Early Printed Books

Bokhylla med äldre böcker och ett porträtt av en man i skägg.

In this context, Early Printed Books refers to publications printed from the birth of book printing in the middle of the 15th century up until 1850. The year 1850 can be seen as a watershed between earlier and later printed books. Until around 1850, most printing was done in hand presses on paper made from rags. Beginning around 1830, the printing process started to change, with printing being carried out in machine presses. At the same time, paper began to be mass-produced from wood pulp of much lesser quality.


Our collections of early printed books have, ever since the foundation of the Library in the 1620s, grown through donations, purchases and Swedish legal deposits. Regrettably, some books have gone missing through the ages.

Find our Early Printed Books

Early Printed Books not yet entered in Alvin or Libris can be found in our scanned library catalogues. Items are requested directly from the catalogue:

  • Catalogue -1962 – books, journals and publications acquired for Uppsala University Library from the 17th century up to and including 1962. The older printed material you cannot find in Catalogue -1962 can sometimes be found in the Aurivillius catalogue:
  • Aurivillius and Inventariet (the Inventory) – books and journals acquired for Uppsala University Library up to and including 1796. Aurivillius contains references to the Inventory, which is organised by inventory number. The Inventory may contain more information about the book and sometimes the call number you need to request them. However, much of the material is listed in Catalogue -1962, so start your search there.
  • Bibliotheca Walleriana – medical and scientific literature from about 1490­–1940 from the Waller collections.
  • Occasional Poetry – printed verses, written to individuals, on occasions such as weddings, funerals, academic appointments, etc.
  • Sermons – printed sermons.
  • Catalogue of Swedish biography – printed personalities or memorials of Swedish private individuals and royalty, e.g. funeral sermons, tribute verses and minor biographies.

Access Early Printed Books

View digitised collections

Some of the collections have been digitised and are available in Alvin – Platform for digital collections and digitized cultural heritage.

View collections that are not yet digitised

If you want to study material that is not yet digitised, you are welcome to visit us and study the material on site or request a digital copy.


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