Small folio (255 x 182 mm). Collation: *4 A2 [bound between *2 and *3]; 2A-Z Aa-Zz Aaa-Ppp4 Qqq6 Rrr2. , 248,  leaves including final blank. 2 parts, separately titled but continuously paginated (part 2 beginning on fol. 152). Two errata (quire A2 and fol. Rrr1). Gothic types, roman type used for shoulder notes, second title & preface, final errata, and the instructional text at end of part 2 (Pro Simplicioribus Sacerdotibus Instructio), the other errata (quire A2) in italics. Printed in red and black throughout, double page borders, 68 pages with 4-line staves for chant (the musical notes to be supplied in manuscript). Woodcut architectural title borders, that of the first title from 2 blocks, second title border from 6 blocks, twenty-nine woodcut text illustrations printed from 25 blocks, about 8 half-page or larger, most of the cuts in part 1 framed in woodcut ornamental border blocks, also used as line fillers and tailpieces, along with other ornaments including white on black grotesque blocks; ornamental and historiated initials in various sizes, of which four over-printed with a red color block. Fraying to edges of first and last leaves, last leaf loosening, some small stains in upper margins, but overall a fresh copy. Near-contemporary blind-tooled alum-tawed pigskin over wooden boards, by Jakob Preisger, Würzburg bookbinder, his panel stamps of the Crucifixion and Ark of the Covenant on front cover, and of Faith and Hope on lower cover, both within parallel fillets and a heads-in-medallion roll framed by a repeated palmette roll, two metal clasps and catches, edges stained blue-green, parchment ms. spine liners (soiled, somewhat rubbed, small hole to leather of lower cover, the leather torn at lower board edges). Modern ink signature on front pastedown, Anton Heustein.***
Only edition, first issue, of the second printed Ritual for the diocese of Würzburg, a rare complete copy with both errata, bound in the shop of the Würzburg binder Jakob Preisger. This edition superseded that of 1482. Before the Council of Trent every diocese had its own slightly different forms of ritual, necessitating the issuance of a plethora of guides for priests, known variously as Manuale, Liber agendarum, Agenda, Sacramentale or Rituale. Published mere months after the conclusion of the Council of Trent (in December 1563), but before Pius V’s issuance of standardized forms of the Catechism, Breviary, and Mass, the present Agenda updates and clarifies the prevailing forms of local ritual. In a pastoral letter (dated 27 June 1564) printed following the title, the Prince-Bishop of Würzburg, Friedrich von Wirsberg (1507-1573), who commissioned the edition, explains that the sacraments having become corrupted through a combination of ignorance and indifference on the part of the clergy, he decided to publish this new guide, and he exhorts all priests to make use of it. All sacraments are covered, in a mixture of Latin and German: exorcism of salt and water, baptism (of babies, women, sick children, etc.), confirmation, marriage, Mass, confession, last rites, Mass for the Dead, etc., as are the duties of the priest under various circumstances and for various holidays. The printer Baumann had no music types, so the over 60 pages of chant for Easter benedictions have only the words and bare staves, the reader being expected to supply his own notes. At the end is a 20-page Latin summary, for “more simple priests.”
The woodcuts, from Baumann’s stock, are in various styles and, other than the fine Renaissance title border blocks, most are quite archaic. Illustrated are baptism, a marriage, the last rites, etc., and a few New Testament scenes, including a Last Supper cut, signed by the Master CW, and a striking large cut of the avenging angel weighing souls, above the torments of the damned. In part two, woodcuts of hands and of a monk mouthing words provide visual gestural instruction and enliven the note-less music pages. Many of the smaller cuts are set within complex woodcut and typographical borders.
The history of this book’s publication, evidenced in its bibliographical structure and variants, is revealing of 16th-century printing and publishing practices, and of relations between the printing trade and their biggest customer, the Catholic Church. Hans Baumann, born in 1510 of a poor family in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, was an intellectual who was forced to enter the printing trade, in his native city, when the University of Erfurt declined to renew his scholarship. Subsequently he worked as an itinerant printer, a soldier under the Duke of Alba in the Schmalkadic war, a journalist (reporting on the Battle of Mühlberg), and a chronicler, before setting up a press in Salzburg under the patronage of the local Duke, Ernst of Bavaria. In 1561 he moved to Würzburg, where he was granted tax-exempt status, and began printing in 1562, soon becoming official court printer. This Agenda was the most important of Baumann’s commissions and the greatest production of his career, and he clearly undertook it with enthusiasm, decorating it generously with woodcut illustrations and ornaments from blocks brought from Salzburg. But this book would prove his undoing. Thanks to a surviving petition to Prince-Bishop Friedrich from Baumann’s five children in 1571, a year after his death, the sad history of its publication has been preserved: Baumann printed 1000 official copies for the Prince-Bishop (this issue), for which he was to receive 2 Hellers (half a pfennig) per copy. But the Prince-Bishop used the edition’s “defects,” — its many errors, necessitating the extensive errata — as an excuse to pay only half that sum. Meanwhile Baumann had printed an extra 500 copies for his own use, which he published with a different title (Agenda ecclesiastica, sive Caeremoniarum..., VD16 A 631), without the errata, and with a letter from the printer to the reader replacing the Prince-Bishop’s pastoral. But from this “commercial” issue Baumann was only able to sell 100 copies. He died poor in 1570. The pleas of his disgruntled heirs to the Bishop, requesting payment of the outstanding 500 Heller, in which they describe in detail the labors of running the same sheets multiple times through the press for the red printing and the salaries paid their workers, apparently fell on deaf ears, and the press was closed in 1572. Most of the Baumann heirs’ remaining copies were probably destroyed, although the next revision of the Würzburg Agenda was not to appear until 1671.
