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Guide to the Bancroft Library Incunabula Collection
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Bancroft Library Incunabula Collection
    Creator: Bancroft Library. Special Collections
    Extent: ca. 460 volumes
    Repository: The Bancroft Library.
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Online inventory:
    A detailed inventory of The Bancroft Library Incunabula Collection is available online.

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research. Permission of the Rare Books Curator is required for use of all items, except facsimiles.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from this material must be submitted in writing to the Rare Books Curator. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Bancroft Library Incunabula Collection, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The greater portion of these works come from the library of James Kennedy Moffitt, a graduate of the University of California, class of 1886, for 36 years a University Regent, as well as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Crocker National Bank of San Francisco. Several volumes are from the collection of John Henry Nash, one of the leading typographers of California. Another part comes from the library of Charles Kay Ogden, noted linguist and originator of Basic English. Other volumes came through purchase and gift, most notably from the collections of the Italian humanist manuscripts, Charles William Dyson Perrins, the Dante enthusiast George John Warren, 5th Baron Vernon, the San Francisco attorney Alfred Sutro, and the medievalist James Westfall Thompson of Berkeley's History Dept.

    Scope and Content

    The Incunabula Collection of The Bancroft Library comprises more than 400 titles (several of which are only leaves) printed before 1501. It includes philosophical, theological, scientific, historical, and literary works. The collection has specimens from each of the major western European countries. The largest representation is from Italy, with 132 titles from Venice alone. In addition, there are leaf books, collections original leaves from German, Italian, and West-European incunabula, described by Konrad Haebler, noted historian of incunabula, a miscellany collection of unidentified original leaves, and a selection of facsimiles and photographic reproductions of other incunabula and early type faces.