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Printing and Publishing in Library Special Collections

LSC has holdings of printed and manuscript collections supporting research in the history of printing, the graphic arts, bibliography, the book trade, fictitious imprints (1600-1900), and emblem books from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries.

Ahmanson-Murphy Collection of Early Italian Printing (1465-1600)

The depth and focus of the Aldine Collection are complemented by the breadth and comprehensiveness of the Ahmanson-Murphy Collection of Early Italian Printing (1465-1600), which encompasses the work of all printers working in Italy, beginning in the early years of printing through 1600, not only printers from Venice, but those from many other Italian cities as well, including Rome, Ferrara, Milan, Parma, Padua, even Palermo. Within this wide-ranging collection of some 5000 volumes, there are especially rich holdings of the publications of such important printers and publishers such as Gabriele Giolito de’ Ferrari of Venice, members of the Giunta family of Venice and Florence, Lorenzo Torrentino of Florence, and Alessandro Paganino of Toscolano. Current collecting interests for this collection include 16th-century Italian illustrated books, architecture books and guidebooks of Rome, pilgrimage guides, and texts in various Italian dialects, such as those of Venice, Florence, Padua, and Tuscany.

The Early Italian Printing Collections preserves more than 400 incunables or books printed during the infancy of printing, before 1501. Eighteen are Aldine incunables; more than twenty were produced by Nicolas Jenson and ten or more each by Johann von Köln and Johann Manthen, Cristoforo de' Pensi, and Erhard Ratdolt, to name just a few printers.

Like the Aldine collection, the Early Italian Printing collection offers the researcher many examples of historical bindings, different types of book illustration and book decoration such as gauffering and fore-edge painting, press practices typical of the period, typography, annotations, and provenance evidence such as bookplates, ownership stamps and inscriptions, monograms, and personalized bindings. 

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