Woodcut illustration from catechism

Making Good Protestants: The Importance of Catechisms

By Drew Thomas | In 1528 the Protestant reformer Philipp Melanchthon, Martin Luther’s right hand man, returned from a series of parish visitations convinced that both the clergy and the laity were spiritually illiterate. In response, Luther developed a series of sermons on the fundamentals of Christian belief. These sermons became the basis for his […]

Grafting Knives from the St Andrews copy

Piracy and Plants

By Nora Epstein | The English have long been known for their love of gardening, a pastime popular since at least the sixteenth century: if not longer, to judge from the number of surviving botany books. Leonard Mascall’s A Booke of the Arte and Manner how to Plant and Graffe all Sorts of Trees…(USTC 513190) […]

USTC 139280 A Catechism or Christian Doctrine, title page

A Catechism from the English Exiles in Rouen

By Chelsea Reutcke | Within the collection at Harvard’s Houghton Library, one of our Preserving the World’s Rarest Books partners, is a small devotional book from 1583 by Laurence Vaux entitled A Catechism or Christian Doctrine, Necessary for Children and Ignorant People (STC 24627, USTC 139280). At first glance, an English language catechism for children […]