Don Sebastian, title page

Follow the bookworm: a French copy of John Dryden’s Don Sebastian

By Chloé Favriou| The Université Rennes 2 special collection library holds a large number of books written in English. However, not all would necessarily be referred to as rare, as some books exist in many copies throughout the English-speaking world. But, it is unusual to come across such a large collection—about 2,000 books—in a French provincial […]

Greek text - featured

It’s All Greek to Me: Learning Greek Without Latin

By Abby-Eleonore Thouvenin | In 1915, the library of eminent classics scholar, Sir James Donaldson, was bequeathed to the University of St Andrews, where he had served as Senior Principal of the University. One of the thousands of books gifted to the University was written by Chrysoloras (1355 – 1415), a Byzantine teacher who taught […]

title, Malleus Maleficarum

Prosecuting Witches: A How-To Guide for Every Library

By Jamie Cumby | For Halloween, we at Preserving the World’s Rarest Books are looking at an infamous early modern text on the supernatural: the Malleus Maleficarum.  This guide for prosecuting cases of witchcraft draws on anecdotes ripped from the experiences of its Inquisitor author. It was first printed in 1487 (USTC 746011) and went […]

USTC 6030412, title page

Circulating Scandalous News in Early Modern Europe

By Sandra Toffolo | In 1637 in Grenoble Magdeleine d’Auvermont was accused of adultery by relatives of her husband: she had given birth to a son, but her husband had been away in Germany for the past four years. This was according to a pamphlet published in Paris that same year. Magdeleine, however, claimed that […]

Somnium, annotated incipit

An Early Modern Reader Dreams with Scipio

By Neil Weijer | This week’s post is by Dr. Neil Weijer, the Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow in Premodern and Early Modern Studies at the Johns Hopkins University. The Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins is one of our Preserving the World’s Rarest Books partners. A small pamphlet edition of the Somnium Scipionis, now in the Johns […]

Statue of Robin Hood

The (Recycled) Tales of Robin Hood

By Chelsea Reutcke | Robin Hood, the legendary outlaw, has been a staple of English folklore since the mid-fifteenth century, with mentions of his name stretching back even earlier. Songs, books, radio, and movies have repeatedly recycled or expanded his story. Within the collection of The Codrington Library of All Souls College, Oxford, a different […]

Binding for Cicero's Letters

Saving Your Textbooks: Cicero’s importance to scholars of all ages

By Jamie Cumby | In 1578 a collection of Cicero’s letters was printed in Paris. As a new academic year begins, Preserving the World’s Rarest Books is highlighting a copy of this early modern educational book at Merton College Library in Oxford, one of our library partners (75.E.8(4)).  Gabriel Buon, printer of the edition, gave […]

Aldine Epistles title page from St Andrews

500 years of Aldines in Europe: A View From St. Andrews

By Michela Petris | Every summer an international group of students visits St Andrews for six weeks to work on the Universal Short Title Catalogue and experience the inner-workings of a large research project. Michela Petris volunteered this past summer and attended our 2018 book conference on ‘Print and Power’. Produced by one of the most […]

Front binding

When Reference Books Finally Leave the Library

By Neil Weijer | This week’s post is by Dr. Neil Weijer, the Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow in Premodern and Early Modern Studies at the Johns Hopkins University. The Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins is one of our Preserving the World’s Rarest Books partners. Due to Martin Luther’s popularity and prominence as an author, publishers printed […]