Incunabula: Printing in Europe before 1501

Special Collections holds more than 1000 incunables, the majority of these are in the fields of theology, religion, and philosophy.  More than one-third of these titles are the first printed editions and/or translations of the texts. 

Active collecting interests:

  • Primary authors: St. Augustine, St. Jerome, Girolamo Savonarola, Thomas à Kempis (Imitatio Christi), and St. Francis of Assisi.  
  • Additional authors: Jean Gerson, Nicolaus of Lyra, St. Ambrose, St. Antoninus Florentinus, St. Benedict, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Bonaventure, St. Gregory the Great (Gregory I, Pope), St. John Chrysostom, and St. Thomas Aquinas. 
  • Texts and genres:  Bibles printed in Latin and vernacular languages, theological and devotional works, Church Fathers, Ars moriendi, confessional manuals, and other religious manuals, guides, and books of instruction.  
  • Physical features: Contemporary or early bindings and provenance; annotations, additions, and other evidence of contemporary or early ownership and use, illuminations and printed illustrations. 
  • In the areas noted above, authors, texts, printers, and printing locations not already represented in the collection are of particular interest. 
  • Chronological scope: Imprints before 1501.  
  • Geographic scope: European.  


An up-to-date list of Bridwell Library’s incunables is available here. This list is arranged by Goff number, Author/Title, Imprint, City and Year and sorted by ISTC number. This list can also be sorted by Goff number, author and title, imprint, city, and year.

See also: Invention and Discovery exhibition website.