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History of Printing Resources in Archives and Special Collections

Archives and Special Collections offers a variety of resources pertaining to the history of printing. These include materials dating from the 14th to 20th centuries.


Illuminated manuscripts are one example of pre-printing. These manuscripts were handwritten, often religious in nature, and  embellished and decorated with elaborate designs and miniature paintings. Originally the term "illuminated" denoted the text was embellished with either gold or silver, however today the meaning has generally come to refer to illustrations and decorations in preprint-era manuscripts. With the advent of the printing press, illumination was  replaced by printed illustrations. Archives and Special Collections houses a variety of original illuminated manuscripts,  as well as facsimiles of rarer texts such as,The Book of Kells.

Source: Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2009. s.v. "illuminated manuscript."

Illuminated Manuscript Digital Collection 

Illuminated manuscripts

Leaf from a 15th Century Book of Hours

Book of Hours