Digital Gallery of Rare Books & Special Collections
Incunabula and the Keio University Library Collection
[ Japanese / English ]

Incunabula and the Keio University Library Collection

Incunabula Collection

The 42-line Bible
In the Keio University Library (hereafter KUL), the first incunabula acquisition was a codex of Justinus’s Epitomae in Trogi Pompeii historias (Milan: Christophorus Valdarfer, 1476). It would be most interesting to learn when and by whom this first incunabulum was acquired, but unfortunately no official records shedding light on these questions have survived. What we can determine from the library’s account book is that the Justinus copy was acquired no later than 1964, when Makita Tominaga listed it in his union catalogue (‘Catalogue of Incunabula in Japan, I-IV’, Biblia, 29 (1964), 110-03 (p. 110-09)).

The collection of incunabula in the KUL thus only started to grow from 1979 onwards. Its history is not old, but includes substantial and important works such as the Gutenberg Bible, examples of English printing, books of scientific history and encyclopedias.

In this Digital Gallery, all the incunabula are arranged in chronological order of acquisition and allotted IKUL numbers, which are different from their call numbers in the KUL. In this gallery you will be able to find various pieces of information about each item, such as bibliographical descriptions based on the ISTC system (e.g. author, title, publication information, bibliographical features of the Keio copies and so on), collation details (only when the item is not found in the BMC), commentaries on each copy, and digital images of representative pages.

In accordance with the increasing scholarly and public interest in the Sammelband, the Digital Gallery also contains commentaries that describe not only each item within a bound copy, but also the Sammelband as a whole (see, for example, IKUL 022, 023, 031, 041). Although a great deal of information still remains to be established, such as the provenance of many of the works and the purpose and authorship of the marginal annotations, we hope that this Digital Gallery will attract a wide readership, and so promote the understanding of early Western printing. We also hope that studies of the KUL collection will be advanced now that this Gallery is open to the public.

(Satoko TOKUNAGA)

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