New Rare Incunables

June 201615th-Century Incunables Join Rare Book Collection
Two 15th-century multivolume incunables have recently been added to the rare books collection of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives. They are wonderful examples of the early stages of European printing and of the history of book arts, not to mention important historical texts on Catholic philosophy.

Postilla super epistollas et evangelia tempore et de sanctis et de sanctis et de profundis, Guillermus Parisensis. Basel: Nicolaus Kesler, 1488. This title, a “bestseller” of its time, came out in many various printings and editions during the 15th century. The author, Guillermus Parisensis, was a Dominican friar and professor of theology. This particular edition, with lovely hand-coloring throughout, is one of three copies known to be in the United States.

Opuscula, St. Bonaventure. Strassburg: 1495. Fourth edition. St. Bonaventure, born in Italy in the 13th century, was a Franciscan friar, Master of Theology at the University of Paris, Minister General of the Franciscan Order, and Cardinal of the Catholic Church. This two-volume collection of minor works by St. Bonaventure is bound in lovely contemporary metal-cornered leather bindings and features a full-page, hand-colored woodcut of the tree of sanguinity.

These incunables, like the rest of Marquette’s rare book collection, are available for research and teaching. For more information, contact Amy Cooper Cary, head of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives at Marquette University.


Hand-tinted woodcut of tree of sanguinity
Woodcut of the “tree of sanguinity,” from the Opuscula of St. Bonaventure

Pages from Bonaventure's Postilla
Pages from the Postilla of Guillermus Parisensis