John Wycliffe
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
Curator of Rare Books

The Scheide Library is the only library outside Europe to include all 18 of the pre-Luther German Bible editions, the earliest of which is the edition printed by Johan Mentelin in Strasbourg [before 27 June 1466]. Besides these pre-Luther vernacular Bibles, the Scheide Library also contains the first editions of Martin Luther's New Testament (Wittenberg, September 1522) with woodcuts from the workshop of Lucas Cranach, three volumes of the Old Testament (1523-24), the Prophets (1532), and the first complete edition (1534).

It also has the first Dutch Bible text, the Old Testament (Delft. Jacob van der Meer and Mauricius Yemantszoen, Jan. 1477.) as well as 4 (the largest collection in America) of the 11 editions of the Italian Bible printed in the 15th century.

Also notable is their copy of the first French New Testament (Lyons, printed by Guillaume LeRoy, 1476.)

Details are to be found in: Paul Needham, "Incunabula, Bibles and Early Americana in the Scheide Library" in the Chronicle XXXVII, 2 (Winter, 1976) pp. 85-93 [ full text] .

The article by Needham also describes many other "firsts" in Bible printing, Czech, Spanish, Scandinavian, English, etc. In addition to the Needham article see also: Mina R. Bryan, "The Scheide Library" in the Book Collector vol. 21, no. 4 (Winter, 1972) p. 495 ff.

Also see the handlist of exhibits and annoucement for the Spring 2004 exhibiton "The Bible in English: Before and After the Hampton Court Conference, 1604."

For particulars refer to: Mina R. Bryan and Howard C. Rice, Jr. The Gutenberg Bible. Exhibition of the Scheide Copy. Catalogue of the Exhibition Held in the Princeton University Library. Princeton, 1960 [(ExB) 0639.739 no. 30]. [full text]. Besides the Gutenberg Bible itself, the exhibition displayed some 50 other items tracing the history of the Scheide copy, the fame of the Gutenberg, and printing in the age of Gutenberg describing the movable moulded type, the development from manuscript to printed page, and the spread of printing after Gutenberg. Also see: Book of Books: The English Bible and Its Antecedents; An Exhibition. (Princeton, New Jersey, 1963) 7 pp.


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