Introduction

After Johannes Gutenberg (c. 13971468), Peter Schoeffer was the most influential individual in the early history of printing in Europe. Born about 1425 in Gernsheim, near Mainz, educated at Erfurt University, and trained as a calligrapher in Paris, Schoeffer had become involved in the new art of printing by 1455, serving as an employee of Johann Fust of Mainz, who was then financing Gutenberg’s “work of the books” – doubtless the printing of the Gutenberg Bible. As Gutenberg’s helper, later as Fust’s junior partner, and finally on his own, Schoeffer remained at the forefront of Europe’s printers for the better part of five decades, producing an impressive array of essential theological and legal editions. Before his death in 1503, he had done more than any other to introduce important publishing innovations and to set technical standards that would shape the history of the printed word.

This web-exhibition presents selected highlights from Peter Schoeffer: Printer of Mainz. A Quincentenary Exhibition at Bridwell Library, displayed from 8 September to 8 December 2003.