Even with a print run of fewer than 200 copies, the Gutenberg Bible was a major undertaking. A complete copy, like the Ransom Center’s, includes 1,277 large pages that have text printed on them. Each full page required that approximately 2,500 individual pieces of metal type be set by hand, one at a time. And some pages had to be set twice, because Gutenberg decided to increase the Bible’s print run. With some rough multiplication, we end up with well over 3,000,000 times that someone had to pick up a piece of type and put it into a page forme and, then, after all copies of that page had been printed, take that piece of type out of the page forme and put it back so it could be used again. I think we’d all agree that that’s a lot of work.
early books and manuscripts
The Ransom Center’s Spring 2020 Stories to Tell exhibition features some of the earliest printed examples of illustrated English plays. [Read more…] about Picturing the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries
Most of the books that came to The University of Texas at Austin as part of the John Henry Wrenn Library didn’t look like old books when they arrived in 1918 and still don’t look old now—not as old, at least, as the publication dates of the printed pages inside would suggest. [Read more…] about Revealing an English Schoolmaster’s Piers Plowman