Teaching the SLAVE SHIP

Like many, I first saw this image in my childhood, and I have never forgotten it. However, in retrospect, I do not believe that I was taught the history behind the image correctly – at least, not the whole history.

In a blog entry originally posted in 2017 and recently recirculated widely, Corinne Shutack advocated 75 specific constructive actions in support of racial justice. Among them was the recommendation that parents, teachers, and concerned citizens should encourage their schools to ensure that the topic of slavery in American history is taught correctly.1 Noting that a correct history is one that listens to many voices from the past, Shutack asked ‘is your school showing images such as Gordon’s scourged back, a slave ship hold, and an enslaved nurse holding her young master?’ The slave ship hold to which she refers is the ‘Description of a Slave Ship’, a powerful image produced as a broadside (a public poster) in London in 1789, as well as its many derivatives. Although these important images do not record the ‘voices’ of the enslaved, they do represent essential eyewitness testimony to the cruel practices of enslavement through the depiction of a slave-trade ship’s cargo hold.

Description of a Slave Ship, 1789 (woodcuts). Oversize 2006-0018E

Educators who wish to display these images in teaching may wish to know that Princeton University Library owns the two earliest original broadsides of the ‘Description of a Slave Ship’, both printed in 1789. They have been digitized and are freely available to all. Two points worth emphasizing to students are the large size of the broadsides, which measure two feet tall, and the ship doctor’s horrifically detailed report, which accompanies the image, but is often left out in textbook reproductions. Here is the link to higher-resolution images of the two broadsides (in the page that opens, the image download button is on the left, below the contents panel next to the two images):

https://dpul.princeton.edu/wa/catalog/qj72p788s

Description of a Slave Ship, 1789 (engraved). Oversize 2016-0001E

Published by British abolitionists in April 1789, the broadsides of the ‘Description of a Slave Ship’ provided the most recognizable, shocking, and unforgettable of all images associated with the Atlantic slave trade. The plans and sections diagram in painful detail how the slave ship Brookes was intended to stow its full capacity of 482 men (in chains), women, and children. In reality, the inhumanity was even worse: up to 609 people were imprisoned within the ship during its two-month journeys from the coast of Africa to the West Indies. The accompanying text refuted the rationalizations of ‘the well-wishers to this trade’ with facts, statistics, and the ship doctor’s gruesome eyewitness report that invoked the reader’s moral duty to take action against ‘one of the greatest evils at this day existing upon the earth’.

Two variants of the original ‘Description of a Slave Ship’ are known, both published in London between 21 and 28 April 1789 (many later reproductions appeared in books). According to minutes of the London Committee of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade, the printing consisted of 1,700 broadsides illustrated with a copperplate engraving and 7,000 illustrated with woodcuts. Princeton’s engraved version includes some hand-written corrections to the printed text. For the history of these images, we recommend reading Cheryl Finley, Committed to Memory: The Art of the Slave Ship Icon (Princeton University Press, 2018). Princeton acquired the engraved version in 2016 as a counterpart to the woodcut version, purchased in 2006 with matching funds given by Sidney Lapidus, Class of 1959.

Please feel free to share these images with teachers you know.

1 Corrine Shutack, on MEDIUM’s ‘Equality Includes You’ page (August, 2017): https://medium.com/equality-includes-you/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-justice-f2d18b0e0234

 

WHAT COULD BE BETTER? Pairing and Comparing the Scheide and Kane Copies of Fifteenth-Century Books

Question: What could be better for the study of early printed books than examining a copy of a rare 15th-century edition?

Answer: Examining two copies of a rare 15th-century edition.

      

Thanks to several formerly independent channels of 20th-century collecting, now united, Princeton University Library’s Special Collections owns multiple copies of more than thirty 15th-century editions. We do not consider them ‘duplicates’, as that would imply that they are absolutely identical, and that nothing is to be learned from the ‘second’ copy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even if every letter of every word printed on every page were virtually identical (with printing shop corrections and other improvements, this is often not the case), the individual copies would still reflect entirely different histories of readership and survival, preserving unique material evidence that may be crucial to the attentive researcher, or of worthwhile interest to the casual student of book history.

Illustrated below are four examples of 15th-century editions represented by two copies. In each case, one of the copies was owned by Grenville Kane (1854–1943) of Tuxedo Park, New York, whose fine library of early books and Americana was purchased by the Trustees of Princeton University in 1946, while another copy is in the incomparable Scheide Library, long on deposit in Firestone Library but bequeathed to Princeton University in 2015 by the late William H. Scheide (1914–2014), Class of 1936. The first things that strikes most present-day viewers are the differences in their hand-decoration, and in their various bindings – copy-specific features that were added only after the individual sets of printed sheets were sold to their first owners. Moreover, three of the selected pairs also exhibit distinctive typographic variations, belying the notion that they are ‘duplicates’. Here we offer only the briefest introductions to these pairs of books, which call out for further study and comparison:

 

Cicero, De Officiis. [Mainz:] Johann Fust & Peter Schoeffer, 4 February 1466. 

Scheide 31.17

These two small folios, both printed on vellum, are from the second edition of Cicero’s treatise on the honorable fulfillment of moral duties, one of the first Classical works to be published. The Scheide copy, richly illuminated in Franco-Flemish style, is among the most beautiful of the roughly 50 copies that survive. It emerged from the collection of Ralph Willett (1719–1795), whose library at Merly was sold by Sotheby’s in 1813, and later was owned by Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (1773–1843), and Robert Stayner Holford (1808–1892), of Gloucestershire, respectively. In 1925 Holford’s son sold the book to the Philadelphia bookseller A.S.W. Rosenbach, from whom Gertrude Scheide Caldwell purchased it as a Christmas gift for her brother John H. Scheide in December, 1927.

EXKA Incunabula 1466

Princeton’s other copy, decorated in German style, has been traced back to 1572, when ‘David Weisius’ was recorded as its donor to the town library of Augsburg. This individual was probably David Weiss (1531–1593), Augsburg patrician and town benefactor. It remained in Augsburg until 1798, after which it passed through three important private collections in Moscow.1 In 1931 the Soviet government sold it through Maggs Brothers, London, to Grenville Kane, whose collection came to Princeton University Library in 1946.

 

 

 

Recent research has led to the important discovery that the pair of painted coats-of-arms on the first page of Princeton’s Cicero refers to the German noble families of Truchseß zu Wetzhausen (left) and Wilhelmsdorf (right). To date, the only known union between these families was the mid-15th-century marriage of Jakob Truchseß zu Wetzhausen of Dachsbach and Susanna von Wilhelmsdorf.2 Their son, Dr Thomas Truchseß zu Wetzhausen (ca. 1460–1523), Dean of Speyer Cathedral, one-time student and later defender of Johannes Reuchlin, and correspondent and host of Erasmus of Rotterdam, was almost certainly the owner of Princeton’s 1466 Cicero.

Comparison of the Princeton and Scheide copies also reveals several typographic variants, including the presence in the Scheide copy of a four-line Latin incipit, printed in red on the first page, but omitted from the Princeton copy, in which a shorter titulus was written in by hand; numerous instances of each of these contingencies survive. Another striking difference is found on f. 14 verso, where the Scheide copy has the heading printed as usual in red type, while in the Princeton copy, the entire heading was printed upside down – an isolated accident that resulted from one of the many complications of printing with two colors.

 

St Augustine, De Civitate Dei. Rome: Conradus Sweynheym & Arnoldus Pannartz, in domo Petri de Maximo, 1468.

EXKA Incunabula 1468

This Royal folio is either the second or the third edition of this foundational text of Western Christendom, following the Subiaco edition of 1467 and possibly the Strasbourg edition, datable not after 1468. The first page of the text in the Princeton copy was illuminated in colorful Italian ‘bianchi girari’ style. Interestingly, for the gilt initial G that introduces the words ‘Gloriosissimam civitatem dei’, a woodcut stamp, not printed in other copies, provided black outlines for the illuminator’s work, which continued free-hand into the margin. Several pages bear extensive contemporary annotations. The volume was bound in the 1790s for the British bibliophile Michael Wodhull (1740–1816), and was acquired by Princeton in 1946 with the Kane collection.

 

Scheide 59.5

By contrast, the copy purchased by John Scheide in 1940, which emerged from the Syston Park Library in 1884 and was rebound in London by Douglas Cockerell in 1903, never received its requisite initials or decoration by hand; indeed, the book reveals virtually no evidence of use by early readers. The copy is nevertheless of considerable interest, as its introductory leaf bears a beautifully written and historically significant gift inscription (below), which records that Nicolò Sandonino (1422–1499), Bishop of Lucca beginning in 1479, presented this book to the Carmelites of San Pietro Cigoli in Lucca in 1491. It is curious that these friars, who disposed of numerous important books during the early 18th century, seem to have had no use for the bishop’s gift.

The Bishop of Lucca’s gift inscription, 1491.

 

Leonardo Bruni, De bello Italico adversus Gothos. Foligno: Emiliano Orfini & Johann Neumeister, 1470.

EXKA Incunabula 1470 Bruni

The first book printed in the small Italian town of Foligno was this history of the 5th-century Goth invasion of the Italian peninsula, compiled in 1441 by Leonardo Bruni. It was published in 1470 by Johannes Neumeister, a peripatetic printer from Mainz who made a career of enticing investors into supporting unsustainable printing ventures. It is bound with another rare Chancery folio, the only copy held in America of Bernardus Justinianus, Oratio habita apud Sixtum IV contra Turcos. [Rome]: Johannes Philippus de Lignamine, [after 2 Dec. 1471]. The rubrication throughout is French, and the bottom margin of the first leaf bears the inscription ‘Jacques le Chandelier, 1550’. This owner is probably to be identified with the contemporary Royal Secretary in Paris by that name. The volume later wandered through a series of distinguished European private libraries and came to Princeton University with the Kane collection in 1946.3

Scheide 40.1

The Scheide copy, illuminated in the Italian ‘bianchi girari’ (white vine) style, is probably the one offered by the Ulrico Hoepli firm in Milan in 1935. It subsequently entered the library of Giannalisa Feltrinelli (1903–1981), an Italian heiress and bibliophile who had homes in Rome, Milan, Geneva, and Stanbridge East, Canada. The book was auctioned at Christie’s in New York on 7 October 1997, lot 19, to H. P. Kraus. When his firm’s inventory was auctioned by Sotheby’s in New York in December 2003, the book remained available and was bought after the sale by William H. Scheide.

