Answered By: Main Library
Last Updated: Jun 26, 2018     Views: 19

The oldest printed book in the MSU Libraries is held in Special Collections. Its title is Scriptores Rei Rusticae, which was printed in Venice in 1472, only a short time after the invention of the moveable type printing press by Gutenberg in Germany around 1455. Scriptores Rei Rusticae features classical agricultural treatises by Cato, Varro, Columella, Palladius, and others. Distinguished by its simple and elegant typescript, it was printed by Nicolas Jenson, one of the most important figures in early printing. Scriptores Rei Rusticae is an "incunable," (Latin for 'things in the cradle') to mean books produced in the infancy of printing -- generally speaking, all books published before 1501. Special Collections has a total of 12 incunabula and each one is available to be seen in the reading room.