Special Collections Spotlight: The Early Printed and Manuscript Leaf collection 

The Early Printed and Manuscript Leaf collection consists of printed and illuminated manuscript leaves from Europe dated from the 12th -16th centuries. The collection includes 70 whole and partial leaves, representing a variety of styles and techniques that serve as a sampling of early print and manuscript book history. “Leaves” refers to a single sheet that was once part of a bound book. Manuscript books were entirely hand-produced, representing the earliest form of bookmaking across Europe. With the emergence of the printing press and movable type in Europe in the 1400s, printers utilized mechanical techniques to produce books more quickly than their manuscript counterparts. The collection is an excellent resource on book history and the art of printed and manuscript books.

The leaves in the collection were originally part of a variety of texts including several books of hours, Bibles, missals, and the Cologne Chronicle. The leaves come from a variety of countries in Europe, particularly Italy, France, and Germany.

Explore the Early Printed and Manuscript Leaf collection finding aid.

To view any early printed or manuscript leaves visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library or if you have any questions, please contact us!


What is a finding aid?

A finding aid is a description of the contents of a collection, similar to a table of contents you would find in a book. A collection’s contents are often grouped logically and describe the group of items within each folder. You rarely find descriptions of the individual items within collections. Finding aids also contain information about the size and scope of collections. Additional contextual information may also be included.

New Resource: Early Printed and Manuscript Leaf Collection Finding Aid

While summer may mean the end of the school year, you can still explore library resources from home!  If you have some spare time, explore hidden gems in Special Collections and University Archives like the Early Printed and Manuscript Leaf collection.  The collection consists of printed and illuminated manuscript leaves from Europe dated from the 12th -16th centuries and includes some of the oldest items in Hornbake Library. There are a total of 70 whole and partial leaves, representing a variety of styles and techniques that serve as a sampling of early print and manuscript book history.

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Digitized Early Modern Books

Until UMD Libraries are able to reopen, digital copies of books are one of the best ways to take advantage of library resources.  Through modern technology you can now access some of the oldest and most fascinating items in the Literature and Rare Books collection.

The Internet Archive includes digitized copies of some of the highlights from Hornbake’s collection of Early Modern Books.  One notable item is the digitized copy of the Biblia Sacra, a Bible published in Latin in 1516.  The Biblia Sacra contains excellent woodcut illustrations of biblical stories such as Noah’s Ark or Moses and the Ten Commandments, as well as annotations made by previous readers.

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The Early Printing Collection: An Introduction

Special Collections and University Archives at UMD is home to a new (very old!) collection of early printing. The collection has been processed and digitized, and is available in Digital Collections or by request in person in the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library. You can also view our Flickr album featuring images from the collection.

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Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493

The Early Printing Collection is a set of thirty-six leaves and pages that were printed in Europe in the late 15th century. It includes printed pages from many well-known works, including the The Nuremberg Chronicle, Historia Scholastica and The Cologne Chronicle.

Incunabula

Typographical printing done before 1501 in Europe is often called Incunabula, a funny pseudo-Latin phrase that refers to the birth of printing in the 15th century. The 15th century saw important advances in the movable type printing press thanks to Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press invented around 1450. The Gutenberg Bible is the first (and probably most famous) book printed using movable type, and while you won’t find any of its pages in the Early Printing Collection, the collection does feature many other pages from Bibles and other religious and historical chronicles printed around the same time period. Within the collection the printing itself is generally clear and easy to read — that is, if you understand Latin or Middle German!

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