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The Norton collection, acquired by the Library in 1984, was the private collection of the late F.J. Norton (d. 1986), a long-serving member of the Library staff and a distinguished Hispanist and bibliographer. He had a special interest in "post-incunabula", in books printed between 1501 and 1520: he published major works on Spanish and Italian printing of that period, and the Norton collection consists of 666 items printed between those dates, in the following countries:

  • Austria 6
  • Belgium 10
  • Czech Republic 4
  • England 1
  • France 113
  • Germany 145
  • Holland 6
  • Italy 282
  • Poland 5
  • Portugal 1
  • Spain 66
  • Switzerland 26
  • Turkey 1

Norton was particularly interested in acquiring books printed in unusual places and by little-known printers. His books are on a wide range of subjects, including (for example) elaborately illustrated Books of Hours; Aldine editions of classical texts; works, printed in their authors' lifetimes, by Erasmus and Martin Luther; and ephemera such as prognostications and indulgences. A check of a large sample indicates that about 75% of the collection are books of which H.M. Adams (see below) did not find a copy in any Cambridge library.

Norton's detailed handwritten catalogue of his collection lists the books by place of printing and by printer. It is held in the Rare Books office and may be requested for consultation in the Rare Books Reading Room. Please enquire with the Reading Room superintendents.

References and further reading:

  • The above is mainly condensed from: D.J. Hall, 'F.J. Norton and his collections', and J.J. Hall, 'The F.J. Norton collection of post-incunabula', Bulletin of the Friends of Cambridge University Library, 7 (1986), 9-12. Cam.c.11.91.7
  • F.J. Norton, Italian printers, 1501-1520: an annotated list, Cambridge Bibliographical Society Monographs, 3 (London: Bowes and Bowes, 1958). B990.23.3
  • F.J. Norton, Printing in Spain, 1501-1520, Sandars lectures in bibliography, 1963 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966). B410.1
  • F.J. Norton, A descriptive catalogue of printing in Spain and Portugal, 1501-1520 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978). B133:1.6
  • H.M. Adams, Catalogue of books printed on the continent of Europe, 1501-1600, in Cambridge libraries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967). B120:1.1

See also:

  • J.A. Freeman, 'F.J. Norton's manuscripts', The Library, 7th ser., 23 (2023), 254-260. Online