No Space Left Behind

Title Page

The woodcuts on the back of the front cover are actually not part of this book. Rather, someone took these pages from another book and used them to repair the cover. This is particularly interesting because repairs were typically done with scrap pages or misprints, not pages with woodcuts. Also, the two woodcuts, even if misprinted, would be considered expensive due to their intricacy, making their use as scrap paper quite unusual.

This book also features margin notes (marginalia), which reference books from the Bible and provide additional information about the text to readers. According to Trinity’s Special Collections Librarian Colleen Hoelscher, marginalia from this time period is the equivalent of modern-day footnotes. Publishers included marginalia because the cost and time required to create these books made them valuable investments. Many would be passed on for generations and the margin notes could provide context and understanding to future readers.

There are additional, smaller woodcuts placed throughout the book to fill blank spaces on pages. Artisans created these more decorative woodcuts by taking a smaller woodcut stamp and stamping it multiple times in a shape. In this case, the printer stamped them in vertical and horizontal lines. One of the most intriguing woodcuts in this book is a swirled design at the top of one page with two pointer fingers pointing at each other.

Where Are "U"?

Printers would substitute some letters because using fewer stamps would reduce printing costs. The most common substitutions included using the letter “v” and “u” interchangeably, using “I” instead of “j,” and using “vv” as “w”. This book uses the interchangeable “v” and “u” throughout, mostly in the form of replacing “u” with “v.” This adds an element of mystery to the book because the reader has to decipher whether or not the printer made these substitutions intentionally. Interestingly, the index of the book does not have a “u” section, only a combined “v” section.