When Johann Gutenberg and his team published their Bible in the mid-1450s, what they were selling to buyers were sets of sheets, sheets of either paper or parchment that had text printed on them. What they were not selling were books—not, at least, if we take “book,” as we usually do, to imply a codex that is ready to read by turning a series of leaves held together at one edge. As I have written before, when a monastery, church, or private individual bought a Bible from Gutenberg, they had to find a scribe to add red text to spaces that the printers had left blank. Gutenberg’s customers had to find bookbinders, too.
early books and manuscripts
The publication and series of programs Collated & Perfect tracks the changing standards that collectors, institutions, and scholars have used to describe and evaluate early printed books. Doing so reveals why the books take the often surprising forms they do today. [Read more…] about Collated & perfect
In order to understand the Gutenberg Bible, it is critical to remember that it is a medieval book that was designed to satisfy the needs of medieval readers. Today, we expect pages in most books to be black and white. To navigate what we read, we rely on variations in typography, centered text, indents, and other creative uses of white space. [Read more…] about Printing manuscripts
Sarah Werner is a book historian and digital strategist based in Washington, D.C. [Read more…] about Talking about early digital facsimiles with Sarah Werner
In early July 2017, a little over a month after I started as the new early books and manuscripts curator at the Ransom Center, a colleague informed me that [Read more…] about In the Galleries: Interactive design in early printed books
In May, the Ransom Center acquired two volumes of Ambrose’s Opera (or Works) in Latin. The edition was published in Basel in 1567. What is most compelling about these particular books, however, is less the writings of the Church Father, as such, and more their story as books. [Read more…] about A baroness and her bookshelves in an English parish church