Special Collections

Reformation Books from the Albert A. Howard Book History Collection

Martin Luther Charles V Rhegius
Council of Trent Prayers and Sermons Other Books from the Reformation

detail of woodcut on title page of Ain gesprach von der ScheynwerckenIntroduction and captions by the donor, Albert Howard

It was over fifty years ago that I became interested in the 16th century and books published during that time. It was an appalling century, but in numerous ways, it was a century of great achievement, and in particular, in the books produced during it--the unending stream of editions and translations of the classics, but there was also a major development in the novel, the short story, and the drama. The first series of books written for children appeared in Paris in the 1530s.

The Reformation presents one of the earliest uses of printed materials to mold public opinion across Europe. Publications coming out of the Reformation give a unique insight into the concerns of all classes of people and on the level of literacy of the population of Europe at large. Books were produced aimed at the most exalted and the most humble. Many issues raised and argued were not religious but reflect European politics, especially the clash within the German empire between emperor and nobles.

I enjoy very much the various twists and turns of the Reformation. It can go from the appallingly nasty to the hilarious. But basically, I have the deepest respect for the men and women on both sides who tried to live godly lives during an upheaval.

Martin Luther

 

  Auszlegung des hudert und neundten psalmen. Dixit dns domino meo

Luther, Martin.

Auszlegung des hudert und neundten psalmen. Dixit dns domino meo

Wittenberg : Johann Grunenberg, 1520.

 

 

click to view full title page

A reprint of an early work by Luther which comments on the 110th Psalm (Vulgate 109).  The woodcut title border is from the workshop of Lucas Cranach.  Luther was a prolific author and Biblical translator.  German title borders of this period do not always reflect the subject of the book.

Contra Henricum Regem Angliae

Luther, Martin.

Contra Henricum Regem Angliae

Basel? : Adam Petri?, 1522.

 

 

click to view larger image

Luther’s savage and insulting pamphlet in answer to Henry VIII’s unqualified support of the Papacy in his Book Assertio Septem Sacramentorum adversus Martinum Lutheram in 1521.

Literarum, quibus respondit, ad quondam epistolam Martini Lutheri

Henry VIII.

Literarum, quibus respondit, ad quondam epistolam Martini Lutheri

London : Pynson, 1527.

 

 

click to view full title page

Letters exchanged in 1525 between Henry VIII and Martin Luther. The publisher’s preface refers to Plato’s call for philosopher kings and a poem at the end honors Aeneas, the supposed founder of Britain.

back to top

Charles V

 

 Commentariorum de bello Germanico

 

Avila y Zuniga,

Luis de.

Commentariorum de bello Germanico…

Antwerp : J. Steelsius, 1550.

 

 

click to view full page

An important description by one of Charles V's generals of his war against the Protestant league in 1546-1547, when the League was defeated at the battle of Muhlberg. Fine map, views of the batlles of Ingolstadt and Muhlberg; view of city of Wittenberg.

        
 Abdrucke der Verwarungs Schrifft der Chur und Fursten, Auch Grauen, Herren, Stedte und Stende

Abdrucke der Verwarungs Schrifft der Chur und Fursten, Auch Grauen, Herren, Stedte und Stende…

s.l. : s.n., 1546. 

 

 

click to view larger image

The Protestant nobles state their grievances against Charles V, pointing out that in arming against them he is in violation of the oath he gave when elected Holy Roman Emperor.

 Bestendige und warhafftige voranwortung auch im Rechten gegrundete widderlegung

Bestendige und warhafftige voranwortung auch im Rechten gegrundete widderlegung

s.l. : s.n., 1546.

 

 

click to view larger image

Johann Friedrich of Saxony and Philipp Landgraf of Hesse accuse Charles V of conspiring with the Pope to suppress the evangelical religion.

 Warhaffte und gegrundte melding

Schradin, Johannes.

Warhaffte und gegrundte melding

Tubingen : Ulrich Morhart, 1546.

 

 

click to view full title page

Political satire against Charles V in the form of a dream by a Protestant preacher. In the dream, the Emperor has become a vassal of Rome and that Germans are released from their obedience to him. A fine woodcut on the title page shows the poet with heroes of the past such as Arminius and Frederick Barbarossa who were defenders of Germany against Rome.

back to top

Rhegius

 

 Argument disses biechleins. Symon Hessus zeygt an Doctori Martino Luther ursach

Rhegius, Urbanus.

Argument disses biechleins. Symon Hessus zeygt an Doctori Martino Luther ursach…

Augsburg : Grimm & Wirsung, 1521.

 

 

click to view larger image

Writing under the pseudonym of Simon Hessus, the early reformer Rhegius writes a caustic satire against the “old” religion.

 Ernstliche erbeitung der Evangelishen Prediger ad den gaystlichen Stand

Rhegius, Urbanus.

Ernstliche erbeitung der Evangelishen Prediger ad den gaystlichen Stand

Augsburg : Philipp Ulhart the elder, 1524.

