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Special Collections: Rare Books

Incunabula from the 15th Century

Incunabula Short Title Catalogue - International database of 15th-century European printing created by the British Library. Records nearly every item printed from movable type before 1501, but not material printed entirely from woodblocks or engraved plates. 

Material Evidence in Incunabula - MEI is a database specifically designed to record and search the material evidence (or copy specific, post-production evidence and provenance information) of 15th-century printed books: ownership, decoration, binding, manuscript annotations, stamps, prices, etc. MEI is linked to the Incunabula Short Title Catalogue (ISTC), from which it derives the bibliographical records, and it allows users to combine searches of bibliographical records (extracted from ISTC) with copy specific records.

Union Catalogue of Incunabula Database - English entrance into the database (Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke), online database appears in conjunction with the print edition, which lists all 15th century prints in alphabetical order. 

Münchener Digitalisierungszentrum - Open-access digital library of digitized holdings of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library), the biggest universal and research library in Germany. Collections include extensive incunabula and printed works published worldwide, in all languages, since the beginning of book printing in the 15th century, up to the year of publication 1950.

Index Possessorum Incunabulorum - Database some 32,000 entries of personal names, institutional names, monograms, and arms pertaining to the ownership of incunabula. 

Incunabula in American Libraries - E-Book access to a the supplement to the third census of fifteenth-century books recorded in North American collections (1964).

What is a book? : the study of early printed books. Joseph A. Dane, 2012.

Gutenberg and the Book of books, with bibliographical notes, reproductions of specimen pages and a listing of known copies - 1932 facsimile

16th Century Books

Census of Italian 16th Century Editions - Records all editions printed in Italy between 1501-1600.

Census of German 16th Century Editions - Attempt to record all editions printed in Germany between 1501-1600, as well as books printed in German elsewhere during the period.

Sixteenth Century Books - JMU Library catalog search.

A Guide to Early Printed Books - By Mark Bland.

Scriptorum illustrium majoris Britanniae catalogus - John Bale's catalogue of Tudor authurs. An annotated translation.

Sources for the History of the Book

Rare American Books

Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans, 1639-1800 - Full-text digital books about every aspect of 17th and 18th century of American life, from religion to agriculture to diplomacy.

Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker, 1801-1819 - Collection of fully searchable digital books, a compilation of all books published in the United States from 1801 to 1819.

Sabin Americana - Database searching full text of every book about the Americas published anywhere between 1500 and 1926.

Guide to the study of United States imprints, 1971. - By Thomas Tanselle.

National index of American imprints through 1800; the short-title Evans, 1969. - By Clifford K. Shipton and James E. Mooney.

Book trade bibliography in the United States in the nineteenth century, 1969. - By Adolf Growoll.

Incunabula and Americana; 1450-1800; a key to bibliographical study, 1961 edition. - By Margaret Bingham Stillwell.

Bookman's guide to Americana - A standard price guide to the antiquarian book trade, first published in 1953. Libraries holdings comprise 6 issues of the publication from the years 1953, 1960, 1969, 1971, 1986.

A History of the book in America - Multi-volume resource on various topics and eras relevant to American book history. Some volumes available in print, other volumes available as e-book resources.