This blog provides reports, updates, information and analysis surrounding a new project, Sammelband 15-16, that studies the creation and use of Sammelbände in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Europe.
The extraordinary initial development of the printing industry has been carefully charted and analysed. But many aspects of the volumes created as a result of this proliferation of printed texts are yet to be investigated. The Sammelbände are a case in point. The works produced in the printer’s workshop were not automatically encased in a publishers binding. The choice of a binding, its quality and characteristics, were generally determined by the owner. The result was a great variety in bindings that, even in the simplest of cases, represented a substantial proportion of the cost of book acquisition. This encouraged the fashioning of volumes that contained not just one work, but different texts gathered and bound together, volumes which are generally known by the German term, Sammelband. These volumes are one of the most striking features of the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century book world yet their characteristics have not been the subject of detailed analysis. As a result, despite their ubiquity even today, scholars have little understanding of these volumes. This project seeks to understand the steps that led to their creation and their use in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Europe.