The collection

The collection comprises 134 books and fragments which were printed or formerly thought to have been printed before 31 December 1500. The earliest is Pablo de Santa Maria’s Scrutinium scripturarum (Strasbourg: Johann Mentelin, [not after 1470]). Printing is predominantly Italian. There are five English incunabula, including two Caxtons and Pynson’s Canterbury Tales. Items range from iconic but common books such as the editio princeps of Euclid’s Elements (1482), the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493) and the Koberger Bible (1477), each in two copies, to the very rare: Coniuratio malignorum spirituum ([Rome: Eucharius Silber, ca. 1486-1487]) is one of only two known copies; Bernat de Granollachs’s Lunarium ab anno 1491 ad annum 1550 ([Lyons: Johannes Siber, 1491]) is the sole complete copy; and several other books are the sole editions in the United Kingdom.



Acquired as part of various named special collections (those of De Morgan, Durning-Lawrence, and Harry Price, from the dispersal of other libraries (New College; London Institution), by single donation, and by purchase (1941-ca 1970).



For an overview of the collection, do a mixed classmark search on [Incunabula]. Items come up roughly in order of size, followed by date.


Select publications

  • Attar, K. E., ‘Incunabula at Senate House Library: Growth of a Collection’, Library & Information History, 25 (2009), 97-116.
  • Attar, K. E., ‘What, How and Why: Accessing Incunabula at Senate House Library, University of London’, Alexandria, 20 (2008), 105-20.
  • For a record of all the incunabula: British Library, Incunabula Short Title Catalogue.