 

 

In addition to featuring contrasting French and Italian hand-decoration, the two copies are differentiated by variant typesetting in their colophons, which include different spellings of the surname and hometown of Neumeister’s patron, the master of the papal mint in Foligno, Emilianus de Orfinis. Whereas the colophon in Princeton’s copy reads ‘Ursinis Eulginas’, that of the Scheide copy has been corrected to ‘Orfinis Fulginas’ (below).

 

Ptolemy, Cosmographia. Ulm: Lienhart Holle, 16 July 1482.

The Super-Royal folio ‘Ulm Ptolemy’ of 1482 is famous for its 32 large woodcut maps, including the great double-page ‘World Map’ carved by Johannes Schnitzer of Arnsheim, 26 regional maps based on Ptolemy’s 2nd-century CE descriptions, and five new maps of Italy, France Spain, Scandinavia, and the Holy Land, based on manuscript projections by the editor of the work, Nicolaus Germanus, a Benedictine monk from the diocese of Breslau who lived and worked in Florence.

EXKA Ptolemy 1482

The Princeton copy, sold by the Rappaport firm in Rome toward the beginning of the last century, came with the Grenville Kane collection in 1946. The Scheide copy, richly hand-colored throughout, was inscribed in 1509 by Johannes Protzer (d. 1528), a scholar and bibliophile of Nördlingen, Germany. It emerged in the collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps in the 19th century and was acquired by John H. Scheide from A.S.W. Rosenbach in 1924.

Scheide 58.6

Although bibliographers sometimes discuss two 1482 Ulm ‘editions’ of this book, in fact there was only one edition, albeit one with many of its maps accompanied by textual descriptions that can appear in one of two or more alternate settings. For example, in the Princeton copy (below, left), the ninth map for Asia is accompanied by text that was composed into columns of 27 lines within a somewhat cramped square-shaped woodcut frame. By contrast, in the Scheide copy (below, right), the same page was composed more spaciously into 30 lines, fitting less tightly into a taller rectangular frame. To date, there has been no conclusive analysis of all the variant pages. Only a systematic comparison of multiple copies will provide a clearer understanding of the production of the 1482 Ulm Ptolemy.

               

What Could be Better?

Whereas traditional rare book librarianship tended to look upon the acquisition of ‘duplicates’ as undesirable or wasteful, given that precious funds could go toward adding texts that were not already represented in the collection, it is worth considering the special pedagogical and research value of comparing two copies from the same edition side by side. Experienced scholars as well as first-time students can appreciate that the two copies present distinct multiples of the original creation, each one preserving its own archeological record of survival and human intervention. Rubrication, illumination, binding, annotation, censorship, damage, repair, and other reflections of ownership and use offer fascinating traces of their disparate trajectories through history, revealing the many ways in which old books, as Milton observed, ‘are not absolutely dead things, but doe contain a potencie of life in them’.

Addendum:

Readers may be interested in the Morgan Library’s virtual tour by John McQuillen, “Why Three Gutenberg Bibles?”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIteWBHSa00&fbclid=IwAR2615uiqBWL15HGX8kAnOykQfWUBshMmNUIv1CRI6fBlQ8IvZ6jzz-jbjk

Notes:

1 Count Aleksei Golowkin (d. 1811) of Moscow, whose gilt coat of arms appears on the front cover of the red-dyed goatskin binding; Alexandre Vlassoff (d. 1825), Imperial chamberlain in Moscow; Prince Michael Galitzin / Golitsyn (1804–1860), also in Moscow, with whose family it remained into the 20th century.

2 Johann Gottfried Biedermann, Geschlechtsregister der Reichsfrey unmittelbaren Ritterschaft Landes zu Franken Löblichen Orts Baunach (Bayreuth: Dietzel, 1747), table 197.

3 Early owners included Paul Girardot de Préfond (during the 1760s) in Paris; Pietro Antonio Bolongaro Crevenna (1735–1792) in Amsterdam; Michael Wodhull (1740–1816) in London; and William Horatio Crawford (1815–1888) at Lakelands in Cork, Ireland. In 1897 it was offered by the Quaritch firm (Catalogue 166, no. 770).

 

 

Non finito: Unfinished Initials in Princeton’s 1469 Apuleius

Unfinished initial and border in Princeton’s Apuleius (Rome: Sweynheym & Pannartz, 1469).

The first edition of the works of Lucius Apuleius of Madauros (ca. 124–ca. 170 CE), a North African philosopher and rhetorician, was published in Rome by Conrad Sweynheym and Arnold Pannartz in 1469. Printed in an edition of 275 copies, it includes the ‘The Golden Ass’, a bawdy proto-novel in which the protagonist, Lucius, experiments with magic and thereby inadvertently transforms himself into a donkey, a circumstance that allows him to observe human behavior, undetected, from a new vantage point. The tale of Cupid and Psyche also appears here for the first time, narrated as a story within the story.

Illumination with ‘bianchi girari’ in Virgil’s Opera (Rome: Sweynheym & Pannartz, 1469).

As was customary in early printed books, Sweynheym and Pannartz left large open spaces at the beginnings of each of the ‘books’, each intended to be filled in by hand with rubricated or illuminated initial letters. One of the prevailing styles of hand-decoration in Italian books during this period featured spiraling white vine tendrils, called ‘bianchi girari’. Princeton’s rare first edition of the poetical works of Virgil, also printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz in 1469 (at left), exemplifies this colorful style.

The Apuleius of 1469 offers unusual insights into fifteenth-century book production in that it was intended to display ‘bianchi girari’ initials and borders, but the work was never finished:

Instead, the book displays graceful preparatory drawings for the decoration, executed in plummet (soft lead) for establishing the composition and brown ink for the final outlines. The initials A and B (shown here) would have been covered with gold leaf, and the interstices between the outlined tendrils would have been colored red, blue, and green, and possibly augmented with yellow. Sketchy little circles in the margins indicate where gilded ‘bezants’ would have provided additional ornamentation. One of the tendrils to the left of the initial A breaks off suddenly, just where it should have continued down the left margin of the text; this argues for the interrupted nature of the work, and seems to rule out the possibility that this is later ’embellishment’ by a nineteenth-century admirer of the fifteenth-century style.

The Duke of Hamilton’s engraved armorial bookplate, ca. 1820.

Princeton’s copy of the Apuleius was owned in the early nineteenth century by Alexander Douglas-Hamilton (1767–1852), 10th Duke of Hamilton and 7th Duke of Brandon, in Lanarkshire, Scotland. The Hamilton Palace Library was auctioned by Sotheby’s in London on 1 May 1884, with the Apuleius listed as lot 95. It passed through the Quaritch firm in London in 1888 and entered the collection of Robert Hoe of New York City, whose books were sold by Anderson Galleries in 1911 (lot 91). The next known owner was Grenville Kane, a New York collector who obtained it in 1920. His estate sold his library to the Trustees of Princeton University in 1946.

Two Major Discoveries among Princeton University Library’s Printed Binding Fragments

Princeton University Library is home to several hundred early printed fragments discovered within old bookbindings. These are the vestiges of old printed books, which, having fallen out of use centuries ago, eventually came to be conscripted into inglorious servitude as recycled waste material within the bindings of newer books. The last surviving witnesses to otherwise lost books, they serve historians of book culture as primary evidence of the rising and falling fortunes of texts, patterns of readership, and routes of dissemination. As such, they should be counted as books in their own right, albeit copies that happen not to have survived intact.

Recent discoveries of early printed binding waste at Princeton include a bifolium from Boniface VIII, Liber sextus decretalium (Mainz: Johann Fust & Peter Schoeffer, 1465), which now serves as the vellum cover of Johann Funck’s Chronologia, hoc est, Omnium temporum et annorum ab initio mundi  (Wittenberg: Zachariah Lehmann, for Andreas Hoffmann, 1601), formerly at the University of Tübingen. This is the second-earliest printed fragment still preserved on a bookbinding at Princeton. A fragment of the Gutenberg Bible, ca. 1455, preserved in situ on a German law book printed in 1666, was featured in an earlier installment of the “Notabilia” blog:

https://blogs.princeton.edu/notabilia/2017/04/18/princeton-acquires-a-vellum-fragment-of-the-gutenberg-bible-preserved-as-a-book-cover/

Especially important for the study of 15th-century book culture is the discovery — in a neglected box of old binding fragments — of two paper leaves of a previously UNKNOWN edition of a German Prognostication for the Year 1482, by Wenzel Faber von Budweis (ca. 1455–1518), a Bohemian-born physician and astronomer at the University of Leipzig. The quarto booklet was published in Augsburg by Christmann Heyny, using the late Günther Zainer’s types, probably toward the end of 1481.

The vernacular German text consists of Faber’s predictions for the coming year that were pertinent to the city of Leipzig and surrounding regions. Faber was one of the leading authors of this popular genre, known as Practica, and Princeton’s Prognostication for 1482 is the earliest surviving work by this author. The complete text is known from a Leipzig edition of the same year, uniquely preserved at Nuremberg’s Stadtbibliothek, but no other trace of this Augsburg printing has ever been found. It has been catalogued as a new, unique item in the Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke in Berlin. Their description, listing only the Princeton fragments, is below:

For much more on Wenzel Faber von Budweis, including two manuscripts at Princeton University Library that he owned – one of which includes a partial inventory of his library at the time of his death, see Don C. Skemer, ‘Wenzel Faber von Budweis (c. 1455/1460–1518): An astrologer and his library in the early age of printing’, in: Gutenberg-Jahrbuch 82 (2007), pp. 241-277, and these catalogue records:

https://catalog.princeton.edu/catalog/11333371

https://catalog.princeton.edu/catalog/4990964With thanks to Falk Eisermann & Oliver Duntze, Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke, Berlin.

