Browse Exhibits (3 total)
Originally exhibited February 2–May 3, 2010
Since 1962, Bridwell Library has built one of the finest collections of fifteenth-century printed books held in America. Numbering more than one thousand volumes, Bridwell’s collection of pre-1501 imprints is not merely a gathering of early typographic specimens. It is a rich and wide-ranging library of fifteenth-century reading material that reflects the mainstreams of European theological and humanist thought during the Renaissance period. Based on Classical, Christian, and medieval traditions, the early printed editions represented here helped lay the spiritual and intellectual foundations of the modern age.
This exhibition presents sixty books and broadsides printed between c. 1455 and 1500. The selections highlight unique copy-specific characteristics that focus attention on the various ways in which Europeans in past centuries discovered the power and potential of Gutenberg’s invention. Early readers were not content to leave their books exactly as they came off the presses, but were inclined to engage in their contents mentally and to intervene in their appearance physically. Employing local artisans to provide rubrication, illumination, and bindings, readers added their own annotations, inscriptions, and other signs of ownership and use. As a group, the exhibited items reflect the active participation of countless individuals in the initial spread of printing across Europe.
Originally exhibited August 7– December 15, 2017
The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries
Commemorating the five hundredth anniversary of the announcement by Martin Luther (1483–1546) of his Ninety-five Theses against indulgences, and the beginning of the Reformation, this exhibition serves as an introduction to the reformer and his printed works. After attending university in Erfurt, Germany, Luther eventually focused on theological study, entered the Augustinian order in 1505, and was ordained two years later. In October 1512 he received his doctorate in theology and joined the theology faculty at the University of Wittenberg, a position he would retain throughout his career. The dissemination of his critique regarding indulgences began an extraordinary publishing career that reflected his multiple roles as a theologian, preacher, teacher, and translator. The various genres represented in this exhibition include polemics and treatises, sermons and commentaries, Bible translations, and catechisms.
In addition to his immense impact on Western Christianity in the early modern period, Luther also greatly influenced the world of print in sixteenth-century Europe. A remarkably prolific author, he published more than twenty-five hundred editions of his German works, not including the various editions of his German Bible. Often first appearing in Wittenberg, his books were frequently reprinted in Leipzig, Erfurt, Augsburg, Nuremberg, and Strasbourg. These established printing centers provided additional distribution of his works while Latin translations further increased his readership.
Exploring different printed contexts for Luther’s works, this exhibition includes Bibles and indulgences produced prior to Luther’s own publications as well as pre-seventeenth century Catholic responses to Luther and the early Reformation during his lifetime and after his death. This combination of Luther’s publications and those of his adversaries provides insight into the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation and the divisiveness engendered by this quest for religious reform as witnessed in the age of print.
Originally exhibited: February 9–April 29, 2006
The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries
The fiftieth exhibition in The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries at Bridwell Library was the first devoted entirely to historic bookbindings. Selected for their beauty, quality and historical interest, these bindings exemplify the important stylistic developments of European and North American bookbinding from the late Middle Ages to the present day. The exhibit is not intended to be comprehensive but as an introduction to the most splendid and well-made bindings owned by Bridwell Library. Included are works by binders from England, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Mexico, and the United States. This digital exhibit is a sampling of the bindings shown during the gallery exhibition in 2006.