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A List of Bookish Firsts

By Joachim Koch. Apr 4, 2010. 6:17 AM.

Topics: Book History, Book Making

For joint record keeping, here's a list of bookish firsts:


  • First dated woodcut: The Brussels Virgin, of 1418. (Pictured at right, and now thought to have been from circa 1460s.)
  • First dated engravings: The Berlin Passion, of 1446.
  • First dated etching: Urs Graf's Girl Bathing Her Feet, of 1513.
  • First dated mezzotint: Ludwig von Siegen's portrait of the Landgravine Amelia Elizabeth, of 1643.
  • First lithograph: made by Alois Senefelder, at Munich, in 1797.
  • First dated printing from movable type: Papal Indul¬gence, of November 12, 1454 (probably printed at Mainz).
  • First dated book printed from movable type: Psalter, Mainz, Fust & Schoeffer, 1457.
  • First dated book with woodcut illustrations: Boner's Edelstein, Bamberg, Pfister, 1461.
  • First dated book with engraved illustrations: Bettini's Monte Sancto di Dio, Florence, Laurentii, 1477.
  • First dated book with woodcuts by a known artist: Breydenbach's Peregrinations, Mainz, 1486, illustrated by Erhard Reuwich.
  • First dated book with illustrations printed in color: Sacrobosco's Sphaera Mundi, Venice, Ratdolt, 1485.
  • First dated book with engravings by a known artist: Ptolemy's Cosmographia, Rome, Buckinck, 1478, with plates by Conrad Sweynheim.
  • First dated book with engraved maps: Ptolemy's Cosmographia, Rome, Buckinck, 1478, with plates by Conrad Sweynheim.
  • First book printed in Roman type: probably Durandus's Rationale, Strassburg, (Rusch, about 1464).
  • First book printed in Italic type: Virgil, Venice, Aldus, 1501.
  • First use of Greek type: in Lactantius, Subiaco, Sweynheim & Pannartz, 1465.
  • First book printed in Greek type: Laskaris's Greek Grammar, Milan, Paravisinus, 1476.
  • First music printed from type: in Higden's Polychronicon, Westminster, DeWorde, 1495.
  • First book with names of printers: Psalter, Mainz, Fust & Schoeffer, 1457.
  • First title page: in a Papal Bull, Mainz, Fust & Schoeffer, about 1463.
  • First dated title page: in Rolewink's Sermo in festo praesentationis beatae virginis, Cologne, ther Hoernen, 1470.
  • First title page giving name of author, title, place, printer or publisher, and date: Regiomontanus's Calendar, Venice, Ratdolt, Loslein & Maler, 1476.
  • First decorated title page: Regiomontanus's Calendar, Venice, Ratdolt, Loslein & Mater, 1476.
  • First signature marks: in Johann Nider's Expositio Decalogi, Koelhoff, Cologne, 1472.
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Source: A Guide to An Exhibition of the ARTS OF THE BOOK. Wm. Ivins, Jr., Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1924, New York

Joachim Koch
Book buyer. Bookseller. Factotum Generalis. Believes in not attempting to be the smartest person in room and enjoys growing success.


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