” Note portion of land labeled “Insula hyspana.” This illustration appears in the [Basel:] I.B. [Johann Bergmann, de Olpe] 1494 edition (Goff V-125).

❧ Columbus’s description of his first voyage first appeared in print in a Spanish edition published in Barcelona in 1493. Within four years it had gone through fifteen known editions, including seven Latin editions, one German edition, a paraphrase in Italian verse in five editions, and a second Spanish edition, Valladolid, about 1497. These fifteen different editions were products of presses scattered in ten cities across Europe.

❧ Of these fifteen editions, there is at Princeton an exemplar for three of the seven Latin editions and an exemplar of the German edition. The most direct manner of listing these is the number assigned in F.R. Goff, Incunabula in American Libraries (1964):

• C-758. Latin. [Rome: Stephan Plannck, after 29 April 1493]. Cyrus McCormick copy, presented to PUL. Permanent Link:

• C-759. Latin. Rome: Eucharius Silber, [after 29 April] 1493. Grenville Kane copy, acquired by PUL. Permanent Link:
http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/xp68kh56z and the Scheide Library copy.
Permanent Link: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/sx61dn657

• V-125. Latin. [Basel:] I.B. [Johann Bergmann, de Olpe] 1494. Grenville Kane copy, acquired by PUL. Permanent Link:

• C-762. German. Strassburg: Bartholomaeus Kistler, 30 Sept. 1497. Grenville Kane copy, acquired by PUL. Permanent Link:

❧ REFERENCE: W. Eames, “Columbus’ Letter on the Discovery of America (1493-1497)” in the Bulletin of the New York Public Library, 1924, 28:597-599. (NB: Eames lists seventeen editions; however, the number is actually fifteen because Eames was unaware that three issued by Marchant in Paris were variants of one edition.)

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