A Miniature Elzevir book is the March Book of the Month

Aminta : favola boscareccia  by  Torquato Tasso.



 Aminta : favola boscareccia diTorquato Tasso.  Amsterdam : Nella Stamperia del s.D. Elsevier; Et in Parigi : Si vende appresso Thomaso Jolly …, 1678.   Illustrated by Sébastien LeClerc.  85 p. : ill. ; 11 cm.   An “Elzevier” book.   Call number:  PQ4639. A2 1678, The Miniature Book Collection.

Elzevir is the name of a celebrated family of Dutch booksellers, publishers, and printers of the 17th and early 18th centuries. The duodecimo series of “Elzevirs” became very famous and very desirable among bibliophiles, who sought to obtain the tallest and freshest copies of these tiny books.

Although it appears the family was involved with the book trade as early as the 16th century, it is only known for its work in some detail beginning with Lodewijk Elzevir (also called Louis). The family ceased printing in 1712, but a contemporary publisher Elsevier takes its name from this early modern business.
The fame of the Elzevir editions rests chiefly on the works issued by the firm of Bonaventure and Abraham.   Their Greek and Hebrew impressions are considered inferior to those of the Aldines and the Estiennes, but their small editions in 12mo, 16mo and 24mo, for elegance of design, neatness, clearness and regularity of type, and beauty of paper, cannot be surpassed.
Special mention ought to be made of the two editions of the New Testament in Greek, published in 1624 and 1633, of which the latter is the more beautiful and the more sought after; the Psalterium Davidis, 1653; Virgilii opera, 1636; Terentii comediae, 1635; but the works that gave their press its chief celebrity are their collection of French authors on history and politics in 24mo, known under the name of the Pelites Republiques, and their series of Latin, French and Italian classics in small 12mo.
Also, they are noted for their publication in 1638 of Galileo‘s last work, the Two New Sciences, at a time when the Inquisition forbade the latter’s writings.
Jean, son of Abraham, born in 1622, had since 1647 been in partnership with his father and uncle at Leiden, and when they died Daniel, son of Bonaventure, born in 1626, joined him. Their partnership did not last more than two years, and after its dissolution Jean carried on the business alone until his death in 1661. In 1654 Daniel joined his cousin Louis (the third of that name and son of the second Louis), who was born in 1604, and had established a printing press at Amsterdam in 1638.
From 1655 to 1666 they published a series of Latin classics in 8vo, cum notis variorum; Cicero in 4to; the Etymologicon linguae Latinae; and in 1663 a magnificent Corpus Juris Civilis in folio in two volumes. Louis died in 1670, and Daniel in 1680.
This month’s book of the month book was published by Daniel Elzevir in 1678.  It has a  mottled full calf binding.  The spine has four raised bands with decorated gilt compartments.  The book has an engraved frontispiece.  The title page is decorated with a printer’s device.   A third illustration was inserted upside down at the beginning of the first scene.
To see this book, visit Special Collections which is located on the second floor of the Glenn G. Bartle Library off of the North Reading Room.  During the spring semester, the department is open to the public 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday – Friday.
Aminta : favola boscareccia by Torquato Tasso.   Call number:  PQ4639. A2 1678, The Miniature Book Collection.