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Humanism For Sale
Making and Marketing Schoolbooks in Italy, 1450-1650

Paul F. Gehl


Curriculum Vitae

1987- Custodian of the John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing, The Newberry Library, Chicago
1984-87 Associate Director of Research and Education, The Newberry Library
1981-84 Assistant Director of Research and Education, The Newberry Library
1979-81 Visiting Lecturer in Christianity, Dept. of the History and Literature of Religions, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
1978-81 Assistant Director, Religion and Ethics Institute, Inc., Evanston, Illinois

1976 Ph.D. (History), University of Chicago
1972 M.A. (History), University of Chicago
1971 A.B. Classics (History major), John Carroll University


Harvard Center for Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti (1993-94)
Newberry Library/British Academy Exchange (1989)
American Council of Learned Societies (1987-88)
American Academy in Rome (1977-78)


A Moral Art: Grammar, Culture and Society in Trecento Florence (Cornell University Press, 1993).


“Off the Press and Into the Classroom: Using the Textbooks of Antonio Mancinelli,” forthcoming in History of Education and Children's Literature 3 (2008).

“The Maiuscole Moderne of Giovambaptista Verini Fiorentino: From Music Texts to Calligraphic Musicality,” In Writing Relations, American Scholars in Italian Archives, Essays in Honor of Franca Nardelli and Armando Petrucci. Edited by Michael Wyatt and Deanna Shemek. Florence: Olschki, 2008.

Grammatica Despauteriana: L’dattamento di libri di testo provenienti dal Nord Europa per il mercato editoriale italiano, 1540-1600,” Bibliología 3(2008), 51-69.

“Moral Analogies in Print: Emblematic Thinking in the Making of Early Modern Books,” Philosophica 70 (2002, but 2004), 91-107. [Special issue, Diagrams and the Anthropology of Space, edited by Kenneth J. Knoespel.]

“Religion and Politics in the Market for Books: The Jesuits and Their Rivals,” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 97 (2003), 435-460.

Co-authored with Kevin M. Stevens, “The Eye of Commerce: Visual Literacy Among the Makers of Books in Italy.” In The Art Market in Italy. Edited by Sara Matthews Grieco. Ferrara: Istituto di Studi Rinascimentali, 2003. Pp. 273-281.

“Latin Orthopraxes.” In Latin Grammar and Rhetoric in the Middle Ages. Edited by Carol Dana Lanham. London: Continuum, 2002. Pp.1-21.

“Military Courtesy in Sixteenth-Century Lithuania: Il Cavaliere of Domenico Mora,” Archivum Lithuanicum 3 (2001), 55-76.

“‘Mancha uno alfabeto intero’: Recording Defective Book Shipments in Counter-Reformation Florence,” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 93(1999), 316-358.

“Day-by-day on Credit: Binders and Book Sellers in Cinquecento Florence,” La Bibliofilía 100 (1998), 391-409.

“Describing (and Selling) Bindings in Sixteenth-Century Florence,” Italian Studies 53 (1998), 38-51.

“Credit-Sales Strategies in the Late Cinquecento Book Trade.” In Libri tipografi biblioteche. Ricerche storiche dedicate a Luigi Balsamo. Edited by Arnaldo Ganda and E. Grignani. Florence: Olschki, 1997. Pp. 193-206.

“Libri per donne: le monache clienti del libraio Piero Morosi, 1588-1607.” In Donna e disciplina. Edited by Gabriella Zarri. Rome: Edizioni di storia e letteratura, 1996. Pp. 67-82.

“The 1615 Statutes of the Sienese Guild of Stationers and Booksellers. Provincial Publishing in Early Modern Tuscany,” I Tatti Studies 6 (1995), 215-253.

“Preachers, Teachers and Translators: The Social Meaning of Latin in Trecento Tuscany,” in Viator 25 (1994), 289-323.

Co-authored with Kevin M. Stevens, “Giovanni Battista Bosso and the Paper Trade in Sixteenth-Century Milan,” La Bibliofilía 96 (1994), 43-90.

“Watermark Evidence for the Competitive Practices of Antonio Miscomini,” The Library, ser. 6, vol. 15 (1993), 281-305.

“An Augustinian Catechism from Fourteenth-Century Florence, the Epigrammata of Prosper of Aquitaine,” Augustinian Studies 19 (1990), 93-110.

