17thc. books online?
February 19, 2008 4:35 PM   Subscribe

Resources for recreating the look and feel of 17th century books (their title pages specifically?)

Some examples of exactly what I'm talking about (1, 2, 3, 4.)

I'm looking primarily for as many scanned/reproduced pages from books of the 1600's as possible, especially the (beautiful) title pages. Text and it's layout only, not engravings, bindings or anything else. I figure there must be digitized library collections available online with lots of these pages in there? Not easy to find via google though. Websites with lots of examples of this type of page? Font suggestions also welcome, although I am looking for that uneven, blotchy handcut look rather than a polished and typical medieval font. Anything similar to Dunelm is on the money.
posted by fire&wings to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: There are plenty of rough, "antiqued" serif digital typefaces. Here are a few that I recommend over Dunelm:

Fell Types - free, but I can't vouch for its quality
ITC Oldbook
Old Claude
Celestia Antiqua
ITC Founder's Caslon - born 100 years after your requirement, but the best of these fonts at emulating metal type
posted by Typographica at 4:59 PM on February 19, 2008

Best answer: MVB Gryphius
posted by Typographica at 5:11 PM on February 19, 2008

Academic library collections are your best bet. I would try the big names first since they usually have extensive special collections. Go to their library sites and look for special collections resources that have been digitized. This is almost as good as making an appointment to go to the library yourself and have a look.

Here is one example from Princeton's extensive collection.
posted by mrmojoflying at 6:29 PM on February 19, 2008

I don't havr time to look closely, but you might find something in our Unica collection.
posted by MsMolly at 7:14 PM on February 19, 2008

Best answer: This on-line exhibit has a nice selection of old title-pages, including many from the 17th-century. One excellent source of scanned 17th-century texts is the Herzog August Bibliothek at Wolfenb├╝ttel, Germany, although their site can be very confusing to navigate if, like me, you know no German; for an example of what they have to offer, check out the 'signatur' links on this page.

Alternatively, you could try asking peacay if he doesn't notice this question, or check out some of the 'resource sites' listed in the sidebar of his blog.
posted by misteraitch at 1:46 AM on February 20, 2008

And a font suggestion: Regula.
posted by misteraitch at 1:54 AM on February 20, 2008

Best answer: If you can get access through a university or public library, Early English Books Online (aka EEBO) is a fantastic database of good-quality PDF scans of well over a hundred thousand early books, most from the seventeenth century. It's fantastic.
posted by redfoxtail at 5:07 AM on February 20, 2008

Best answer: EEBO is in a league of its own, but if you don't have access to EEBO and just want quick, free access to images of some early modern title-pages, your best bet is probably the online exhibition Shakespeare and the Book, designed to accompany David Scott Kastan's book of the same title.

Alternatively, you could try browsing the catalogue of the Macclesfield Library sale, coming up at Sotheby's in London next month. The sale is devoted to English books and manuscripts, and most of the lots have an image of the title-page attached to the catalogue description.
posted by verstegan at 2:16 PM on February 20, 2008

Response by poster: Loads to work with here, thanks (especially to verstegan and Typographica.) EEBO looks fantastic but no way to access it. Thanks again!
posted by fire&wings at 3:31 PM on February 20, 2008

« Older Picky jerks need a new game   |   What is the best way to respond to boss' negative... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.