Discovery of 500-Year-Old Library Reveals Books Lost to Time

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Here’s one for all you history buffs delighting in treasure troves from the past. A library catalog containing thousands of summaries of books from 500 years ago has recently been found in Copenhagen, where it has existed untouched for almost 350 years. The collection belonged to Hernando Colòn, the illegitimate son of Christopher Columbus.

After amassing his collection, Colòn went to work with a team of writers to read every piece and summarize each one in what is now known as The Libro de los Epitòmes. A virtual time capsule, this article from The Guardian describes the resulting manuscript as a “discovery of immense importance, not only because it contains so much information about how people read 500 years ago, but also, because it contains summaries of books that no longer exist, lost in every other form than these summaries.”

A comprehensive account of the library is being worked on, with plans to publish in 2020. There is also work in progress to digitize the manuscript.

-Former Board member, Valerie

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