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History of Printing

History of the Book and Printing

The history of printing and the book arts is one of the primary interests of Special Collections. Highlights include:

  • A collection of two dozen incunabula including a splendid copy of Hartmann Schedel’s Liber Chronicarum (1493)
  • Numerous sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth century titles from important printers such as Aldus Manutius, the Elzevirs, the Plantin-Moretus family, Baskerville, Bodoni, and others

These materials provide an essential learning laboratory for students and faculty interested in the history and technologies of the book.  They also complement and provide a touchstone for a campus-wide interest in the history and future of media, communications, and disruptive technologies such as the Internet and the printing press.

Finding Aids for the History of Printing

Anthony C. DeBellis Collection of Humanistic Literature

Biographical Sketch Anthony C. DeBellis taught Italian language and literature at the University of Missouri from 1966 to 1981. Most of his rare…

Dime Novels


Dime novels were published from the middle nineteenth century through the early twentieth century and were largely pulp fiction aimed at a…

Frank Luther Mott Collection of American Best Sellers, 1662-1945


In 1965, shortly after Frank Luther Mott’s death, his family presented his personal library to the University. The private papers, manuscripts, and…



The Department of Rare Books and Special collections maintains a small collection of incunabula (European books printed before 1501) and early printed…

Pages from the Past Collection

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Pages from the Past is a collection of original manuscript and rare book leaves compiled and sold by a New York book dealer Alfred W. Stites from 1964…

Press Ephemera Collection

Scope and Contents The collection contains material on private and specialty presses, dating primarily from the 1980s to the present. Many items in…

Rare Books


The Rare Books Collection is the default designation for materials in Special Collections that are acquired as individual items. Like Special…

Related Exhibits

Engraved Throughout


This exhibition features engraved books housed in Special Collections & Rare Books, and includes some of the finest engraved books...

Many Happy Returns


This exhibit brings together a selection of items associated with the most important literary anniversaries celebrated in 2016.

Incunables in Special Collections


Printing with moveable type began in Europe in the 1450s in the German city of Mainz with the Gutenberg Bible...

Selected Items

Tractatus contra vicia.


Title from leaf [1].
Imprint from colophon.
Error in pagination: leaf lxvii numbered lxvi.
Goff T-421a.
MU: Library's copy: First two leaves…

Historiae Philippicae. 1470


On spine: Justinus.Edicio princeps.Romae per Vdal.Gall.,1470.
P. [1] incipit: Qvom [i.e.Cum] multi ex romanis etia[m] consularis dignitatis uiri res…

De muliere forti


Caption title.
Imprint from colophon on verso of leaf [149].
Commentary on Proverbs XXXI, 10-31, including the text in Latin.
Includes the…

Dialogus inter clerum et militem.


Caption title.
Imprint from colophon.
Signatures: a⁸.
The title on the piece contains medieval manuscript abbreviations not reproduced…

De evangelica praeparatione. Latin. 1497


Signatures: a¹⁰ b⁸ c⁶ d-m⁸ n-o⁶.
Imprint from colophon.
Includes index.

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