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Early Printed Books, Typography, and the Book Trade

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Scope and Content

Oberlin's College Library's Main Special Collections holds approximately 135 cataloged texts and many more text fragments printed before 1540.

The year 1540 has been generally agreed upon by scholars as a turning point when the first Garamond typefaces became widely adopted, and print based culture and mature book tools such as bibliographies began to appear. The Art Library and Conservatory Library Special Collections also hold books and fragments from this early period. Special Collections maintains a card file of early printers that can be searched by name or region.

History of the Collection | Additional Resources

History of the Collection

This area of collection strength has been acquired slowly through multiple donations and purchases by librarians for over a century. Oberlin College taught courses in Printing History from 1890 until the 1950s and the interest in Book History has revived in recent years.  These artifacts cover a wide range of subjects, employ a variety of styles and compositions, and represent many different printers and regions. 

Additional Resources

NOTE: OBIS does not contain records of leaf fragments, and does not identify features of the texts

Interested patrons should contact Special Collections Librarian Ed Vermue

Last updated:
July 6, 2016