Rare Book Monthly
Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2008 Issue
Bibliographies and Book-Related Works from Hes & De Graaf Publishers
By Michael Stillman
Hes and De Graaf Publishers of the Netherlands has just issued their General Catalogue 2008-2009. These are not antiquarian books, though many are antiquarian works. Hes and De Graaf specializes in publishing books that are related to the field of books, both more recent works and reprints and facsimiles of much older texts. They have been at this for quite awhile, so they have built up a library of many titles that are still available.
Hes and De Graaf break down their books by nine subjects: book history and bibliography; fine arts; history of cartography, cosmography, navigation and travel; history of sciences; history and historiography; humanism and neo-Latin: literary history and linguistics; theology and church history; and varia. These in turn are divided into numerous subheadings, making it easy to find books in specific fields of interest. If this isn't enough, there is also a detailed index to locate the many items in this almost 200-page catalogue. Here are a few of them.
Perhaps the greatest bibliography of incunabula is the Catalogue of Books Printed in the XVth Century now in the British Library. The first of these 13 volumes was published in 1907, with each one covering works from various countries. All but two of these are now out of print. Herein offered is one of those two, and the most important for those who collect works in the English language - Part 11, covering works printed in England prior to 1501. The first English book was not printed until 1476, some 20+ years after Gutenberg began to slowly crank out his Bible. A total of 395 items are known to have been printed in 15th century England, with the British Library owning 323 copies representing 221 separate editions. The BMC (British Museum Catalogue) is no mere bibliography, but is filled with information about each book in its possession, including material on production and provenance. Priced at €1,325 (approximately US $2,045).
The only other volume of the Catalogue of Books Printed in the XVth Century now in the British Library still in print is Part 13, Hebraica. The British Library has one of the finest collections of Hebrew incunabula to be found, 100 copies representing 87 separate editions. Most were printed in Italy, Spain and Portugal. Descriptions are thorough and illustrations are provided. €1,325 (US $2,045).
Thorough descriptions of early Dutch American books can be found in Hendrik Edelman's Dutch-American Bibliography 1693-1794. A descriptive catalogue of Dutch-language books, pamphlets and almanacs printed in America. These works would have come some 25 or more years after the Dutch were forced from their colony in New Amsterdam, since renamed New York. Still, the Dutch influence on America was enormous, particularly in New York, whose history is filled with names such as Stuyvesant, Schuyler, and Roosevelt. €50 (US $77).