East Meets West in an Early Seventeenth-Century Book from Oxford

Browsing in Princeton University Library’s rare books vault, I came across a copy of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics in parallel Greek and Latin (Hanover: Wechel, 1610), bound in tooled calfskin at Oxford, which was inscribed on the rear end leaf by a 17th-century hand in dark black ink:

This incke came from Japan w[hi]ch is 17,000 myles from England.”

Evidently, a traveler to Japan brought a sample of sumi ink home to England, where someone dipped a pen into the bottle and tried it out on a blank leaf of the 1610 Oxford Aristotle. This strikes me as a potentially very early and interesting instance of contact with Japanese material culture in England, dating perhaps only a few years after the first English contact with Japan, established in 1610 by William Adams (who did not return to England), and the more diplomatically successful 1613 voyage by John Saris, who brought numerous Japanese objects back to England the following year. The alleged distance that the ink had traveled, 17,000 miles, may offer a clue as to which sea and/or land routes were taken.

Scholars with greater expertise in this area are invited to comment!

Two 16th-Century Cambridge Bindings by Garrett Godfrey

         I

Virgil. Opera Vergiliana docte et familiariter exposita. Jodocus Badius, ed. Paris: François Regnault, 1515.

Junius Morgan Collection 2945.1515q

While reviewing Princeton University’s extensive collection of early editions of Virgil’s poetry, I noticed that the Paris edition of 1515, presented to Princeton by Junius S. Morgan toward the beginning of the last century, was preserved in a worn but handsome early 16th-century blind-tooled calfskin binding that was unmistakably English. Upon closer inspection, the letters “GG”, embossed repeatedly into the elaborate cover decoration, caused a flash of recognition: this is the monogram of Garrett Godfrey, a bookseller and binder active in Cambridge from 1502 until his death in 1539, now recognized as one of the most notable figures of the early modern English book trade. As Princeton did not otherwise own a binding by Godfrey, this was a significant discovery.

Like many of England’s binders of the period, Godfrey came from the Netherlands. According to Roger Ascham’s Toxophilus (1545), “Garret our bookebynder” recalled that when his famous countryman Erasmus of Rotterdam made several long visits to Cambridge (between August 1511 and January 1514), the great humanist scholar would ride his horse around the market hill as a respite from his studies before returning to his quarters. Many of Godfrey’s surviving bindings enclose works by Erasmus, and it has been suggested that Erasmus lived in the home of the bookbinder during his visits to Cambridge.

The fact that a 1515 Parisian edition of Virgil’s works had been imported to Cambridge is not surprising. Although Virgil’s poetry was studied, and enjoyed, throughout Europe, it was not until 1570 that England would print its own Latin edition of this Classic work. The present book, with extensive scholarly commentary and notes, was owned early on by an Englishman whose name is inscribed on the title page: “…Magistri Thome Lane quondam vicarii de Reydon et Southwold in Suff.” This individual seems to be Thomas Lane (d. 1541), vicar in Reydon and Southwold in Suffolk, about 75 miles east of Cambridge.

Godfrey’s binding of the 1515 Virgil also includes two pastedowns recycled from the vellum leaves of a discarded manuscript of Averroës (Ibn Rushd), In Aristotelis Metaphysicorum libros commentarii, Book 5, that apparently was produced in Cambridge in the 13th century (the initial E for “Ens” begins chapter 7; the P for “Potentia” begins chapter 10). A survey of other Godfrey bindings likely will reveal related fragments, likewise used as pastedowns.

           

Godfrey’s activities as a bookseller and binder in Cambridge are particularly well documented thanks to the chance survival of several leaves from his account books, which were found in one of his bookbindings now at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. The surviving accounts, datable from 1527 to 1533, include lists of book titles, often with their prices, as well as the names of their buyers. These records refer to four copies of Virgil’s Opera bound for various patrons, but it seems impossible to match up such transactions with Princeton’s book.

II

[Johannes Justus Landsperger]. Candela Evangelica. [Cologne]: Eucharius Cervicornus, 1527.

[Bound with:] Johannes Fabri, Bishop of Vienna. Causse rationabiles. Cologne: Petrus Quentell, 1527.

Princeton University Library recently purchased two theological works printed in Cologne in 1527, recognizing that the items offered far more significance for the history of books than the bookseller had realized. The two octavos were bound together in what the dealer described online as a period blind-tooled calfskin binding. More precisely, it is a rare signed panel-stamped binding by Garrett Godfrey.

The calfskin binding is one of two dozen (or so) that survive with Godfrey’s panel stamp bearing his monogram, “GG.” These initials normally appear on the upper cover within a shield at the foot of a large Tudor rose surrounded by scrolls bearing the couplet “Hec rosa virtutis de celo missa sereno Eternu[m] florens regia sceptra feret.” On Princeton’s acquisition, the leather is worn and the shape of the shield is difficult to see. At either side of the rose are two angels in a field of flowers with the arms of St. George on the left and those of the City of London on the right.

 The panel stamp on the lower cover bears the royal arms of Henry VIII beneath a crown, all supported by two angels amid flowers. 

Godfrey’s accounts mention both of the titles contained in Princeton’s recently acquired volume. In fact, they appear in consecutive order in two distinct entries. Unfortunately, both entries are among those that do not supply the prices or the names of their buyers. The earlier entries read:

candela evangelica

1 cause febri 

The second entries, written amid several other bindings datable to 1527, read:

candela evangelica

1 cause fabri 

One of these pairs of books, or one just like it, bound together and sold by Godfrey, must be the pair now at Princeton University Library.

An inscription on the rear endleaf provides the identity of a 16th-century owner: “Iste liber pertinet [ad me] Edmundo Poulter.” Our earliest post-16th-century knowledge of the book is its appearance in the collection of the English bibliographer and bookbinding historian Edward Gordon Duff (1863–1924). It was sold in the auction of Duff’s books at Sotheby’s, London, 16 March 1925, Part I, lot 38, going to the book historian and bookseller E. P. (Ernst Philip) Goldschmidt (1887–1954) for £8 5s.* The book appeared again for sale in the catalogue of E. P. Goldschmidt & Co., Ltd., Early Printed Books: Medicine, Mathematics and Early Science, XVIth Century Books and Many Specimens of Early Bindings, Bibliography, Etc. (London, [1928]), no. 249. It came to light again and was auctioned as an anonymous property at Sotheby’s, Catalogue of Atlases, Maps, and Printed Books (London, 29 June 1981), lot 407. At some point thereafter, a change in ownership resulted in a loss of knowledge, and so the initials “G.G” tooled in gold lettering on its old cloth box (probably Duff’s) no longer held any discernible meaning. It was only when the book was offered online in 2019 that I recognized the binding as the work of Garrett Godfrey and snapped it up for Princeton.

* I thank Dr Arnold Hunt, Cambridge University, for contributing this information.

                

Epilogue

In the summer of 2019 Lara Katz, a high school junior at Pierrepont School (Westport, CT), volunteered for a one-month directed research project on medieval manuscript fragments found in bookbindings of Princeton University Library’s early printed books. Surveying dozens of fragments, Lara was able to identify numerous medieval Latin texts that were highly abbreviated and difficult to read. Among these were two recycled pastedowns in the octavo Garrett Godfrey binding (above), which preserve portions of Johannes Duns Scotus (ca. 1266–1308), Quaestiones super libros Metaphysicorum Aristotelis, Book 5; a rubricated headline across each leaf, which reads “Metha[physi]ce V,” confirms Lara’s discovery.

Update

We are delighted to note that Lara Katz has been accepted to Princeton University and will be attending as a member of the Class of 2024. Congratulations, Lara!

A Familiar Face: Hilprand Brandenburg’s Bookplate

By Jen Meyer, Curatorial Assistant, Rare Books

Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to be in David Pearson’s course Provenance: Tracing Owners & Collections at Rare Book School in Charlottesville, Virginia. We were just beginning to learn about the history of bookplates when a familiar sight appeared in his presentation:

This woodcut bookplate with an angel holding a shield bearing on ox first caught my eye three years ago when Princeton University purchased a two volume set of Astesano, Summa de casibus conscientiae [Strasbourg: Johann Mentelin, ca. 1472?]. At the time, I knew nothing of the bookplate’s history or importance, but I did know I was looking at something unusual.

Astesano, Summa de casibus conscientiae [Strasbourg: Johann Mentelin, ca. 1472?], vol. 1.

Three years later, at Rare Book School, the same image appeared on the screen and I learned that this was the one of the earliest known bookplates. It belongs to Hilprand Brandenburg of Biberach (1422-1514), a learned cleric who donated “450 books large and small” to the Carthusian Monastery at Buxheim in Swabia, Germany1. The donated books were also carefully inscribed by librarian Jakob Louber around 1505 with the title and provenance of each gift2.

When I returned to Princeton after my trip to Virginia, I looked up the recent purchase I had remembered and spoke to my colleague Eric White, Curator of Rare Books, about the experience. It turns out Princeton University holds more examples from Hilprand’s library and the Carthusian monastery at Buxheim. I set out to read about and explore their provenance.

Princeton’s holdings from Buxheim share their early history through the year 1883. The monastery was dissolved in 1803 as part of the German Mediatisation, and the books became the property of Graf von Ostein, passing to his sister, Gräfin von Hatzfeld, in 1809, and then to their cousin, Graf Friedrich Karl Waldbott von Bassenheim, in 1810. The books were finally sold by Graf Hugo von Waldbott-Bassenheim (1820-1895) via auction in Munich on Sept. 20, 1883 (through Carl Förster).

After the 1883 auction in Munich, each of Princeton’s copies came to the University through different paths and with varying evidence of their provenance.

Astesano (d. 1330?). Summa de casibus conscientiae [Strasbourg: Johann Mentelin, ca. 1472?]. 2 vols.

