BEUGHEM, Cornelius von


BEUGHEM, Cornelius von Incunabula typographiae

Amsterdam, Joannem Wolters, 1688


FIRST EDITION. 12mo pp (xiii) 191 (iii). Roman letter, printer’s sphere device on t .p., occasional woodcut initial or ornament. Very slight age browning, couple of rust marks, a good, clean copy in contemporary calf, spine gilt, cracks to joints but sound, edges speckled red. The Pembroke copy; old paper pressmark at foot of spine, faded red shelfmark to upper pastedown, c18 bibliographical note on fly at head.

First edition of the first printed bibliography of incunabula compiled by the preeminent Dutch C17 bibliographer Cornelius (or Cornelis) van Beughem. This groundbreaking pocket sized volume (you could easily take it with you when visiting your favorite bookshop) lists more than 3000 incunables, helpfully in strict authorial alphabetical order, rather than first by subject matter, unlike most bibliographies of the period; the full title is usually given. In some cases, several editions are listed with date and place of printing, sometimes with names of editors and translators and sizes. In the case of editions of particular importance the printer may be also identified. At the end are appendices of anonymous editions and those of uncertain date or imprint. This was a remarkably comprehensive and useful volume, providing modern style bibliographical information on more than ten percent of now known incunabula, including many more obscure works.

Beughem (c. 1637-1710) of Prussian origin, worked as a bookseller in Amsterdam for Jansson before setting up his own shop in Emmerich. He was “without doubt the foremost bibliographer of the seventeenth century” (Breslauer & Folter) who “provided for his contemporaries a series of bibliographies of outstanding usefullness, full, accurate, and intelligently compiled” (Besterman). Beughem can be justly considered the precursor to the great bookseller-bibliographers of the 19th century, although they were largely critical of his pioneering efforts.

Breslauer and Folter 85. Bigmore, Wyman I p. 54. Besterman III 5027. Graesse I 356 “Livre rare”.
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