The English Mercurie - title

The English Mercurie of 1588: the first (hoax) newspaper

By Arthur der Weduwen | In 1794, the Scottish antiquarian and political writer George Chalmers made a startling find. He had found proof that the first newspaper had been printed in London in 1588, decades before the emergence of newspapers elsewhere in Europe. It had been a chance discovery. Chalmers was composing a history of […]

Prognostication title page from Trent Civic Library

Identifying the mysterious printer of Italian Prognostications

By Matteo Fadini | In the Trent Civic Library collection there are 80 unique sixteenth-century books.  Today’s post focuses on one of them: a pronostico ­– a pamphlet containing astrological predictions. The book, by Tommasino Girardelli, was Pronostico dell’anno M.D.LXVII. di Tomasino Giradelli da Trento, sopra le quattro stagioni dell’anno, con il raccolto del presente, & […]

University Recruitment Ordinance

Recruiting Early Modern Students in the Dutch Republic

By Andrew Pettegree and Forrest Strickland |   The publishers of the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic produced some spectacular books, but the bread and butter of the trade, the work that kept the presses turning, were commissions from institutional customers: the state, city authorities and, increasingly, the universities. By the middle of the century the Dutch […]

Royal arms of France from title page

Regulating the Silk Trade in Early Modern Lyon

By Jamie Cumby | This week’s item is a pamphlet describing the first set of ordinances to regulate the manufacture of luxury textiles in Lyon.  In addition to being a great example of early modern trade protectionism, Lyon’s silk industry was one of the city’s biggest employers.  This royal act, printed by the Lyon master-printer […]

First English Bibliography, detail

The First English Bibliography

By Graeme Kemp | Towards the end of the sixteenth century, Andrew Maunsell completed a novel project: the publication of a national bibliography of all English printed books. In a triple dedication, he humbly offered Elizabeth I his work as a remembrance of the advance in literature and print under her stewardship. Next, he commended […]

De illustrium foeminarum title page

A treatise on famous female rulers

By Sandra Toffolo While descriptions of illustrious men were a well-known literary topos throughout Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the early modern period, the following book treats a different theme: illustrious women. The book in question is entitled De illustrium foeminarum in republica administranda, ac ferendis legibus authoritate libellus (‘Book about the right of illustrious […]

An early modern educational broadsheet

An Early Modern Educational Poster from the National Library of Medicine

By Jamie Cumby Although our project name is Preserving the World’s Rarest Books, this week we have a rare broadsheet to share with you.  A broadsheet is a particular format of printed item where a text is laid out on one side of a single sheet of paper.  This particular printed sheet, titled Ordo universi […]

Les angoisses et remeds d’amours binding

Valentine’s Day from Vassar

By Jamie Cumby Today, Preserving the World’s Rarest Books invites you to be our Valentine for a discussion of Jean Bouchet’s Les angoisses et remeds d’amours (the agonies and remedies of love).  This collection of romance poems first appeared in Paris in 1501 (USTC 94750), followed by Bouchet’s authorized version in Poitiers in 1536 (USTC […]

Psalter Preface

A New Edition by Martin Luther

By Drew Thomas   One reason often credited for the quick spread of Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation was his embrace of writing in the German vernacular. In 1522 Luther published his German translation of the New Testament, one of his greatest accomplishments. Although writing in German was central to his movement, many of Luther’s works […]

Adam Riese 1574 Title Page

A New Edition of a German Mathematical Bestseller

By Nina Lamal ‘Nach Adam Riese’ is a known expression in Germany when referring to a simple calculation.  It hints at the importance of Adam Ries (1492/1493-1559), a German mathematician who wrote an influential textbook entitled Rechnung auff der linihen und federn. In this book Ries discusses the two different ways of counting used in […]