Leaf from Gutenberg's Catholicon, 1460, inserted into the backboard of Margaret Bingham Stillwell's Gutenberg and the Catholicon of 1460, 1936.
Gutenberg and the Catholicon of 1460. A bibliographical essay by Margaret Bingham Stillwell. Together with an original leaf of the Catholicon.
New York : Edmond Byrne Hackett, the Brick Row Book Shop, Inc., 1936
Collection of Michael Thompson
It is believed that the Catholicon of Johannes Balbus was first printed in 1460 by Johann Gutenberg. Although the colophon does not identify Gutenberg by name, scholars have long connected him with the book, and this association has made the Catholicon both a very desirable item for collectors and an attractive subject for a leaf book. While A. Edward Newton, who wrote the essay accompanying the leaf of the Gutenberg Bible for A Noble Fragment (cat. 7), was by no means a scholar of incunabula, Margaret Bingham Stillwell, who authored the accompanying essay here, was a prominent figure in the field. At the time she was approached to write the essay, Stillwell was librarian at the Annmary Brown Memorial in Providence , Rhode Island , and she was working on a second census of incunabula in the United States , to replace the badly outdated first census, published in 1919. Her extensive essay for Gutenberg and the Catholicon of 1460 , which includes a current census of copies of the Catholicon , is far more bibliographically detailed than most other essays included in leaf books, but there was still much to discover, and a great deal remains unknown about the Catholicon today.
In Librarians Are Human: Memories In and Out of the Book World 1907–1970 (Boston: The Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 1970), Stillwell described her involvement with the Catholicon leaf book and the circumstances of its publication: