Most of the studies assembled in this volume were written over many years; the earlier versions as published are now expanded, revised and rewritten. Nevertheless traces may remain of the work of earlier editors, and I wish to express my renewed gratitude to them.
For the present publication I am particularly grateful to my former colleague Dr Margaret Nickson for generously giving permission to publish here as Chapters 11 and 12 the two articles we wrote in co-authorship. These two short studies were a by-product of our work on English incunabula published in 2007 in bmc xi. Dr Nickson’s knowledge of the papers regarding the Harleian library in the British Library’s Department of Manuscripts was invaluable for the history of the ownership of English incunabula; this source also provides details of the book trade in the eighteenth century that go well beyond the history of ownership. I am therefore very grateful that I could include these two studies to go with the more elaborate investigation of Consul Smith.
I have debts of gratitude for help and information to many others. In the order of the chapters: the late Anthony R.A. Hobson for comments on early book auctions (Chapter 1); James Mosley for comments and Riccardo Olocco for much information on the types of Nicolas Jenson (Chapter 3). For Chapter 4 I am much indebted to Dr Kurt Hans Staub for keeping me informed over the years of his investigations of Mainz binding; I am also much obliged to Dr Randall Herz for a critical reading of this chapter. Over the years I have had many discussions about the Mainz Catholicon (Chapter 5) with Nicolas Barker and James Mosley, and I remain grateful for the contributions they made to observing what this enigmatic book can reveal about its production. Nicolas Barker very kindly read the final version of this chapter with the eye of an editor with a life-time’s experience. I remain also deeply grateful for extensive correspondence on the subject with the late Dr Vera Sack, and with Dr Gerhardt Powitz and Dr Kurt Hans Staub. More recently Dr Franz Stephan Pelgen (Gutenberg Gesellschaft) gave me very helpful information about copies of the Catholicon formerly in Mainz. Attentive friends would sometimes surprise me with images of the Catholicon in distant libraries, all gratefully received: Dr Annalisa Battini (images from the Biblioteca Palatina), Karina de la Garza-Gil (images from the Stadtbibliothek in Trier), the late Richard Landon (Fisher Library, Toronto) and Dr Koichi Yukishima (images from the Meisei Library). My work on Netherlands Prototypography goes back even further, to a research project in the mid-1960s when I assembled a documentation of the surviving material, in due course transferred to the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague.
When re-working these studies in order to bring them together as a collection I gratefully relied on the resources of the British Library complemented by those of the library of the Warburg Institute. I owe special thanks to my former colleagues Karen Limper-Herz and John Goldfinch. For critical reading of the final form of the texts, revised or new, it is a pleasure to express my gratitude to Karina de la Garza-Gil, who read most texts and improved presentation, to the incunable expertise of Dr Falk Eisermann, who read it all with the sharp eye of an editor, and finally to Catherine Bradley, for whose skills as a copy-editor readers will have every reason to give thanks.
Earlier versions of the following essays (in order of appearance) have been published as:
These publications were the result of the examination of books and documents in many different libraries, their main common characteristic helpfulness and the patience of their staff with a visitor’s eagerness to see their rare books, and in a later phase to obtain photographs or digital images. I am deeply conscious of the debt of gratitude I owe them all.
Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz; Brugge, Stadsbibliotheek; Darmstadt, Universitäts-und Landesbibliothek; Den Haag, Koninklijke Bibliotheek; Den Haag, Museum Meermanno Westreenianum; Frankfurt am Main, Universitätsbibliothek; Gotha, Forschungsbibliothek; Haarlem, Stadsbibliotheek; Jena, Universitätsbibliothek; Karlsruhe, Badische Landesbibliothek; London, British Library; Malibu, J. Paul Getty Museum; Manchester, John Rylands University Library; Mechelen, Aartsbisschoppelijk Archief; Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek; New York, Public Library; Oxford, Bodleian Library; Saint-Omer, Bibliothèque municipale et archives; Trier, Stadtbibliothek; Utrecht, Universiteitsbibliotheek; Würzburg, Staatsarchiv; Würzburg, Universitätsbibliothek.