“Latin Readers in Fourteenth-Century Florence: Schoolkids and their Books,” Scrittura e civiltà 13 (1989), 387-440.

Competens silentium: Varieties of Monastic Silence in the Middle Ages,” Viator 18 (1987), 125-160.

“An Answering Silence: Medieval and Modern Claims for the Unity of Truth Beyond Language,” Philosophy Today (Fall 1986), 224-233.

“Philip of Harveng on Silence,” Proceedings of the Illinois Medieval Association 2 (1985), 168-181. Partial text on-line at: www.luc.edu/publications/medieval/vol2/gehl.html.

“Mystical Language Models in Monastic Educational Psychology,” Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies 14 (1984), 219-243.

“From Monastic Rhetoric to Ars Dictaminis: Traditionalism and Innovation in the Schools of Twelfth-Century Italy,” American Benedictine Review 34 (1983), 33-47.

“Some Problems in Cataloging Medieval Grammaticalia,” Res Publica Litterarum 5, 2(1982), 85-91.

“Apropos of Catalogue Notices and the History of Grammatical Pedagogy,” Revue d'Histoire des Textes 8 (1978), 303-307.


Various entries for the Oxford Companion to the Book. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming in 2008.

“Chicago Graphic Designers” (Talk to the Caxton Club and Society of Typographic Arts, October 17, 2007). Text and slides in preparation for online publication at: www.sta.org

“Celebrating Robert Williams,” Chicago Calligraphy Collective Newslettter, March 2007, 2-3.

“Norma Rubovits and Her Collection at the Newberry Library in Chicago,” Society of Marbling 2006 Annual, 21-24.

“The Newberry Alphabet: A Note on Provenance” [of Newberry Library, Wing Ms ZW 141.481] Typography Papers 6 (2005), 17-18.

“Book Arts” and “Printing” entries for The Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004. Pp. 87-88 and 646-648. Full text with additional illustrations online at: encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org.

“Education” and “Universities” entries for Medieval Italy: An Encyclopedia. Edited by Christopher Kleinhenz. New York: Routledge, 2004. Pp. 313-315 and 1107-1109.

“The Making of a Chicago Eccentric,” forward to John Mansir Wing, The Chicago Diaries of John M. Wing, 1865-1866, ed. by Robert Williams. Carbondale and Chicago: Southern Illinois University Press and the Caxton Club of Chicago, 2002. Pp. ix-xiii.

Guest editor, history of design issue of InForm (quarterly journal of the American Institute of Graphic Arts / Chicago chapter), September 2001.

“Florence in Chicago, in Chicago Calligraphy Collective Letter, Winter 2001, 4-10.

“Recent Trends in the History of the Italian Book,” talk presented to the Western European Studies Section of the Associataion of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, July 10, 2000; full text available on line at newberry.org/collections/WESS.html.

“The Professional Bookman: Middleton at Ludlow,” Caxtonian 6 (1998), 1.

“From Clay Tablets to CDs: A Short History of the Written Word,” The Chicago Calligraphy Collective Letter, Summer 1998, 6-13.

“What's This Purchase Prize For, Anyway?” The Chicago Calligraphy Collective Letter, Winter 1998, 2.

“Bertram Lord Ashburnham” entry in the Dictionary of Literary Biography vol. 184: Nineteenth-Century British Book Collectors and Biographers. Atlanta: Bruccoli Clark Leman, 1997. Pp. 10-20.

“Chicago Collecting?” in Personal Treasures. Chicago: Caxton Club, 1995. Pp. 3-8.

“Some Thoughts on Politics and Moral Education” in REI Newsletter July 1994.

“Books on View,” in Bookways 8 (1993), l2-13.

Co Author (with Elizabeth Zurawski), “Incunables Bound By Elizabeth Kner: the 1950-51 Project for the Newberry,” Guild of Bookworkers Journal 31 (1993), 1-35. Reprinted in Hungarian translation with new illustrations as “Inkunábulumok Kner Erzébet köteseben,” Magyar Grafika 38 (1994), 19-25 and 37-47.

Translations of Simone Prudenzani and other fourteenth-century poets for Newberry Consort recording, Il Solazzo, Music for a Medieval Banquet. Harmonia Mundi CD, 1992.

A Bookplate By Eric Gill. Chicago: The Newberry Library, 1990. 8 pp.

Co-author (with Richard H. Brown), “The Newberry Library Today, a Community of Learners.” In Humanities' Mirror, Reading at the Newberry, 1887-1987. Chicago: The Newberry Library, 1987. Pp. 37-42.

