The Aldine Press (1495-1588) was one of the most significant presses in European history. Its founder, Aldus Manutius, was the first major printer to insist on scholarly editing and the first to produce portable books for scholars. The Aldine collection at the Ransom Center is outstanding for both its size (over 900 volumes) and its many notable copies. Among the most significant titles are the first book issued by the press (a Greek grammar); the first edition of Aristotle, in 5 volumes; the first edition of Plato, on vellum; two copies of the 1499 Hypnerotomachia Poliphili with its unique woodcut illustrations; and the 1501 edition of Virgil, the first book to use italic type. There are some significant provenances as well: some of these volumes once belonged to humanists Benedietto Varchi and Isaac Casaubon; two came from the library of Jean-Baptist Colbert, the powerful minister of Louis XIV; one came from the library of poet Ezra Pound; and several belonged to the famous book collector Jean Grolier.
The largest single acquisition of Aldines came to the Center in 1983 as a gift from Georgio Uzielli. These volumes joined others mainly from the collection of Edward Alexander Parsons.
A pdf file of the printed catalog (1998) of the entire collection is available for downloading and consultation.
The Reading Room Will Be Closed:
Monday, May 29
Tuesday, July 4
Always closed on Sundays