Nuremberg Chronicle


This massive book was printed in Germany in 1493 and offers us a glimpse of what books were like during the earliest period of printing in Western Europe. Before Gutenberg printed his Bible in 1454, most European books were manuscripts—they were created one at a time by writing out a complete text by hand—a slow, painstaking, and expensive process.

Gutenberg’s innovations introduced 15th century Europeans to a faster and easier method for creating copies of a text. As remarkable as his invention was, what is most remarkable is how quickly the technology was adopted. It raced across Europe like a wildfire that, in a single generation, completely transformed the way knowledge was spread. It was an information revolution not unlike the one we find ourselves in today with the explosive growth of the internet and electronic communication.

The printer and publisher of this book, Anton Koberger, was one of the many entrepreneurs who seized on the opportunity presented by Gutenberg’s technology. By 1470, Koberger had established the first printing house in Nuremberg, Germany; at the height of his success, the business ran 24 printing presses and employed an army of 100 artisans and workers. He became one of the most successful printers in Germany, producing hundreds of works on a wide variety of subjects. This elaborately illustrated historical chronicle is his most famous and important production.


Publisher Nuremberg: Anton Koberger
Date 1493
Extent [20], 299, [7] leaves
Institution Kent State University
Repository Special Collections and Archives
Provenance/Collection Goddert von Raesfeldt; Percy Fitzgerald; Paul Louis Feiss, Cleveland
LC Classification Number Z241.2 .S32 1493
Portion Digitized Leaves 184v and 185r
Access Rights This digital object is owned by Kent State University and may be protected by U.S. Copyright law (Title 17, USC). Please include proper citation and credit for use of this item. Use in publications or productions is prohibited without written permission from Kent State University. Please contact the Department of Special Collections and Archives for more information.
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Curated by Kathleen Siebert Medicus with guest contributors