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Girolamo Savonarola, Religious and Political Reformer
The Incunable Collection of the Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Stuttgart

Girolamo Savonarola came from a respected and affluent family that had originally resided in Padua. He was born on 21 September 1452 in Ferrara, where his grandfather Michele Savonarola was a physician at the court of the Este and a Professor of Medicine at the university. Encouraged by this grandfather, who until his death in 1468 was consistently involved in the raising of his grandson, Girolamo decided after finishing his liberal arts schooling to study medicine.
When he was around twenty, however, he developed an aversion to secular life. In the spring of 1475, he secretly left the house of his parents and joined the Dominican monastery in Bologna. In 1479, his superiors sent him back to Ferrara to study theology and subsequently (1482) to Florence to preach. In the years that followed there, he wrote his first sermons, which were never published. After a few years absence from Florence Savonarola's historic career began in July 1491 when he was elected prior at the monastery of San Marco. He soon became highly respected among the lower and middle classes in Florence for his rousing penitential sermons. Following the death of Lorenzo de'Medici in April 1492, Savonarola became politically prominent in Florence and started to consider setting up a theocratic regime in this city.

After the de'Medicis were driven out of Florence in November 1494, Savonarola and his supporters obtained political control over Florence. Under his aegis, a new constitution was already drafted for Florence in 1494. Savonarola planned comprehensive public and private reforms. In his sermons he fulminated primarily against the rampant extravagance in Florence and against the general moral decadence. When he then denounced the moral misdemeanors of the church and especially of the contemporary pope in his speeches and writings, he was dismissed by the Church of Rome and excommunicated by Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503) on 13 May 1497.
Thanks to his many supporters, however, he nonetheless remained in office until the spring of 1498. On 8 April of that year he was arrested. He was tried in Florence and sentenced to death. On 23 May Savonarola was publicly hanged in Florence and burned at the stake. Although his personal conduct was beyond reproach, he became a victim of his own doing because of his misassessment of his power and of the forces against him in the Church of Rome and in Florence.

Savonarola's Works
Savonarola published extensively in the few years since his election as prior of San Marco and especially since the start of his rule over Florence. Savonarola was among the first authors of the late 15th century to acknowledge the importance of printing as a means of propagating his ideas. From 1492 until his death, nearly every word he expressed in public and every text he wrote was printed immediately.
In barely eight years of working in Florence, Savonarola became by far the most widely published 15th-century author during his lifetime. At his peak from 1494 until the spring of 1498, no fewer than 100 editions of his sermons and tracts were published in Florence alone. Virtually all late 15th-century Florentine printers disseminated his writings, most of all Bartolomeo de'Libri, who was responsible for about half of all editions, as well as Francesco Bonaccorsi, Antonio Miscomini, Lorenzo Morgiani, Johannes Petri and Piero Pacini - the latter solely as a publisher.
Printing helped spread Savonarola's message well beyond Italy during his lifetime. Savonarola's own Latin version of one of his most influential works, originally composed in Italian as Compendio di rivelazioni (1495), was reprinted successively in Paris and Ulm by August 1496.The rise of Florentine book illustrations is closely linked with the dissemination of Savonarola's writings, since most contemporary editions feature at least one decorative woodcut.

Inspiring Luther
One generation after Savonarola, the reformation movement instigated by Martin Luther in Germany also made extensive use of printing to disseminate its doctrine and ideas. To this day, Savonarola is regarded in many respects as one of Luther's predecessors (albeit an unsuccessful one). Whereas Savonarola tried to gain political control of his immediate surroundings as well - and ultimately failed - Luther pursued religious-theological ambitions that were all the more effective in this respect. One sign that Luther regarded Savonarola as a kindred spirit and champion of the same cause despite all the differences was that he arranged a reprint (Wittenberg, 1523) of Savonarola's last two psalm interpretations written immediately before his conviction and execution. Luther added a very favorable preface to it. The reformation movement certainly helped some of Savonarola's writings (including his psalm interpretations) remain especially popular outside Italy well into the 16th century and keep being reprinted.

Although Savonarola's writings were banned by the Catholic Church and placed on the Index of Rome (which explains why some are so rare), the original Florentine editions, generally decorated with woodcarvings, interested book collectors very early on. The Florentine scholar Antonio Magliabechi (1633-1714) was one of the first private book collectors to own a vast collection of early Savonarola editions, most of which became part of the Biblioteca Magliabechiane that he founded in what is now the Florentine National Library.

The Stuttgart collection
The first person who tried systematically to obtain a complete collection of contemporary Savonarola editions was undoubtedly the Abbé de Rulle from Nancy. His collection of largely Italian incunabula, which aside from the Savonarola collection comprised a substantial collection of Dante's and Petrarca's works, was acquired by Duke Carl Eugen von Württemberg in 1786 for the ducal public library he opened in 1765 (now the Württembergische Landesbibliothek).
To this day, de Rulle's collection remains the core of the Stuttgart Savonarola collection, which has expanded to twice the size of de Rulle's collection thanks to the purchase of the Savonarola collection of the Florentine Ginori Conti family and several individual purchases since the 1960s. The Stuttgart Savonarola collection is the largest and most significant in the world after the Savonarola collection of the national library in Florence. It features early editions of all Savonarola's writings and sermons published during his lifetime and shortly thereafter. In addition to the Florentine collection, the Stuttgart collection comprises most editions of Savonarola's work published outside Italy in the 15th century. The collection of writings by Savonarola's supporters and opponents is nearly complete and includes a great many very rare and even unique editions. The entire collection features several extremely rare editions, such as the complete series of the richly illustrated incunabular edition of the Predica dell'arte ben morire (Giovannozzi 183-186).

