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Early Printed and Manuscript Leaf collection

 Collection 0539-LIT
The Early Printed and Manuscript Leaf collection consists of printed and illuminated manuscript leaves from Europe dated from the 12th -16th centuries. The collection includes 70 whole and partial leaves, representing a variety of styles and techniques that serve as a sampling of early print and manuscript book history.


  • Mid-12th century - early 16th century

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.


70 Items

Scope and Contents

The Early Printed and Manuscript Leaf Collection consists of printed and illuminated manuscript leaves dated from the 12th-16th centuries, with a large portion of leaves dated in the 1400s. “Leaves” refers to a single sheet that was once part of a bound book. Manuscript books were entirely hand-produced, representing the earliest form of bookmaking across Europe. With the emergence of the printing press and moveable type in Europe in the 1400s, printers utilized mechanical techniques to produce books more quickly than their manuscript counterparts.

The leaves in the collection were originally part of a variety of texts including several books of hours, Bibles, missals, and the Cologne Chronicle. The leaves come from a variety of countries in Europe, particularly Italy, France, and Germany. Folios 1-36 have been digitized.

Custodial History

The most recent accessions were purchased by the Curator of Literature and Rare Books, from Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Manuscripts in 2018 and 2019. The source of the other material is unknown.

Existence and Location of Copies

Select folios have been digitized and are available in the University of Maryland Libraries Digital Collections.

Processing Information

The collection came to the Libraries in no particular order and is not arranged chronologically or by format. The materials were placed in sheet protectors and labeled folders. Some folders contain multiple items.

The materials came with names and captions devised by the seller. The Libraries followed this naming system which includes brackets and question marks to denote uncertainty.
Guide to the Early Printed and Manuscript Leaf collection
Caroline Ackiewicz
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742