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Early print collection

  • CA MRUASC C0001
  • Collection
  • 1477-1904

Collection illustrates the early development of movable type printing in Europe. Collection consists of printed books including a book of hours, leaves from Bibles, hagiographies, liturgical texts, Japanese woodblock prints, and works of history, literature, and canon law.

A Booke of Christian Prayers leaf

Item is a leaf from A Booke of Christian Prayers (commonly known as Queen Elizabeth's Prayer Book as it was reputedly designed for her private use), a collection of private devotions and prayers published by in London by Richard Day. The leaf (folio 115) contains part of a prayer and is illustrated with woodcut borders of memento mori (including gravediggers' shovels, skeletons, the aged and infirm, and bodies in tombs) and the Dance of Death.

Book of hours leaf

Item is a leaf from a printed book of hours from Paris featuring illuminated and gilded initials and borders.

Ship of Fools leaf

Item is an illustrated leaf (folio 114) from a Latin edition of The Ship of Fools, a satirical allegory in verse by Sebastian Brant, printed by Jacobus Sacon in Lyon. The leaf features a section of the chapter "Of Blowing Into Ears" and a woodcut of a fool blowing into the ear of another. A partial translation of the leaf reads:

A fool who puts into his head
And credits things that men have said,
He is a dunce that merits jeers,
With sensitive and spacious ears.
All honesty those persons lack
Who would assail behind one's back
And strike without e'er warning hum,
With chances of fending very slim.

French-Latin book of hours leaf

Item is a leaf from a bilingual book of hours printed in Paris, and featuring hand-painted initials. The text is divided into two columns with the French text in the larger left hand column, and the Latin text on the right. The leaf contains part of the text for Vespers from the Hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary, including the hymns "Ave Maris Stella" (Hail, Star of the Sea) and the "Canticle of Mary" (also known as the Magnificat or Song of Mary). A partial translation of Ave Maris Stella reads:

All hail star of the sea, God's mother clear and bright,
The happy gate of bliss, and still in virgin's plight.

Lives of the Saints leaf

Item is a leaf (folio 192) from Catalogus Sanctorum et Gestorum Eorum (A Catalogue of Saints and their Acts), a collection of saints' lives by Petrus de Natalibus, printed in Leiden by John Thomas. This leaf includes hagiographies of Catholic saints and martyrs, each preceded by a small woodcut illustration, including: Pope Pelagius I; the Spanish martyrs George, Aurelius, Natalia, and Felix; Anastasias of Persia; and the prophet Daniel (depicted in the lions' den).

Hagiographies, collections of semi-fictional stories of the lives of Christian saints, were immensely popular in medieval Europe. The Catalogus Sanctorum was originally published in 12 volumes and went through a number of editions.

"The poor man's bible" leaf

Item is a leaf from the second edition of Johann Froben's octavo Bible containing text from the Book of Tobias. Froben's bible became known as The Poor Man's Bible because it was printed in a small point font to make it convenient to carry and affordable.

A partial transcription of the leaf reads:
Beginning with the rubricated I of "Ingressi sunt autem...": "And they went in to Raguel, and Raguel received them with joy. And Raguel looking upon Tobias, said to Anna his wife: How like is this young man to my cousin?"

Tabula Europae II

Item is a map of Hispaniola from the second edition of Girolamo Ruscelli's printing of Ptolemy's Geographica, published by Vincenzo Valgrisi in Venice. The maps in Ruscelli's editions were reproduced and enlarged from the maps in the 1548, Giacomo Gastaldi, edition of the Geographica. The Geographica was important because it was the definitive atlas of the known world for centuries. Ruscelli's edition reintroduced the use of copper engraved maps which provided far more detail than woodcut engravings.

The Chronicles of England leaf

Item is a leaf from The Firste Volume of the Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande by Raphael Holinshed, a comprehensive history of Britain which was printed in London by Henry Bynnemann for John Harrison. The leaf (pages 187-188) describes the reign of Ine (or Inas) of Wessex, "King of the Saxons," and features two woodcut illustrations, one depicting the king and the other the construction of the monastery of Glastonbury, which he commissioned.

