Aldus Manutius at UCLA
An Exhibition in honor of the publication of
The Aldine Press: Catalogue of the Ahmanson-Murphy Collection
Exhibit organized by Daniel J. Slive and Paul Naiditch
The collection of the publications of Aldus Manutius, his family, and imitators began in earnest at UCLA in the early 1960s during the tenure of Chancellor Franklin D. Murphy. For three decades, Dr. Murphy fostered the expansion of the Aldine collection and encouraged its growth. With the constant support of the Ahmanson Foundation, this collection has become the foremost repository for Aldines in the Western Hemisphere. Spanning the output of the entire Manutius family of printers from 1495 to 1598, the collection holds approximately 90 percent of the books printed by the elder Aldus and his heirs as well as 80 percent of the works printed by Paulus Manutius and Aldus Manutius the Younger.
The Ahmanson Foundation has likewise generously supported the publication of The Aldine Press: Catalogue of the Ahmanson-Murphy Collection. This descriptive bibliography documents books held by the Department of Special Collections by or relating to the press, as well as works recorded elsewhere. Extensive physical descriptions, content notes, and studies of typefaces, printers’ devices, and watermarks ensure that the catalogue will be a major resource for Aldine studies.
The present exhibition focuses on Aldus Manutius and books published by the press during his lifetime. These editions represent his work as a teacher, scholar, printer, and publisher. As his place in the history of printing and culture is closely linked with both monumental Greek folios and portable octavo classics, these two types of texts and formats are emphasized in this display.
Aldus Manutius, the younger. Epitome orthographiae. Venice: Aldus Manutius, the younger, 1575.
Aristotle. [Opera.] Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1495-1498.
Plato. Omnia Platonis opera. Venice: House of Aldus and of Andrea of Asola, his father-in-law, 1513.
The present set belonged to Dr. John Clement, physician and Greek scholar, friend of Thomas More and husband of his ward Margaret Giggs. It was given to Clement by his daughter Dorothy. More included Clement among those present when "Utopia" was described in the work of the same name.
UCLA Library’s two millionth volume, presented by Mrs. Elmer Belt, Edward W. Carter, W. Thomas Davis, Majl Ewing, Mrs. Edward H. Heller, Robert Moes, Franklin D. Murphy, Norton Simon, Robert Vosper, and other friends.
Aldus Manutius. Institutionum grammaticarum libri quatuor. Venice: House of Aldus and of Andrea of Asola, his father-in law, 1514.
Aldus’s greatest innovation as a publisher was his popularizing of portable hand-held books, a phenomenon similar to the paperback revolution of the last half century. This series of books was to be focused on "the classics" in Greek, Latin, and, selectively, in Italian. In the 1995 exhibition catalogue In Praise of Aldus Manutius, H. George Fletcher notes Aldus’s three simultaneous achievements in publishing books in this format: "(1) an edited text issued without commentary, (2) printed in a novel typeface [i.e.: italic] that mimicked chancery script, the humanist’s cursive handwriting, (3) produced in a light, small book of elongated format that would sit comfortably in the hand."
Aldus launched his "portable library" of Greek and Latin classics in 1501 with the publication of Publius Vergilius Maro’s Opera, the first book printed in Italic type. The handy size of these volumes allowed readers to carry their books with them, making texts more accessible. This change in format also overturned the standard of publishing learned works only in large folio volumes. For many generations of bibliophiles, the portable octavo is the quintessential Aldine that first comes to mind when the press is mentioned.
Sophocles. Tragoediae. Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1502.
Francesco Petrarca. Le cose volgari. Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1501.
Florilegium diversorum epigrammatum in septem libros. Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1503.
This copy belonged to the great sixteenth-century book collector Jean Grolier. The two armorial medallions on the first text page were painted for him, probably in Milan during the years 1509 - 1510. It is one of ten recorded examples of his books decorated with the motto Aeque difficulter. In addition to owning over two hundred Aldine publications, Grolier was closely involved with Aldus and the press. He sponsored a number of editions and later served as the Parisian representative of the firm.
Purchased with funds donated by Lloyd E. Cotsen and the Cotsen Family Foundation in memory of Dr. Franklin D. Murphy.
Publius Vergilius Maro. Opera. Venice: House of Aldus and of Andrea of Asola, his father-in-law, 1514.
Martial. Martialis. [Lyon: Barthélemy Trot?, 1502].
Francesco Petrarca. Le cose volgari. [Lyon: Barthélemy Trot, ca. 1502].
UCLA Special Collections | UCLA Library | UCLA Home
Comments & suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last update: 1/19/02
© 2001 by the Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.