Incunable Week

by bibliodeviant

Special Collections Cataloging at Penn

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is cross-posted here and at the Unique at Penn blog.

One week a month is devoted to cataloging incunables, the first books printed after the invention of movable type in the second half of the 15th century.  Incunables are a joy to catalog. There is so much to describe: rubrication and other ornamentation, illustrations, binding, paper size, text measurements, etc.  Cataloging an incunable is also a great opportunity to do some serious provenance research.

This month, Incunable Week brought some of the best incunables in Penn’s collection to Liz Broadwell’s desk.  The standout was H-151 (we use Goff numbers to identify our incunables), a 1474 edition of Hierocles’s commentary on the Golden Verses attributed to Pythagoras.  This is a pretty common incunable—lots of institutions have one.

But nobody has our H-151.

Humanist Heaven

Penn’s copy was owned by the humanist scholar Johannes…

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