Shakespeare used Holinshed's Chronicles as the source for more than a third of his plays, including Macbeth, King Lear, and Richard III.

Garden of Health leaves

File contains two leaves illustrated with woodcuts from the Hortus Sanitatis (Garden of Health) printed in Strasbourg by Johann Pruss. One leaf is from the second section "De Animalibus" (Of Animals) featuring articles about water snakes, field crickets, and hedgehogs, and hyenas. The other leaf contains the prologue of the third section "De Avibus" (Of Birds) and articles about eagles, peacocks, and falcons.

The Hortus Sanitatis is a comprehensive natural history encylopedia that contains descriptions of animals, plants, fish, birds, and minerals, including their medical uses or curative properties. Originally published by Jacob Meydenbach in 1491, the Hortus Sanitatis proved very popular and was printed in many editions in various languages.

The Woorkes of Geffrey Chaucer leaf

Item is a leaf (folio 3) from "The Knightes Tale" from The Woorkes of Geffrey Chaucer, Newly Printed, edited by John Stowe and printed in London by John Kyngston for John Wight.

Missal leaf

Item is a leaf (folio XXXVII) from a missal, possibly printed by the Leipzig printer Konrad Kachelofen or his son-in-law Melchior Lotter. Leaf features a historiated initial and text in black and red. A missal is a liturgical text that contains instructions and texts required for celebrating Mass.

Divine Comedy leaf

Item is a leaf from an edition of Dante Alighieri's narrative poem the Divine Comedy that was printed in Venice in 1507 for Bartholomeo de Zanna da Portese. The leaf contains part of Canto XXII of the Inferno, with commentary by Cristoforo Landino. It features several woodcut initials and an illustration of Dante and Virgil observing sinners suffering in a pool of burning pitch. A partial translation of the text reads:

Before this I've seen horsemen start to march
and open the assault and muster ranks
and seen them too, at times beat their retreat;

and on your land, o Aretines, I've seen
rangers and raiding parties galloping,
the clash of tournaments, the rush of jousts,

now done with trumpets, now with bells, and now
with drums, and now with signs from castle walls,
with native things and with imported ware;

Golden Legend leaves

File contains five leaves from Wynkyn de Worde's English edition of the Golden Legend (Legenda aurea), Jacobus de Voragine's popular collection of hagiographies, or the lives, deeds, and martyrdoms of the saints. De Worde was a famous early English printer and an apprentice and later successor to England's most famous printer, William Caxton. Most leaves relate to the lives of English saints. Some leaves are illustrated with woodcuts, and a number have been expurgated, with references to the pope, certain saints, and illustrations deliberately crossed out, likely reflecting changing attitudes to the papacy and the cult of saints during the English Reformation.

Kelmscott Press Golden Legend leaf

Item is leaf from the Kelmscott Press edition of Jacobus de Voragine's Golden Legend, which was itself based on Wynkyn de Worde's 1527 edition. The leaf consists of pages 497 and 498 of Volume II, covering the Life of Saint Aldhelm and the end of the Life of Saint Dunstan, with ornamental initials designed by William Morris.

William Morris was an influential English artist and designer, a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and a founder of the Arts and Craft movement. Morris founded the Kelmscott Press in 1891 and used traditional printing and paper design methods to make handmade books that were inspired by the medieval period.

Caspar Sasgerus minorita De cultu & ueneratione sanctorum

Item is a Reformation-era theological pamphlet entitled "On the worship & veneration of the saints" by Kaspar Schatzgeyer (1463-1527), a Catholic Franciscan teacher and biblical scholar from Bavaria who strongly defended Catholic tradition while adopting a conciliatory approach to Martin Luther's reforms.

Theuerdank leaf

Item is a leaf from the Theuerdank, a chivalric poem composed by the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I (1459-1519). Written in the form of an epic romance, the Theuerdank is a fictionalized account of Maximilian's own journey to marry Mary of Burgundy in 1477, and is full of allegorical allusions.

