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Facts about the Book
The Harry Ransom Center is a special collections library. Unlike a school or public library where materials may be checked out, all materials in the collections must be viewed in the Center's Reading Room. The Gutenberg Bible, however, may only be viewed in its display case, which is why the Ransom Center has made every page available digitally on its website, and on a CD-ROM edition of the book to commemorate the 550th anniversary of the printing of the Gutenberg Bible.
- All images in this education module of the Gutenberg Bible are from the Ransom Center's copy. The book of the Bible and the page number are included.
- The abbreviation (r) for recto or (v) for verso follows the page number to indicate which side of a page is shown. Recto refers to the right-hand page of an open book. The back of that same page, the left-hand page of an open book, is the verso.
- The Bible is bound in two volumes. The present binding of calfskin over wooden boards, presumably oak, dates from around 1600.
- The paper is made from linen rags, is extremely durable, and is much thicker than the paper in a textbook.
- The Bible is kept in a stable temperature- and humidity-controlled viewing case to insure its long-term preservation. One volume is displayed closed and the other is open. Ransom Center staff change the page on display every two to three months.
- The Ransom Center purchased the Bible in 1978 for $2.4 million. Three Gutenberg Bibles were available on the market at the time. Scholars studied the three Bibles and determined the Pforzheimer copy to be the best for research purposes because of its good condition, many handwritten additions, and interesting decorations.
- No complete copies of the Gutenberg Bible have come on the market since 1978.