Astesano, Summa de casibus conscientiae [Strasbourg: Johann Mentelin, ca. 1472?], vol. 2.

Containing the original Hilprand bookplates that caught my attention, these volumes are Princeton University’s most complete example of their early history. Both volumes of Summa de casibus conscientiae have a Hilprand bookplate as well as inscriptions by Louber marking their donation. They also have armorial Buxheim library stamps at the foot of the first text pages. The bindings (see below) are contemporary blind-stamped alum-tawed pigskin over part-beveled wooden boards, and bear small stamps with an ox, Hilprand’s armorial. Additional provenance evidence for this two-volume set includes:

  • Lot 3308 at the Munich 1883 auction.
  • Bindings: From the “Phönix” workshop (Kyriss 162), covers with blind fillets forming a panel design, differing between the two volumes but using some of the same stamps. Titles lettered in ms. at head of spines “Summa casuum Astexandi”; chased brass center-and corner pieces with bosses, two fore-edge leather and brass clasps on lower covers.
  • Lot 30 at Leipzig 1913 auction via C. G. Boerner, Katalog der Bibliothek des Königlichen Baurats Edwin Oppler.
  • On front pastedowns, gold-stamped leather book label of E.P. Goldschmidt.

Detail of binding, showing Hilprand’s armorial stamp (small shield with ox).

Alphonso, de Espina (active 15th century). Fortalitium fideo contra fidei Christianae hostes.  [Strasbourg, Johann Mentelin, not after 1471].

Hilprand’s painted armorial.

This volume has Louber’s inscription on the front endpaper as well as evidence of the removal of Hilprand’s bookplate. There are also two stamps of the Carthusian monastery of Buxheim on the first leaf. At the base of the spine is a Buxheim library shelfmark in red: E 307. Last but not least, painted at the foot of leaf 9r is a small blue shield with a white ox, Hilprand’s armorial. Additional provenance evidence for this volume includes:

  • Lot 3254 at the Munich 1883 auction.
  • Binding: 15th-century pigskin over boards, blind stamped, including the name-stamp ‘Meister.’ Johannes Meister was active in the book trade in Basel.
  • On front pastedown, there is a book dealer description pasted down. Additionally, there are various pencil and ink notes here and through the book.
  • On rear pastedown, there is a book label reading: E LIBRIS | GULIELMI NORTH | A.M. | SID. COLL. | CANTAB. This is the book label of William North, fl. 1854-1919, Sidney Sussex Coll. Cambridge, BA 1878, MA 1888.

Augustine, of Hippo, Saint (354-430). De civitate Dei. [Strasbourg: Johann Mentelin, not after 1468]. 

This book was purchased for the Scheide Library in 2017. It features Louber’s inscription recording Hilprand’s gift, but again no bookplate. However, between the inscriptions, one can see some faint coloring left over from the blue shield and angel’s wings. On the first leaf of the text there is an inscription “Carthusiae in Buxheim” and the oval stamp of Buxheim library. At the base of the spine is a Buxheim shelfmark in black: N 173. Additional provenance for this volume includes:

  • Lot 3306 at the Munich 1883 auction.
  • Binding: 16th-century blind-stamped pigskin over beveled wooden boards (possibly executed in Buxheim); concentric rectangles decorated with rolls in a floral design; two metal clasps; manuscript fragments from a 12th-century Missal with heightened neumes used as pastedowns.
  • Book label from the Library in Milltown Park on verso of front flyleaf. From the library of William O’Brien (1832-1899), Irish judge and book collector who bequeathed his library to the Jesuit community at Milltown Park, Dublin.

Petrarca, Francesco (1304-1374). Capitula in librum Francisci petrarche de vita solitaria incipient and Secretum Francisci Petrarche de Flore[n]cia poete laureati De co[n]temptu mundi incipit foeliciter [Strasbourg: The R-Printer (Adolf Rusch), not after 1473].

This book also has Louber’s inscription recording Hilprand’s gift, but again no bookplate. On the first leaf of text is an inscription “Carthusiae in Buxheim” and the stamp of Buxheim library. At the base of the spine a Buxheim shelfmark appears in black: H 419. Additional provenance for this volume includes:

  • Lot 2872 at the Munich 1883 auction.
  • Binding: 15th-century blind-stamped pigskin over thick wooden boards, sewn on 4 split tawed thongs: from Kyriss shop K162 ‘Phoenix’, which Hummel & Wilhelmi (Katalog der Inkunabeln in Bibliotheken der Diozese Rottenburg-Stuttgart. Wiesbaden, 1993) localize to Biberach, and which Ernst Kyriss asserted had bound many volumes for Hilprand Brandenburg. Catches and clasps present.
  • Presented to Princeton by Junius Spencer Morgan in June 1896. There is a bookplate on the front pastedown acknowledging a gift simply from “M.” The accession no. “100364 Sesq. 364” is written in.

Arms of the Brandenbergs [ca. 1480-1500]

Graphic Arts Collection, Princeton University Library. 7.0 x 6.3 cm

As evidenced by the Princeton holdings listed above with traces of removed bookplates, many Hilprand bookplates did get separated from books they were originally placed into. An example of a removed Hilprand bookplate is held in our Graphic Arts Department. The brown stains may provide clues as to which book it was removed from long ago.

While investigating Princeton’s holdings, I was able to consult with my colleagues Eric White and Paul Needham, who have written articles about Hilprand and his legacy. They also have kept a census of known copies of his books, including more than 40 manuscripts and 130 printed volumes.

It is interesting to see the various ways these early bookplates have survived – or not survived – over the past 500 years. The chance to see these examples firsthand and explore their provenances has been a great opportunity to delve deeper into history and our collections.

Astesano, Summa de casibus conscientiae [Strasbourg: Johann Mentelin, ca. 1472?], binding, vol. 1.

_________________

1 Paul Needham: “The Library of Hilprand Brandenburg.” In: Inkunabel- und Einbandkunde. Bibliothek und Wissenschaft 29. Wiesbaden 1996, pp. 95-125; Friedrich Stöhlker: Die Kartause Buxheim 1402-1803. Folge 4 (1976), p. 844.

2 Eric Marshall White: “Three Books Donated by Adolf Rusch to the Carthusians at Basel.” In: Gutenberg Jahrbuch 2006, p. 231.

A Fifteenth-Century Rubricator’s Complaint

The 1483 Horace, with Donatus fragment visible.

In November 2017, Notabilia reported Princeton University Library’s acquisition of a copy of Horace, Opera (Venice: Johannes de Gregoriis, de Forlivio, et Socii, 17 May 1483), the original binding of which included two fragments of the Ars minor of Aelius Donatus, printed with the same typeface that had been used to print Gutenberg’s 42-Line Bible in Mainz, ca. 1455.

 

One intriguing aspect of the book that we were unable to explain was the rubricator’s cryptic inscription at the end of the Horace:

We contacted Dr. Falk Eisermann at the Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke in Berlin, who consulted with Dr. Christoph Mackert at the University of Leipzig, who provided the answer. The rubricator complained, quite understandably, that he had completed his arduous work, encompassing hundreds of red and blue initials and thousands of paragraph marks and red capital highlights, with “DIGITIS FESSIS” — tired fingers.

Some of the rubricator’s handiwork.

Rare Book Working Group Examines “Her Book”

Portrait of Lady Caroline Lamb, in her Verses from Glenarvon (1819), painted by Eliza Jones. 2018-0034N

The “Rare Book Working Group” (RBWG) at Princeton University Library began its second year of programming by exploring the topic of “Her Book” on October 25, 2018. Eric White, Curator of Rare Books, and Gabriel Swift, Reference Librarian for Special Collections, brought out more than 50 books from the 17th and 18th centuries, each inscribed by an early female owner. The RBWG participants, which included graduate students, faculty, and library staff, discussed the value and implications of this provenance information as historical evidence, and recorded the data for entry into the library’s online catalog — which historically has overlooked much of this kind of evidence.

White and Swift introduced the “Her Book” workshop with examples of women’s early achievements in book production and collecting. These included a copy of De viris illustribus, printed in Florence in 1478 by the Dominican nuns at San Jacopo di Ripoli; book illustrations by Suor Isabella Picini, a prolific engraver at the Franciscan convent of Santa Croce in Venice at the beginning of the 18th century; an unsigned 17th-century English embroidered dos-a dos binding, very probably made by a woman; Lady Caroline Lamb’s presentation copy of her rare Verses from Glenarvon (1819), hand-embellished with her portrait by Eliza Jones (above); and the 1819 auction catalogue of the library of Anne-Thérèse-Philippine, Comtesse d’Yve (1738–1814) of Brussels, whose rich and diverse collection included a copy of the Gutenberg Bible in its original binding (now at Eton College).

New Testament and Psalms (1628). Embroidered dos-à-dos binding.          RHT 17th-35

Frances Wolfreston’s copy of Guillaume de Bartas, His Deuine Weekes & Workes (London, 1605). RHT 17th-223

For the longer “workshop” portion of the two-hour session, participants examined a selection of books from the Robert H. Taylor Collection, signed (and occasionally annotated) by the Englishwomen who owned them. These included six titles inscribed “Frances Wolfreston hor bouk [her book],” which Swift brought out in order to highlight the possibilities of reconstructing women’s libraries and reading habits; a scholarly project on this little-known 17th-century owner, led by Sarah Lindenbaum, who first located Princeton’s specimens, is already well under way. See: https://franceswolfrestonhorbouks.com/

The participants also examined Jane Franklin Mecom’s copy of her brother Benjamin Franklin’s Experiments and observations on electricity, made at Philadelphia in America (1769), featured in Jill Lepore’s exemplary study, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin (2013).

Jane Austen’s copy of A Companion to the Altar (London, c. 1790). EX 5866.934

In addition to deciphering names (such as Jane Austen’s) written in books, the RBWG also explored larger patterns of book ownership and the scholarly value of mining a broad corpus of evidence. Faculty participant Seth Perry agreed that RBWG workshops offer an excellent opportunity to approach broader questions and find new avenues for research that arise from a rich but often hidden historical record.

