17th Century


All across Europe, the seventeenth century was marked by a lowering of standards in everyday printing, for reasons which were partly political and partly economic. The very institutions that had fostered printing in its early days-- both Church and State-- now feared and restricted it. Typographic design was almost at a standstill, presswork was sometimes haphazard, and paper of poorer quality. Literary works by authors today considered to be the most brilliant of the period-- Shakespeare, Milton, Racine, Moliere, Cervantes-- were seldom printed in a worthy manner, if at all. Examples of lowered standards in the quality of printing can be seen in Belmont Abbey copies from editions of Isocrates, Preston, Juvenal, Lucretius, and Lenti listed below. The major exceptions to this decline continued to be in the printing of religious texts, special editions produced on behalf of royalty, and by family printers such as Elzivir and Plantin, also represented on this page. However, in the 1640's steps were taken in Paris leading to a revival in printing standards by Richelieu's establishment of the Imprimerie Royale, or French royal printing-office, which produced the books by Sidonius and Talon exhibited on this page. Under the leadership of Sebastien Cramoisy, this press set a new standard of typographic excellence, and French influence was to steadily increase into the following century.[PMM]

Exhibit Page

15th Century

16th Century

17th Century

18th Century

19th Century


 Angriani. Commentaria in Psalmos Davidicos. 1609.

 Glossarium Graeco-Barbarum. Elzivir Press. 1614.

 Isocrates. Orationes. 1618.

 Claudius Salmasius. Historiae Augustae. 1620.

  Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica. 1623.

  Pliny. Novocomensis Epistolarum. 1625.

 Frederich von Spee. Cautio Criminalis. 1632.

  John Preston. Judas. 1637.

  Aristotle. Opera Omnia Graece & Latine. 1639.

  Buxtorf. Lexicon Chaldaicum, Talmudicum, et Rabbinicum.1639.

  Jacob Balde. Sylvarum. 1643.

  Descartes. Specimina Philosophiae. Elzivir Press. 1644.

  Sidonius. Opera. Imprimerie Royale, pr. 1652.

 Jacob Cats. Buyten Leven op Zorgvliet. 1656.

 Francis Bacon. Historia Regni Henrici Septimi. 1661.

 Tacitus. Taciti Quae Exstant. 1661.

 Sidronius. Elegarium. Plantin Press. 1667.

 Caesaris que Extant. Elzivir Press. 1669.

 Nicolas Talon. L'Histoire Sainte. Imprimerie Royale, pr. 1669.

 Pliny. Naturalis Historiae. 1669.

  Furvvitzhaufen. Schola Curiousitatis. 1670.

 Biblia Sacra Vulgate Editionis. 1680.

 Lucretius. Six Books of Epicurean Philosophy. 1683.

 Juvenal. Satyrae. 1684.

 Catullus. Opera. 1685.

 Lenti. Teatro Di Peripezie. 1686.

 Sannazari. Opera Latina Omnia. 1689.

 Lucretius. De Rerum Natura. Plantin Press. 1695.

 Moliere. Il Matrimonio Forzato. 1697.

 Aesop. Fables and Storyes. 1699.

 Bellegarde. Suite des Reflexions. 1699.