Friday, January 17, 2014

Incunabula Pritings of the Dominican Rite Missal

Title page of the 1500 Missal
 Thanks to on-line resources, it is now possible to compile a list of all Dominican Rite Missals published up to 1500, the period of  the Incunabula ("in the cradle") printing.  The British Library Incunabula Short Title Catalog and the Online Computer Library Center (Worldcat), have facilitated this overview.  As best we can tell, 11 printings of the Dominican Missal were produced from 1482 to 1500.  Five of these are now available for consultation in digital copies on line (linked below).

As far as I can tell, the most important of these editions are the first of 1483 and that of 1500, as these are the editions for which the greatest number of copies remain. Both are found throughout all of Europe as opposed to other printings found only in more restricted areas.  It is not surprising, given the Order's commitment to poverty, that these editions are in quatro and octavo size: smaller and more economical editions.

At the right you can see the title page of the 1500 edition of the Dominican Missal, the first with a woodcut illustration on the title page.  The pre-1500 printings of the Missal follow in order, with images of the Canon Page where it could be found.

1. Missale secu[n]du[m] ordine[m] fratru[m] predicatorum.  Venice: Octaviano Scotto, 24 Dec. 1482.

Description: The first OP Missal published. In moderate sized quarto format, it was printed in red and black with double columns, 33 lines to the page. Judging from the extant copies, this seems to have been a large press run acquired by Dominican houses all over Europe. Signatures: a¹^(0) b-z^(8) [et]^(8) [con]^(8) [rum]^(8). Goff M636

Locations in the U.S.A:

Dallas TX, Southern Methodist Univ., Bridwell Library;
Detroit MI, Detroit Public Library;
San Marino CA, The Huntington Library;
Williamstown MA, Williams College, Chapin Library
Tuscaloosa, AL, University of Alabama

Other copies are found in British Isles (2); Germany: 4 copies, 3 fragments; Italy: 3 complete, 4 imperfect copies; Spain, 1 copy; Netherlands, 1 copy; Austria, 1 copy

eBook reproduction: Proquest, Ann Arbor MI, viewable on WWW at libraries that have subscribed to the service.

2. Missale secundum ordine[m] fratrum predicatorum. Milan: Antonio Zarotto, 1482. 

Description: This was a large folio edition and soon after #1, but is very rare. I have not been able to find any further descriptions. It was probably circulated mostly in Italy. Goff M637.


Washington DC, Library of Congress, Rare Book Division
Florence, Italy: Biblioteca Lorenziana

3. [Missale secundum consuetudinem ordinis Fratrum Praedicatorum.] Naples: Mattia Moravo, 29 Mar. 1483.

Description: Published moderate sized quarto, this edition is relatively rare. Copies are found principally in Italy and southern Europe. Goff M638


The Dominican Historical Institute in Rome has a copy as does the British Library, London. Other copies: Italy (2), France (1), Spain (1). It seems a copy was sold by Sotheby: Parke-Bernet 25 June 1982 lot 96.

Venice1484 Te Igitur Page
4. Missale s[ecundu]m ordinem fratru[m] predicatoru[m]. Venice: Nicolaus von Frankfurt, 1484.

Description: This was the first “compact” missal, issued in octavo. Printed in two columns, in two sizes of Gothic type, with the smaller, lighter gothic used for the texts to be read in unison by the community; text in black, with 2-line capitals and captions in red. Woodcuts: one full-page unshaded Crucifixion. The extant copies and the nationality of the publisher suggest that this edition circulated in northern Dominican houses, especially in Germany and Poland. Signatures: pi¹^(0) ²pi^(4) a-y^(8) A-M^(8) N¹². GW M24169


Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich has produced an online Electronic facsimile


The University of California at Los Angeles has a copy, as does the Dominican Historical Institue in Rome. Other copies are found in Britain (1 imperfect), Belgium (1), France (1 imperfect), Germany (4 complete, 4 imperfect), Poland (5).

Lübeck, 1488 Te Igitur Page
5.  Missale s[ecundu]m ordine[m] fratru[m] p[re]dicatoru[m]. Lübeck: Bartholomaeus Ghotan, 1488.

Description: This was the first Dominican missal printed in the north, at Lübeck. I was in large folio format and printed in black and red. It seems to have been purchased, like #4 by northern houses. Any copies were probably lost during the Reformation. GW M24154


Kungliga biblioteket, Stockholm, Sweden has produced an online Electronic facsimile.
Microfiche: Primary Source Microfilm (an imprint of Cengage Learning), 1996.


Other than the copy in Stockholm, which is available on the web, there is an imperfect copy in Germany and a second copy in Sweden.

Venice 1494 Te Igitur page
6. Missale secundu[m] ordinem fratrum predicato[rum] Ordinis s[an]cti Dominici. Venice: Johann Hamman, for Octaviano Scotto, 1 Feb. 1494.

