Warren library uncovers rare book

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WARREN, Ohio – Sometimes you just get lucky.

Some 17 years ago, the director of the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library decided have the collection of rare books at the main library appraised. Expert Dean Keller from Kent State University was hired to inventory and evaluate the collection.

Keller stumbled upon a book that is over 500 years old and one of only three known copies in the world.

Behold the incunabulum. Incunabula are books printed between 1455 and 1500, the infancy of the printing press. This particular incunabulum is a third edition Epistolae Familiares, a volume of letters of Pope Pius II, who lead the Catholic church from 1458-1464.

The text was printed in Latin by Johann Koelhoffin Cologne, Germany, during 1478.

View the book. Now through June, the incunabulum will be displayed at the main library, 444 Mahoning Avenue NW in Warren.

The original binding of the book has been replaced, which means, of course, the value of the book has gone down.

Mysterious origins. The incunabulum is almost as mysterious as it is rare. To this day, not one staff member knows exactly where the book came from.

The library often receives book donations from members of the community. Some books end up on the library shelves and others go into the annual book sale. Some rare books are pulled and do not circulate.

Nobody knows, though, how the incunabulum finally landed in a storage area at the library.

For information call 330-399-8807, ext. 128.

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