Gutenberg's life

Johann Gutenberg was born in Mainz about 1400 and died before 26 February 1468.

Gutenberg, his life, and his work have been the subject of much imaginative speculation. Our knowledge rests chiefly on the books which he produced and on a relatively small number of documents. Most relate to legal and financial matters. This is typical of the sort of information which survives in archives.

Most people only make their way into city or state archives if they have legal problems. Fortunately for us Gutenberg had his share of these. We learn about his money problems and his involvement in law suits. It is only by chance that such documents occasionally give us information which helps us understand how Gutenberg made his invention.

Information regarding Gutenberg's early years, years of experimentation, years of the Bible, and the last years of his life can be found on this website.

The best critical summary of the present state of knowledge on Gutenberg is by Guy Bechtel, Gutenberg et l'invention de l'imprimerie: Une ênquete (Paris, 1992).

See also Martin Davies, The Gutenberg Bible (London, 1996).

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