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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Enough already!

De sanctissimo divinae trinitatis mysterio, earlier in the library at the Monastery of Ottobeuren,
now in the rare book collection at Saint John's University (Collegeville, MN). More on this title below.

Every cataloger dreads them--multiple titles bound into one item.  And yet, with books (and especially smaller ones) this was a common practice up to the early 19th century, when publishers started issuing books already bound.  Many times these bound-together titles can provide unexpected insights into an earlier time. 

An example of this is a book bound in 1550, according to the date on the binding, but which later came into the monastic library at Ottobeuren (handwritten date of 1598). The first title in the book is a Catholic work called the Loci communes rerum theologicarum by Johann Hoffmeister (Ingolstadt, 1549), and the final title is Encomium aquilae (Tubingae, 1532) written by a Premonstratensian canon who was forced to flee the newly Protestant city of Tuebingen about 1532. 

In between these two "Catholic" works is a title page on which the author's name has been inked out.  Later, someone added the name "Philipp Melanchthon" in ink (his Doctrinae physicae elementa, 1550).  Only then does it become apparent that the outer texts may have been a cover for an author whose close relationship to Martin Luther would not be accepted in a Catholic context.  Now the remaining question concerns the first owner of the book, but unfortunately that information is covered by a later ownership label, which I hope some day to be able to have removed.

And then there are the gatherings of dissertations.  Saint John's has a number of such collections, bound together in one piece, some of them quite early.  One volume bound in pigskin contained 20 different titles, most of which are not widely held in North America.  The ownership note on the first title page indicates that the collection was probably bound in the late 16th century.  The litany of titles required a lengthy note in the catalog record. Here are the contents:

First title: De Sanctissimo Divinae Trinitatis mysterio : disputatio theologica, in celebri et catholica Academia Dilingana, die Ianuarii [sic] publice proposita praeside Georgio Eberhardo ... ; respondente ... Georgio Wölflin (Dillingen, 1588).
This is bound with (see photo gallery below):

-- Mariae Virginis Deique genitricis vita / Joannes Pelecyus. Dilingae : I. Mayer, [1589]
-- De fide virtute theologica disputatio / Joannes Pelecyus. Dilingae : I. Mayer, 1589
-- De spe virtute theologica disputatio / Joannes Pelecyus. Dilingae : I. Mayer, [1590]
-- De charitate virtute theologica disputatio / Joannes Pelecyus. Dilingae : I. Mayer, [1590]
-- De fide, virtute theologica disputatio tripartita / Jakob Mayer. Dilingae : I. Mayer, 1576
-- De ecclesia Christi militante in terris / Joannes Pelecyus. Dilingae : I. Mayer, 1590
-- De originali hominis iustitia et iniustitia / Joannes Pelecyus. Dilingae : I. Mayer, 1586
-- De iustificatione hominis iniusti coram Deo / Joannes Pelecyus. Dilingae : I. Mayer, [1591]
-- De legitimo usu eucharistiae in altera tantum specie / Gregorio de Valencia. Ingolstadii : D. Sartorius, 1587
-- Theologica disputatio, De veritate transsubstantiationis In Sanctissimo Sacramento Eucharistiae / Albert Hunger. Ingolstadii : Weissenhorn, 1577
 -- De augustissimo Eucharistiae sacramento et sacrificio / Joannes Pelecyus. Dilingae : I. Mayer, 1588
-- Disputatio theologica de speciebus Eucharisticis / Jakob Gretser. Ingolstadii : W. Eder, [1594]
-- Disputatio theologica De effectis divinae gratiae / Michael Eiselin. Ingolstadii : D. Sartorius, [1591]
-- De merito proprio hominis apud Deum / Joannes Pelecyus. Dilingae : I. Mayer, [1591]
-- De infidelitate et tribus eius speciebus, ethnicismo, iudaismo et haeresi / Joannes Pelecyus. Dilingae : I. Mayer, [1591]
-- Disputatio theologica de voto et iuramento / Matthias Mayrhofer. Ingolstadii : D. Sartorius, [1589]
-- Theses de descensu Christi ad inferos, et eiusdem ad coelos ascensu / Albert Hunger. Ingolstadii : D. Sartorius, 1587
-- De statu religiosorum / Georg Eberhard. Dilingae : I. Mayer, 1587
-- De tribus peccatorum generibus, mortali, veniali, et originis / Matthias Mayrhofer. Ingolstadii : D. Sartorius, [1587].

Here is a photographic overview of the titles bound into this one volume:

Click on any image to see it enlarged.

And last, and perhaps not least?

Sometimes, the way titles are bound together can give us deeper insight into a time and place distant from our own.  In this case, perhaps, the primary determinant for binding all these titles into one volume was the need to save on binding work in a large library. Either way, these collections pose challenges to the cataloger and his/her stamina!

Now, back to the stacks -- more collections of bound-together titles are waiting!


  1. It is a lot of work, but I'm always happy to discover that we have 20 works instead of the one we thought we had.

  2. Indeed, it is always fun to find "undiscovered territory" between the boards of a book.