Jesuit printing office in Prague (1635–1773): from sources in the National Archives
|Citation||KOLDOVÁ, Monika. Jesuit printing office in Prague (1635–1773): from sources in the National Archives. Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae – Historia litterarum. Prague: National Museum, 2005, 50(1-4). ISSN 0036-5351. Also available from: https://publikace.nm.cz/en/periodicals/amnphl/50-1-4/jesuit-printing-office-in-prague-16351773-from-sources-in-the-national-archives|
The basic theme of this work is the origin and evolution of the Jesuit printing office in Prague. It opened in 1632, when the Jesuit College at St. Clement in Prague’s Old Town acquired the remains of a printing shop formerly belonging to Paul Sessius and Samuel Martinius from Dražov. It is not clear exactly when the Jesuit printing office became fully operational; the oldest currently known prints date from 1635. The end of the Jesuit printing office is taken as the date when it ceased to operate under Jesuit management, in 1773. However, the printing shop did not cease operation. In the years 1773–1776 it functioned as the Klementinum’s printing office and since 1776 as a school printing shop. Today the school printing tradition continues, but under private ownership of the publisher “SPN – pedagogické nakladatelství”. The Jesuit printing office was an institutional printing shop; its owner was the Jesuit College at St. Clement. It printed materials for the Prague University and the Czech Jesuit Order. The director of the printing shop was called its Prefect. He was always a member of the Jesuit order and was responsible for economical and ideological matters. Technical matters were under control of the Factor, a layman, who oversaw the actual manufacturing of books. As assistants he had several journeymen and apprentices who did the actual typesetting, printing and similar work. The Jesuit printing office obtained seven charters during its existence. For its development, the most important one was that of Ferdinand II in the year 1648, which granted it the right to accept apprentices and graduate them to journeyman status. During its entire reign it had exclusive rights to print works by members of the Jesuit order. From Emperor Leopold I the Jesuit order obtained the right to sell books. In 1675 the order opened a bookstore where they sold products of the Jesuit printing office as well as foreign books obtained by trade. An integral part of this work is the catalog of the National Archives, which references the Jesuit printing office. The most important of these I prepared in the form of a register. The fundamental source for the origin of the printing office and its development through 1650 is an unsigned Latin manuscript from the Prefect of Jiří František Plachý’s printing shop titled Historia Typographiae Academicae Soc[ietatis] Jesu, quomodo ad usum Societatis pervenerit et iterim sit adaucta. This work originated as a thesis at the Information and Library Science department of the Philosophical faculty of Charles University in Prague. After assembling an outline of the historical development of the Jesuit printing office, the next step should be a catalog of printed works published by that institution. I propose to do that next step and create a catalog of the Jesuit printing office for my dissertation.