Katharina Gerlach

Collecten, auch Tauff und Traubüchlein.
[Issued with]: Christliche Vermanung, alle Sontage, vor der Predigt und Communion, der Gemeine fürzulesen.
Nuremberg: Katharina Gerlach, 1591. (BRB0616)

Katharina Gerlach (ca. 1520–1594) was one of the leading music printers in Germany during the sixteenth century. Her maiden name was Schmid. In 1541 she married the Nuremberg printer Johann vom Berg, who died in 1563. Two years later she married Dietrich Gerlach, a printer employed in her late husband’s shop. Together they published books and music under the name of “Gerlach and Berg’s Heirs.” Following Dietrich Gerlach’s death in 1575, Katharina published under her own name. After she died her printing enterprise passed to her grandson, Paul Kauffmann.

The beauty of Katharina Gerlach’s music printing is evident in this Lutheran liturgical book, which contains two titles (in translation): “Christian Admonition, to Worship every Sunday before the Sermon and Communion” and “Collects, and Hymns for Baptisms and Weddings.” The exhibited post-Communion hymn, printed in red and black, displays Gerlach’s elegant use of Gothic fonts, ornamental initials, interlocking types for musical notation, staff lines, clefs, and custos marks (indicating which note begins the following line). Although this book was for Lutheran worship in and around Nuremberg, Gerlach’s most lasting contributions were her anthologies of sacred music by Orlando di Lasso, the internationally renowned Catholic composer.

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Early Women Printers
Katharina Gerlach