The leaf features text in an early fraktur typeface with seperately printed flourishes, and a woodcut illustration of the knight Theuerdank ('Noble Thought,' who represents Maximilian) and a companion climbing a cliff to finish one of the tasks he must complete to win the hand of Ernreich ('Rich in Honour' - Mary). At the foot of the cliff are Theuerdank's faithful squire Ernhold ('Steadfastly Honoured,' wearing a tunic depicting a wheel of fortune) and Fürwittig ('Over-confident'), one of three villains that try to prevent Theuerdank from reaching his bride.

Opera Omnia (Aristotle) leaf

Item is a leaf (folio 256, volume VI) of the first printed edition (editio princeps) of Aristotle's Opera Omnia (Complete Works) in the original Greek, printed by Aldus Manutius in Venice. This edition, printed between 1495 and 1498, was significant because it was the first major classical Greek prose collection to be compiled and printed in its original language, a major scholarly and technological feat. This and other Greek editions printed by the Aldine Press greatly helped the humanist scholars of the Renaissance to access and study classical works in their original form.

Aeneid leaf

Item is a leaf from an edition of Virgil's epic poem the Aeneid printed by Giunta in Lyon in 1505. The leaf features text from Book V of the poem and a half page woodcut illustration depicting the Trojan hero Aeneas consulting with his companions Nautes and Acestes (at upper right) while the Trojans rest in Sicily before continuing their voyage. The woodcuts were created by an unknown late master of the Gruninger workshop and were reused in later editions in 1519 and 1522.

The Aeneid was written between 29 and 19 BCE by the Roman poet Virgil, and is one of the greatest classical epic poems. The Aeneid tells the story of the aftermath of the fall of Troy to the Greeks, and the subsequent founding of the Roman nation. A partial translation of the text of this leaf reads:

Choose out the old men full of years and sea-worn matrons, and all of your company who are weak
and fearful of peril, and let the wearied find their city in this land. This city, if you permit the name,
they shall call Acesta.

Then, indeed, kindled by these words of his aged friend, he is torn asunder in soul amid his cares.
And now, borne upwards in her chariot, black Night held the sky, when there seemed to glide down
from heaven the likeness of his father Anchises and suddenly to utter thus his words: "Son, dearer to
me than life, in days when life was mine; son, tested by Illium's fate! I come hither by Jove's
command, who drove the fire from your fleet, and at last has had pity from high heaven. Obey the fair
advice that aged Nautes now gives; chosen youths, the bravest hearts, lead to Italy. A people hard and rugged in nature must you subdue in Latium. Yet first approach the nether halls of Dis, and through the depths of Avernus seek, my son, a meeting with me.

The City of God leaf

Item is a leaf from Saint Augustine's The City of God, printed by Johann Amerbach in Basel, Switzerland and most likely edited by Sebastian Brandt. The leaf features text from The City of God in the center, with commentary (known as gloss) from the Oxford Dominicans Thomas Waleys and Nicholas Trevet, along the margins. The City of God is an influential work of Christian philosophy that outlined two societies, the City of God for the elect and the City of Man for the dammed. Saint Augustine's philosophy had a large impact on the relationship between church and state during the Middle Ages and influenced future theologians and philosophers.

Cornucopia of Nicholas Perottus leaf

Item is a leaf (793-796) from the Cornucopia of Nicholas Perottus, the learned Bishop of Sipontum, and is a commentary on the Epigrams of Martial and other ancient authors. Item was printed by Aldus Manutius of the Aldine Press in Venice.

Kreuterbuch leaf

Item is a leaf (folio 386) from the first illustrated edition of Hieronymus Bock's New Kreuterbuch von Underscheidt, Würckung und Namen der Kreuter, so in teutschen Landen wachsen (New plant book of differences, effects, and names of plants that grow in German lands), a herbal (a book describing the properties and uses of plants) printed in Strasbourg by Wendel Riehel. The leaf features a woodblock illustration designed by David Kandel of an apple tree with a serpent and Adam's skull and leg bone, referencing the Book of Genesis.

The Kreuterbuch is notable because Bock chose to classify the 700 plants he covered according to their observed characteristics, an innovation that anticipated modern botany, whereas earlier herbals had categorized plants according to Classical Greek systems.

