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Incunabura Collection

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Incunabula from Germany

De mysterio missae by Albertus Magnus
1.De mysterio missae by Albertus Magnus
Albertus Magnus. De mysterio missae.
Ulm: Johann Zainer, 29 May 1473. 1 v.
GW 700. Typ.1:115/116G
Call No. WA42-34

The person who introduced printing techniques in Ulm in 1473 was Johann Zainer(d.c.1523) from Reutlingen and he was a relative(a brother, according to one theory) of Güter Zainer(See 20.) of Augsburg. He was well known for his frequent use of woodblock illustrations and the border featuring plants on leaf 5 recto in this book is also a woodblock engraving. J. Zainer uses at least four kinds of borders and the border in this book was used in three works by Albertus Magnus. On the lower part of leaf 135 recto there is also blind printing, where no ink is applied. J. Zainer used over 14 kinds of printing types and produced about 180 incunabula. The works of both Zainers with their woodcut illustrations later influenced William Morris(1834-96) in his workshop Kelmscott Press.

Albertus Magnus (c.1200-1280) was a theologian and scholar who wrote a wide range of works and was called "Doctor Universalis" (Universal Doctor) . At present, there are 185 known incunabula of his works.


Speculum naturale(Mirror of nature) by Vincent of Beauvais
2.Speculum naturale (Mirror of nature) by Vincent of Beauvais
Vincentius Bellovacensis. Speculum naturale.
[Strassburg: The R-Printer(Adolf Rusch) , not later than 15 June 1476] 2 v.
GW M50635. Typ.2:98/99G
Call No. WA44-8

Strassburg is the city where Gutenberg was experimenting with printing techniques in the 1430s, but the first person to have actually engaged in printing(in about 1460) was Johann Mentelin(d. 1478) . Mentelin was originally an illuminator who did the ornamentation in books and who is believed to have once worked with Gutenberg. Adolf Rusch was the son-in-law of Mentelin. Because of the uniquely-shaped Rs of a roman printing type that Rusch used(See 29) , he became known as the R-Printer. Twenty-six of his incunabula are known. From letters left behind by Rusch, we know some details of his printing business, such as paper transactions.

Vincent of Beauvais(c.1190-1264) wrote an extensive encyclopedic work divided into three titles, "Speculum naturale"("Mirror of Nature") , "Speculum doctrinale"("Mirror of Doctrine") , and "Speculum historiale"("Mirror of History") at a monastery in Beauvais. This work is massive, totaling 80 volumes(9,885 chapters), in which respectively three, four and seven incunabula are printed. Of these existing works, Mentelin and Rusch printed five titles.


Expositio in Psalterium by M. A. Cassiodorus
3.Expositio in Psalterium by M. A. Cassiodorus
Cassiodorus, Magnus Aurelius. Expositio in Psalterium.
Basel: Johann Amerbach, 1491. 1 v.
GW 6163. Typ.1:185G, Typ.5:97/106G, Typ.7:82R, Typ.9:76G, Typ.11*:87G, Typ.14:285G
Call No. WA42-38

It was Berthold Ruppel who first brought printing techniques to Basel in about 1468(See 14.) . Johann Amerbach(c.1434-1513) , who started printing there 10 years later, became a prolific printer and printed at least 110 incunabula using over 30 printing types. Amerbach is also renowned for publishing the complete collection of St. Ambrose. In the beginning of the 16th century he also published the Complete works of Augustine. A humanist himself, he left behind a large quantity of letters(some written to him and some written by him) and they tell us about the activities of a printer during that period.

Cassiodorus(c.490-c.583) was an early Chiristian writer and also a Roman statesman. His Expositio in Psalterium is a commentary on Psalter modeled after Augustine's Explanatio psalmorum (Amerbach also printed this work in 1489) . Cassiodorus wrote many other works as well, and all of them are collected in the Patrologiae cursus completus, Vol. 69-70 compiled by J.P. Migne. Cassiodorus was also a collector of books and was well known for promoting the preservation of books through book binding.


Magna Moralia by Pope Gregorius I
4.Magna Moralia by Pope Gregorius I
Gregorius I, Pont. Max. Moralia, sive Expositio in Job.
Basel: Nicolaus Kesler, 1496. 1 v.
GW 11434. Typ.1:180G, Typ.2:82G, Typ.4:93G, Typ.6:64G
Call No. WA42-39

Nicolaus Kesler began printing around 1483 and printed close to 70 incunabula using with 16 printing types. He used a printer's mark with a design that displayed two shields and a branch, similar to that of Johann Fust and Peter Schoeffer. It is also known that he had a shop in Antwerp where his books were sold.

Magna Moralia is one of Pope Gregorius I's(c.540- c.604) major works and discusses the Book of Job from historical, moral and allegorical perspectives. There are 10 editions of incunabula and the first edition is one that was printed in 1471 by Johann Sensenschmidt(See 23.) of Nuremberg. This edition by N. Kesler has a woodcut title page.


Problemata by Aristotle
5.Problemata by Aristotle
Aristoteles. Problemata.
[Leipzig: Conrad Kachelofen] 1494. 1 v.
GW 2460. Typ.2:160G, Typ.3:88/89G
Call No. ki6436

Printing in Leipzig was first introduced about 1480. For Germany, this was relatively late, but in the 1490s Leipzig produced more than 800 incunabula, surpassing all other cities in Germany. Among the most prolific printers at the time were Martin Landsberg and Conrad Kachelofen, who together produced over 60% of incunabula. It is known that Kachelofen used 14 kinds of printing types. In this book, the first leaf recto is the title page but on the lower half of the page blind printing can be seen.

Problemata contains Aristotle's writings on medical and natural science. There are three kinds of texts in the Latin version of the incunabula and this version is believed to be one that was translated into Latin from Arabic(translator unknown) . The Greek version was included in the volume 4 of Opera which was printed in Venice in 1498 by Aldus Manutius(See 43.) .


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