Benedictines of Melk, c. 1494

ALEXANDER DE VILLA DEI (c. 1175–1240).
Doctrinale puerorum (Part I). Commentary by Gerardus Zutphaniensis (1367–1398).
Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, 5 March 1494.

Doctrinale puerorum (Part II). Commentary by Gerardus Zutphaniensis.
Nuremberg Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, 20 March 1494. (07045)

The four-part Doctrinale puerorum (“instruction for youths”) was one of the essential texts used for primary Latin education during the late Middle Ages. It was published in more than 400 known fifteenth-century editions, many of which offered accompanying commentaries. Like all early books meant for young students, this work has had a low rate of survival. Bridwell Library’s copies of Parts I and II, acquired in 2008, are the only examples of these editions owned in America. They are bound together within original wooden covers that bear an early librarian’s label inscribed “Commentum Sinthis super allexandrum.” Whereas the librarian identified the commentary as that of Johannes Synthen (d. 1533), these editions actually feature an earlier commentary compiled by Gerard of Zutphen. Other printed labels and inscriptions identify the books as the property of the Benedictine Abbey at Melk, Austria.

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Librarian's label and shelf mark c.1500 (right)

Fifteenth-Century Librarians at Work
Benedictines of Melk, c. 1494