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Early Printed Books

Early Printed Books was developed by Sarah Werner as a companion to her book, Studying Early Printed Books, 1450-1800: A Practical Guide, and released in beta in the spring of 2018 and officially launched in the spring of 2019. Intended to be able to be used both alongside and separately from the book, the website is an open-access, freely available resource that can supplement anyone’s explorations of early printed books.

Sarah Werner

Sarah Werner is a book historian and digital media scholar based in Washington, DC, and author of the popular guidebook, Studying Early Printed Books 1450-1800: A Practical Guide. She worked at the Folger Shakespeare Library for nearly a decade as Undergraduate Program Director and as Digital Media Strategist. In her role as the former, she was responsible for founding and leading the semester-length program for students doing advanced research on books and early modern culture. Her book and this website grew out of that teaching experience. More information about her current work, and a current c.v. can be found at sarahwerner.net.


This site benefited from the assistance, direct and indirect, of many people. The images on this site are from a wide group of libraries that have made their digital images freely available for reuse in the public domain or under attribution-only or share-alike licenses. The libraries whose collections I’ve drawn from can be found listed within the libraries category on the browse tags page. Those libraries are often supported in their work by governmental and private funding agencies who believe in the  value of cultural heritage organizations and humanities scholarship. They are too many to list, but their work is vital to our work.

Many individuals have helped me find specific images, have alerted me to interesting books or collections, or have provided feedback on this website. Thank you in particular to Claire Bourne, Holly Dugan, Anne Garner, Suzanne Karr Schmidt, Adam Hooks, Christine E. Jacobson, Jay Moschella, John Overholt, An Smets, Shannon Supple, Whitney TrettienSteven Van Impe, as well as to many others.

Some items on this site have been contributed by interns or other guest writers. They are credited on the pages they have written, and more information can be found on the Contributors page.


Early Printed Books was built and is maintained by Sarah Werner. It runs on WordPress using a child theme of Twenty Seventeen that was heavily modified by Sarah Werner. The typefaces should be Palatino Linotype for the serif headers, and Libre Franklin for the sans-serif headers and body (what actually displays will depend on your device). The following plugins provide crucial functionality for the site (with some modifications in some cases): Enhanced Media Library allows me to tag the images, Media Credit creates and displays the image credit line, Relevanssi expands the native search engine to include all the extra metadata, Compress JPEG & PNG images optimizes the images, and Ninja Forms builds the webforms.