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In: Book Trade Catalogues in Early Modern Europe
In: Print and Power in Early Modern Europe (1500–1800)

This paper concerns the identification of the hitherto unknown printers of the works of Benedictus de Spinoza (1632-77). For centuries the identity of these printers has remained a mystery. The publisher Jan Rieuwertsz, or the printer Christoffel Cunradus, were often mistakenly mentioned as printer of the works of the seventeenth-century Dutch philosopher. These assumptions are incorrect. Despite several studies published in the last decades, the true identity of the printer was still unknown.

In this paper we will describe how we were able to identify Spinoza’s anonymous printers by means of analytical bibliography. The identity of printers can be established by their usage of unique printing types, initials and ornaments. By comparing printing materials of known printers to unidentified samples, anonymous works can be ascribed to a certain printer. In seventeenth-century books a decorated initial is often used to start the text. This initial belongs to a certain printer and by comparing different prints of similar initials in detail, small differences may be found. These differences can be caused by damages of the initial concerned, such as small cracks. If these differences are consistent over different prints, one can ascribe certain works to the same printer.

By such research the Amsterdam-based printers Daniel Bakkamude and Herman Aeltsz can be identified as the printers of the two earliest published works of Spinoza. His most famous works, Tractatus Theologico-politicus and Opera Posthuma (including the Ethica), were printed by another Amsterdam-based printer: Israël de Paull (1632-80).

In: Quaerendo


This article analyses the private library book sale catalogue of paper-cutting artist (knipkunstenaar) Johanna Koerten (1650-1715), one of the most famous artists in the Dutch Republic. The study draws on data gathered for the ERC-funded MEDIATE project (Measuring Enlightenment: Disseminating Ideas, Authors and Texts in Europe, 1665-1830). The bibliometric approach of this digital humanities project uses book sale catalogues to study the circulation of books and ideas in eighteenth-century Europe. This article analyses the catalogue of Koerten, her background and professional interests, the ‘femininity’ of female book collections in general, and the problems and opportunities one faces when using bibliometric data on book sale catalogues.

Open Access
In: Quaerendo
In: Private Libraries and their Documentation, 1665–1830
The essays in Private Libraries and their Documentation revolve around the users and contents of early modern private book collections, and around the sources used to document and study these collections. They take the reader from large-scale projects on historical book ownership to micro-level research conducted on individual libraries, and from analyses of specific types of primary sources to general typologies and overviews by period and by region. As a result of its comparative approach and active engagement with questions regarding the nature, selection and accessibility of sources, the volume serves as a guide to sources and resources in different regions as well as to state-of the-art methods and interpretational approaches.

Publication of this volume in open access was made possible by the Ammodo KNAW Award 2017 for Humanities.