 

 

click to view full title page

In six “points” the reformer Rhegius seeks to demonstrate the “signs” by which the true new evangelical teachings may be discerned. The fine woodcut title border is after Lucas Cranach.

back to top

Council of Trent

 Bulla reductionis generalis concill ad civitatem Tridentinam

Julius III, Pope.

Bulla reductionis generalis concill ad civitatem Tridentinam

Rome : Antonio Blado, 1551.

 

 

click to view larger image

Pope Julius III announces the second Council of Trent in 1551.

Recusationschrifft in welcher alle protestierende Religions und Eynungs verwandte Stende, Rechtmessige 

Recusationschrifft in welcher alle protestierende Religions und Eynungs verwandte Stende, Rechtmessige … 

Nuremberg : Joh. Von Berg & U. Neuber, 1546.  

 

 

click to view larger image

The leaders of the Protestant League announce their intention not to participate in the first Council of Trent. One of their arguments is that the Pope is only the Bishop of Rome and holds no jurisdiction over other Bishops.

back to top

Prayers and Sermons

Das Hailig ewyg wort gots

click to view larger image of title page

 

Marschalck, Haug.

Das Hailig ewyg wort gots…

Augsburg : Melchior Ramminger, 1523.

Das Hailig ewyg wort gots

click to view full woodcut

A sermon on the Christian life by one of the greatest of the lay reformers who was also one of Luther’s earliest supporters. A former soldier with little education, he developed a mastery of Biblical texts. There is title border (top) and a woodcut at the end (bottom) showing Christ as “Good Shepherd.” An utterly appealing work for simple laypeople.

 Ain gesprech von der Scheynwercken der Gaystlichen und iren gelubbdten

Sachs, Hans.

Ain gesprech von der Scheynwercken der Gaystlichen und iren gelubbdten…

Augsburg : Philipp Uhlart, 1524.

 

 

click to view full title page

In 1520, Sachs became a follower of Luther and devoted himself to the Reformed faith. In a dialogue with the baker Peter, Hans Sachs discusses votive offerings and the Mass. There is a woodcut of Peter and Sachs on the title page.

 Eyn verstendig trostlich Leer uber das Wort Sanct Paulus

Strauss, Jakob.

Eyn verstendig trostlich Leer uber das Wort Sanct Paulus…

Wittenberg : Schirlentz, 1522.

 

 

click to view full title page

An evangelical sermon on St. Paul’s text that a person should first examine themselves before partaking of Holy Communion, which is contrary to the Catholic practice of auricular confession.

 Predig … von empfahung des heligen Sacraments

Bodenstein von Karlstadt, Andreas.

Predig … von empfahung des heligen Sacraments…

Augsburg? : Silvan Otmar?, 1522.

 

 

click to view full title page

An important reformer, Bodenstein introduced a shortened Mass in German, with a lay chalice. He later broke with Luther.

 Prieres ordinaries des soldatz

Prieres ordinaries des soldatz…

Orleans : E. Gibier, 1562.

 

 

click to view larger image

Bilingual prayers in French and German commissioned by the Prince of Conde for use by the Calvinist and Lutheran troops during the French civil wars.

back to top

Other Books from the Reformation

  Des durchleuchtigen

Heinrich, Duke of Saxony. 

Des durchleuchtigen… 

Dresden : s.n., 1539. 

 

 

click to view larger image

Heinrich, a staunch Lutheran, announces the death of his brother the Duke George of Albertine Saxony, an equally committed Catholic, and decrees that Saxony is now to follow the reformed religion.

 Historia und beschrybung des Madenburgischen kriegs

Besselmeier, Sebastian.

Historia und beschrybung des Madenburgischen kriegs…

Magdeburg : Hans Lor, 1551.

 

 

click to view larger image

A news pamphlet detailing the various events during the siege of the Protestant city of Magdeburg by imperial forces in 1551. The city surrendered but retained its religious freedom. This is the only copy in a North American library.

  Appellation unnd Beruffung der Probst unnd des Augustiner Priors zu Nuremberg

Appellation unnd Beruffung der Probst unnd des Augustiner Priors zu Nuremberg.

Nuremberg : Friedrich Pepys, 1524.

 

 

click to view larger image

An appeal to the Bishop of Bamber justifying the ecclesiastical changes in Nuremberg. Nuremberg was one of the first cities to implement the Reformation by civil decree.

  Das ist ein Vertedigs Rede

Witzel, Georg.

Apologia: Das ist ein Vertedigs Rede…

Leipzig : Nicolaus Schmidt, 1533.

 

 

initial letter from text, click to view title page

Witzel, a Catholic priest who converted to Lutheranism, explains, in response to the attacks of Lutherans against him, his break with Luther and return to the Church of Rome.

  back to top

Digital Commons@USM

Umpire 1967 Yearbook Cover University of Maine in Portland

Special Collections is now part of Digital Commons@ USM! Explore the complete yearbook collection from the University Archives of USM and all its predecessor institutions going back to 1919 and see more from our collections.

Learn More

Connect With Us