“Texts and Textures: Dirty Pictures and Other Things in Medieval Manuscripts,” Corona 3 (1982), 68-77.

The Roman Imperial Cult. Illustrated Slide Lecture A4. Evanston: Religion and Ethics Institute, 1979. 8pp., 24 slides.

Cybele and Attis. Mystery Religions Lecture 8. Evanston: Religion and Ethics Institute, 1979. 8pp., 24 slides.


Co-curator (with Jenny Schwartzberg), Artifacts of Childhood: 700 Years of Children's Books at The Newberry Library, Chiago, September 27, 2008-January 14, 2009.

[Catalogue essay] “Nothing ... about Books: Reading Textures in the Books of Anton Würth.” In Anton Würth, in Form von Buch. Offenbach: Klingspor Museum, 2008. Pp. 20-25.

Curatorial contributor, Recent Acquisitions at the Newberry Library, March - May 2008.

Local curator, Disbound and Disbursed: The Leaf Book Considered. Caxton Club of Chicago exhibit, hosted by the Newberry Library April 15- July 15, 2005.

[Foreword,] The Press at Colorado College: Pressroom as Classroom. Colorado Springs: Colorado College, 2004. Pp. 9-10.

[Introduction,] Inland Printers: The Fine Press Movement in Chicago, 1920-1945, Chicago: The Caxton Club, 2003. Pp. 5-13.

Mini-exhibits in the Newberry Library spotlight series on Napoleon I & Josephine (2003), Papal Rome (2003), Second Empire Paris (2004), the Klaus Stopp collection (2004), Marie Antoinette (2005), Copytright issues (2006), Multi-Lingual Typography (2007), Printed Ephemera (2008).

[Catalogue essay] “Something Added, Thoughts on Process,” in Jerome Book Arts Fellowship Exhibition VII. Minneapolis: Minnesota Center for Book Arts, 2001. Pp. 4-5.

Curator, Florentine Humanism and the Church Fathers, April - July 2000.

Curatorial contributor, The Joy of Collecting, Recent Acquisitions at the Newberry Library, May July 1999.

Curatorial contributor, Living Treasures of the Newberry Library, April - September 1998.

Curatorial contributor, The Hebrew Renaissance, May - July, 1997.

Curatorial contributor and sometime juror, Explorations, the annual juried exhibit of the Chicago Calligraphy Collective, 1995 - 2005.

Co-curator, Personal Treasures: Favorite Books of Caxton Club Members, January - March 1995.

Curator, A Century of Book Collecting and Book Loving in Chicago, Caxton Club centennial exhibit, January - March 1995.

Curator, Ernst F. Detterer: Chicago Teacher, Designer and Collector, 1889-1947, August - October 1990.

[Foreword] Chicago edition of Fifteenth Century Italian Woodcuts from the Biblioteca Classense in Ravenna (Ravenna: Longo, 1989).

Co-curator, An Uncommon Collector: Frederic Ives Carpenter (1861-1925), An Exhibit of Renaissance Imprints at the Newberry Library, December 1985 - February 1986.

Curatorial Assistant, Faith, Law and Dissent, The Inquisition in the Early Modern World, October - December 1985.


For design and book-arts competitions of the Association of American University Presses, Chicago Book Clinic, Chicago Calligraphy Collective, Chicago Hand Bookbinders, Chicago Public Library, Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts, Guild of Bookworkers, Minnesota Center for the Book Arts.


Have appeared in Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography, La Bibliofilía, Bulletin du Bibliophile, History of Education Quarterly, Italica, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Modern Language Review, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, Printing History, Publishing Research Quarterly, Religious Studies Review, Renaissance Quarterly, Sixteenth-Century Studies, Speculum, etc.


Languages: native speaker of English; fluency in written and spoken Italian; reading knowledge of French, German, Spanish, Latin.
Memberships: American Historical Association; Medieval Academy of America; American Printing History Association; Caxton Club (archivist); Society of Italian Historians; Early Book Society.
Service: Current or past service on the boards or committees of the Bibliotheca Wittockiana, Caxton Club, Seminary Co-op Bookstores, Press at Colorado College, Religion and Ethics Institute. Currently on the advisory boards of La Bibliofilía, Litterae Caelestes, and rarebooksinfo.com.
Contact: gehlp@newberry.org, 312-255-3645