Early European Books

Screenshot of Early English Books Howard-Tilton has recently invested in the most recent modules of Early European Books (EEB), a digital treasury of full color, high-resolution facsimiles of thousands of books published in Europe prior to 1700.  This stable and state-of-the-art database from ProQuest provides scholars with new ways of accessing and exploring the printed record of early modern Europe, drawing together a diverse array of printed sources from the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries. Developed and produced in close collaboration with scholars, rare books librarians, bibliographers, and other experts from the library world, this new resource opens the door to some of the world's most significant collections of early printed books.

The experience of using EEB is similar in many respects to that of using printed facsimile editions.  Each item in the collection is captured in its entirety, complete with its binding, edges, endpapers, blank pages, and any loose inserts, providing scholars with a wealth of information about the physical characteristics and provenance histories of the original artifacts. Detailed information accompanying each book affords rare books researchers at Tulane the ability to pinpoint particular images containing manuscript annotation and various kinds of non-textual printed matter including illustrations and maps.
The EEB purchase complements current and future investments to purchase comprehensive digital collections such as Early English Books Online as well as material in Howard-Tilton’s Rare Books unit.  For example, a scholar consulting Tulane’s physical copy of Plato’s works translated into Latin  (Omnia diuini Platonis Opera, translated by Marsilio Ficino, and printed by Hieronymus Froben in Basel in 1551) in the Schiro reading room could compare it with facsimiles of two other contemporary works from the same printer in Basel. A researcher could also compare it with a text with many similarities, also translated by the same person, and published in Florence in 1485.  A page from EEB’s version is shown at left, with a helpful ruler that allows viewers to accurately understand the book as an object.

If you have questions about how to best use this resource for your research or include it in your teaching plans, please contact Sean Knowlton, Research and Instruction Librarian (Humanities) at sean@tulane.edu.