General Ledger, Signed D., 1590–1614


The Officina Plantiniana, also known as the Plantin Press or Plantijnse Drukkerij, was established in Antwerp in 1555 by Christopher Plantin (1520–89), the greatest typographer and printer-publisher of his day. The Officina grew to become the largest printing and publishing house in Europe and helped to make Antwerp, along with Venice and Paris, one of the most important centers of printing in the West. This ledger contains a summary of the accounts of the press in the years 1590–1614 and of its transactions with family members and special contacts. The latter included, for example, paper merchants or book dealers who were granted a discount. The ledger is mainly in French, with parts in Dutch and Latin. Following Christopher Plantin’s death, his son-in-law Jan Moretus I (1543–1610) inherited and ran the press. Descendants of the Moretus family continued to operate the business until 1876. The business archives of the Officina are an important source for the study of the book trade in Europe, economic and socioeconomic history, and intellectual developments at an especially turbulent time in the history of Europe and the West. The archives were inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 2001.

Last updated: May 24, 2017