Meanwhile, the Diocese still had copies of the sheets stored away. The present binding, by a Würzburg binder who worked closely with the Prince-Bishopric (see below), dates to at least 12 years after the Agenda was published, showing that the Diocese, having stiffed the printer, was still distributing copies as needed for a number of years after its publication. This copy includes an extra four-page errata (Emendatio quorundam erratorum), printed on bifolium A1-2, inserted in the first quire, which is not recorded in the copies listed by VD 16 or OCLC, or in any of the digitized copies linked to by VD 16 (although standardized cataloguing may hide the existence of one or more copies with the leaves). These leaves are required for a complete copy, according to the book’s bibliographer Anton Ruland (p. 165), as they contain essential corrections, pertaining mainly to the rubrics. Printed in a different style, with a large Renaissance woodcut initial and decorative tailpiece that clash with the more archaic material of the edition, the absence of this addendum in so many copies can be explained by its having been printed after the edition was completed, perhaps months or even years later, in any case after the first batch of copies had been distributed by the Diocese. In their petition Baumann’s heirs complained that the Church officials were slow in sending their corrections, which apparently trickled in. One may speculate that by printing the Emendatio for the Diocese Baumann may have hoped to persuade the Diocesan treasurer to disburse the funds owed to him.
Binding: Three of the four panel stamps and roll-tools decorating the binding of this copy are associated with the Würzburg binder Jakob Preisger, active from 1576 to 1594. While the binding was presumably commissioned by the office of the Prince-Bishop, that office was by then occupied by Friedrich von Wirsberg’s successor, Julius Echter von Mespelbrunn, considered Würzburg’s greatest bishop, and one of the most capable rulers of his time. (Echter was also a dedicated bibliophile: his own books, many bound by Preisger, can be identified by his armorial panel stamp.) The upper cover panel stamp (EBDB Werkzeug p003638, attributed to Preisger), shows the Crucifixion in an oval central medallion with the Holy Spirit between angels at top and the Ark of the Covenant at the foot of the Cross, a banner across the center reading Propiciatorium nostrum, and at bottom the inscription Christus per proprium sanguine semel ingressus in sancta. The palmette roll, a “negative” roll (the pattern is intaglio rather than in relief), is also attributed to Preisger (EBDB r001035). The lower cover panel stamp, which shows the allegorical figures of Faith and Hope, with cross, chalice, book, and God the father, within an oval frame inscribed Impetrat alma Fides Christo quam dante salutem expectare soror Spes animosa solet, is not recorded by the EBDB, but was used in conjuntion with other Preisger material on a copy of Henri Estienne, Thesaurus graecae linguae ([Geneva] 1572), from the library of Julius Echter von Mespelbrunn, with his arms (the copy was sold at auction in Paris in 2008 and is now in the book trade). The heads-in-medallion roll is not in the EBDB but it is stylistically close to the three listed by the EBDB among Preisger’s tools. Unless these stamps and tools were used previously by another binder, this binding could not have been produced before 1576, the year when Preisger, a native of Dresden, obtained his citizenship in Würzburg.
OCLC locates one copy of this issue in the US (Trinity College) and one of the second issue (Boston College).
VD16 A 772 = P 4861; Adams L-1295; A. Ruland, “Zur Druckgeschichte der vom Fürstbischofe Friedrich zu Würzburg herausgegebenen Agenda Ecclesiastica..., Serapeum 25 (1864), 161-170 (digitized); Reske, Buchdrucker, 1113-1114 & 884. On the binder, see Einbanddatenbank Werkstatt w002509; and R. Halwas, “Julius Echter von Mespelbrunn’s Library,” on his website.
*When Ruland transcribed the document it was in the library of the University of Würzburg; it is apparently no longer in their collections, and may have been destroyed along with large parts of the library’s holdings in WWII (thanks to Svenja Keller of the Univ. of Würzburg for this information). Item #4190