Johannes Gutenberg, a goldsmith from the city of Mainz in what is now Germany, undertook the development of a new method of printing in the late 1450s that would revolutionize the European production of books. His combined innovations—conceiving the use and manufacture of movable metal type, formulating oil-based printing ink, and employing a mechanical printing press—enabled the mass production of virtually identical texts, facilitating the spread of knowledge and literacy.
As the cornerstone of printing in the West, the Gutenberg Bible embodies its creator’s achievements. Collector and Library founder James Lenox acquired the Library’s copy, the first one brought to the Americas, in 1847. Its arrival in New York City occasioned not only great excitement but also a romantic legend: that Lenox’s agent instructed Custom House workers to deferentially remove their hats upon seeing it.
Currently on View at Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
No copyright: United States