Description: This is another small format, octavo missal. Again, this publication involved the Ventian printer Octaviano Scotto, who also published a number of Dominican authors (St. Albert’s incunabula edition of Thomas Aquinas is by him). The circulation seems to have been in southern Europe mostly, especially in Italy. Goff M639


Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich has produced an online Electronic facsimile.

Locations: In the U.S.A:

Chapel Hill NC, Univ. of North Carolina Library;
New Haven CT, Yale Univ., Beinecke Library (-);
New York NY, New York Public Library, Drexel Collection;
Providence RI, Providence College Library

There is also a copy of this edition in the Dominican Historical Institute in Rome. Other copies are found mostly in Italy (9) and elsewhere in Germay (4), France (2), Spain (2, including the Dominican House in Caleruega), Britain (1), Sweden (2), Poland (2), Hungary (1).

7. [Missale secundum ordinem fratrum predicatorum.] Basel: Michael Wenssler, c. 1488.]

Description: Other than the format, large folio, and that this Swiss imprint of the Missal seems to have been distributed mostly in Germany and the north, I have not been able to find much else about it. GW M24152


This version is not very accessible to Americans. The only two complete versions listed are in the National Museum at Prague and the Benedictine Abbey of Scheyern in Germany. Imperfect copies are found in Germany, Finland, Danmark, and Poland.

Venice 1496 Te Igitur page
8. Missale s[ecundu]m consuetudinem fratrum predicatorum cum omnibus additionibus tam ad conuentualem q[uam] ad priuatam missam pertinentibus. [Venice]: Andrea Torresano, 30 Dec. 1496.

Description: This large format folio Missal was published in Venice and is interesting for the inclusion of material on private (said) Mass. It is interesting that the earlier missals seem to have been intended for conventual celebrations. It included a woodcut and some copies are known to have been printed on vellum rather than paper. Goff M640


Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich has produced an online Electronic facsimile.

Locations in the USA:

New York NY, New York Public Library, Rare Book Division;
Washington DC, Library of Congress, Rare Book Division (on vellum)

There are also 2 copies in the Dominican Historical Institute in Rome. Most other known copies are found in Germany (6) and Italy (7), Britain (2), and France (2), and Poland (1). Imperfect copies are found in Denmark, Croatia, Switzerland, and Poland.

9. Missale s[ecundu]m ordine[m] sancti dominici. Venice: Simone Bevilaqua, 13 May 1497.

Description: This small format octavo missal was published in Venice by a collaborator of Octaviano Scotto. GW M241262

Location in the USA:

University of California, Los Angeles.

The largest group of known copies are in Italy (5), plus one at the Historical Institute in Rome. Others are found in Germany (3), France (2), and 1 each in Austria, Sweden, Hungary (imperfect), and Poland (imperfect).

10. [Missale secundum ordinem fratrum predicatorum]. Seville: Meinard Ungut and Stanislao of Poland, 22 July 1497. 

Description: This rare quarto edition is of interest for serveral reasons. It is the first known printing of the Missal in Iberia, and the printers are Hungarian and Polish immigrants. It is hard to say, but this printing was probably mostly distributed in Spain. GW M2416410

Location: there is only one know copy, imperfect, in the library of the Cathedral Chapter in Burgos, Spain.

Venice 1500 Te Igitur page
11. Missale s[ecundu]m ordine[m] sancti dominici.
Venice: Johann Emerich, Nicolaus von Frankfurt, 6 Mar. 1500.

Description: This compact octavo editon has a woodcut of St. Dominic walking carrying lily and crucifix on the title page, probably the first so decorated. After the first printing of 1482, this seems to have been the largest, at least in terms of copies preserved. It is interesting that again the printers are immigrants, this time, Germans to Italy. Not surprisingly, the largest groups of copies are found in Germany and Italy. Goff M641


Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich has produced an online Electronic facsimile.


New York NY, Union Theological Seminary, Burke Library

There is also a copy in the Dominican Historical Institute in Rome and in the British Library in London. Otherwise, most copies are in Germany (9, 1 imperfect), Italy 6, one imperfect), Britain, (2 and some fragments), Belgium (2, 1 imperfect), France (1 at the Dominican house in Toulouse, 2 others imperfect), and 1 each in Austria, Sweden, and Slovinia.


Goff = Frederick R. Goff, Incunabula in American libraries: a third census. Millwood NY, 1973. This is a descriptive catalog in English of Incunabula in American holdings.

GW = Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke. Stuttgart, etc., 1968- [in progress]. As the most commonly used catalog generally, I give references to this when Goff has not. Handwritten original is online at:

1 comment:

Breviarium SOP said...

This is fascinating stuff here Father. Thank you for publicizing this. These on-line resources are amazing. They bring the manuscripts to your desk top.