 

Ownership inscriptions in the selected books include:

Jane Austen, April 24th 1794

Fanny Burney

Fanny Anne Burney, from her Grandfather

Anna Seward

[Lady] M[ary] Cowper

Mary Tolson her book [wife of the author, Rev. Frances Tolson]

(continued below)

Margaret Clarke her Book […] Elizabeth Harris

Anne Thomas 173[?] (trimmed; with printed bookplate: “Ann Thomas No. 104”)

Ann Savil Shepherd 1780

Rhoda Spaulding Gaffrey

Jane De L’Angle

Mrs. Mary[?] Leo Feild her Book 1720

Mrs. Audley given to William D[—?] 1833

Ann Goodkind her Book February 2[?]th 1761

Elizabeth Greyon given me by my Aunt Alice Abdy, November the 24 1682

To Mrs. Rose of Kilravock, with Mr. [Robert] Burns’s best compliments

Elizabeth Calldicot

Mary Portmant

Mrs. Eliza Symonds

Mary Luth[?] (trimmed)

Catherine Fleminge Book

Francis Glossop the gift of his Aunt Catherine Gibbs

Mary Ibborson

Elisabeth Dickenson […] Elisabeth Richardson […] Hannah Dickenson […] Mary

Abigail Burby given by Sir Tho Tyrell

Ann Piggot 1700

Euphime Proctor 1769 [gilt leather label]

For the complete RBWG worksheet, see: Her Book – Sheet1

Eric White and Gabriel Swift wish to thank student assistants Jessica Terekhov, Rosamond van Wingerden, and Conner Johnson for their help compiling and organizing the “Her Book” RBWG workshop.

 

Vestiges of a Lost Carolingian Bible Discovered at Princeton

Ink offset on the upper board of EXI Oversize 5707.674q

The fifteenth-century binding of Princeton University Library’s copy of Nicolaus de Ausmo, Supplementum Summae Pisanellae et Canones poenitentiales (Venice: Franciscus Renner, de Heilbronn and Nicolaus de Frankfordia, 1474), preserves the ghostly remains of one of the greatest of all lost books: the ninth-century “Tours Bible” of Trier, a large-format manuscript written at Tours ca. 835 as part of the religious reforms initiated by Charlemagne (742–814), later deposited at the Imperial Benedictine Abbey of St Maximin in Trier, only to be discarded for use as binding waste in Trier during the fifteenth century.

Since the closure of St Maximin in Trier in 1802, approximately 85 fragments from this lost Carolingian Bible have come to light, all within fifteenth-century book bindings from this monastery’s library. Many are preserved in Trier’s Stadtbibliothek, while others are in Vienna, London, Berlin, Bonn, Koblenz, Walberberg, and three institutions in the United States: Indiana University’s Lilly Library, Cornell University’s Olin Library, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Carolingian ink offset on the lower board, reversed and enhanced image.

Princeton’s vestiges of this lost Carolingian Bible are neither a full vellum leaf nor a small fragment, but rather the reversed offset of ninth-century minuscule script, written in red and black ink, which has adhered to the Trier binding’s bare wooden boards, formerly covered by two vellum fragments from the discarded Tours Bible, which were removed at an unknown date. Decipherable with the aid of enhanced digital images shown in reverse, the preserved text consists of the Latin chapter summaries for 4 Kings (IV Regum), which would have preceded the beginning of that biblical book. The vellum leaf that bore this offset text, which was cut into two pieces and pasted down horizontally across the interior surfaces of the upper and lower boards, appears not to have survived. Thus, the offset in the Princeton binding is the only witness to its existence and the only record of its contents.

Detail of the Moutier-Grandval Bible. London, The British Library © British Library Board.

Some idea of the lost Tours Bible from Trier may be obtained by comparing the offset discovered at Princeton to the same biblical text in the ninth-century “Moutier-Grandval Bible” at the British Library, one of the greatest of all surviving Carolingian manuscripts. In both bibles, a red-ink rubric reads “Incipit capitulatio de Libro regum quarto,” while a series of Roman chapter numerals and initial Ds written in red ink descends the left side of the column. The script and spacing exhibited in each of the bibles is closely comparable, suggesting that they were produced within the same scriptorium.

Comparison of the Princeton offset (top) and Moutier-Grandval Bible in London (bottom).

Inscription on f. 1r

The Princeton copy of Nicolaus de Ausmo, printed in Venice in 1474, reached St Maximin in Trier soon after its publication. There, presumably during the later 1470s, it was inscribed “Ex libris Imperialis Monasterij S. Maximinj” and was bound (with the Carolingian Bible fragments) in wooden boards covered with blind-tooled calfskin; one of the tools impressed into the leather verifies its early provenance, bearing the words “Codex sancti Maximini.”

Detail of binding: “Codex sancti Maximini” stamp

 

 

When St Maximin in Trier was dissolved in 1802, many of its library’s books went to the local Stadtbibliothek, but many others were scattered to the four winds. The Nicolaus de Ausmo of 1474, along with several other books from St Maximin, became part of the collection of Joseph von Görres (1776–1848), a German writer and historian in Koblenz. His collection of printed books was sold by Süddeutsches Antiquariat in Munich (Katalog 32, dated 1903 [i.e. 1902]), no. 2. The catalogue entry mentioned the book’s provenance from St Maximin in Trier, but not the Carolingian binding waste or its offset. The book was owned next by Edward Duff Balken (1874–1960), Princeton Class of 1897, who presented it to Princeton University Library in 1940. The Carolingian offset was discovered and identified by Eric White on March 29, 2018, during preparations for a meeting of RBSC’s Rare Books Working Group, an informal book history workshop for interested Princeton University graduate students.

For further reading:

Die Touronische Bibel der Abtei St. Maximin vor Trier: Faksimile der erhaltenen Blätter… Ed. Reiner Nolden (Trier, 2002).

Florentine Mütherich, “Die Touronische Bibel von St. Maximin in Trier,” in: Studies in Carolingian Manuscript Illumination (London, 2004), 341-60.

The Only Copy in America of Virgil’s Bucolica [Strasbourg: Heinrich Eggestein, ca. 1473-74]

Vergilius Maro, Publius. Bucolica [Strasbourg : Heinrich Eggestein, about 1473-74] f°. Goff V-203.      Oversize VRG 2945.325.001q

Given the rich holdings of Virgil’s poetry in Princeton University Library, one of the world’s foremost repositories of fifteenth-century editions of his works, it is perhaps easy to overlook the collection’s earliest separate edition of the Bucolica, which is one of only five copies to survive and the only copy preserved outside of continental Europe. Written in 42–39 BCE, the Bucolica (Latin ‘On the care of cattle’) was Virgil’s first major work, preceding the Georgics and the Aeneid. The Bucolica consists of ten brief eclogues that evoke the idyllic scenes and daily hardships of rural life within the Roman Empire. The poems were sensationally popular in ancient Rome and have never gone out of favor, as medieval Christians admired Virgil’s mastery of Latin verse and perceived messianic themes in his imagery. Virgil became Dante’s hero, and readers of the Renaissance esteemed Virgil above all other poets. In modern times, improved editions of his works, as well as reliable translations, continue to find a broad readership.

The first printing of the works of Virgil, including the Bucolica, Georgics, and the Aeneid, appears to be the folio edition published in Rome c. 1469 by Conradus Sweynheym and Arnoldus Pannartz. Princeton University Library is one of eight institutions to hold that edition, and the only one outside of Europe. The first separate printing of the Bucolica appeared in a smaller quarto format from the Cologne press of Ulrich Zel, c. 1470, which is known in only eleven copies.

Princeton’s earliest Bucolica, from the second separate edition, was printed in Strasbourg by Heinrich Eggestein about 1473-74. It is a slender Chancery folio (30.9 × 21.2 cm) of sixteen leaves in which the poems were composed in a single narrow column of 27 lines per page, spaciously leaded as in a school book. In the past the edition has been dated variously as c. 1468, c. 1470, and c. 1472. The earlier dates are clearly too early, falling before Eggestein introduced his type known as ‘4:99G’, used here, which also appeared in datable editions from 1471 to 1473. The dating of c. 1472 for Eggestein’s Bucolica, cited in most of the prevailing bibliographies, accords with the printer’s chronology but it does not take into account the key evidence of his paper supply. Paul Needham, the Scheide Librarian at Princeton, has determined that the watermarks found in the Bucolica, depicting a Bull’s Head surmounted by a Tau Cross, belong to a Chancery paper stock from Basel that also was used c. 1474 in Valascus de Taranta, Tractatus de epidemia et peste [Basel: Martin Flach, c. 1474]. Needham suggests that the best dating for Eggestein’s Bucolica is therefore c. 1473-74.

Eggestein’s edition of the Bucolica first came to light in 1810, when the French bibliographer Jacques-Charles Brunet (1780–1867) described it in his Manuel de libraire, vol. 2 (p. 648), citing the copy then owned by Comte Léon d’Ourches (1766–1843) of Nancy. The confident attribution in 1810 of an unsigned Bucolica to Eggestein exhibits a precocious knowledge of early Strasbourg typefaces. In the following year that same copy of the Bucolica was sold in the Catalogue des livres rares, précieux et bien conditionnés du cabinet de M. Léon d’Ourches (Paris: Jacques-Charles Brunet, 1811), lot 619, to the Parisian booksellers Guillaume De Bure l’aîné and his two sons; soon thereafter the De Bure frères sold that book to the Bibliothèque nationale de France, where it remains.

Duru’s 1853 binding.

Princeton University’s copy of Eggestein’s Bucolica was the second to emerge, one of only two copies ever to appear on the rare book market. It was first recorded in the German bookseller Fidelis Butsch’s Catalog einer ausgewählten Sammlung von Inkunabeln, literarischen Curiositäten und Seltenheiten (Augsburg, 1851), p. 35. In 1853 it was rebound by the fashionable Parisian binder Hippolyte Duru in brown morocco (goatskin) paneled in blind with darkened fillets, gold corner fleurons, and inner dentelles in gold over marbled endpapers, with all edges gilt.

