Books and Their Makers during the Middle Ages: A Study of the Conditions of the Production and Distribution of Literature from the Fall of the Roman Empire to the Close of the Seventeenth Century - Vol. 2

By George Haven Putnam | Go to book overview

PART II. .
THE EARLIER PRINTED BOOKS

CHAPTER IV.
THE EARLY PRINTER-PUBLISHERS OF FRANCE. 1458-1559.

THE first reference in the annals of France to the new art of printing occurs in a record bearing date October 3, 1458, the original document of which is still preserved in the Library of the Arsenal.1 In this document it is stated that the King, having learned that Messiro Gutenberg, Chevalier, residing in Mayence, in Germany, a man dexterous in the engraving of stamps and of letters, had brought to light, by means of such characters, the invention of printing, and, curious concerning such valuable knowledge (bel trésor), the King had ordered the masters of the mint to select persons skilled in the engraver's art and to dispatch them to Mayence that they may inform themselves of the said invention. Under this mandate, Nicholas Jenson, an expert engraver, was sent to Mayence, where he did acquire the art as he had been instructed to do. But before his return to

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1
Humphreys, 125.

-3-

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Books and Their Makers during the Middle Ages: A Study of the Conditions of the Production and Distribution of Literature from the Fall of the Roman Empire to the Close of the Seventeenth Century - Vol. 2
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