GW News, Dec 2013 /by Falk Eisermann

Dear colleagues,

Quite a lot of news from the incunabula world towards the end of 2013; apologies for the lengthy message (I’ll be quiet for the next couple of weeks, I promise) and for cross-posting:

1.) Digitization
a) After yesterday’s update, the GW database now contains 13,356 entries with links to digitized incunabula (an increase of about 360 since July).

b) A couple of recently launched digitization projects came to our attention:
– The joint Bodleian/Vatican project, (lists at and, with links to various subsections). The Bodleian and Vatican copies of the Gutenberg Bible (GW 4201) are already online. See also the digitized Bodleian copy of what was called “the real first Hebrew biblical text ever printed”, atv
– “Biblioteca Italiana”, already presenting 900 (out of a targeted 1,600) digitized incunabula in Italian language: and Most of the links haven’t yet been added to the GW database.

c) One of the fastest-growing digital collections is Frankfurt University Library, cf, for the Hebrew incunabula: Others are also very active – alas mainly in Germany, but not much is happening in the UK, except Oxford, or the USA, I’m afraid.

d) The most recent digital offering from our own collection is the unique copy of Ulrich Boner, “Edelstein”, c. 1462, printed by Albrecht Pfister in Bamberg (GW 4840; digital images at


2.) New incunabula (mostly broadsides)
a) In the Dessau branch of the Landeshauptarchiv Sachsen-Anhalt (in Central Germany), no less than 5 unrecorded broadsides were found thanks to a wonderful online finding aid (“Findbücher), cf GW 0794250N, 1096750N, M2203650, M2205005, M3073050 (use numbers to locate the items in the database; click on the abbreviation “LArch” in the copy list to be directed to the Findbuch entry).

b) Another archival finding of a broadside featuring a hitherto unknown “author” comes from Bautzen (Saxony), see

c) For an unrecorded early Dutch indulgence by Arend de Keysere, published in 1479 and hence one of his earliest imprints, see

d) My own library recently recently acquired a hitherto unrecorded small edition of an unknown text by an elusive author named Jacobus Leonicenus (on top of this, it is printed in what seems to be an otherwise unrecorded Roman type; that’s kind of “super unique”, I should think.): The booklet deals with the expulsion of the Jews from Vicenza in 1486, and certainly needs further study, hence all help and enquiries are greatly appreciated (digitization early in 2014).


3.) New database: Typenrepertorium der Wiegendrucke
The GW has recently launched the new database “Typenrepertorium der Wiegendrucke” (TW) at The TW is based on Haebler’s 5-volume Typenrepertorium, which recorded all fifteenth-century types and other material from European printing houses. During the decades of work at the GW, the Typenrepertorium was continually amended, corrected, and supplemented. New types, even unknown printing houses were discovered on a regular basis (and it goes on, see above re Leonicenus), and for the types known to Haebler lots of additional material, illustrations, and references were accumulated in our files. Until now, all this was not available to the public, at least not without a visit to the GW. This has now changed: The TW contains entries for 2,000 printing houses and their typographic material; all 15th-century types currently known are recorded. Furthermore, the database documents about 4,400 initials, 700 printer’s and publisher’s marks, and 350 title-page woodcuts. It also provides scans of all images from the “Gesellschaft für Typenkunde” (GfT) tables, two and a half thousand items reproducing individual incunabula pages and type alphabets. The GfT scans are embedded within the data sets for the individual types. The long-term aim of the TW is to provide exact descriptions of all 15th-c. types and above all to explain their distinctive features with regard to “similar” types used by other printers. The TW is, of course, work in progress; all corrections, advice, questions, etc. are very welcome, please direct them to my colleague Oliver Duntze at With the GW being a German-language database, all texts and functions are in German; if you want to find e.g. a printer or a place of printing, you need to use the GW name form (“Schobser”, not “Schobsser”; “Köln”, not “Cologne”, as in ISTC; etc.). We hope to provide “Help” texts and ssome instructions in English in the near future, in the meantime please don’t hesitate to ask if there are any handling problems.


Finally, seasonal greetings, incunabulist-style: If you are inclined to sing French Carols on Christmas Eve, you might want to take a look at a nice manuscript of “Chansons de Noel” in the Bibliothèque nationale, Paris, Ms. franc. 2506 ( On the last page of the ms. ( there’s a colophon saying: “Chanson de noel Inprime par Marin Danfré, le dernier jour d’octobre l’an mil Cin Ceme“, which seems to indicate a printing date of 31 Oct 1500. That would be an early 16th century manuscript copy of a lost incunable, if the GW’s files are corrcet (see Oddly enough, the printer(?) Marin Danfré, or Danfray, seems to have left no other traces, at least none that we know of.

Thanks for your patience,
Best wishes,

Autor: Klaus Graf

Historiker und Archivar, Blogger

4 Gedanken zu „GW News, Dec 2013 /by Falk Eisermann“

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