Duru’s stamp.

Inside front cover.

The Princeton copy also bears the bookplate of the Parisian printer and book collector Ambroise Firmin-Didot (1790–1876), who is probably the owner who brought the book to Paris from Augsburg to be rebound by Duru. In the Catalogue illustré des livres précieux manuscrits et imprimés faisant partie de la bibliothèque de m. Ambroise Firmin-Didot (Paris, 1878), the Bucolica was sold as lot 104. Soon it came into the possession of Rev. William Makellar (1836–1896), a not particularly wealthy Presbyterian minister in Edinburgh who managed to acquire a Gutenberg Bible in 1885. In the Catalogue of the Extensive Library of Valuable Books and Manuscripts of the Late Rev. William Makellar (London, 1898), Sotheby’s sold the Bucolica as lot 3127 to the Piccadilly bookseller James Toovey (1813–1893) for £22; Toovey kept it within his ‘reserve’ collection, most of which his heirs sold to J. Pierpont Morgan of New York in 1899. However, the Bucolica, and many other important editions of Virgil (including the rare first edition of c. 1469), went instead to Morgan’s nephew, Junius Spencer Morgan (1867–1932), an 1888 graduate of the College of New Jersey, which is now known as Princeton University. An outstanding amateur scholar, philanthropist, and collector of art and books, Morgan gave the entirety of his great collection of Virgil editions, encompassing more than 700 titles, to his alma mater over a period of many years. His is the only copy of Eggestein’s Bucolica ever to leave continental Europe.

Junius Spencer Morgan (1867–1932). Princeton, Class of 1888.

Three other copies of Eggestein’s Bucolica have come to light. One is part of a Sammelband of several works preserved at the University Library in Freiburg im Breisgau; another was found at the Cathedral Library in Hildesheim in 1908; a third was identified among the thousands of incunables at the Bavarian State Library in Munich. Mysteriously, as in the Princeton copy, the rubricator of the Munich copy mistook the first word of the Bucolica, ‘[T]ityre,’ and filled in a colored initial ‘S’ instead, so that it reads ‘Sityre.’ With its ample margins and clean white paper, the Princeton copy is perhaps the finest of the five that survive.

Rubricator’s beautiful mistake: S instead of T.

Princeton Acquires Hidden Gutenbergian Donatus Leaf

“Time will bring to light whatever is hidden” – Horace

When this 1483 Venetian edition of the poetic works of Horace (65–8 BCE) was offered on a bookseller’s website on August 31, 2017, my eyes were drawn quickly away from its handsome Venetian typography to behold the narrow strip of vellum binding waste visible at the left side of his online image. Although neither the bookseller nor any previous owner had noticed it before, this strip was printed with the typeface used to print the Gutenberg Bible! Minutes later, Princeton had purchased the Horace, and when the book arrived, I was pleased to discover that there were actually two of these narrow vellum strips, one at the front and one at the back, folded and sewn into the binding around the first and last quires of the Horace. It was decided that Princeton’s paper conservator, Ted Stanley, should lift the old paper paste-downs inside each cover, and indeed this revealed much broader extensions of both of the vellum strips, still glued down onto the 15th-century wooden boards.

Above: Horace. Opera, with commentary by Cristoforo Landino. (Venice: Johannes de Gregoriis, de Forlivio, et Socii, 17 May 1483), as offered online in 2017.

Ted Stanley’s blog:

Revealing Gutenbergian Text

The results of Ted Stanley’s work are seen below, in photography by Roel Muñoz:


Front board and leaf following first quire, inverted to show the printed fragment.

 


Back board and leaf preceding final quire, inverted to show the printed fragment.

 

The two vellum fragments, now fully revealed except for two narrow widths that remains folded around the first and last six leaves of the Horace, constitute a complete leaf (folio 11 of 13) from a previously unknown 33-line edition of the Ars minor of Aelius Donatus (fl. 4th century CE), the essential Latin grammar used in medieval schools. Although it uses Johannes Gutenberg’s types, this edition most likely was printed by Gutenberg’s former colleagues in Mainz, Johann Fust and Peter Schoeffer (or by Schoeffer alone).

Left: Composite image of the visible portions of the Donatus leaf, still bound inside the Horace.

 

Whereas the red markings throughout the Donatus fragments were added by hand, the blue chapter initial A on the fragment at the back of the Horace was printed by the press in blue ink containing indigo. This feature helps to date the Donatus edition to no earlier than 1457, when Fust and Schoeffer first introduced colored initials, including the identical A, in their famous Mainz Psalter. Moreover, in line 24, the misprint ‘audiuntur’ instead of ‘audiuntor’ matches that in a nearly identical fragment at Giessen University and in a fragment of a 35-line edition in Paris, which bears the printer’s colophon of Peter Schoeffer (alone). This suggests that all three editions were printed after Johann Fust died in 1466. 

Thus, a few decades after the Donatus was printed, a bookbinder saw fit to recycle the schoolbook in order to provide supports for the binding of the Horace. The rubrication of the Horace is German in style, not Italian. This strongly suggests that the book was imported to Germany from Venice at an early date. The use of a printed leaf from Mainz as binding waste likewise suggests that the Horace was bound in Germany. Moreover, an inscription by an early owner, Johann Ogier (Freiherr) Faust von Aschaffenburg (1577-1631) of Frankfurt am Main, suggests that city, with its important international book fair, as the likeliest location for the demise of the Donatus, and the binding of the Horace.

Today, no copies of any Mainz edition of the Donatus survive intact, and even such small typographic specimens as this are fabulously rare – the last time a Gutenberg-type Donatus fragment was discovered was in 1973. However, what is most important is that the present fragments were found in situ, and Princeton intends to leave them where they belong. These are the only known Mainz Donatus fragments that are still preserved within the binding that constitutes their original datable context, and it is this unique circumstance that provides important information about the lives – and deaths – of Europe’s earliest printed books.

Eric White, PhD
Acting Curator of Rare Books
Princeton University Library

Princeton Acquires a Vellum Fragment of the Gutenberg Bible Preserved as a Book Cover

Biblia Latina (The 42-Line Bible). [Mainz: Johannes Gutenberg, c. 1455].

Princeton University Library’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections is pleased to announce the acquisition of the most significant specimen of the ‘Gutenberg Bible’ discovered during this century. This single leaf printed on vellum (calfskin) is a remarkable survival from what is widely considered the first book printed in Europe: the large folio Latin Bible that demonstrated the immense potential of the typographic method that Johannes Gutenberg, with financial backing from Johann Fust, developed in Mainz during the early 1450s. Given that Princeton University has been a leading center for Gutenberg-related studies ever since 1958, when the Scheide Library and its beautifully preserved two-volume paper copy of this Bible were deposited in Firestone Library (the collection was bequeathed to Princeton by William H. Scheide in 2014), the new vellum fragment provides welcome additional avenues for research into the early history of printing in the West.1

The fragment owes its survival to the fact that – more than two centuries after the Bible was printed, and long after its historical significance had been forgotten – its vellum was considered useful as recycled waste from which to make book covers. Although this grim fate once was common among obsolete books of all descriptions, this is in fact the only specimen of the Gutenberg Bible still preserved as a book binding ever to appear on the rare book market. Clearly, a discarded copy of the Gutenberg Bible was cut into hundreds of pieces for this purpose – but where, and when? The Princeton fragment itself provides evidence of unusual specificity, as it still encloses a copy of the Erneuerte und verbesserte Landes- und Procesz-Ordnung, an ordinance of litigation within the Electorate of Saxony, printed at Cöthen, Germany, in 1666. Moreover, a contemporary inscription indicates that the slender quarto volume was owned by the noted jurist Adam Cortrejus (1637–1706), who earned his doctorate at Jena in 1666, long served as Syndic in Halle, and died in Magdeburg. This owner’s limited itinerary and the strictly local interest of the Cöthen law book both suggest that the bindery of this book – and likewise the lost Gutenberg Bible – should be localized to Saxony-Anhalt, northwest of Leipzig, during the last decades of seventeenth century.

This localization is especially interesting in light of Eric White’s previous research, published in 2010, concerning several dozen other vellum fragments of the Gutenberg Bible that survive as binding waste.2 Categorized by their distinct styles of rubrication (headlines, initials, and chapter numerals added by hand), these fall into eleven groups, each localized to the region in which they first were discovered, or were used as binding waste. One such group, consisting of six identically rubricated leaves, includes three leaves found in 1819 on two different bindings at the Landes- und Universitätsbibliothek in Dresden, two leaves at the Grolier Club in New York City owned by Friedrich Barnheim at Insterburg in 1867, another leaf sold by the Leipzig antiquarian Theodor Oswald Weigel by 1865 (now at the Museo Correr in Venice), as well as a leaf from Apocalypse formerly at the Universitätsbibliothek in Breslau, now lost. Dr. White localized this otherwise lost Gutenberg Bible to the vicinity of Dresden and predicted that any yet-to-be-discovered fragments exhibiting the same rubrication style very likely would hail from that same region. The fact that the rubrication exhibited by the Princeton fragment closely matches that of the Dresden group indicates that all seven fragments derive from the same lost Bible. Moreover, the three German towns associated with Princeton’s binding – Cöthen, Halle, and Magdeburg – are just to the northwest of Dresden and Leipzig.

Front cover, turned sideways, showing the rubricated initial and the chapter numeral v.

Initial F on the Princeton binding.                            Initial F on a fragment found in Dresden.

Detail of front cover, showing rubricated headline PA RA [-lipomenon], i.e., I Chronicles.

Detail of headline P found in Dresden.                          Detail of headline A found in Leipzig.

