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Grolier Club Exhibitions

First Impressions. Bibliography: Analyzing the Book as Object.


Honchō shojaku mokuroku=Great catalogue compendium of our country's books.

[Kyoto]: Nagao Heibē, Kanbun 11 [1671].

This modest volume is the first edition of the first printed bibliography of early Japanese books, which remained a principal guide to the subject for five centuries. This catalogue concentrates on Japanese books only (as distinct from the Chinese classics commonly found as part of the Japanese literary canon) and is divided into two parts.

The first part consists of the text—printed here for the first time- of Honcho shojaku mokuroku (or Ninnaji shojaku mokuroku) which describes 493 Japanese books, most of which are no longer extant, divided into 20 categories (religious events, chronicles of the emperors, official events, family trees of royalty and nobility, geography, literature (poetry and prose), medicine, biographies, etc.), which represents the first attempt to categorize  Japanese books by subject matter. The second part is an addendum updating the first part with newer publications. In both parts, for each book, the anonymous author (probably Heibe Nagao, the publisher) provides title, author, number of volumes, and, in many cases, a short description of contents.

Purchased in 2018 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds.


Bibliotheca Hebraea ... 

Johann Christoph Wolf, 1683-1739. 4 vols. Hamburg & Leipzig: Christian Liebezeit, 1715-1733. 

This early bibliography of Hebrew books has remained an indispensable work of reference since it was first published. It lists approximately 10,000 titles in four volumes, organized by author and subject. Wolf was professor of oriental languages at the Hamburg gymnasium, where he had access to the great Oppenheim collection of Jewish literature (now at the Bodleian). He bequeathed his own large library, rich in Hebrew manuscripts, to the city of Hamburg. The frontispiece engraving of an imaginary library is overlooked by a bust of Moses holding the Ten Commandments.  

Purchased in 2005 at the Breslauer sale with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds, generously supported by Grolier Club member donations.


Bibliotheca rarissima, seu, Collectio amplissima in qua omnium fere librorum in quavis facultate ac linguâ rariorum rarissimorumque ab artis inventae origine ad annum presentem ...

Guillaume-François De Bure, 1731-1782. Paris, 1750. 

Autograph manuscript of Guillaume-François De Bure’s bibliographic rarity, the Musaeum  typographicum (1755). The manuscript was written five years before the printed work, and a comparison between the two reveals many differences, both in the contents and length of entries.   

A second manuscript copy was also made, which De Bure gave to his friend and fellow bibliophile, Louis Jean Gaignat (1697-1768). The Grolier Club copy remained in the author’s possession to serve as an exemplar for the printed edition. 

Purchased in 2011 with the generous support of the Bernard H.Breslauer Foundation.