Martin Bodmer’s ambition was to trace man’s intellectual and spiritual journey from the beginning of civilization, and collect samples for his library.
The collection explores:
The history of writing:
• cuneiform tablets
• Egyptian scrolls
• a unique collection of papyri
• Greek and Roman inscriptions and coins
• medieval manuscripts
• samples of Hebrew and Chinese writing, Arabic calligraphy and Indian Devanagari.
The history of printed books:
• a rare copy of the Gutenberg Bible
• first editions of works by Reformation and Humanist writers
• examples of the main literary genres of the 17th century
• books that helped disseminate European intellectual and scientific ideas during the Enlightenment
• documents from the 19th century to the present – a period of economic, technological and scientific change: the role of images and livres d’artistes; publishing as a recognized profession; new trends in book publishing…
The history of literature
• authentic texts by authors – either handwritten or typewritten pages, first corrected proofs or first editions.
• The history of science and music – and initially drawings