July 31, 2021

University of Calgary Acquires One of the Oldest English Books in Existence

From the CBC:

The University of Calgary has acquired a 521-year-old treasure from medieval England — one of the earliest books ever published in English.

Called the Polychronicon, the book chronicles the history of the universe, as was understood in the 14th century, and is available for viewing by the public.

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There are only about 50 copies left in the world, and few are in such pristine condition (though the cover, boards and bindings had to be replaced).

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From the University of Calgary:

“We are fortunate to not only acquire a significant early printed work of medieval history, but also to acquire one that is written in English, the first English incunable we’ve acquired,” explains Annie Murray, associate university librarian for Archives and Special Collections. “This English translation of the Polychronicon is both an accessible text and a fascinating historical object.”

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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