The Princeton binding was discovered by Stefan Krüger, a bookseller in Cologne, within an unexamined mixed lot of mainly 19th-century law books auctioned in Bonn c. 2006. Krüger made no announcement of his discovery until November 2016, when he advertised online that the binding would be sold on January 26, 2017, at the 31st annual Ludwigsburg Antiquaria, held near Stuttgart. In accordance with the traditions of that fair, the item would be available at a substantial (but by no means inflated) fixed price to the first applicant, or, in the event of a broader interest, to the winner of a lottery among those in attendance.

Chaos ensued on the first day of the Ludwigsburg fair, where at least 76 bidders (including Princeton’s Curator of Rare Books) drew lots for the item. The winning number belonged to a member of a consortium of German dealers headed by the independent bookseller Detlev Auvermann, an emigré to London who formerly had worked for Quaritch, Ltd. He agreed to Princeton’s immediate request for ‘first refusal’ upon determination of his sale price. While Princeton University Library administrators contemplated this major purchase, Auvermann expressed his intention to offer the item at the annual New York Book Antiquarian Book Fair beginning on March 9, 2017. The negotiations formalizing Princeton’s acquisition were completed at the end of February, and Auvermann was able to display the binding at the New York fair, marked ‘sold.’ Princeton took possession of the item on March 12.

Although the surface of the Bible fragment is somewhat abraded and stained, as is usual for vellum leaves used as book coverings, the condition of the binding is excellent; the structure is intact, and the connections between the spine and the covers are strong. Internally, the 1666 Cöthen law book is in very good original condition. A new clam-shell box covered in navy blue Asahi backcloth was created by Princeton’s Collections Conservator, Lindsey Hobbs.

Today, 36 paper copies and 12 vellum copies of the Gutenberg Bible survive reasonably intact, either as complete Bibles or as incomplete bound volumes. Added to these are an incomplete paper copy dismantled in 1920 for sale as individual books or single leaves, and three copies on paper and eleven copies on vellum known only from binding waste. The study of the impact of early printing in Europe is well served by giving closer scholarly attention to the fourteen copies, including the one represented by Princeton’s fragment, that may not survive in the form of books, but which do survive, nevertheless.

VALUE TO RESEARCH AND INSTRUCTION AT PRINCETON

Like William Scheide himself, Princeton’s librarians, particularly the successive Scheide Librarians, have researched and published on many aspects of Gutenberg’s invention and the earliest printed books. Moreover, Princeton’s faculty have embedded book history into the university’s curriculum and are training their undergraduate and graduate students to approach the discipline with open-minded curiosity and direct experience of the original artifacts. This major acquisition is intended to continue and enrich that tradition:

  • Princeton’s acquisition of the Gutenberg fragment brings a historically unique and physically ‘at risk’ survival from the first European printing enterprise into permanent institutional protection.
  • Whereas all other Gutenberg Bible leaves discovered since 1900 have been removed from their host bindings, destroying historical evidence, Princeton’s purchase of this specimen establishes forever the premium value of leaving early binding waste intact.
  • Contributing to an emerging field of book history research – the loss of books – this ‘miraculous’ fragmentary survival effectively encapsulates the extreme fluctuations in the Gutenberg Bible’s historical fortune over five centuries.
  • To a degree unsurpassed by any similar specimen, this fragment and its host volume document the time and place at which an otherwise lost copy of the Gutenberg Bible was discarded for use as waste material for book bindings.
  • The physical states of the Gutenberg Bible in Princeton’s Scheide Library and this the fragment perfectly complement each other: two paper volumes in their original binding preserved in benign neglect in Erfurt until 1840 vs. a vellum fragment from a copy cut apart by a binder c. 1666. No American library holds a similar pairing.
  • Prior to this acquisition, Princeton owned the Scheide copy of the Gutenberg Bible and 19 paper leaves from 3 others (worldwide, only the Morgan Library represents as many copies). The addition of this fragment introduces a specimen printed on vellum and provides the unique opportunity to analyze the varied rubrication and provenance evidence of five copies of the Gutenberg Bible in one library.

Call #: (ExI) 2017-0006N

https://pulsearch.princeton.edu/catalog/10138910

 

Eric White, PhD
Curator of Rare Books
Princeton University Library

____________________

              1 Paul Needham, The Invention and Early Spread of European Printing as Represented in the Scheide Library (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Library, 2007).

              2 Eric Marshall White, ‘The Gutenberg Bibles that Survive as Binder’s Waste’, in Early Printed Books as Material Objects. Proceedings of the Conference Organized by the IFLA Rare Books and Manuscripts Section. Munich, 19-21 August 2009. Bettina Wagner and Marcia Reed, eds. (Berlin: Walter De Gruyter, 2010), 21-35.

 

THREE DISCOVERIES IN ONE: New Evidence for a Book Bound and Owned in Ulm, ca. 1500-1531

ottoThree discoveries by three different researchers have cast new light on a remarkable 500-year-old book that has been at Princeton University since 1873: Otto von Passau’s Die vierundzwanzig Alten, oder Der goldne Thron, completed by the Strasbourg printer Johann Schott on 28 March 1500. In this work, illustrated with 25 woodcuts, the Twenty-Four Elders of Revelation 4:4 expound upon passages of scriptural wisdom so as to guide the reader to the “golden throne” of eternal salvation.

The first discovery was made in 2007 by Scott Husby, Princeton’s conservator for Rare Books and Special Collections (since retired), who identified the folio’s original (ca. 1500) blind-tooled pigskin-covered binding as the work of bookbinders at Ulm in southern Germany. ulm-o-123The tooled emblems found on the binding, including a distinctive Lamb of God, Winged Lion of St. Mark, and Pierced Heart, are associated both with the bindery of the Augustinian canons of the “Wengenkloster “ of St. Michael in Ulm, and with Konrad Dinckmut, a printer active in Ulm from 1476 and recorded as a bookbinder in that city from 1481; Dinckmut’s sons Hans and Michael appear to have continued binding books with his tools into the sixteenth century.

A Reformation-era inscription within the book supports this localization, as it records that the volume was the property of the Franciscan fathers of Ulm until the eve of the feast of St. Francis (4 October) 1531, when the city’s adoption of Protestantism led to their expulsion (“Gehort den vatter[n] zu Ulm als sy uszogen seind umb Francisci im xxxi jor”):

o-123titlepage

The second discovery was made by John Lancaster, Curator of Special Collections, Emeritus, Amherst College Library, in October 2016. He identified the mysterious printed paper sheet that had served the bookbinder as a pastedown inside the folio’s front cover. Noting that it came from a Latin grammatical work printed idsc_0007n quarto format, he quickly determined that “the text is Alexander de Villa Dei, Doctrinale – of which there are hundreds of editions. But the lack of commentary rules out many editions, so a quick look for editions without commentary, preferably quite late (since the Otto von Passau was printed in 1500), led to success! [Ulm: Johann Schäffler], 15 Feb. 1500.”

This Ulm edition of the Doctrinale is truly rare: it exists only in a single incomplete copy at the Bavarian State Library in Munich, and – as we now know – the single sheet of binding waste discovered at Princeton. As the sheet appears to have been printed on one side only and was never cut into individual leaves, it would have been discarded by Schäffler’s printing shop in Ulm ca. 1500 and handed over as waste material for use by the Ulm binder of Princeton’s Otto von Passau, a book that likewise was printed in 1500 and imported to Ulm soon thereafter.

The third discovery came in November 2016, when Eric White, Princeton’s Acting Curator of Rare Books, tackled the nagging problem of the handsome coat-of-arms painted inside the book’s back cover, beneath the initials P and R and the date 1505. A longer-than-desired period of fruitless searching ultimately was rewarded when a match was found in a sixtdsc_0008eenth-century compendium of German armorials: the quarters on the right, divided per fess into black over white, refer to the civic arms of Ulm, while on the left the white unicorn on a black field identifies the crest as that of the family Roth von Schreckenstein, prominent patricians of Ulm.

The initials PR are believed to belong to Paulus Roth von Schreckenstein (b. 1435), the Bürgermeister of Ulm during the 1470s. Although his date of death is not known, he may well have left the book to the Franciscans of Ulm soon after 1505. Another Ulm binding with a nearly identical painted coat of arms and the initials PR is at the University of Gießen; it encloses Dinckmut’s rare Ulm edition of Der neuen Liebe Buch (not before 1486) and three Strasbourg editions from 1507 to 1509.

These discoveries increase the scholarly value of Princeton’s copy of Otto von Passau by bringing unusually rich context to the relationships between printers, bookbinders, and both mendicant and secular book owners in Germany five centuries ago; they may also shed particularly interesting light on the broader but heretofore forgotten book collecting activities of a prominent member of Ulm’s patriciate, Paulus Roth von Schreckenstein.

pr1505

Princeton University Library Rare Books and Special Collections. Call no. ExI 5959.692. Purchased by the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1873 along with an important collection of Reformation pamphlets owned by Dr. Adolf Trendelenburg of Berlin.

Acquisitions at the Pirie Sale

PRINTED BOOKS ACQUIRED AT THE PIRIE SALE

Stephen Ferguson
Associate University Librarian for Rare Books and Special Collections

“I’d never intended to practice law,” said Robert S. Pirie (1934–2015), a prominent New York lawyer and investment banker. “I wanted to become the rare book curator.” Pirie was the youngest in a cohort of twentieth-century American collectors of early English literature, among whom Robert H. Taylor (1909–1985) was the oldest. Long-time Princeton resident and major antiquarian bookseller John Brett-Smith (1917–2003), although British-born, was also a member of this cohort. There were many commonalities among the three. All had a bond and loyalty to the legendary New York antiquarian bookshop Seven Gables, which supplied each of them with tasteful, distinguished, and provenance-rich copies of major and minor monuments of England’s literary greats. (For more on the Seven Gables cohort, see Nicolas Barker, “Robert S. Pirie, 1934–2015,” The Book Collector 64.2 [Summer 2015]: 202–10.) Furthermore, their collective imagination and achievement projected their reputations beyond the Northeast and clear across to Britain. In some respects, the attainments of two members of this group are preserved in the Princeton University Library. Robert Taylor’s bequest is well known. Perhaps less well known is the work of John Brett-Smith, who, as bookseller and sometimes donor, augmented, supplied, and extended our collections of English literature. Therefore, when the Pirie collection came to auction in December 2015, we had another—and perhaps the last—opportunity to capture some of the glory of this remarkable group of twentieth-century collectors. Guiding our bidding decisions were themes already strong in the Taylor collection: annotated books, books of notable provenance, and extraordinary books signaling the literary taste of early modern England. The fifteen books purchased at the Pirie sale are listed below.

