Yesterday, a wonderful conversation with Dr. Overgaauw, Head of Manuscripts at Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin with Gutenberg Bible Hubay #3.
We talked about all sorts of things. He apologized that he could not show me their deluxe parchment version (the temperature in the library was too high to bring out their Gutenberg) as it would distort in the changing climate (I must say that I so value the quantity of windmills and solar panels combined with the lack of air conditioning here in a Germany. Good decisions all round.). They don’t know how they came to own this copy but it has beautiful rubrication that may be damaged by the shift in temperature and humidity.
Playfully, I asked, How many after the first 49 of my Addenda should I save for currently unknown Gutenberg Bibles (so that they may be addended when they become public)? He asked how long I anticipated living and I said a long time. His answer, under those conditions, was 2. Edition 50&51 shall remain in reserve.
At my question on the history of the footnote, he suggested I read “The footnote: a curious history” by Anthony Grafton. Harvard University press 1997 (He is also an expert and disagrees with some points but overall a good read). Notably, the tradition of cross-referencing within the text and footnoting at the bottom and end of the text came long before the printing press. And then also he suggested The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt who will be coming to Berlin this fall to give a talk. My kind of materialism. Heads up Dr. Greenblatt, when I deliver Harvard’s copy of the Addendum, I will also knock on your door and inquire about your latest research on Genesis.
I forget so much of what we talked about. However, he was the first to acknowledge the nod in the Textura. Plus, when I asked where to catch the B41 bus, he corrected me — the Gutenberg Bible is referred to as the B42 (with an audible wink, he also added that perhaps the bus I needed was the M41). Language makes me so happy and I realize knowing German would make my blogging so much more interesting because I’m certain I am meeting some great librarians/researchers/experts. My apologies and gratitude.
And of course, I am also pleased that he accepted Addendum, Edition 11 into the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin holdings. Decision on how it will be catalogued is forthcoming.