About the collection
The University Library Basel owns one of the largest and most important collections of historical printed materials in Switzerland, which has also received attention from beyond the borders of Switzerland. The collection includes a large number of works from all eras since the beginning of book printing in the 15th century until the end of the 19th century. A total of 300 000 prints come from the time before 1850. An important focal point is the printing in Basel. In addition to its local and regional historic character, the collection features a thematically, geographically and linguistically distinct universal character.
The prints published before 1900 are almost entirely recorded electronically and searchable via the IDS Basel Bern catalogue.
Undocumented or incomplete in catalogue
Monographs in series with a printing year up until 1939 are only partially available in the older Author and Title Catalogue of the library. These monographs are currently being integrated into the online library catalogue.
Basel dissertations are documented in full online and searchable via the IDS Basel Bern catalogue and the swissbib Basel Bern. Dissertations printed outside of Basel before 1980 are registered in the Dissertationenkatalog.
The ITB is the new electronic Basel book printer and publisher catalogue (BBK). It documents the production of all known printers and publishers which operated in Basel between the beginning of printing around 1468 and 1800. The ITB provides further information on individual printing workshops.
Basel book printer and publisher catalogue (BBK)
The Basel book printer and publisher catalogue (BBK) is available to consult in its form as a card index in the Special reading room at the University Library.
Griechischer Geist aus Basler Pressen (in German)
Catalogue of early Basel prints of ancient and early Christian Greek authors in text and image.
Opera poetica Basiliensia
Catalogue of prints, primarily from the 16th century, with poetic content, which were printed in Basel and/or kept in the University Library Basel.
Printed catalogues: incunabula and early Basel prints
Pierre Louis van der Haegen: Basler Wiegendrucke. Verzeichnis der in Basel gedruckten Inkunabeln mit ausführlicher Beschreibung der in der Universitätsbibliothek Basel vorhandenen Exemplare. Schriften der Universitätsbibliothek Basel, Bd. 1. Basel 1998. Standort
Pierre Louis van der Haegen: Die Wiegendrucke der Universitätsbibliothek Basel, Teil 1: Die Wiegendrucke aus den deutschsprachigen Regionen um Basel. Schriften der Universitätsbibliothek Basel, Bd. 7/1. Basel 2006. Standort
Pierre Louis van der Haegen: Die Wiegendrucke der Universitätsbibliothek Basel, Teil 2: Die Wiegendrucke aus den übrigen Gebieten Deutschlands und den Niederlanden (Belgien/Holland). Schriften der Universitätsbibliothek Basel, Bd. 7/2. Basel 2009. Standort
Pierre Louis van der Haegen: Die Wiegendrucke der Universitätsbibliothek Basel, Teil 3: Die Wiegendrucke aus Italien und Frankreich. Schriften der Universitätsbibliothek Basel, Bd. 7/3. Basel 2013. Standort
Frank Hieronymus: Oberrheinische Buchillustrationen, Band 1: Inkunabelholzschnitte aus den Beständen der Universitätsbibliothek. Publikationen der Universitätsbibliothek Basel, Nr. 6. Basel 1983. Standort
Frank Hieronymus: Oberrheinische Buchillustrationen, Band 2: Basler Buchillustration 1500-1545. Publikationen der Universitätsbibliothek Basel, Nr. 5. Basel 1984. Standort
Frank Hieronymus: En Basileia Polei tēs Germanias. Griechischer Geist aus Basler Pressen. Publikationen der Universitätsbibliothek Basel, Nr. 15. Basel 1992. Online-Version
Frank Hieronymus: Theophrast und Galen - Celsus und Paracelsus. Medizin, Naturphilosophie und Kirchenreform im Basler Buchdruck bis zum Dreissigjährigen Krieg, 5 Bände. Publikationen der Universitätsbibliothek Basel, Nr. 36. Basel 2005. Standort
Frank Hieronymus: 1488 Petri - Schwabe 1988. Eine traditionsreiche Basler Offizin im Spiegel ihrer frühen Drucke, 2 Bände. Basel 1997. Standort
With more than 3000 prints, the University Library Basel owns the largest collection of incunabula in Switzerland. The vast majority of these works, around 1700 prints, originate from German printing workshops, with around half of them printed in Basel. The rest of the incunabula mainly come from Italian (746) and French (588) printing houses.
The collection includes a number of prominent works and rarities from early book printing, including Christopher Columbus’s report about his discovery of America, which was printed in Basel in 1493, John Mandeville’s richly illustrated, stunning description "Reise ins Heilige Land" from 1481, as well as the first dated typographic print with woodcut illustrations in Switzerland – the Speculum humanae salvationis, produced in 1476 by Bernhard Richel.
Another highlight is the collection of the former rector of the Sorbonne University in Paris and the initiator of book printing there, Johannes Heynlin, with more than 330 magnificently furnished and best conserved early prints from printing workshops in Mainz, Rome and Paris.
The University Library Basel holds the largest collection of Basel prints worldwide. 9000 prints in more than 11 000 copies originating from the local production come from the heyday of Basel book printing between 1468 and 1600. Around 21 000 more works printed in Basel followed between 1600 and 1850.
The collection is continually extended through purchases as part of the Basiliensia collection’s main focus.
The production of local printers and publishers, which operated in or out of Basel at the start of the printing era around 1468, and the year 1830, has been catalogued and documented in the electronic Basel book printer and publisher catalogue (BBK) at the University Library Basel via the Index typographorum editorumque Basiliensium (ITB).
Basel funeral sermons
The University Library owns more than 10 000 Basel funeral sermons, with around 6000 of them originating from between 1600 and 1900. Alongside biographical data of the deceased, the works often include extensive descriptions of the death scene and their accompanied spiritual rituals. Dedications, funeral services and state addresses, academic eulogies or, in funeral sermons for university members, the programma academicum as well as epicedia make the funeral sermons in the 17th century a medium of self-portrayal for local personalities and families.