Unusual Dutch Book Collection in Widener Library Treasure Room
An unusual collection of early Dutch books is now on exhibition in the Treasure Room in Widener Library. These books are all first editions, mainly the works of Christopher Plantain, of Antwerp, and of the Eleven family of Amsterdam. Several other early Dutch printers are represented.
Christopher Plantain was born in a village near Tours in 1514. He settled in Antwerp in 1549. Tradition affirms that he was first interested in typography as a result of a wounded arm. His workmanship earned for him a reputation as the best printer of his time. In 1562, while Plantain himself was absent, his workmen printed an heretical pamphlet, as a result of which his movable equipment was seized and sold. He succeeded in establishing a new press which was later destroyed by the Spaniards who plundered the town in 1576.
The family of Elzevir were celebrated as printers from 1592 to 1680. The Elzevirs of Amsterdam were Daniel and his cousin Louis, who established their presses in that city in 1638.
These books will be on display for a short time only.