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APU’s Special Collections Celebrates Four Anniversaries

by University Relations

In a year that marks the 125th anniversary of the city of Azusa, four other anniversaries commemorate four rare books and pages housed in APU’s Special Collections, located in the Hugh and Hazel Darling Library on West Campus.

The Fust and Schoeffer 48-line Bible

The 550th anniversary of the Fust and Schoeffer 48-line Bible printed in Mainz, Germany, celebrates the largest Bible printed at the time, and the first Bible to list the names of the printers, give the date of its printing (1462), and bear a printer’s mark. It was the first Bible intentionally designed for extended private reading, with an easier-to-read Roman typeface created by master printer Peter Schoeffer. Johann Fust and Schoeffer also played integral roles in the printing of the 42-line Gutenberg Bible. APU counts two leaves from this Bible among its treasures, one from Deuteronomy and one from 2 Kings.

The Complutensian Polyglot Bible

The 495th anniversary of the Complutensian Polyglot Bible, the first of its kind, which contains several versions of the same text in different languages, celebrates a masterpiece of printing. Work on this six-volume Bible, printed in Spain under the direction of Cardinal Jimenez, began in 1502 and took 15 years to finish, but did not receive publication permission until 1520. This polyglot Bible launched an exciting decade of Bible translation from 1516–26 that features the scholarship of Erasmus, Luther, and Tyndale. APU holds two leaves from this remarkable Bible, one from Exodus and one from Hosea.

William Tyndale’s New Testament

APU owns a 1552 printing of William Tyndale’s New Testament, a gift from antiquarian bookseller, and APU friend and honorary degree recipient, Glen Dawson, LHD. This year marks the 460th anniversary of this particular New Testament, printed by Richard Jugge with 120 rich woodblock illustrations added to the text. It stands as one of four Bibles and four New Testaments published in England in English during the last years of Edward VI’s brief reign. Jugge, who would become the royal printer under Elizabeth I, portrayed the devil with a peg leg, a tail, and a jester’s hat in one of his woodcuts appearing in the book of Matthew.

Relacion Historica

This year also honors the 225th anniversary of Relacion Historica, Francisco Palou’s life of Junipero Serra, the founder of the first nine Franciscan missions in Alta California. APU possesses an important copy of this choice Mexican colonial imprint of 1787, the foundational book for the study of California history and the first biography of an Alta California personality donated by Monsignor Francis J. Weber, LHD, who holds an honorary degree from APU. Palou joined Serra at Mission San Carlos Borromeo in 1774 and stayed with him until his death in 1784. Palou then spent the next three years writing this biography of his beloved leader. The map in Relacion Historica is the first to show a line between Baja and Alta California.

Originally published in the Fall '12 issue of APU Life.