Rare book with 1st printed maps on display at U of M

Published 3:02 pm Saturday, December 26, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS — A rare book containing what is believed to be the world’s first printed maps is on display at the James Ford Bell Library at the University of Minnesota.

The James Ford Bell Trust acquired an example of the “Rudimentum Novitiorum,” a chronicle of the world printed in 1475. The book is on exhibit in the Bell Room of the library through Jan. 31, 2016.

Ford W. Bell, trustee and grandson of James Ford Bell, called the 540-year-old book “one of the rarest and most significant pieces we have.”

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The volume has 474 pages and was intended as an encyclopedic collection of knowledge, including history, geography and scripture.

The book includes about 150 pictorial woodcuts, including what are said to be the first printed maps.