15th Century 


The invention of printing in the Western world was made necessary by the growth of the reading public at the close of the Middle Ages, and the inability of the manuscript trade to meet this expanding demand. The basic technologies were brought together by Johann Gutenberg at Strassburg in 1436-39, and the techniques perfected at Mainz in 1450-55, when the great Bible which commonly bears his name was produced. During the next decade this revolutionary invention spread to Bamberg, Strassburg, and Cologne, and was carried by German craftsmen to Italy in 1465, to Switzerland in 1468, to France in 1470, and to Spain in 1472-73. Thus, the 1474 edition of Albertus Magnus which opens our Belmont Abbey exhibit (listed below) appeared in the first year that printing can be said to have spread across most of continental Europe. From early in the 1470's presses were also active in the Netherlands, and it was from Bruges that William Caxton returned in 1476 to establish himself at Westminster as the first printer in his native England. By the end of the century the printing houses of Europe had produced nearly 40,000 editions, the best of which remain unsurpassed to this day in the beauty of their craftsmanship.[PMM]

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15th Century

16th Century

17th Century

18th Century

19th Century


 Albertus Magnus. Compendium Theologicae Veritatus. 1474.

 Officium Glori of Herois Sancti Hippolyti. 14xx.

 Ovid. Metamorphosis. 1493.

 Herodianus. Omnibus Modis Summi Historici. 1493?

 Antiphonale Benedictinum. 14xx.