03 April 2013

Catalogue of Incunabula, Dunedin City Library

Leaf from the Gutenberg Bible (ca. 1455)
A few years ago I began compiling an annotated catalogue of fifteenth-century printing held by the Heritage Collections, Dunedin City Library. That work was set aside when I started my MA thesis. Now, with the thesis completed last August, I have at last been able to finish the work.

The catalogue records seven bound incunabula and more than ninety leaves and fragments, with commentary on the texts, provenance, and printers. I have also included links to fully digitised copies where available.

Highlights from the collection include: one volume of the 1472 Latin Bible printed by Peter Schöffer, the oldest printed book held by the Library; a 1476 edition of the Legenda aurea sanctorum from the noted collections of Sir James Balfour (ca. 1600–1658) and David Dalrymple, Lord Hailes (1726–1792); leaves from the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493), a leaf from William Caxton's first printed edition of The Canterbury Tales (1476/7), a leaf from the Catholicon (1460), and one leaf from the Gutenberg Bible (ca. 1454), the first book printed in Europe using movable type.

Rather than leave the catalogue solely for in-house use, I have uploaded the file (1.6MB) to Google Docs and my academia.edu account. Interested readers are welcome to view/ download the PDF and or share it with others.

A number of individuals provided invaluable assistance. Though these people are thanked in the catalogue introduction, I would like to express my appreciation to them here. Sincere thanks go to:

Jordan Goffin (Providence Public Library), Klaus Graf (University of Freiburg), Farley Katz (San Antonio, Texas), Donald Kerr (Special Collections, University of Otago), Francis Lapka (Yale Centre for British Art, Yale University), Paul Needham (Scheide Library, Princeton University), Stephen Tabor (Huntington Library), Bettina Wagner (State Library, Munich) and Eric White (Bridwell Library, Southern Methodist University).

Special thanks go to Falk Eiserman, Oliver Dunst and Martina Nickel of the Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke for their encouragement and willingness to receive images of unknown leaves and fragments, no matter how small or fragmentary; to Gabriel Swift (Princeton University) for his comments on the initial draft; and to the Berkeley-based bookseller, Ian Jackson, for his kindness in editing the final text.

I make no claims at being an incunabulist, and so welcome any corrections or added information by those more learned than myself.

Latin Bible (1472)

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