GESNER, Conrad (1516-65). Bibliotheca Universalis, sive Catalogus omnium scriptorum, in tribus linguis, Latina, Graeca, & Hebraica: extantium & non extantium, veterum & recentiorum, doctorum & indoctorum, publicatorum & in Bibliothecis latentium. Zurich: Christoph Froschauer, September 1545.
Median 20 (328 x 192 mm). Collation: *8 (title, dedication, *8 blank), A6 B4 (index); a-z 2A-Z Aa-Zz aa-zz AA-MM6 NN8 (text, without NN8 blank). Roman and italic types. Publisher's woodcut device on title, full-page woodcut coat-of-arms of Leonhard Beck, the dedicatee. (Title slightly soiled, a few minor stains.) Contemporary German or Swiss pigskin over wooden boards, roll-tooled panels on sides, (clasps missing, binding worn, corner of back board broken).
FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST UNIVERSAL BIBLIOGRAPHY, describing about twelve thousand works by some three thousand authors. It is arranged by first names (with an excellent index of family and adopted names), giving biographies, incipits of texts, details of editions, critical notes on contents, on manuscripts, projected and unfinished works, etc., its only restriction being that everything not in Greek, Latin or Hebrew is excluded. It was a truly epochal achievement, on which all subsequent bibliographers have to some extent relied, directly or indirectly. PMM 73; Breslauer and Folter 14. Besterman, Beginnings pp. 15-21.