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The world of books and libraries
Ten thousand reference works relating to the study of books may be consulted in the Rare Books Reserve (Réserve des livres rares). They cover the following topics:
Collections on these topics may also be consulted in the Art and Literature Department; also available are materials on the history of the press, the history of writing, bibliophilia, and the publishing and bookstore industries today.
Book historians will also find valuable working tools in the form of open-access files in the Reserve: directories of booksellers and printers from the 15th to the 19th century, 20th century publishers, and illustrators categorized by century.
In closed-stack collections, the Rare Books Reserve’s collections form a vital resource for all aspects of the history of printed books: the beginnings of printing with movable type (including one of the world’s three largest collections of incunabula, consisting of 12,000 volumes), 15th century xylographic books, and “typographical monuments” from all periods and the main geographical regions. These collections also include popular booklets and private imprints and artists’ books from the 20th and 21st centuries.
They also include extensive archives of 20th century publishers (Pierre-André Benoît, Guy Lévis-Mano, etc.) and 20th century binders (René Kieffer, Georges Leroux, etc.) and bibliographic archives (e.g. the Renouard papers dedicated to editorial activities in 16th century Paris, the papers of the bibliographer Seymour de Ricci, and working files belonging to the bookseller Anatole Claudin).
The Art and Literature Department holds a unique collection of more than 200,000 booksellers’ and publishers’ catalogs, the oldest of which dates back to 1638.
With its roots in an encyclopedic and bibliophilic 18th century collection, the Arsenal Library fully illustrates the history and marketing of books in the Middle Ages (manuscripts), from the Renaissance to the 19th century (the old collection), and up to the present day. It includes, for example, a collection of booksellers’ and auctioneers’ catalogs, as well as a wide range of materials and items dedicated to typography (e.g. the Ladislas Mandel bequest).
The Manuscripts department’s collections illustrate the long and rich history of books, including sometimes unexpected subjects, media, and forms: from Egyptian papyri to medieval parchment manuscripts, from the Dead Sea Scrolls to Indian palm manuscripts, and from rubbings to inscribed bones.
Bibliothèque municipale de Lyon , BnF’s agreed partner for book history
Monday, February 20, 2012