Publishing & Liberty of the Press

Bulla super impressione librorum.

Pope Leo X.

Bulla super impressione librorum. — Rome: [s.n.], 1515. 

On May 3, 1515, during the Fifth Lateran Council, Pope Leo X issued the Bulla super impressione librorum, the first universally accepted papal censorial decree. All writings without exception were subjected to ecclesiastical censorship, and the examination was entrusted to the bishops or censors appointed by them and to the inquisitor.  Printers disobeying the decree could be excommunicated and fined, and their books burnt.  Leo’s successors issued much more stringent papal decrees on censorship, culminating in the first index of prohibited books in 1559.

A decree of Starre-Chamber concerning printing ….

A decree of Starre-Chamber concerning printing …. — London: Robert Barker, 1637.

Issued by the powerful and abusive Court of Star Chamber under King Charles I, this infamous decree forbade the manufacture, sale, or possession of types and presses without special dispensation, and by banning the unlicensed practice of the trades of printer, publisher, or book-seller.  The unpopular decree was in force only four years before the Long Parliament abolished the Court of Star Chamber. The text was reissued in 1884 as the first publication of the Grolier Club, at the instigation of founding Grolier member Theodore Low De Vinne (1828–1914).  

A decree of Star Chamber concerning printing … reprinted by the Grolier Club ….

A decree of Star Chamber concerning printing … reprinted by the Grolier Club …. — New York: The Club, 1884.

Issued by the powerful and abusive Court of Star Chamber under King Charles I, this infamous decree forbade the manufacture, sale, or possession of types and presses without special dispensation, and by banning the unlicensed practice of the trades of printer, publisher, or book-seller.  The unpopular decree was in force only four years before the Long Parliament abolished the Court of Star Chamber. The text was reissued in 1884 as the first publication of the Grolier Club, at the instigation of founding Grolier member Theodore Low De Vinne (1828–1914).    

Publishing & Liberty of the Press