Aeneis Virgiliana leaf - Liber II, CV-CVI

Item is a leaf from book two of Virgil's epic poem the Aeneid printed by Jean Crespin in 1529. The recto features a large woodcut of the Greeks exiting the Trojan horse and preparing to attack Troy from within. The verso contains lines 250-267 surrounded by commentary by J. Badius Ascensius.

Hore beate Marie virginis s[e]c[un]d[u]m usum ecclesie romane : totaliter ad longum cum multis suffragiis et orationibus.

Item is an illuminated book of hours printed in Paris at the workshop of the brothers Gilles and Germaine Hardouyn, printers and illuminators who specialized in books of hours. The book is printed on octavo vellum leaves, with most of its 194 pages containing 23 lines of black letter text. Text pages are decorated with a variety of historiated and ornamental metalcut borders (depicting allegorical, biblical, or other religious scenes) and initials illuminated in gold on blue or red grounds. It also features 29 metalcuts overpainted to look like miniatures, including 12 large and 13 small illustrations, and 4 historiated borders. The book also features a 17th century French citron morocco binding, tooled in gilt to a panel design with drawer-handle and volute tools. Text is in Latin, with a colophon at the end in Middle French.

German book cover

Item is a detached cover of a 16th century book, likely of south German origin. The cover is made of wood and blind-tooled leather (with numerous bookworm holes), and features decorative brass corners and a central boss.

German book cover and binding fragments

File consists of a detached cover of a 16th century book, likely of German origin, and 9 fragments recovered from the book's binding. The cover is made of wood and blind-tooled leather decorated with geometric patterns and miniature portraits. It features a brass central boss, and two damaged leather straps, one complete with a decorated metal clasp, the other partial. The cover is accompanied by 9 fragments of the book's binding, including 7 recycled medieval manuscript fragments, a head or tail band, and one of the cords that would have attached the covers and the quires/gatherings of leaves.

Biblia Latina leaf

Item is a leaf from a Biblia Latina printed by J. Sacon of Lyon for Anton Koberger of Nuremberg. Leaf contains verses 19:6-24:4 of the Book of Ecclesiastes and features a large woodcut of its translation from the original Hebrew to Greek. A partial transcription of the leaf reads:

Beginning with "Qui peccat": "He that sinneth against his own soul, shall repent... hast thou heard a word against thy neighbor? Let it die within thee... a wise man will hold his peace til he see opportunity: but a babbler, and a fool, will regard no time... a man wise in words shall make himself beloved: but the graces of fools shall be poured out... he that keepeth justice shall get the understanding thereof. The perfection of the fear of God is wisdom and understanding..."

Decretals of Gregory IX leaf

Item is a leaf from the second volume of Decretales Pape Gregorii... mit der Glosse des Bernardus Parmensis, printed by Peter Drach in Speyer, Germany in 1486. The Decretals of Pope Gregory IX were an important collection of medieval canon law, and in this edition were accompanied by commentary by the noted Italian canonist Bernard of Botone, also known as Bernard of Parma. The Decretals of Gregory IX is one of four works that make up the Corpus Juris Canonici, the collection of papal decisions that compromised the law of the Catholic Church and governed papal lands. The Decretals is organized into five books covering church government, procedure, clerical life, marriage, and criminal law.

The leaf contains an excerpt from a general encyclical (a papal letter on doctrine) in the center of the page surrounded by related decretals (papal decrees relating to canon law) and/or commentary.

Biblia Latina bifolium

Item is a continuous bifolium from a Biblia Latina printed in Venice by Franciscus Renner of Heilbronn. The bifolium contains chapters 30-35 of the Book of Ecclesiastics and features hand-painted majuscules and glossing in red and black ink.

Nuremberg Chronicle leaves

File contains two leaves from the Liber Chronicarum (Book of Chronicles), commonly known as the Nuremberg Chronicle, an illustrated biblical and world history published by Hartmann Schedel. The book was printed in Nuremberg by Anton Koberger and illustrated with woodcuts by Michael Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff. The Liber Chronicarum is notable for being one of the first printed books to successfully integrate illustrations with text.

Leaf from the Nuremberg Chronicle

Recto of leaf (folio CCLXVIII) features a large woodcut illustration of a city in Hungary, and the verso features a large illuminated initial and paraphs in red and blue.

Leaf from the Nuremberg Chronicle

Leaf (folio CVIIII) features woodcuts of martyrs (Policarpus, Praxedes, Felicitas, Ptolemy, and Aulus Gellius) and heretics (Montanus and Apelles) on the recto, and popes from 174 to 222 (Anicetus, Soter, Eleutherius, Victor, Zephyrinus, and Calixtus) on the verso.

Biblia Sacra Polyglotta leaf

Item is a leaf from a polyglot Bible compiled by Brian Walton and his collaborators that presents the text of the Bible in nine languages as an aid to biblical study. This leaf (pages 87-88) comes from the Book of Ecclesiasticus (also known as the Wisdom of Sirach) and features side-by-side comparisons of the text in four languages: Latin, Greek, Syriac, and Arabic.

Ptolemy's Geographica leaf

Item is a leaf from book two of Ptolemy's Geographica depicting the coordinates for the southern French city of Narbonne. Leaf was printed by Melchior and Gaspar Trechsel in Lyons, France. Ptolemy was an ancient geographer, astronomer, and mathematician. The Geographica consisted of eight volumes and contained eight thousand place names and coordinates that contributed profoundly to the advance of geographic knowledge.

The Temptation of St. Anthony

Item is a single leaf etched print created by French artist, Jacques Callot, a master printmaker of the Baroque period. The engraving depicts St. Anthony being tempted and tortured in the Egyptian dessert by the devil and a host of demons. The devil, in the form of a monstrous dragon directs the chaos, while St. Anthony cowers near the mouth of a cave in the bottom left corner. Originally created in 1635, this version of the print is Callot's second attempt at capturing the temptation of St. Anthony.

The Great Bible leaf

Item is a leaf (folio XII) from the fifth edition of The Great Bible, published in London by Edward Whitchurch (Whytchurch), containing part of the Book of Psalms. The Great Bible was the first official edition of the Bible in English, and was authorized by Henry VIII during the English Reformation to be read aloud during church services.

Vestigii delle Terme di Constantino...

Item is an etching by the artist Etienne Duperac, depicting the south-west side of the Baths of Constantine. The Baths of Constantine were destroyed and replaced with the Palazzo Pallavicini-Rospigliosi.

Plantin Antwerp Polyglot Bible

Item is a leaf from the Book of Samuel taken from the Plantin Antwerp Polyglot Bible. The Plantin Polyglot, also known as the King's Bible, was printed by Christopher Plantin and supervised by the Spanish theologian, Benito Arias Montano. The work translated the Bible into five languages: Hebrew, Latin, Greek, Aramaic, and Syriac.

Nuremberg Chronicle leaf - sexta etas mundi - folium CI

Item is a leaf from folio 101 of the Nuremberg Chronicle printed by Anton Koberger for Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermeister. Leaf contains a full page woodcut depicting Jesus surrounded by the twelve apostles. Symbols in the corners represent the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Masoretic Hebrew Bible leaf

Item is a leaf from a masoretic Hebrew bible. The masoretic text is the traditional authoritative text on the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible in Rabbinic Judaism. The masoretic text defines Jewish canon and codifies the precises spellings, vocalizations, and didactic marks of words according to ancient rules.

P. Virgilii Maronis Poetarum principis opera accuratissime castigata : cum XI acerrimi iudicii virorum commentariis Seruio presertim atque Donato nunc primum ad suam integritatem restitutis excusa.

Item is a volume containing three works by the Roman poet Virgil: the Eclogues, the Georgics, and the Aeneid. The volume was printed in Venice by Lucantonio Giunta and contains 115 large woodcuts. The volume also contains commentary on the original poems by Josse Badius, Domizio Calderino, Marcus Valerius Probus, Servius Maurus Honoratus, Tiberius Claudius Donatus, Antonio Mancinelli, Cristoforo Landino, Agostino Dati, Pomponio Leto, Filippo Beroaldo, and Valeriano Pierio Bolzanio.