This edition
This microfiche edition contains the complete incunabular section of the Stuttgart collection, including all multiple copies, which in this case are not superfluous padding but are a true complement. After all, many early editions were mutilated by the religious censor. These alterations are identifiable only by comparing several copies with small variations and deviations within the same edition. This collection also comprises the post-incunabula of the Savonarola collection, which are still described in the literature as incunabula, as well as writings attributed to Savonarola, such as Il novo cortegiano. Thus, the collection offers primary sources of relevance to theologians, historians, art historians, and book historians.

Dr. Peter Amelung, Stuttgart

Various Authors & Editors

This collection includes Hebrew Bibles, Polyglots, Hebrew Grammars and Dictionaries.

Various Authors & Editors

Irish Pamphlets, c. 1700-1850
The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

Pamphlets documenting the range of popular literature during the early stages of Ireland's Campaign for Parliamentary Reform and the first appearance of the Catholic Question. In addition to sources on the Catholic Question, the collection, by way of personal correspondence, parliamentary proceedings, journalistic and committee reports and creative writing, provides insight into issues such as the connection between the Volunteer movement and the struggle for Catholic emancipation; the significance of land policy and structure in rural Ireland; and the influence of nutritional and educational guidelines stipulated by various societies upon the lifestyles of the Irish poor.
Romance Linguistics and Dialectology

Serials on the subject of romance linguistics and dialectology.

Various Authors & Editors

Russian Symbolism
Including Futurism, Acmeism and Imaginism

All items in this collection are connected with Symbolism, Acmeism, Futurism, and other movements of the aesthetic revival in Russia which began around 1890. Collection includes works representing the "silver age" of Russian literature. Authors such as A. Blok, A Akhmatova, K. Bol'mont, V. Briusov, A. Belyi, S. Esenin, Z. Gippius and many others are included.

A. H. van den Baar and Hilda Meijer

Slavic Palaeography

Works on Slavic palaeography as well as material useful for the analysis or comparative study of old handwritten texts, such as reference material, diplomatics, computistics, and printed liturgics.

Edited by Wim van Dongen

Emblem Books

Emblem books from European Libraries (including the National Library of Austria, the university libraries of Amsterdam and Utrecht, the Royal Library in The Hague, the State Museum of Amsterdam, the Print Room-University of Leiden and the Zentralbibliothek, Zürich) as well as from some private collections. Authors include Abraham à Sancta Clara, Alciato, de Brune, Camerarius, Cats, Drechsel, Giovio, van Haeften, Hugo and many more.
French Revolutionary Pamphlets
Usteri Collection, Zentralbibliothek, Zürich

Compared to other historical events, the French Revolution provides an unusual richness of printed source material. In order to give substance and enduring effect to their epoch-making efforts, the revolutionaries documented all their actions, their controversial opinions, political debates and legislative initiatives in thousands of pamphlets, songs and periodicals.
In the last ten years, international research on the French Revolution has increasingly emphasized the public character of this press revolution. The little-known Usteri Collection of the Zentralbibliothek, Zürich, has been recorded on microfiche. This means that a virtually complete library of about 6,500 revolutionary pamphlets, containing some 200.000 pages, can now be made available to researchers. In a later stage this project will be enlarged with 43 revolutionary pamphlets.

The collection is named after its founder, the Swiss politician, writer and physician, Paulus Usteri (1768-1831). His enthusiasm for the revolution caused Usteri to become an avid collector of original revolutionary literature. He requested various contacts, including Konrad Engelbert Oelsner and Johann Gottfried Ebel (his correspondents in Paris), to supply him with books, pamphlets, affiches and songs.
Usteri collected pamphlets systematically. His purpose was to prepare translations for publication in the various German journals which, together with his friend Ludwig Ferdinand Huber, he had edited since the end of the Jacobine rule.
The journals in question had extremely melodious names, such as Friedens-Präliminarien, Beyträge zur Geschichte der französischen Revolution, Klio. Eine Monatschrift für die französische Zeitgeschichte, as well as Humaniora. They were published in Leipzig, from 1793 until 1797.
Thus, the collection is a fundamental source of information on the reception accorded to the revolution by contemporary German society. As the Usteri Collection is essentially a private library, it shows us what kind of interest the revolution generated outside France.
The Usteri Collection is the third richest anthology of revolutionary pamphlets in the world, surpassed only by the collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris and of the British Library in London.

The pamphlets are mostly originals (in French) which were published between 1788 and 1796. There are also a few manuscripts which were published at earlier or later dates (up to 1798). Revolutionary manuscripts in German, which mainly originated from Strasbourg (the main propaganda centre), form a small but significant part of the collection. Additionally, the collection focuses on the following topics (in chronological order): The political pamphlet literature of the French Pre-revolution, the cahiers de doléances, convocations of the Estates-General, events in Paris and the provinces, the National Assembly, constitutional debates, the civil constitution of the Clergy, foreign policy, fiscal reform, the sale of the biens nationaux, organization of the army, debates on colonialism and slavery, the counter-revolution, the trial of Louis XVI, the National Convention, and the Directory.
Although some pamphlets are anonymous, most give the author's name or were ascribed to a given author at a later date. The collection covers the entire political spectrum, ranging from liberal conservative ideologies to radical Jacobine doctrines. In conclusion, the pamphlet literature of the Usteri Collection is an important and irreplaceable source for historians, linguists and sociologists.

Dr. Erich Pelzer

Edited by G. Lamoine

English Texts 17th-19th Century

17th-19th-Century English texts in such fields as literature, commerce, politics and aesthetic.
Harmonia Linguarum
The origin, history, and comparison of languages in European philology from 1500 to 1800 on microfiche

A collection of titles pertaining to the origin, history and comparison of European languages. All titles date between 1500 and 1800.