An Uncommon Proof


Tail-piece from leaf A4v of printer’s proof of Quadt’s Gründlicher aussführliche vnd warhaffte Verantwortung vnd Bericht

Catalogers are no less tempted than anyone else to put off ’til tomorrow what they’d rather not do today. (Sorry, Ben!) But fortunately we have curators to poke through the resulting backlog of curious items, which is how a seventeenth-century German folded quarto sheet purchased for the Penn Libraries in 1959 landed on my desk in 2018.  (Thanks, Mitch!)  A search on the title—Des Edlen, Ehrnuesten vnd Mannhafften Heinrich Quaden von vnnd zu Eisengartten, Obersten, Gründlicher aussführliche vnd warhaffte Verantwortung vnd Bericht, auff etzliche vnterschiedliche Articul—in the VD17 database of seventeenth-century German imprints quickly brought up an entry and a link to a digitized version of the copy held at the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, Germany.  And that’s when I realized I was looking at something more interesting than the disjecta membra of a late Renaissance pamphlet:  a copy-edited proof of four pages of a late Renaissance pamphlet, printed on a scrap sheet from an entirely different work.

The pamphlet’s author, Heinrich Quadt von und zu Eisengarten, was the commander of the Hanseatic troops sent in 1606 to raise the siege of the city of Braunschweig, then in revolt against Heinrich Julius, Herzog zu Braunschweig und Lüneburg, its ostensible overlord.  Successful in the field, the Braunschweigers lost in the imperial court, where Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II commanded them to lay down their arms under pain of proscription.  The Braunschweiger Rat (ruling council) which had previously ordered Quadt to make war on the retreating Heinrich Julius’s army (even laying a bounty of 10,000 Talers on the Herzog’s head), reversed course and submitted to the emperor. The Rat also published a pamphlet, Warhaffter Abdruck Fernerer Defensionum vnd Respective Eventual Handtlung und Augenscheinlicher darthuung der Reichs- Vnd Landkündigen Sub- & obreption, darmit der Röm. Käy. May. Ihrem allergnedigsten Herrn, Bürgermeistere, Rath … und gantze Gemein der Stadt Braunschweig ungütlich eingebildet (Braunschweig: Andreas Duncker, 1606; VD17 12:626536V, 14:001587U, 3:300070K, 23:310674A), defending itself at the expense of Quadt and his officers.  Quadt fired back with his Gründliche aussführliche und warhaffte Verantwortung und Bericht in which he accused the Rat of “load[ing his and his officers’] necks with fabricated and false calumnies to besmirch my and their honest name, honor and good reputation” (zu Beschmitzung meines vnd jhres ehrlichen Namens, Ehr vnd guten Leumuts allerhand erdichte vnd falsche Calumnien auff den Halss zu laden) (p. [3-4]).


Colophon from Praetorius’s Musae Sioniae, 4. Teil (Helmstedt: Jacob Lucius, 1607)

Quadt’s screed was printed by Jacob Lucius (ca. 1570-1616), who learned his trade in the Helmstedt shop of his fatheralso Jacob Lucius (ca. 1530-1597)before striking out on his own.  The younger Lucius first plied his trade in Braunschweig in the late 1580s and then in Hamburg in the mid-1590s, where he produced the lavishly illustrated Hamburg Polyglot, a trilingual scholarly Bible (1596). After his father’s death from plague, Lucius returned to Helmstedt to take over the family business in 1598; in 1600 he also succeeded his father as printer to the Academia Julia (later the Universität Helmstedt).  Along with the academic texts that make up the bulk of his surviving work, Lucius also printed books of sacred and secular music by local composers such as Thomas Mancinus and Michael Praetorius.

Our newly unearthed sheet shows Lucius’s shop at work. The four outer pages of the first gathering of Quadt’s pamphlet (signed “A”) are imposed in the order in which they will appear when the sheet is folded twice (once horizontally and once vertically) to make four quarto leaves (eight pages).  This outer forme is clearly a test run, printed on the blank side of a scrap sheet from an earlier, completely different workprobably an edition of part four of Michael Praetorius’s Musae Sioniae (Helmstedt: Jacob Lucius, 1607?)*—with manuscript corrections to the text of all four pages.


Corrected proof of outer forme of gathering A of Heinrich Quadt’s Gründlicher aussführliche und warhaffte Verantwortung und Bericht (Helmstedt: Jacob Lucius, 1608)


Outer forme of gathering D of an unidentified edition of Michael Praetorius’s Musae Sioniae, 4. Teil (Cantus I Chori) (Helmstedt: Jacob Lucius, 1607?)

If we compare the title page of the proof to that of the published copy held at the Herzog August Bibliothek, we can see the manuscript corrections being taken up into the final printed edition.  For example, the incorrectly declined adjective “Gründlicher” (with the final “r” marked for removal) at the end of line 4 of the proof title becomes “Gründliche” at the beginning of line 6 of the published version.  In line 3 of the proof’s imprint, the letter “n” is marked for insertion at the end of the word “Buchtrucker“; the published edition contains this correction as well.  And anyone who has ever copy-edited a text will recognize the seventeenth-century ancestor of the deletion mark peppered in the margins, as well as the square that indicates text to be indented one eman instruction not followed in the resetting of the quotation from Proverbs on the title page, however.  The compositor seems to have had a better (and rather different) idea, as he did with the layout of the title proper.


At left: Title page from corrected proof. At right: Title page from published copy.

This never dilatory cataloger/blogger has hastened to create a proper record and some publicity for Lucius’s proof.  Its (re)discovery is indeed fortunate, providing valuable witness to a phase of the early modern printing process whose paper trail is seldom preserved.


*It is also probably a proof, though without manuscript corrections. The forme is by no means identical to the corresponding pages in the edition held at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België (RISM (Répertoire international des sources musicales) A/I P 5351).


Gemeiner Rat der Stadt Braunschweig. Warhaffter Abdruck fernerer Defensionum und respective eventual Handtlung und augenscheinlicher Darthuung der Reichs- und Landkündigen Sub- & obreption. Braunschweig: Andreas Duncker, 1606.

Quadt von Eisengarten, Heinrich. Gründliche aussführliche und warhaffte Verantwortung und Bericht. Helmstedt: Jacob Lucius, 1608.

Spiess, Werner. Geschichte der Stadt Braunschweig im Nachmittelalter. Braunschweig: Waisenhaus-Buchdruckerei und Verlag, 1966.

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