Galenus de ossibus ; De usu partium corporis humani

Item contains two medical texts written by the ancient Greek physician Galen bounded into one volume. The first work, Galenus de ossibus (On bones for beginners), was translated by the Italian physician and humanist Ferdinando Balami was published in 1549. The second book, De usu partium corporis humani (On the use of the parts of the human body) was translated by the Italian scientist Niccolo da Reggio was published in 1550.

Item has a German pigskin binding. The front cover has an impression of a personification of Justice, and an impression of on the legendary Roman woman Lucrece on the back cover.

Japanese woodblock printing

Series contains volumes and prints that were created using Japanese woodblock printing techniques. Woodblock printing was introduced to Japan during China's Han Dynasty but didn't become widespread in Japan until the Edo period (1603-1868). Woodblock printing became particularly popular among ukiyo-e artists. The process involved applying water-based coloured ink to relief carvings.

Series contains senso-e war prints, ukiyo-e style prints, manga books, and an educational book for children.

Kinka Shichihenge [Seven transformations of the golden flowers] - vols 17-20

Item is four volumes (17-20) of the Kinka Shichihenge, or Seven Transformations of the Golden Flower, manga series bound together. This manga series was published by Kinshodo towards the end of the Edo Period (1603-1867), and contains woodblock illustrations by the famous illustrator, Utagawa Kunisada. The plot centers around evil cat spirits, called nekomata, that cause problems for the human characters.


File contains seven volumes of gesaku/gokan manga books created by leading artists, Ryukatei Tanekazu and Ryukatei Senka. Gesaku and gokan were an early forms of manga that consisted of cheap and humorous editions of fables, legends, epics, and romances.

Gassho Dojikun [combined book of children's textbook]

Item is an illustrated textbook for children from Edo Period, created by Suaraya Gensuke and six other authors. The textbook covers a wide range of topics and subjects including moral teachings, historical events, times tables, geography, reading, math, and defines important relationships such as those between a feudal lord and followers, father/son, husband/wife, and parents/children etc.

Victory of the Japanese army ; Qing Dynasty representatives in talks

Item is a Japanese triptych of senso-e prints created by Kokunimasa. Senso-e are prints depicting wars, usually the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) or the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). Senso-e fulfilled a journalistic purpose, by helping to keep people informed about events and battles, but were also used as propaganda to encourage support for the wars.

Attack on Jinzhou Fortress

Item is a Japanese triptych of senso-e prints, created by Ginko Adachi, depicting events from the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895).

Raichman Canadian communist pamphlet collection

  • CA MRUASC C0002
  • Collection
  • [194-]-1979

Collection contains pamphlets published by the Communist Party of Canada/Labor-Progressive Party, Progress Books, and other Canadian communist and socialist organizations and publishers. Pamphlet subjects include the anti-war movement, political platforms, labour, and economics.

Unite against monopoly

Item is text of "the keynote address delivered by William Kashtan, general-secretary, to the 22nd Convention of the Communist Party of Canada, Toronto, May 18-20, 1974." The item was published by the Communist Party of Canada.

The federal election : what next?

Item is a pamphlet published by the Communist Party of Canada and written by William Kashtan, General Secretary of the party. The pamphlet is an analysis of the 1972 federal election and what direction the CPC should take in the future by detailing proposed policies for the party.

The Dean speaks

Item is a collection of portions of speeches given by Dr. Hewlett Johnson, Dean of Canterbury, in the United States and Canada. The pamphlet was distributed by the Provisional Committee, Canadian Peace Congress.

A new course for Canada

Item is a pamphlet of the keynote address and closing remarks by William Kashtan, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Canada, given to delegates attending the 19th Convention - May 21-24, 1966. Item was published by the Communist Party of Canada.

We fight for Canada

Item is a pamphlet written by Tim Buck, leader of the Labor-Progressive Party. Buck writes about his concern over what he sees as the Canadian government handing over power and sovereignty to the United States.

Alberta Round-up

File contains pamphlets published by the Communist Party of Canada (Alberta Committee). Pamphlets were distributed to Communist Party members and others interested in receiving CPC information. Topics are mostly about Alberta issues but also include national subjects and CPC policies.

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