Archive: "Renaissance and Reformation" Category

Happy Reformation Day!

  October 31, 2017 marks exactly 500 years since Martin Luther sent his 95 theses to the Archbishop of Mainz (and likely posted them to the door of the local church in Wittenberg). The theses were rapidly printed and reprinted and spread across Germany over the following months. Special Collections owns a copy of one …

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A party for the ages

This week in 1664, King Louis XIV hosted a multi-day party at Versailles. The festival, called Les Plaisirs de l’Île enchantée [The Pleasures of the Enchanted Island], transformed the grounds of Louis’ not-quite-finished palace into a mythical wonderland. Between May 7 and 13, over 600 invitees were treated to banquets, balls, spectacles, parades, recitals, and …

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Curious Remedies: Renaissance Surgery

Surgery is never a fun experience, but can you imagine what it would have been like before the advent of general anesthetic and other modern medical advances? The current Harold B. Lee Library exhibit Curious Remedies: Medicine During the Renaissance provides a glimpse into the medical technology of the 16th and 17th centuries. On display …

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Primary sources on Latin America

If you’re looking for early Latin American primary sources, this new resource compiled by Special Collections intern Tyler Broadhead lists Special Collections’ holdings of books, maps, and manuscripts about Latin America or produced in Latin America before 1800. The document also includes modern facsimiles of Mesoamerican codices like the one pictured here, as well as …

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The Complutensian Bible

One of the most famous early printed Bibles is known as the “Complutensian Polyglot,” a multi-language Bible published at the Complutense University in the early 1500s (the University is now the University of Madrid, but in the 15th and 16th centuries the university was located in Alcalá de Henares, which was called Complutum in Latin). …

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The oldest cookbook in Special Collections

Currently on display in Special Collections is a small exhibit featuring 20th century Mormon cookbooks. In that same vein, this post highlights the oldest cookbook in the library, which was printed in Zurich, Switzerland in 1542. The first printed version of this cookbook appeared in Italy in 1498, but the text itself is much older, …

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New online database of early Protestant texts

Special Collections owns a still-growing collection of original works by early Protestant reformers like Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, and Jean Calvin. While it contains many important works, both in Latin and in vernacular languages, it is not complete by any means! The library has recently acquired a new database, the Digital Library of Classic Protestant …

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Early printed dictionaries

Single-language and dual-language dictionaries were just as indispensable to writers and scholars of the Renaissance as they are today, though in the age of online dictionaries and Google Translate it may be harder to appreciate just how revolutionary printed reference books were in the late 15th century. Printing not only sped up the process of …

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Introducing Emblem Books

One of the HBLL’s current Art in the Library exhibits, Todd Stilson’s Necrocoactionism: Joint Ventures with the Deceased, features three of Special Collections’ emblem books. Emblem books originated in Europe in the 16th century. They feature images inspired by proverbs, mottoes, epigrams, and other pithy quotes, with the text printed alongside the image. Readers were …

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