PIRIE

ANNOTATED BOOKS

Thomas Tusser, Five Hundred Points of Husbandry (London, 1580); annotated by Gabriel Harvey (1552/3–1631).

Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War [in Greek] (Venice: Aldus, 1502), bound with Pausanias, Works (Venice: Aldus, 1516); annotated by Roger Ascham (1515–1568) and Richard Morison (c. 1514–1556) (pictured above).

Ben Jonson, Works (London, 1692), and John Suckling, Fragmenta Aurea (London, 1646); both annotated by Charles Lamb (1775–1834).

Pliny, Epistolae (Venice: Aldus, 1508); annotated by Nicholas Udall (1505–1556).

Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, 4th ed. (London, 1658); annotated by Browne (1605–1682).

Matthias Eberhart, Scholastica (Wittenberg, 1572); annotated by Robert Burton (1577–1640).

Erycius Puteanus, Comus (Oxford, 1634); annotated by Leigh Hunt (1784–1859).

BOOKS OF NOTABLE PROVENANCE

Arthur Duck, Vita Henrici Chichele (Oxford, 1617); with the initials of Isaak Walton (1593–1683).

Michel Montaigne, Les Essais (Paris, 1625); with a note in the hand of Abraham Cowley (1618–1687) and bookplates of later notable owners.

Francis Bacon, Sylva Sylvarum (London, 1626); with supralibros of H[enry] G[oodere] and labels of other owners.

Elkanah Settle, Thalia Triumphans (London, 1717); binding with the arms of Henry Fiennes Clinton, 7th Earl of Lincoln (1684–1728).

Abbe d’Aubignac, Pratique du théâtre (Paris, 1657); with the signature of William Congreve (1670–1729) on the title page.

William Burton, Description of Leicester Shire (London, 1622); binding with the crest of Robert Glascock.

A MARKER OF LITERARY TASTES

A Sammelband, in a contemporary binding, of eight English translations from Ovid, by George Chapman (1559?–1634), Christopher Marlowe (1564–1593), Thomas Heywood (c. 1574–1641), and others, all published between c. 1625 and 1640.

 

MANUSCRIPTS ACQUIRED AT THE PIRIE SALE

Don C. Skemer
Curator of Manuscripts

Pirie3The Manuscripts Division acquired three works at the Pirie auction: an Elizabethan prayer book c. 1580; a 1666 scribal copy of “The Second and Third Advice to a Painter,” a text that Professor of English Nigel Smith attributes to Andrew Marvell (1621–1678); and the 1660s memoir of an English woman named Mary Whitelocke. The daughter of London merchant Bigley Carleton, Whitelocke penned a fascinating 175-page memoir of her life and intimate thoughts for her eldest son. She traces her life from the time of her first marriage at the age of sixteen to Rowland Wilson (d. 1650), Member of Parliament, also from a London mercantile family. Whitelocke’s second marriage in 1650 was to the prominent Puritan lawyer, politician, and diplomat Bulstrode Whitelocke (1605–1675), a Member of Parliament and Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England, with whom Mary had seven children. Much of the memoir relates to Mary’s family, home, and religious beliefs. Particularly interesting is Whitelocke’s poignant account of a miscarriage that occurred during her first marriage. There is some discussion of public affairs and events, particularly in her defense of Bulstrode Whitelocke’s public life. The manuscript has been in private collections since 1860, when it was cited and quoted in a biography of Bulstrode Whitelocke. All three manuscripts have been added to the Robert H. Taylor Collection of English and American Literature (RTC 01).

New Provenance for a Princeton Fragment of the 36-Line Bible

Recent findings cast new light on the prehistory of the Scheide Library’s vellum fragment of the 36-Line Bible (Bamberg: Albrecht Pfister?, not after 1461) – probably the third printed Bible and one of the first books printed outside of Mainz. Closer analysis of the rubrication shows that the Princeton fragment, which John H. Scheide purchased from the bookseller Joseph Baer in Frankfurt am Main in 1934, was one of numerous pieces of vellum that a mid-seventeenth-century bookbinder in or near Bad Wildungen in Hesse, Germany, cut out of a discarded 36-Line Bible – evidently no longer needed for local Catholic worship – for the purpose of making archival document wrappers.

WHS.B36.vellum.fragment

The hand-colored initials and other markings in both the Scheide fragment and the fragments preserved at the municipal archives in Bad Wildungen were added by the same fifteenth-century rubricator. Moreover, whereas the Scheide fragment is the lower part of the leaf containing Psalms 10 through 13, a nearly identical fragment still at Bad Wildungen comprises the upper portion of the same leaf. Finally, thanks to recent inquiries to the archivist at Bad Wildungen, additional unrecorded fragments from this same Bible have been found within the archive. The results of this renewed scrutiny, which requires the identification of numerous very small scraps of printed text, are being prepared for publication in Germany.

The 36-Line Bible long has been the focus of intensive study, as its Gothic typeface was developed in Mainz during the early 1450s, almost certainly by Johannes Gutenberg. For book historians, the main takeaway from the study of the scattered fragments of the 36-Line Bible is that there appear to have been four different vellum copies of that Bible that ended up as binding waste, and one or possibly two paper copies, to go along with the fourteen reasonably intact paper copies that survive (no intact vellum copies have been recorded). This suggests a print run of significantly fewer copies of the 36-Line Bible than the 42-Line “Gutenberg” Bible (Mainz, c. 1455), which survives in more than three times as many specimens. Whereas most of the 36-Line Bibles have provenances traceable to the Diocese of Bamberg, the Bad Wildungen fragments come from a copy that appears to have been owned and recycled considerably to the northwest. The new provenance for the Scheide fragment now contributes to an important but often overlooked body of knowledge about the early spread of typography in Europe.

Princeton’s Greek Bible of 1545, annotated by Martin Chemnitz

 Chemnitz.tp.1000             Chemnitz.Adam.1000

On December 8, 2015, it was discovered that Princeton University Library’s “copy 2” of the Greek Bible, Tēs Theias graphēs : Palaias Dēladē kai Neas Diathēkēs hapanta (Basel: Johannes Hervagius, 1545), with a Latin preface by the Lutheran reformer Philipp Melanchthon, has an important but long forgotten provenance. The title page bears a mid-sixteenth-century inscription written by Johannes Willibrochius (d. 1606) of Danzig that records his presentation of the Greek  Bible to his friend “M. Martino Kemnitz,” i.e., Martin Chemnitz (1522–1586). Chemnitz.inscription.1000
Both of these men were pupils of Melanchthon at the University of Wittenberg in the early 1550s, and Chemnitz went on to became the most important Lutheran scholar of his generation. He came to be known as “Alter Martinus” (the Second Martin), as his theological writings were essential for the sustained success of Lutheranism after the death of its founder and namesake in 1546.

Early biographies of Chemnitz mention his careful study of the Bible in the original Hebrew and Greek during the early 1550s, and indeed the Old Testament of Princeton’s Greek Bible bears thousands of marginal annotations in Greek and occasionally in Latin, written in a neat script that matches that of Chemnitz’s autograph letters. The annotations are mainly content notes, with some brief definitions and comments, but not many extended thoughts.

Johannes Willebrochius, who gave the Bible to Chemnitz, was an important figure in his own right. After his graduation from Wittenberg in 1552 he became a leading physician in Danzig. Later, he served as court physician to Archduke Ferdinand II of Austria at Prague and Innsbruck. Like Chemnitz, Willebrochius wrote theological works that ended up on the Tridentine Index of Prohibited Books. The few notes within Princeton’s Greek Bible of 1545 that were not written by Chemnitz clearly match the handwriting found in the letters of Willebrochius.

Front cover (tooling enhanced for legibility)

Chemnitz.rollDated 1550, the folio Bible’s pigskin binding bears the stamped initials “JW.” These initials clearly were added for Johannes Willebrochius before he gave the book to Chemnitz. Other stamps and rolls used to decorate the covers, including a rolled frieze (at right) with roundel portrait busts of Duke Friedrich of Saxony, Hercules, Antoninus, and Septimius Severus, dated 1524 on the surface of the tool itself, indicate that the binding was produced in Wittemberg by the noted master binder Nikolaus Müller.

The Greek Bible was donated to Princeton University Library on December 8, 1965, by Dr. Margaret Irving Handy (1889-1977), pioneering pediatrician of Delaware. It bears the signature of her grandfather, Rev. William Collins Handy (1835-1909), Princeton Class of 1855 (Divinity), later a prominent Presbyterian of New Scotland, New York, who seems to have purchased the old Bible for $1.83 in 1862. His brief autobiography of 1895, reprinted in the Princeton University Library Chronicle 30/3 (Spring, 1969), 200-203, unfortunately makes no mention of his Bible. Interestingly, the rediscovery of the Chemnitz provenance occurred exactly 50 years (to the day) after the granddaughter’s gift to Princeton.

Chemnitz.EvaThe “Chemnitz Bible,” heretofore unrecognized, is rich in research potential: for example, Princeton’s Prof. Anthony Grafton noticed that one of Chemnitz’s Latin marginalia, concerning the Vulgate version’s corruption of Genesis 3:15, cites “Philip” and quotes Melanchthon’s letter of January 1, 1539, addressed to “studiosis adolescentibus” (see Melanchthoniana paedogogica, ed. Karl Hartfelder (Leipzig: Teubner, 1892), 55). The Bible may be consulted in the Rare Books Reading Room; its call number is EX Oversize 5156.1545aq.

Chemnitz.open.1000a